The Labret Piercing: Everything You Need to Know

labret piercing

The labret piercing is so popular that lip studs are most commonly called labret studs. Centrally located slightly below the bottom lip, the labret piercing consists of a single puncture, swiftly perforated with a needle.

This look can be adorned with a wide variety of jewelry styles from the fairly obvious labret stud to hoops and curved barbells. The versatility of this piercing has led to its popularity, and often people pair their labret piercing with other lip piercings to create a completely new piercing style such as the dolphin bite or snake bites.

We love the labret piercing, but its location elicits unique risks that you need to be aware of. Here’s all you need to know about the labret piercing.

How much does the labret piercing hurt?

In terms of lip piercing, the pain scale for the labret piercing is on the lower end. The lips and skin around the lips have numerous nerve endings, so lip piercings, in general, are more painful than other piercing types. However, the location of the labret means that it’s less painful than lip piercings like the vertical labret, which punctures the lip itself.

Because the labret piercing only requires one puncture, any pain you feel will be swift. In the first few days after the piercing, you can expect swelling and throbbing as your body begins the healing process. Keep an eye on the piercing during this time; if the swelling doesn’t go away after a couple of days or you experience excessive bleeding or pain, it might be infected.

Labret piercing healing process

The labret piercing heals fairly quickly; you can expect a 6 - 8 week healing period. As always, healing depends on the person, and it could take longer than 8 weeks for the piercing to heal. Be sure to consult your piercer before you change your jewelry and stop aftercare practices.

Since it takes longer for the inside of the piercing to heal, you’ll need to keep an eye on your piercing well past the 8-week healing period to ensure that healing goes well.

At first, your piercer will fit you with a larger labret stud to allow for swelling. If the labret stud is too small, you run the risk of the jewelry becoming embedded in the skin, which can lead to invasive medical procedures to rectify the issue. Make sure that your jewelry does not press into the piercing as it heals.

Aftercare rules

Beyond the regular aftercare practices, there are some unique practices that you must adhere to as your lip heals. Since the labret is located on the mouth, food, saliva, toothpaste, and other things that commonly enter the mouth present health hazards. This means that aftercare practices are especially important for the labret piercing.

Here are some quick tips to ensure you keep your labret piercing happy during healing:

Watch what you put on your face. Makeup, sunscreen, moisturizer, and chapstick can get stuck in the piercing and cause an infection. If you must use these products, make sure that you keep a wide berth from the piercing and wash your face completely before you go to sleep.

Be careful when you eat. The location of the labret makes the jewelry particularly susceptible to chomping, which can break your front teeth. Since you’ll have to wear a larger labret stud during the first few weeks, you’ll need to take extra care during this time. Once you’re healed, larger jewelry like hoops and circular barbells will pose an additional hazard, so you’ll need to take care while you learn how to chew around your new piercing.

Maintain excellent oral hygiene practices. Pretend you’re going to see your dentist every day. Brush after every meal, floss regularly, use mouthwash. Your mouth could be your biggest enemy during the healing process, so make sure you keep it clean.

Limit touching of foreign objects to the piercing. This includes your fingers, scarves, other people’s lips (sorry, no kissing or oral play as you heal), and even your blankets or pillowcase. If you sleep on your stomach, make sure that your pillowcase is fresh every night or cover your pillow with a clean t-shirt.

Watch what you eat. Spicy and acidic foods can be painful to eat as the piercing heals. Additionally, alcohol can weaken your immune system, and cigarettes contain chemicals that can cause infection. Make sure that anything you put in your mouth won’t cause harm to your piercing, and keep food away from the piercing site as much as possible.

Labret jewelry styles

The location of the labret allows for tons of jewelry options. Don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative!

The labret stud is quite common in a labret piercing. You can go for large beads and charms or choose a daintier gemstone for a subtler look. You want to make sure that you choose a stud with a flat disc back to avoid too much rubbing on your teeth and gums.

Captive bead rings (CBDs) are also incredibly common in this piercing. CBDs are a great option if you want to combine the look of a hoop with a cute bead. Don’t just stop at metal beads; you can add some flair with turquoise, pearls, or even diamond paved beads. Be careful with a captive bead ring; since this jewelry type is larger than other options, there’s a higher risk of biting the jewelry and breaking your teeth.

For a subtler hoop look, seamless rings are a fantastic option. The seamless style allows you to get a hoop that sits flush with your skin, presenting a slender line that runs around your lip, which makes a fashion statement without overwhelming your face.

If you like the look of beads, then you can opt for the circular barbell or the curved barbell. The circular barbell will wrap almost all the way around your lip, placing the end balls close to each other, while the curved barbell will sit wider around your lip and offer a similar aesthetic to the vertical labret without having to undergo two puncture points.

Why shouldn’t I get a labret?

Since the labret piercing is located below the lower lip, any jewelry you wear will scrape against your gums and teeth a little bit. This can cause issues such as a receding gumline, enamel wear that can lead to tooth decay, and in rare cases, the jewelry backing can push against your teeth, causing the latter to drift and become crooked.

If you already have issues with your teeth or gums, then the labret piercing might not be for you. Once you get your labret piercing, if you notice that the jewelry consistently rubs against your teeth and gums, you’ll need to talk to your piercer or a dentist about whether you should continue to wear your labret piercing. Oral health takes precedence over alternative fashion.

How much will it cost?

The price of a labret piercing varies wildly. You can get them as cheap as $20 and as expensive as $100. When deciding where to get your labret piercing, price should not be the deciding factor. You want to find an established piercer who knows what they’re doing. Inexperienced piercers may use equipment that can cause damage, fit you with a stud that’s too small, or pierce in the wrong location. Don’t take the risk; opt for experience over cost.

Additionally, your first jewelry should be made of high-quality metals, like 14k gold or platinum. Many people have skin sensitivities to metal, and especially if this is your first piercing, you don’t want to risk developing a rash as you heal.

Labret piercing variations

There are near-endless possibilities when considering a labret piercing. Some of these can be turned into other lip piercing styles later, so it’s important to think about the future of your labret piercing and your end look before you dive in.

Side labret piercing

As the name implies, the side labret piercing is still located below the lip, but the puncture is located to the right or left of the center. People often choose the side labret piercing when they’re planning on transforming their labret into another piercing like dolphin bites or snake bites.

Lowbret piercing

The lowbret piercing is also centrally located below the lip, but it’s placed as far down as the lip allows. This variation is common among extreme body modifiers, since it gives extra space to stretch the piercing, but you can still wear a simple labret stud in this style without pursuing major modifications. However, the location of this piercing means that it will rub against your gum line more than the standard labret piercing, so you’ll want to keep this in mind.