Frowny Piercing: Cost, Pain, Risks, And Aftercare

A discreet piercing that you can use to flaunt your edgy side only when you desire.

Written by , BSc Reshma Latif BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) linkedin_icon
Last Updated on
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Unconventional piercings are a great way to express your individuality, but some workplaces simply do not approve of them. If you are in this situation, you must consider getting a frowny piercing! A frowny piercing is a great option if you want to make a unique statement but do not wish to make it obvious. You can tuck it away and show it off as and when you desire! This unique piercing is subtle yet distinct, edgy yet demure. Read on to learn more about the frowny piercing, why it is called so, its procedure, healing time, aftercare tips, and more. Keep reading!

protip_icon Piercing Guide: Frowny Piercing
  • Placement: The frenulum of the lower lip
  • Best Jewelry: Curved barbell
  • Cost: $30 to $80
  • Pain Level: Low
  • Healing Time: 4 to 12 weeks

What Is A Frowny Piercing?

It is called a ‘frowny’ piercing due to its placement on the lower part of the lip. It is also known as lower lip frenulum piercing as it goes through the lower frenulum, which is a thin connective tissue between the bottom lip and the gum line. It remains hidden when the mouth is closed and peeks out inconspicuously when a person speaks or smiles. This type of piercing has gained popularity as it is easy to hide at work or during formal occasions. It is the opposite of a smiley piercing, which became popular in the 90s, which is why it is often also referred to as the anti-smiley piercing.

The possibility or success of this piercing is dependent on the body’s anatomy. Some people may not be able to get this lower lip frenulum piercing due to the absence of enough webbing to accommodate a barbell or ring. Due to the fragile placement, the frowny piercing has a high rate of rejection or migration.

If you are considering getting a frowny piercing or are just curious about this new piercing, read on to know more and understand it better before you head off to your piercer.

Process For A Frowny Piercing

Frowny piercing is done on the delicate frenulum tissue and thus requires expertise and precision. An experienced and trained professional piercer can ensure a safe piercing experience. Let us understand the process of a frowny piercing.

  1. Consultation: Being a complicated piercing site, you cannot just walk in and get a lower lip frenulum piercing. The piercer usually consults with the client to understand the individual anatomy and analyze the possibility of piercing the tissue. You can also discuss jewelry options and other concerns at the same time.
  2. Preparation: The mouth harbors a multitude of bacteria, making it particularly necessary to follow proper hygiene measures during piercing. Before the process of piercing can commence, the piercer cleans the relevant area and sterilizes all piercing instruments. The point of piercing is marked to ensure precision.
  3. Piercing: A sterilized needle of small gauge size is used for frenulum piercing. It usually ranges from 16 to 18G gauge size with a length of 5/16” to 1/2”. You will be asked to hold your lip back with clean hands to expose the frenulum. The piercer aligns the needle with the mark and quickly passes the needle through the frenulum. The transfer of jewelry quickly follows, and the whole process is concluded in an instant to keep the associated pain to a minimum.

Being a delicate area, it is normal to be concerned about the pain factor. With a better perception of the pain associated with the piercing, you will be able to comprehend the expected level of discomfort and be prepared for it. Let us prepare you for the experience by taking a quick look at it in the next section.

Pain Level Of A Frowny Piercing

The pain associated with piercing may differ based on the individual pain threshold. On a scale of 1-10, most people rate frowny piercing pain as 3, which may be similar to pain associated with earlobe piercing. The frenulum is a thin layer of tissue without nerve endings, which is likely to cause pain that is bearable for most individuals.

Even though the initial puncture is painless, swelling and irritation may develop over time. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen can help with pain control. Sucking on ice chips and using a cold compress may soothe the area.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Contact the piercer or physician if pain and swelling continue for over a week. Pus, bleeding, increased tenderness, or fever can be signs of infection.

One may experience swelling and pain throughout the healing period when the piercing gets irritated. It is essential to anticipate the healing journey while navigating the details of frowny piercing. Let us turn to the next section to consider the healing time.

