Are you intending to pierce your upper lip? You may be wondering whether it is painful, how long it takes to heal and how to take care of it? Find more as we explore on upper lip piercing pain, swelling, healing process and aftercare practices. You will also learn from the various pictures we have included in the post.
Inside Upper Lip Piercing
Lip piercing is a type of body piercing that penetrates your lip or the areas surrounding the lip. It is a common practice that is done by both young boys and girls to look more attractive or sexy. In some parts of Africa, lip piercing was done by young men as a part of traditional initiation.
This type of body piercing can be done in different ways including inside upper lip piercing which also known as lip frenulum piercing, smiley or scrumper piercing. Frenulum is the line that connects your upper lip to the gum. When you lift your upper lip and observe through the mirror, you will be able to see the frenulum.
Lip frenulum is a sensitive area and it can be quite painful to have this type of body piercing. It normally heals faster since the piercing goes through a thin part of the tissue. Not everybody can have this type of lip piercing since some people have too small frenulum that cannot accommodate the piercing.
Proper aftercare practices and good choice of jewelry can help to prevent the risk of migration and rejections, infection and may help to boost the healing process.
Smiley piercing is also prone to migrations and rejection since there is no enough flesh to hold the piercing jewelry. If you are having a history of piercing migration and rejection on other body piercing, then this may not be the best type of body piercing for you.
Lip frenulum piercing can also cause tooth decay or damage due to the friction caused by the jewelry. It is important to keep on checking for any irritation, indentation, scratches or any other damage on the surface of your teeth.
Given that the frenulum is a thin and delicate tissue, you are supposed to use a small gauge jewelry that does not cause any discomfort. It is therefore recommended to use a small jewelry that ranges from 18gauge to 14 gauge. The procedure below shows how it is done.
- The piercer need to sterilize all the piercing tools and wear gloves before performing the procedure.
- Your mouth is cleaned using a high quality mouthwash to kill the bacteria and other pathogenic micro-organisms.
- The piercing site is dried using disposable tissue paper
- Before performing the inner upper lip piercing, a mark is made where the piercing needle will go through.
- With the help of forceps and clap, your lips are pulled upwards to expose the frenulum clearly.
- The piercer pushes the needle through the frenulum to create the piercing.
- The piercer will then place a piercing jewelry in the incision.
- The piercer will clean any bleeding and apply an anti-bacterial ointment to prevent infections.
When intending to pierce your upper lip, it is recommended to look for a professional piercer who has enough knowledge, skills and experience in body piercing. He or she should be a certified piercer with a certificate from the relevant authority.
The piercer should be able to perform his or her duties under a clean environment. Ensure that the piercing instruments are sterilized before the procedure. Using unsterilized instruments can lead to infections that may delay the healing process. Infections also increases the chances of migration and rejection of the piercing.
Upper Lip Piercing Pictures
We have provided various pictures in this post that are showing how lip frenulum look like after piercing. It is important to go through such pictures when intending to have your inner upper lip pierced. From the pictures, you can be able to choose the correct jewelry that is more attractive.
The pictures also helps to learn the various symptoms of an infection like persistence redness, swelling and presence of discharge. Therefore after piercing, when you notice such symptoms, you will be able to take the necessary measures immediately to combat the condition.
As you read earlier, infections can delay the healing process or lead to migration and rejection of the jewelry. It is therefore advisable to visit your professional piercer immediately after noticing any symptom of an infection as stated above.
Upper Lip Piercing pain, Swelling
Everybody has a different pain experiencing after lip piercing procedure. The good thing is that frenulum piercing goes through thin tissues, this means that less pain is experienced. This type of piercing has a very low scale of pain as compared to other body piercing.
You will probably experience some pain when the needle goes through the piercing, when fixing the piercing jewelry and for a few hours after the procedure. However, you can alleviate the pain by taking some painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Avoid aspirin as it causes blood thinning.
On the other hand, it is normal to experience some swelling during the initial healing process. The swelling normally start on the first day and heightens on the third day. The surrounding areas also becomes numb and swollen.
You may be wondering for how long lip piercing become swells. The swelling normally last for the first one week from the procedure and will significantly go down as the healing process continues. Don’t be worried about the swelling as long as there is no any other symptom of an infection.
It is important to use a long jewelry that will accommodate the swelling. However, if the jewelry sinks into the swelling, it is advisable to re-visit your professional piercer to change the jewelry to a longer jewelry that will be able to accommodate the swelling comfortably.
However, there are various home remedies that you can use to make your swollen upper lip piercing go down. They includes the following:
- Place some ice cubes in your mouth and such on them. This treatment helps to alleviate the swelling, pain and other discomforts. It can be done 3 to 4 times a day until the swelling goes away.
