The Ashley Piercing: Everything You Need to Know
As one of the few true lip piercings, the Ashley piercing consists of a single puncture through the center of the lower lip, exiting through the back of the lip into the mouth.
Although it is similar to the vertical labret piercing—in fact, the technical term for the Ashely piercing is the inverse vertical labret piercing—the exit puncture inside the mouth creates a noticeable difference in the two piercing types, both aesthetically and in terms of oral health.
Since the vertical labret piercing has an external puncture below the chin, it creates a double-pierced look, and the jewelry never touches the inside of the mouth. The Ashley piercing, however, includes a puncture point within the mouth, which means that you’ll only see the front end of the jewelry, and the backing will rest inside your mouth.
The Ashley piercing typically uses a labret stud with a dainty charm, ball, or gemstone sitting on the lower lip. This look is perfect for those who like the unique style of a piercing directly on the lip but prefer a subtler look than the vertical labret piercing.
How much does the Ashley piercing hurt?
The location of the Ashley piercing directly on the lip contributes to its higher pain level. Even those who have been pierced before report that this piercing is one of the most painful lip piercings.
To achieve the Ashley piercing, the piercer pushes a needle horizontally through the bottom lip and into the mouth. Since the lips host a large number of nerve endings, and this piercing goes straight through the lip (unlike the vertical labret that will go vertically through the lip and the skin above the chin), you’ll feel a much greater pinch than other piercings. Although the pain is swift, it’s sharp, so this piercing is not recommended for those with lower pain tolerances.
Ashley piercing healing process
Typically, the Ashley piercing heals in 2 to 4 months, but it could take as long as 6 months, so you want to be sure to talk to your piercer before stopping aftercare practices.
Due to its location on the lips, the Ashley piercing experiences more swelling during healing than other piercing types, so you’ll need to use a longer barbell for the first few weeks to accommodate swelling, and you can switch to a smaller labret stud later.
Since the Ashley piercing sits directly in front of the teeth, you must be incredibly careful to avoid biting on your jewelry as you get used to the piercing. The initial larger jewelry will be especially easy to chew on. It’s a good idea to stick to softer foods in the first weeks as you get used to navigating your new piercing.
The unique location of the Ashley piercing means that you need to be extra attentive with your aftercare practices. As with all new piercings, you should limit touching or moving the new jewelry to avoid trauma to the surrounding skin. However, since the piercing is located directly on the lips, following this rule can be especially difficult.
Be very mindful of the new jewelry, especially in the first few weeks of healing. Breaking your teeth on your jewelry, trauma that causes unsightly scarring, and jewelry rejection are all risks associated with this piercing type, so this is one piercing that shouldn’t see lazy aftercare practices.
Here are some Ashley-specific aftercare tips to help you through healing:
Don’t play with the jewelry. Because of its location in the middle of your lip, this will be incredibly difficult to follow, especially if you’re the type to chew on your lip as a nervous habit. However, playing with your jewelry before the piercing has healed could lead to complications like hypertrophic scarring or stretched puncture holes.
Keep a toothbrush around for regular use. With any piercing that has an exit hole inside the mouth, oral hygiene is a must. Since the Ashley piercing appears on the lips, you have to be careful about both the front and the back of your piercing while you eat. It’s a good idea to carry around a toothbrush and toothpaste so that you can quickly clean your mouth between meals, even on-the-go, to avoid infection.
Watch for jewelry that’s too tight. Embedded jewelry is a risk for all piercings, but since the Ashley piercing tends to swell more than others, you’ll need to keep a close eye. If you suspect that your jewelry is too tight, talk to your jeweler immediately, and they’ll decide if you need a larger piece.
Protect your teeth. Biting on new jewelry poses an issue, but you also need to keep an eye on any damage to the teeth from the back of your jewelry rubbing against your teeth as you talk or chew. Once you can move to a smaller stud, it will hopefully lessen the wear against your teeth, but some contact is likely to happen. Throughout the life of your piercing, you need to pay attention to enamel wear, chipping, or receding gum lines.
No lipstick. One of the most alluring aspects of this piercing is that it creates an amazing look when you pair the right jewelry with bold lip tones. However, you need to wait until your piercing has fully healed before you introduce foreign substances, like lipstick, to the pierced area. Keep in mind that the inside of a piercing takes longer to heal than the outside, so it’s always a good idea to check with your piercer before bringing out the lip colors.
Ashley piercing jewelry styles
By far, the labret stud is the most common jewelry type for the Ashley piercing. The flat disc backing of a labret stud is important because it limits the contact of your jewelry to your teeth and gums. Most Ashley piercings come in 14G or 16G.
While some choose larger gemstones, daintier labret stud ends are less invasive and offer a cute aesthetic. You can opt for a simple 14k gold ball, or choose cute charms, gemstones like diamonds or opals, or even tiny pearls. The bezel setting is particularly great for this piercing because it allows you to show off a sparkly gemstone with a smooth and comfortable setting type.
The minimalistic look of this piercing makes it a popular choice to pair with other lip piercings or a septum or nostril piercing.
Why shouldn’t I get an Ashley piercing?
As stated previously, the Ashley piercing needs to be left alone during healing. If you’re one to play with your lips, then you might want to consider a Monroe piercing or another lip piercing that’s out of the way.
Even with a flat disc back, your labret stud will rub against your teeth. If you have oral issues or weak enamel, then you should opt for a piercing that’s nicer on your teeth. The vertical labret piercing is a great alternative.
How much does the Ashley piercing cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere between $30 and $85 for the Ashley piercing. Since there are so many nerve endings in the lips, the location of the piercing is critical; a misplaced piercing can affect the movement of your lips and cause permanent damage. Choose an established piercer that you trust.
You should also choose jewelry made of high-quality materials, like 14k gold. Lesser quality metals can be rejected by your body, leading to messy complications.