Healing Time For A Frowny Piercing

Frowny piercing usually has a comparatively quicker healing time compared to cartilage or other oral piercings as the thin layer of frenulum tissue tends to heal quickly. However, the healing time is dependent on aftercare measures, and one case may differ from another.

Mora Dollie, a vlogger, details her experience of getting a frowny piercing. Explaining the aftercare procedure she follows, she says, “I mouthwash after every one of my feeding times or anytime I drink anything that is not water (i).” She adds, “Overall I would say the healing is going well. I may check the piercing to make sure there isn’t gunk or any yucky stuff that shouldn’t be coming out of it. Anyway, I haven’t seen any of that.”

There is a wide range of jewelry available for piercing, and you can choose one that suits your personality. However, since frowny piercing is a unique type of piercing, there are some limitations on the available designs. Scroll down to better understand the ideal jewelry styles and materials for your frowny piercing.

Best Jewelry And Materials For A Frowny Piercing

Even though frowny piercing remains hidden, the choice of jewelry impacts the aesthetic appeal and the success of the piercing. For a starter frowny piercing, comfort is one of the main concerns. One should also be able to maintain the jewelry without rejection or fear of migration. The choice of frenulum piercing jewelry depends upon personal preference and anatomical factors. Here are some of the popular types of frowny piercing jewelry.

  1. Curved Barbells

They are the popular choice for frenulum piercings due to the curved shape that matches the natural curve of the piercing site. They usually end in traditional round beads, but you may choose those with spikes and other accents. The curved shape reduces chances of causing irritation or damage to the gums and teeth.

  1. Captive Bead Rings


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Beaded rings have a unique aesthetic appeal. It has a smooth surface, and the ball closure keeps the ring secure. The bead closure hides the opening of the ring while holding a decorative stone or ball.

  1. Horseshoe Rings

It is also known as a horseshoe barbell, which seems like a bent barbell with balls at the ends. People love them for the variety of bead options that add to the aesthetic appeal.

  1. Seamless Hoops

They appear like a thin circle when inserted and closed properly. It is a simple, frowny piercing jewelry that comes in a closed shape. It is also available in heart, moon, or oval shapes.

The jewelry material should also be considered while choosing one for your frowny piercing (1). The metals usually preferred for this type of piercing include the following.

  1. Surgical Stainless Steel

It is an affordable and common choice for starter piercing jewelry as it is hypoallergenic and durable. Avoid steel if you are allergic to nickel as it contains a small amount of the reactive metal (2). Being a common piercing material, you can find various designs in it.

  1. Titanium

Titanium jewelry is lightweight, making it favorable for use on the fragile frenulum tissue. Pure titanium is relatively low in allergenic metals and thus safer for sensitive skin (3). It does not sparkle as much as gold or steel. It is available in an affordable price range of $10 to $50.

  1. Gold

Gold of 14K or higher gives a luxurious aura to your frenulum piercing. Being inert, it is suitable as the first piercing. Avoid using gold-plated jewelry as it contains nickel, which can cause allergic reactions (4). 14K gold is preferred against 18K gold as 18K is soft and may not stand up to scratches and excessive wear. They are more exquisite and luxurious varieties costing up to $200, even though simpler ones can be bought for $30 onwards.

  1. Platinum

It is a precious metal and thus costly. It has a sparkling luster and is suitable for those who need a high-end look. It is hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin (1). Being a heavy metal, they are not commonly used for frenulum piercing.

Consult with your piercer to know what size of starter jewelry would best fit your anatomy. When placed between the gums and lips, it should be smooth and should not irritate the teeth and gums.

Being a lesser known type of piercing, it is essential to weigh its pros and cons before you decide to head to the piercer. Take a look at them in the next section.

Pros And Cons Of A Frowny Piercing

Like any other piercing, frowny piercing may come with its own set of pros and cons. It is important to understand its potential risks and benefits before the procedure. Some of them are listed below.


