Labret Piercing: Types, Pain Level, Healing Time, And Jewelry

Elevate your pout and make heads turn with this stylish lip piercing.

Written by , MA Sangita Goel MA linkedin_icon
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Aparna Harry MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Your lips can say a lot about your personality when you adorn them with piercings. Of the many lip piercings, the labret piercing has become increasingly popular in recent years. This piercing involves making a single puncture with a needle below the bottom lip. It allows you to express your individuality stylishly. Whether you are a newbie to body modification art, a piercing enthusiast, or are simply interested in learning more about it, this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to this piercing — from various types of lip piercings and the pain level associated with it to its cost and potential risks. Keep reading to know more!

protip_icon Piercing Guide: Labret Piercing
  • Placement: At the center of the dip below the lower lip
  • Best Jewelry: Studs
  • Cost: $50 to $100
  • Pain Level: Medium
  • Healing Time: 6 to 8 weeks

What Is A Labret Piercing?

A woman with a labret piercing
Image: Shutterstock

Labret piercing is inserted at the center of the dip below the lower lip. The piercing goes from the outside to the inside of the mouth. It gets its name from the Latin word ‘labrum’ meaning ‘lip’. While many consider it to be a lip piercing, it is a facial piercing as it does not usually touch the lower lip.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The population of the North-West American Coast boasted labret piercing around 3,000 years ago as a symbol of wealth or social status.

This popular body modification has many variations. Check out the section below to find out the different types of labret piercing.

Types Of Labret Piercings

The regular labret piercing can be combined with other types of lip piercings to make new styles. Let us take a look at some of the labret piercing types below.

1. Vertical Labret Piercing

Vertical labret piercing
Image: Shutterstock

The vertical labret piercing goes through the top or center of the lower lip to its bottom. The piercer uses a curved barbell to pierce as the shape of the piercing jewelry sits securely and comfortably against the normal curve of the lip. Both the sides of the barbell are visible on the top and bottom labret piercing. Vertical labret piercing pain intensity is higher than standard labret piercing.

2. Horizontal Labret Piercing

 

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A horizontal labret piercing goes through the middle of the lower lip. A horizontal piercing enters from one side and goes out from the other side of the lips. However, it is a dangerous piercing and many studios do not perform it.

3. Side Labret Piercing

Image: Shutterstock

This type of labret piercing is done on either the left or right side below the lower lip. Side labret piercing can be combined with other piercings to create an edgier look.

4. Double Labret Piercing

Image: Shutterstock

A double labret piercing means two simultaneous piercings below the lower lip. You can either get a dolphin bite (two central labret piercings next to each other), a spider bite (two piercings on one side close to each other), or a snake bite labret piercing (on extremes of both sides to resemble a fang).

5. Lowbret Piercing

Image: StyleCraze Design Team

In this labret piercing type, the position is below the center of the lip but closer to the chin. The piercing goes as low as the lip allows. However, given its position, remember the labret piercing jewelry would rub against your gums much more than any other type of labret piercing.

While the labret piercing looks stylish, it may be painful given its location. Read the next section to learn about the pain intensity of the piercing.

Is A Labret Piercing Painful?

Labret piercing does not hurt much compared to other lip piercings. It falls on the lower end of the pain scale. Most describe labret piercing pain as mild and like a quick pinch, although the pain intensity depends on an individual’s pain tolerance level and skin sensitivity. However, the same may not be the case with vertical and horizontal labret piercings. They puncture the lips, which consist of more nerve endings than any other piercing spot.

Alex, a blogger, shared her experience of getting vertical labret piercings in Korea. She did not feel much pain while getting the piercing but felt it may vary from person to person. She wrote, “About the pain: It was alright. It hurt a little bit when the needle went through my lip but that was about it. If I had to rate it on a scale from 1 to 10, it’d be about a 3. However, as I said, I already have, like, 12 piercings and am thus used to the pain and generally, have a high pain tolerance, it might be a different experience for you (i).”

No matter what type of labret piercing you get, you need to give it a few months to heal. Let us learn more about its healing process in the next subhead.

Labret Piercing Healing Time

The healing of labret piercing usually takes 6-8 weeks. However, the healing period of each individual might differ depending on their body’s response. For a few days after the piercing, the piercing site will appear swollen and red. Over the next few weeks, swelling, throbbing, and discomfort will subside. But if you experience bleeding or pain even after a few weeks, your piercing might be infected.

Keep an eye on the piercing well after the healing period as the inner wall might still be healing while the outer area appears completely healed. After getting the piercing, ensure that your piercer has fixed you with a piece of large labret jewelry that would give space for swelling. A smaller stud may get embedded in the skin when the piercing heals and may require surgery for removal.

Danny, a blogger, shared her labret piercing experience. She did not feel much pain while getting the piercing but after. She wrote, “The area around the piercing was extremely sensitive for 3/4 days afterwards. I mean, any time I ate (food) or drank anything at all or even if I touched my bottom lip I would shiver because it was so sensitive (ii).”

