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Lip piercing consists of a piece of the jewelry inserted through a channel made by needle in the lip area. It can be located on the lower or the upper lip or in the area around the lips. Lip piercing is a very popular form of body modification.

It takes about six to ten weeks for the lip piercing to heal completely. This type of piercing is less likely to develop an infection than others, because the mouth has a natural ability to fight bacteria.

In the first days following the piercing, there may be some redness, swelling, tenderness, a small amount of discharge and even blood. This is nothing to be worried about and it will go away after a couple of days.

There are some dos and don'ts for a piercing to heal properly and to stay healthy.

Immediately after the piercing is done, eating, smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided for three hours. It is also not recommended to smoke before going to the piercing salon, and to brush and floss thoroughly. This will reduce the risk of infection in case a foreign body penetrates the channel or sticks to the jewelry.

Since there may be some swelling immediately after the piercing is made, it can help to suck on small chips of ice or to eat frozen yogurt, ice cream and cold drinks.

Alcohol, drugs and tobacco are to be avoided until the wound is completely healed.

The mouth should be kept clean at all times. It is best to use a new, soft brush and to floss regularly. Lips and mouth should be sanitized each time after eating or drinking, and this can be successfully done with mouthwash or antibacterial and anti-inflammatory lozenges. Soaking the area in saline solution will soothe and disinfect the area.

A person who just got a lip piercing should avoid touching it, and if it needs to be touched (for cleaning or adjusting the jewelry), the hands must be impeccably clean. They should also avoid plates, glasses and cutlery the other people have used. It is recommended to refrain from oral sex until the wound is completely healed.

A proper cleaning is the most important thing for a healthy lip piercing and a successful healing process. Alcohol should not be used to clean the piercing as it may sting and irritate it. A mild antibacterial soap is the best for this purpose. After cleaning both the punctures and the jewelry with a rich soap lather, they should be tap-dried with a fresh tissue or gauze, not with cotton towels. A Q-tip can be used to remove carefully any debris that might still be present around the piercing. This cleaning routine should be done twice a day.

The jewelry should not be taken out because the wound will heal very quickly and it will be painful and sometimes even impossible to reinsert it. If, for some reason, it absolutely needs to be removed, it should be done by a professional piercer.

If not properly done, a lip piercing can lead to complications. It is very important to carefully chose the studio where it will be done. A studio must be clean, all instruments must be sterilized and the needles must be either new or sterilized. It might be a good idea to ask for a health certificate of the studio.

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