  • Distinct: It is uncommon and different from the traditional piercings.
  • Discreet: It is hidden. The wearer can hide the piercing and decide whether to show it or not. With ring jewelry, it is often visible when one smiles or opens one’s mouth.
  • Low On The Pain Scale: The frenulum is a thin layer of tissue and does not have nerve endings. Therefore, frowny piercing is not as painful as other body modifications.
  • Heals Fast: The piercing heals quickly in 6-8 weeks and is quicker when compared to most other piercings.
  • Temporary: Most frowny piercings last only a few years, making it a good option for those preferring a short-term piercing.


  • Uncomfortable Position: The placement between the lip and the gum can be uncomfortable. Eating might feel like a struggle as it can get caught in the teeth while chewing.
  • Limited Choice Of Jewelry: The need for a smooth surface narrows down the choice of suitable jewelry.
  • Risk Of Infection: Improper aftercare and unnecessary touching of the piercing may lead to infection. Oral piercings are highly susceptible to bacterial infection due to the increased presence of microorganisms in the mouth (5).
  • Risk Of Rejection Or Migration: The frenulum constantly moves when you talk, eat, etc., which leads to a high risk of rejection or migration of the piercing jewelry. Contact your piercer if you notice any kind of unexpected movement in the piercing.
  • Risk Of Damage To Teeth Or Gums: An unfavorable type of jewelry or material can cause damage to the oral cavity following a frowny piercing. Teeth erosion, enamel damage, and gum recession are other risks involved (6).

Never decide to get a frowny piercing in the fit of the moment. You should educate yourself on the procedure, its complications, and the necessary aftercare. Even though there are risks associated with a frowny piercing, proper aftercare measures can ensure a smooth healing period. Read on to understand the aftercare routine of Frowny piercing.

Aftercare Tips For A Frowny Piercing

Following specific instructions after getting a piercing is important to ensure proper healing and minimize risks. While aftercare measures remain similar to those one has to follow in case of other body piercings, oral piercings require additional care.

  1. You can either use a store-bought saline solution or prepare one by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. Dissolve it completely. Use a cotton ball to clean the piercing site with the saline solution.
  2. Do not tug at the piercing or remove it while cleaning.
  3. Rinse the mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash every time after eating (7).
  4. Rinse with sterile saline solution at night and in the morning.
  5. Avoid consuming spicy or acidic foods as they can irritate the new piercing. Hot drinks can also increase the swelling.
  6. Chew slowly till it is healed to prevent the jewelry from crushing between the teeth.
  7. Use a new toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid irritating the gums and to limit bacterial spread.
  8. Refrain from smoking, chewing gum, alcohol consumption, kissing, or oral sex until the piercing heals. Alcohol and smoking can hamper the immune response system and delay the healing process (8), (9). Kissing or oral activities can cause friction and movement that can cause trauma to the healing tissue. It can also increase the risk of infection due to contact with bodily fluids.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Since you have to rinse every time after eating if you get a frenulum piercing, keep a small refillable travel bottle of mouthwash in your bag for use throughout the day.

It is possible that you are concerned about the cost of getting a lip frenulum piercing. There are a number of factors that can influence the price of this type of piercing. To discover what they are and get an idea of how much you might have to pay, scroll down to the next section.

How Much Do Frowny Piercings Cost?

The cost of getting a frowny piercing differs based on the location of the piercing studio and the choice of piercing jewelry. Always pick a reputable and professional piercer with experience in frowny piercing. Unlike most other piercings, frenulum piercing is a complex affair. The average cost ranges between $30-$80. You can discuss the cost with your piercer during the first consultation.

Run a Google search for body piercing studios in your locality. To be more specific, look through their reviews and check for pictures of frowny piercings. While shortlisting, give maximum weightage to reviews and customer photos. Remember that it is fine to spend a few extra pennies at a professional piercer rather than struggle with complications later.

It is important to know the difference between frowny and smiley piercings before choosing which one to get. Although they share similarities, they have distinct features that set them apart. In the following section, we will discuss the unique characteristics of each piercing type to help you make an informed decision.

