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Philtrum Piercing 101

Let’s talk philtrum piercings! Philtrum piercings, sometimes called medusa piercings, are a piercing through the center of the cupids bow of the upper lip. These super fun piercings have grown in popularity over the last 5-10 years, and its easy to see why! Centered in the face and flattering for any features, philtrum’s allow for a huge range of jewelry from tiny delicate gems too big, bold pieces. They are relatively easy to heal, and are super user friendly to change jewelry on your own. With under mask services resuming around the world folks are getting these in droves! But there still some important things to consider before getting these piercings, so let’s jump in!

Anatomy, Always

Philtrum’s, like many other piercings, are anatomy dependent. Fortunately, the anatomy for a philtrum is very common! What would disqualify you from getting one would be a very large webbing connecting your upper lip to your gums, that ran in the way of placing the piercing. Some other considerations would be your teeth. If you have an extreme snuggle tooth, or a large gap, or if you already have gum damage or loss, the backing of the piercing may rub or cause issues for your teeth and gums. This may not disqualify you from the piercing, but it may warrant a discussion about risks.

Probably the largest overall factor is good oral hygiene. Unfortunately, if you aren’t able to keep your oral hygiene up, this isn’t a great piercing for you. This can be a difficult discussion to have, but if someone comes in with a mouth in a very unhealthy or unhygienic state, we do need to discuss that they may want to get their mouth healthy before getting any oral piercings.

Feelin’ Swell

Oral piercings swell. Philtrum’s in particular are known for being puffy! If you’ve ever wondered what you’d look like with lip injections, you are about to get the 2-5 day free trial. Your philtrum will be fairly swollen, and that is normal! Your piercer will use a very long bar to allow for swelling, and you will look like you have an antenna on your face initially. Once the swelling goes down and the bar is long again, its absolutely essential to get your piercing downsized. If the bar is left long, it can cause tooth and gum damage for your mouth. You can also catch and bite the bar, which could cause a chipped tooth. You definitely want to follow your piercers guidelines, and downsize this as soon as you can.

Safe Oral Products

While this heals, a big factor in it healing well is using oral products that are safe for the piercing. This means no products that are for whitening for contain whitening chemicals or abrasives like charcoal. Check ingredient lists too, because many toothpastes and mouthwashes hide whitening chemicals. Just like with a root canal or other major oral work, harsh chemicals like that can irritate and disrupt a healing wound. Yes, that also means you should discontinue actually whitening your teeth while this heals. Once it is healed is fine, but those chemicals are not awesome for your philtrum while its healing. Alcohol free mouthwash is also going to be gentler while it’s healing.

For other information about healing, and some of the myths about healing (like spicy foods, alcohol, and other things, check out this blog post about the myths and misinformations surrounding any oral piercings!

Big and Bold, Small and Subtle

Jewelry is perhaps the best thing about about a philtrum piercing! There are nearly no limits! From teeny tiny bezel and prong set solitaires, up to huge, bold, 6mm and 8mm ends and gems, as long as its comfortable and you like the look of it, you can wear what you please! Keep in mind that philtrums spin a lot, so pieces that don’t have rotational symmetry (look the same no matter what way they face) you may be bothered by their ability to spin and always sit off to one side or the other. If that bothers you, perhaps consider a vertical philtrum piercing which remains stationary, and your pear and kite shaped ends always sit upright and perfect. You can even wear a hoop in a philtrum, though it should be expertly fitted and a close eye should be kept on your teeth and gums to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage from rubbing.

One thing you should keep in mid with jewelry is the size of the back disc. With a very small, very light weight piece you can wear a smaller disc on the inside comfortably. But when you get up to larger pieces you should wear a larger disc for comfort and security. Pieces that are too small do run the risk of being pulled through the softer tissue of the piercing, if you bite or catch it very hard, so you should consult with your piercer with any risks on certain designs.

Philtrum piercings are SUPER cute, super cool, and I’m thrilled they are becoming more popular. These are versatile piercings that flatter any features, and overall they are relatively easy to heal. All of that combines to make a pretty awesome piercing!

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Have you noticed any gum erosion due to a philtrum Piercing if the person follows downsizing guidelines and has good oral hygiene?

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