A lip piercing is a type of body piercing that penetrates the lips or the area surrounding the lips, which can be pierced in a variety of ways.
Approximate healing times for most lip piercings are between 3 to 10 weeks. After this time, some scar tissue may be present, but the fistula is normally fully developed and mostly healed. Aftercare consists of saline soaks two to three times daily. Soaking the wound for three to five minutes with a weak saline solution softens any blood and lymph discharge attached to the jewelry. Using a cotton swab or q-tip removes excess matter from the site. Afterward, one should slowly turn the jewellery through the piercing, rinse with saline solution to flush the inside of the wound and remove any matter remaining in and around the piercing. Alcohol-free mouthwash can also be used after meals to help remove debris and flush the piercing and is recommended by some practitioners.
Initial jewelry is usually a labret stud or a captive bead ring, manufactured from high-grade surgical stainless steel, implant-grade titanium, or similar lightweight and inert metal. No matter which type of jewelry is used, the jewelry's diameter and length will be intentionally over sized to allow room for initial swelling. After healing, the jewelry can be replaced with a closer-fitting piece.
A home-made saline solution made from one-fourth teaspoon of all natural pink or gray non-iodized sea salt and one cup of distilled or filtered water is a common way to heal a lip piercing and avoid infection. This solution can be used to rinse out the mouth after eating (or the mouth can be rinsed with non-alcoholic, non-antimicrobial mouth wash) and to soak the outside of the piercing using a cotton ball. Anything with alcohol, peroxide, iodine, or any strong soaps should be avoided because they may irritate the fresh piercing, and cause additional swelling and trauma during the healing process. Also using things like peroxide, iodine, teatree oil, conventional antibacterial soap, or dish soap can damage or kill the skin in and around the piercing, extending the healing process. The ornament should be periodically cleansed to prevent bacterial plaque accumulation.
Lip piercings can be placed anywhere around the mouth, but the surface of the lip is not typically pierced itself, except for horizontal lip piercings and canine bites. Piercings in specific positions have certain names. Monroe piercings, for example, are labret studs worn on the upper lip where Marilyn Monroe had her famous mole. Medusa piercings go through the center of the upper lip (the philtrum), perpendicular to the tissue. Labret piercings are pierced with a labret stud and can pierced in the center or off-center. A variation of this is the lowbret, a lower labret. Vertical labret piercings go through the center of the bottom lip, parallel to the tissue. The variation is called the vertical lowbret, which starts inside the mouth between the lower lip and the teeth and travels straight down, exiting on the lower edge of the jawline. Horizontal lip piercings are very rare, and include a horizontal bar on the lower lip that goes through the lip surface. There is also the dahlia piercing, which are by the creases of the mouth.
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