Before getting the piercing done, you must know everything about it. The information in the next subhead will help you prepare yourself for the piercing.

How To Prepare For A Labret Piercing

You need to be in your optimal health before getting any piercing done. Ensure you have slept adequately, try not to stress yourself much, and keep yourself thoroughly hydrated and adequately fed on the day of getting the piercing. Cancel your appointment or reschedule if you come down with a cold or flu.

Gather all the necessary information on the piercing – the studio, the piercer and aftercare. Visit the studio and check if they are certified and operate legally. Meet the piercer yourself and ask to see their professional certificate. Also, enquire about their sterilization processes and practices.

Clean your lower lips with a disinfectant solution and rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to rid of all the potentially harmful bacteria from the piercing site. However, if you suffer from oral infections, bad teeth, and gum problems, avoid getting a lip piercing altogether as it might damage your teeth, gums, and oral structures.

Additionally, you might feel more at ease knowing what to expect during the piercing. Read the next section to learn about it in detail.

What To Expect During A Labret Piercing?

The piercer will mark the area where the piercing will be done both inside and outside of your mouth. Then, they will clamp your lower lip to keep it steady and pull the lip outward gently. They might either use a piercing gun or a sterilized needle to make a hole in the marked area. You might feel mild pain or discomfort during this. The piercer will then slowly remove the needle or the tip of the gun and insert the jewelry into the new piercing.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Ask the piercer to show you how to remove the jewelry properly once the piercing is healed to avoid pulling the skin around it.

With all the other information, you should also know how much will the piercing cost you. The next subhead details the labret piercing price to help you make an informed decision.

How Much Does Labret Piercing Cost?

A labret piercing generally costs around $50 to $100. However, the cost of the piercing varies significantly. The price largely depends on the piercer. Some piercers charge high rates for piercings that need extra precision and experience. However, do not choose an inexperienced piercing studio based on the cost of labret piercing. The labret piercing needs to be done with minute care and any mistake might lead to the piercing hole going off the mark.

The labret piercing jewelry costs extra and some jewelry materials are more expensive than others. It is recommended to choose a high-quality metal, like implant grade titanium and gold, for your first jewelry. Many people are sensitive to metals and if you are getting the piercing for the first time, you want to avoid the risk of developing an allergic reaction to the jewelry.

To avoid any complications related to your piercing jewelry, you need to have complete knowledge of which type to choose for your piercing and the metals you should opt for. Read the next section to find the jewelry perfect for you.

Labret Piercing Jewelry

The location of the labret piercing allows you to opt for a wide variety of jewelry types. But before that you should be aware of the kind of jewelry materials you should go for. Here are some of them.

Types Of Labret Piercing Jewelry Materials

1. Titanium

Implant-grade titanium is a material is rarely linked to allergies, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin (1). It is also durable and non-corrosive.

2. 14KT Gold

This material is often combined with silver, copper, nickel and zinc. However, nickel may cause allergic relations in some (2). Hence, ensure that the material is nickel-free when you purchase one.

3. Bioflex

This soft material is flexible and hypoallergenic, and might be good for those looking for something comfortable to wear.

4. Platinum

This is another precious material, and also rarely linked with allergies (3). This also makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

5. Implant-Grade Steel

This is the most common material used for piercing. However, it might contain traces of nickel, which may cause allergic reactions in some (2). Ensure to check out the material guide when ordering a lip piercing made with this material.

Check out the types of labret lip piercing and you can opt from the various jewelry options given below.

Types Of Labret Piercing Jewelry

1. Studs

Stud labret piercing jewelry
Image: Shutterstock

The labret piercing is so popular that lip studs are often called labret studs. This type of earring features a flat disc on one end and a metal ball, diamond, spike, or any other accent on the other. The bar is inserted from inside your lip to the outside and then the piece on the front is screwed back. Opt for labret stud piercings with wider discs as it reduces the risk of the bar slipping into the lip. You can go for large lip studs if you want to give an effect of big labret piercing size without compromising your oral health. They are suitable for all types of labret piercings.

2. Hoops/ Rings

Image: Shutterstock

The labret hoop piercings go around your lower lip. They come in many varieties – seamless hoop, captive bead ring, fully enclosed ring, C or U-shaped ring. The sizes of these labret ring piercing matter as an earring too large would rub on the teeth and gums and a smaller one might sink into the lip and cause scarring. Hence, be careful to use labret jewelry with the correct sizes that fit your bottom lip perfectly. They are good initial piercing jewelry.

3. Barbells

Image: Shutterstock

The barbells are thick rods that are slightly curved or in the shape of a horseshoe. It has beads or ornament on each end. The labret jewelry bends and follows the natural curves of the lips for a comfortable fit. They are the ideal jewelry type for vertical labret piercing.

4. Straight Bars

Image: Shutterstock

This style of jewelry has straight bars with two beads, ornament, or spikes on the two sides. They are perfect for double and horizontal labret piercing. You can even use them side by side if you have two vertical labret piercings or for double side labret lip piercings.

