Updated: Jan 7, 2022
We’ve talked at length on this blog about lip piercings. From classic labret piercings, philtrum piercings, and Monroe piercings, to vertical labrets and vertical philtrums. We’ve even discussed the more unique inverse vertical labret, and discusses how to safely stretch labret piercings. But, to put a bow on this series I’d like to write a final blog discussing other unique lip piercings that fall outside the spectrum of any previously covered. This blog will briefly address other lip piercings, both viable and not. If you are curious about very unique and uncommon lip piercings, this is for you!
A Note On Uncommon Placements
When it comes to piercings, we generally see the same few piercings over and over. This is for good reason. Many times a piercing that is very unique or unusual has more cons than pros, and can have a lot of negative consequences. Sometimes these piercings are downright unsafe and should not be done. As a rule of thumb the less common a piercing, the more downsides it often has. Please keep in mind that some of these piercings discussed here are not safe and should not be done.
“Angel Fangs” aka Paired Vertical Upper Lip Piercings
These piercings have garnered quite the popularity thanks to TikTok, and are becoming more and more popular by the month. These are a set of vertical piercings offset on either side of the upper lip. They bear some similarities to vertical philtrums, but these similarities stop at just visual. These can be safe piercings- if preformed by someone with experience in vertical lip piercings and on clients with good anatomy. That being said- even with perfect anatomy, an amazing piercer, and great aftercare, this placement is very prone to migration. The constant movement on a horizontal plane of the upper lip, particularly outside the stable ridge of the philtrum, is often the downfall of these placements. And if they migrate the scars they leave can be severe, and often there is not much that can be done to minimize that scarring. If these are piercings you are considering, you must be ok with the risk of severe scarring, and understand how likely that may be.
For many clients, the goal of this placement is wearing spikes on the bottom to give the true “fangs” effect. That being said in order for spikes to be comfortable and practical, a piercer must take great care in how they place and angle these. Done incorrectly, the spikes will dig into the lower lip and cause issues during talking and eating, or be pushed too far forward and cause migration. These are very challenging piercings to execute correctly and finding a very experienced piercer is key. Too angled out, the horizontal movement can cause migration and the spikes won’t rest flat. Too vertical, and the spikes will dig into your lower lip and cause issues. The shape and anatomy of the clients lips and mouth, and the amount of movement they have during talking, eating, and emoting will all effect how these must be placed and angled for success.
Like any vertical oral piercing, a large amount of swelling is common, and longer bars need to be used initially. This can make eating quite a challenge till things are downsized, and I suggest food you can cut into small pieces and eat with caution. Because of this I also do not suggest starting with spikes, as they can cause a lot of snagging, caching, and irritation. And with the migration risk this placement has, the last thing you need is to make that risk higher. I suggest healing these with simple beads and swapping to spikes only once the piercing is very well healed and established, usually after 6-9 months. Cleaning is fairly similar to a vertical philtrum aside from the extra care needing to be given about migration.
I would class these as safe but high risk piercings- and can not stress enough the concerns surrounding scarring these can carry.
As the name implies, a lowbret is a labret piercing, just done much, much lower. And as you may imagine, this piercing is absolutely horrible for your teeth and gums. I would class these as having the same risks of stretching your labret which you can read about here. With how low these sit in your mouth, they can wear down at the most important of your gums and directly damage your jaw and important oral structures. Many folks who had these and stretched them have since retired them and had them surgically closed thanks to dental damage and issues.
They are fairly similar in healing to labret piercings, simply further down in your lip. This can make cleaning more challenging and can lead to issues with food becoming trapped around the jewelry, and a good oral hygiene routine is very important to keep these as clean and healthy as possible. These can’t safely wear rings, but are common to stretch and wear plugs in. Nesting can greatly minimize the risks of damage, but given how low these sit and how many documented cases there are of clients with severe oral damage, you need to be prepared for that outcome. Much like a stretched labret, ask yourself if this piercing is worth the loss of teeth and gums, and if you can afford the costs for dental work and surgeries associated with the damage.
Horizontal Lip Piercings
This goes for any piercing done horizontally across the lip, most often done on the lower lip. Unfortunately, these are not safe piercings. Give the amount of movement the lip has, these are a recipe for migration and scarring, the kind that can permanently effect speech and pronunciation. Consider how much your lip moves and changes from smiling as wide as you can with all your teeth, to puckering in the tightest kissy face you can muster. That degree of stretch and shift is large, and all that movement would happen over the piercing. It makes perfect sense why this would be unsafe and wouldn’t last. Most notably Cardi-B was shown getting this (and a crooked one at that). It was gone from photos of her only a week and a half later. With no shock- many folks complain of constant discomfort and issues talking and eating with this placement. If you like the look of these piercings, a pair of inverse vertical labrets can give a similar aesthetic, safely.
Surface Piercings/ Microdermals on the Lip
This is always a bad idea. Literally always. Surface piercings inherently do best in low movement areas, and lips are the exact opposite of a low movement area. The scarring these can leave is severe, removing surface piercings in this area is awful for both piercers and clients. Some folks try to do this in an attempt to avoid the risks to teeth and gums, but the scarring and issues it causes are not a worthwhile tradeoff. Many reputable piercers have horror stories about removing these for clients and we can promise you it’s not worth it.
When it comes to unique piercings, here’s usually an even mix of pros and cons. After all, unusual piercings are unusual for a reason- usually being highly anatomy dependent and trickier to heal. These are important considerations. Other times unusual piercings are rare because they are unsafe and can cause serious issues and concerns and aren’t worth the risk. That’s why its important to have a piercer you trust to be honest, only do piercings that are safe and work for your anatomy, and be able to pull off this more challenging work! Happy Healing!