Difference Between Smiley And Frowny Piercings

Frowny and smiley piercings are intriguing varieties of oral piercing. They are both frenulum piercings and quite rare. Piercing located on the frenulum of the upper lip is known as smiley piercing, while that on the lower lip is called frowny. Smiley piercing is usually visible when the person smiles and thus the name! Frowny piercing, however, remains generally hidden and does not have much to do with a frown. However, the healing time, procedure, and aftercare of smiley and frowny piercings are the same. Many piercing enthusiasts choose to pierce both the upper and lower frenulum.

Frowny piercing is gaining popularity as a unique form of body modification for those seeking a subtle way to express themselves. Go for it if you want a piercing that you can flaunt and conceal according to the situation. But remember, the longevity of this piercing relies on choosing a reputable professional piercer, picking the right jewelry, and following proper aftercare practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is frowny piercing right for me?

Frowny piercing is not for everyone. People with a thin frenulum or very less frenulum tissue cannot get this piercing. The risk of being torn or rejection prevails. Consult with a professional piercer for a personalized evaluation.

How long does a frowny piercing last?

Frenulum piercings are temporary piercings that last around a year or two. The mouth area is constantly in motion while talking and eating, due to which the piercing is highly prone to migration and may eventually dislodge.

Can I get a frowny piercing if I have braces or other oral appliances?

Even though you can get a frowny piercing with braces, it is not a good idea as the piercing jewelry may get caught in the brackets. This can damage the orthodontic appliance and may even result in a tear in the frenulum.

Will a frowny piercing affect my speech?

With a new attachment in your mouth, it can take time to get used to it. It may affect speech for the first few days, especially if the area is swollen.

Are there any age restrictions for getting a frowny piercing?

Oral piercings are riskier than most other body piercings. They are not considered safe for those under 16 years old. Most piercing studios demand valid ID proof before getting a frowny piercing.

Key Takeaways

  • Frowny piercing is a distinct and discreet piercing type which is located on the frenulum of the lower lip.
  • The healing period ranges from 4-12 weeks. Being an oral piercing, it requires additional care and cleaning.
  • There is a high risk of migration or rejection as the frenulum is a thin connective tissue.
  • Proper aftercare measures can help prevent infections, yet it is a temporary piercing and usually lasts only for 1-2 years.

Watch this insightful video by a professional piercer from Vegas to clear all your doubts regarding frowny piercing. He responds to questions regarding the pain level, ideal placement, healing duration and other common issues associated with frowny piercing.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Jewelry for initial piercings
  2. Characterization of metallic piercings that caused adverse reactions during use
  3. The x-ray and sf-icp-ms analysis of content and release of allergenic metals from body piercing
  4. Evaluating the nickel content in metal alloys and the threshold for nickel-induced allergic contact dermatitis
  5. Oral piercing and oral diseases: A short time retrospective study
  6. Oral piercing/jewelry
  7. Oral piercings
  8. Alcohol and the immune system
  9. Impacts of cigarette smoking on immune responsiveness: Up and down or upside down?
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Reshma Latif
Reshma LatifBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Reshma is a content writer with a penchant for writing articles on relationships, makeup, and beauty. She started her writing career in 2007, soon after graduating from Mahatma Gandhi University. What began as a love for blogging bloomed into several freelancing opportunities over the years.

Read full bio of Reshma Latif
Subhrojyoti Mukherjee
Subhrojyoti MukherjeeAssociate Editor
Subhrojyoti is an associate editor at StyleCraze with four years of experience. He has a master’s degree in English from Presidency University, Kolkata, and has also done a post-graduate certificate course in Editing and Publishing from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

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Joyce Joyson
Joyce JoysonBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Joyce Joyson is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over a year of experience crafting short-form content for the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle niches. She has a triple majors bachelor’s degree in History, Political Science, and Geography from IIS University and a master’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kristu Jayanti College.

Read full bio of Joyce Joyson