Though labret piercings make style statements, they pose many risks for your mouth. Read the next subhead to learn more about the potential dental issues this piercing may cause.

Potential Risks Of A Labret Piercing

Any type of piercing carries with it potential risks. Read the risks associated with a labret piercing before getting it done.

1. Infection

It is important to keep the area of your piercing clean or it can get infected. The placement of the labret piercing makes it more susceptible to infections. The bacteria and germs in the mouth might enter the piercing site after you touch your mouth or eat and drink. If your piercing gets infected, consult your doctor immediately.

2. Tooth Damage

Labret piercing increases the risk of tooth damage. The piercing rubs against your tooth enamel, which may eventually lead to enamel erosion and teeth chipping (4). The pressure of the piercing on the tooth may also push it out of alignment. Check for any signs of damage and decay regularly after getting the piercing to prevent the problem from worsening.

3. Gum Damage

The labret piercing may also rub against the gum, causing it to wear away slowly (3). This exposes the root of the tooth to decay and infection. If left unchecked, the infection would spread to the jawbone and start loosening the teeth. This would leave no other option but to remove the teeth and sew your gums shut.

4. Scarring

If you have left the piercing without any jewelry for long, the hole can begin closing. This may create a thick, raised scar. Scarring might also happen when your body rejects the piercing as a foreign object and pushes it out of the skin.

A blogger shared her unfortunate experience with labret piercings. She got side and central labret piercings at different ages, both of which her body rejected. She pulled the skin around the piercing hard in both cases and developed a cyst. She wrote, “I had caused such a big mucocele which is a cyst, that the only way it was going to go away was if the piercing was removed (iii).” However, she tried to protect her second central labret piercing but to no avail. She wrote, “I did however try harder with this one to save it because I couldn’t bare yet another failure! I tried salt rinses, changing the jewellery, even the type of metal, I tried 14k gold. Nothing helped and it became swollen and sore so I took it out.”

5. Nerve Damage

Facial piercings may lead to nerve damage. The area around your lips is surrounded by many nerve endings whose functioning gets disrupted because of the piercings. They may cause back pain, and eye misalignment, and may even reduce control over postures (5).

Following precautionary measures can help minimize the risks and help heal your piercing quickly. Read on to learn more about how to care for your piercing.

Labret Piercing Aftercare

While your piercing is healing, it is important to keep it clean and care for it to prevent infection. Given below are labret piercing aftercare measures to ensure the healthy healing of your piercing:

  • Wash your hands with unscented soap every time before touching a fresh piercing.
  • Clean the piercing with saline solution twice every day for at least five minutes.
  • Brush and floss your teeth and wash your mouth with a non-alcoholic, antiseptic mouthwash in the morning and night and after every meal to keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria.
  • Do not touch your piercing frequently or use your teeth to play with it.
  • Do not swim in chlorinated water.
  • Use clean clothes, blankets, and bedding to eliminate the bacteria and keep the piercing face.
  • Do not use makeup or skin care products on the piercing site until it is completely healed.

A labret piercing is done at the central point below the lower lip. It can be done in many variations – vertical, horizontal, side, double, and lowbret. A labret piercing’s healing time depends on each individual’s recovery response and how well they  take care of their piercing. Additionally, choose large labret piercing jewelry immediately after the piercing and then switch to a smaller one after it heals. And check your piercing daily for any signs of infection or other issues to nip them in the bud.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to kiss with a labret?

Kissing someone with a lip piercing is not much different than a normal kiss. However, it is recommended to refrain from kissing until the piercing is completely healed.

What does labret piercing symbolize?

In the ancient times, the labret piercing was common among the Mesoamerican and African tribal women. A woman’s lower lip was pierced when she reached the marriageable age. However, labret piercings for men were also not unheard of. The meaning of labret piercings varies in different cultures. While some consider it a symbol of high status, others consider the ever-increasing size of labret piercing a representation of different stages in a woman’s life.

Key Takeaways

  • Labret piercing is a facial body modification done on the dip below the lower lip.
  • It can be done in various styles – horizontal, side, vertical, lowbret, and double-labret piercings.
  • Take enough rest and keep yourself hydrated before going for your piercing appointment.
  • It takes 6-8 weeks for the piercing to heal completely but keep checking regularly for any signs of infection.

Labret piercings are a style statement and represent your personality. But they have their pros and cons. The video below discusses all the aspects of labret piercing and shares some useful tips and lifestyle changes that would help heal the piercing quickly.

Personal Experience: Source

References

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. Prevalence of Titanium Hypersensitivity in Patients with Titanium Implants: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8686894/
  2. Management of contact dermatitis due to nickel allergy: an update
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3047925/
  3. Positive patch-test reactions to platinum are rare
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18627687/
  4. Oral Complications Associated with the Piercing of Oral and Perioral Tissues and the Corresponding Degree of Awareness among Public and Professionals: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10647284/
  5. Face Piercing (Body Art): Choosing Pleasure vs. Possible Pain and Posture Instability
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3177080/
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