- Clean the piercing and your mouth with saline solution twice daily. It helps to kill the bacteria as well as initiating the healing process. Make the solution by mixing ¼ tablespoon of sea salt with a glass or warm water.
- Take over-the-counters anti-inflammatory medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Try to elevate your head above by supporting it with a pillow to reduce the amount of blood that circulates near the pierced site.
- Use a high quality mouthwash to clean your mouth after taking every meal. It helps to kill bacteria and other germs that can cause an infection.
Persistence swelling that is accompanied with other symptoms like bleeding, persistence redness and tenderness, a burning sensation, yellow or green discharge are signs of an infection. Visit your professional piercer or doctor for treatment.
Upper Lip Piercing Healing
Lip piercing normally take approximately 1 to 3 month to heal completely. However the healing process varies from one person to the other depending on how you are taking care of it and the jewelry you are using. Poor aftercare practices may cause an infection that delays the healing process.
On the other hand, wrong choice of the piercing jewelry can cause an allergic reaction that may result to migration and rejection. A migrated piercing may take a longer time to heal as compared when the correct choice of jewelry is used. The healing process normally undergoes the following process:
Initial healing process
Lip piercing normally heals faster as compared to other body piercings. The initial healing process may take between 2-4 weeks after the procedure to complete. During this process, there are various normal symptoms that you will experience. They include the following:
It is normal for your piercing to bleed for few minutes after the procedure. It is important to take care of it to avoid other factors that can cause bleeding like playing with the jewelry or bumping your lips into an object. Be careful to watch for the symptoms of an infection, bleeding after initial upper lip piercing healing process may be one of them.
- Swelling and itchiness
Swelling is normal during this stage. It is important to use a long jewelry that will accommodate the swelling which is replaced with a shorter one after the swelling is relieved. However, persistence swelling may be an indication of an infection. When the healing process is initiated, you may also experience some itchiness.
- Redness and tenderness
The pierced area normally becomes red and hypersensitive to touch during this stage. The redness and tenderness reduces as the healing process continues. Taking over the counter pain relievers can help to alleviate the tenderness and other discomforts.
- Whitish or yellowish discharge
White or yellow discharge may also be present around the pierced site. It is normal for the first one week after the procedure. However, yellow or green discharge that comes out of the piercing after this stage may be a sign of upper lip piercing infection.
Full healing process
This is the second stage of the healing process. It normally starts from the 3rd or 4th week after the procedure. In this stage, some of the normal symptoms like redness, tenderness, swelling, pain, itchiness or discharge will have started to diminish.
A scab will be formed around the wound and a new skin will start to develop. The outer part will look like have healed but the inner part will steal be healing. Removing the jewelry during this stage cause the hole to close.
During this stage, you can change the jewelry to a shorter one since the swelling will have diminished. However, it should be done by a professional piercer to avoid any trauma or injury that can lead to bleeding. Trauma or injuries can delay the healing process.
Continue to take care of your piercing until when it will have healed completely. Watch for the symptoms of an infection. If any, visit your doctor immediately for treatment.
Upper Lip Piercing Aftercare
It is important to take good care of your piercing to avoid infections that may delay the healing process. Given that your mouth contains numerous bacteria and other pathogenic micro-organisms, lip piercing requires specialized attention to prevent the germs from entering your body through the piercing.
Improper care and hygiene can cause the jewelry to damage the teeth or the gum. This can lead to tooth decay or gum infections. Therefore, there are various aftercare practices that you can exercise to prevent infections and boost the healing process. They include the following:
- Clean your mouth regularly
Inside the mouth contains various bacteria that can cause an infection to your piercing. Cleaning your mouth in the morning, evening before going to bed and after taking every meal is what to do after getting a lip piercing. It is recommended to use a high quality alcohol free mouthwash when cleaning your mouth.
Alternatively, you can make a salt solution by mixing ¼ tablespoon of sea salt with a glass of warm water and use it to rinse your mouth for 30 seconds twice a day or after taking every meal. Ensure that you stir thoroughly for the salt to dissolve completely to avoid irritations.
- Clean around the piercing and jewelry
Before cleaning around the piercing, wash your hands thoroughly using an anti-bacterial soap. Saline solution is what to use to clean a lip piercing. Soak a cotton ball in a saline solution and use it to remove crusted materials and other debris that may have accumulated around the piercing and jewelry.
- Brush and floss your teeth
Food particles that accumulates between your teeth can attract bacteria that can cause infection to your piercing. Brushing and flossing teeth twice or more times a day helps to get rid of such food particles. After brushing, rinse your mouth with alcohol free mouthwash to kill the bacteria.
- Avoid oral sex during the healing process
Oral sex activities like kissing can introduce new bacteria into your mouth to cause an infection. During the healing process of your upper lip piercing, it is important to refrain from oral sex activities. Kissing can also cause damage to your piercing and lead to bleeding.
- Use ice cubes to reduce the swelling
It is normal for a new piercing to swell during the initial healing process. Placing some ice cubes in your mouth can help to reliever the swelling and pain. To reduce the pain, you can also take over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- Avoid drinking, smoking and eating foods that causes irritation
During the initial healing process, it is important to refrain from smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, hard foods, spicy foods, chewing gum and chewing other non-food objects that can cause irritation to your piercing until when it heals completely.
- Be careful when eating
During the first three days after piercing procedure, you have to be very careful when eating. Contact between food and your lips should be avoided as much as possible. Place some small sized pieces of food directly into the molars and chew.
Take soft and soothing foods and drinks like yogurt, ice cold water or ice cream that helps to relieve pain, swellings and other discomforts.
- Avoid changing the jewelry before the initial healing
Changing the jewelry before it heals can trigger new bleeding. Use a longer jewelry that will accommodate swelling during the initial healing process. If it is a must you have to remove it, then it is advisable to visit your professional piercer to change the jewelry.
- Avoid aspirin and excessive caffeine
It is not advisable to take aspirin during the initial healing process since it can cause blood thinning. Drinking excessive caffeine can also irritate your upper lip piercing. This can delay the healing process or risk your piercing to infections.
- Wash your hands carefully before touching the piercing
Touching your piercing with dirty hands can transfer germs to your piercing. Before touching your piercing, wash your hands thoroughly using anti-bacterial soap and running water. It helps to prevent infections.
- Choose a high quality jewelry
Using a low quality jewelry can trigger migration and rejection. This may delay the healing process or increase the chances of an infection. Change the jewelry to a shorter one after the initial healing process. Long jewelry can damage the enamel to cause a tooth decay.
- Leave the piercing alone
Avoid unnecessary touching is the best way to heal a lip piercing. Touch the piercing only when cleaning. It is also important to be careful when playing to avoid damaging the pierced site. Avoid sharing drinks, foods and utensils during the initial healing process.
Infected Upper Lip Piercing
Lip piercing infections are caused by bacteria, fungi and other germs that comes in contact with your piercing. Infections can also get transmitted into your bloodstream through the wound to cause various complications. Mouth contains various germs that can cause an infection if proper care is not taken. Most of the infections are caused by:
- Using unsterilized piercing instruments
Using unsterilized instruments to perform the piercing can transfer bacteria or other pathogenic micro-organisms to the site. It is important to ensure that all the instruments are sterilized by rubbing with alcohol. The piercer should also clean hands and wear clean gloves to prevent transfer of bacteria to the site.
- Unhygienic aftercare practices
After the piercing procedure, your professional piercer will direct you on how to take care of the piercing. Failure to abide by the aftercare instructions, you are likely to introduce new bacteria to the site that can cause an infection.
Most of the infections results from touching the site with dirty hands, engaging in oral sex activities like mouth kissing during the initial healing process and poor cleaning practices. The pierced site should be kept clean all the time. Clean your mouth using a high quality mouthwash after every meal to prevent infections.
- Trauma or injures to the site
Trauma or injuries to your upper lip piercing as a result of playing with the jewelry, bumping your lips into an object or irritations from alcohol and smoking can delay the healing process. It therefore increases the chances of getting an infection.
- Wrong choice of jewelry
Wrong choice of piercing jewelry can trigger an allergic reaction that can cause migration and rejections. This may delay the healing process and hence increasing the chances of getting an infection. Choose a jewelry that causes less allergic reaction like stainless steel, titanium or plastics as compared to others.
- Using public swimming pools and hot tubs
Public swimming pools and hot tubs may contain bacteria and other pathogenic micro-organisms that can cause an infection. It is advisable to avoid using such facilities during the initial healing process of your piercing.
It is important to be very careful during the healing process to identify any symptom of an infection. It is normal to experience some swelling, redness, crusting and itching during the initial healing process. However, you should get worried when such symptoms becomes persistence. They may be a clear indications of an infection.
The other symptoms that will help to identify an infection includes hypersensitive to touch, burning sensation, excessive crusting, fever, bleeding after the initial healing process, persistence redness and swelling and presence of yellow or green discharge from the site.
When you notice the above symptoms, it is important to visit your health care provider immediately. He or she will be able to evaluate your condition, perform the necessary test and provide the required treatment for your infected upper lip piercing.
More sources and references:
- Lip frenulum piercing:
- What is a smiley piercing?
- Upper lip frenulum piercing:
- Lip piercing position, site and aftercare:
- Lip piercing healing process:
- How to care of a lip piercing:
- Aftercare of lip piercing:
- Everything you need to know about lip piercing: