What Is a Labret Piercing? Types, Pain, Cost, Healing, Jewelry, Sizes, and Aftercare
- Placement: Located just below the lip.
- Cost: $30-$80.
- Pain: A low pain level. It is rated at 4 on a scale of 1-10.
- Healing time: 6-8 weeks.
- Jewelry: Studs, hoops, barbells, and bars.
- Risks: Scars, infections, tooth, gum and nerve damage.
Labret piercings are an extremely popular type of lip piercing that can accommodate many different types of jewelry. It’s common among piercing enthusiasts but does have its own unique pros and cons to consider.
What Is a Labret Piercing?
A labret piercing is a single piercing located just below the lip. You may also hear it referred to simply as a “labret.” It gets its name from the Latin word Labrum, which means lip. There are different variations of the labret piercing, explained further below.
Labret Piercing Types
Types of labret piercings differ based on their location below the lip. Ultimately, you can get a labret anywhere below your lip, as centered or off to the side as you’d like. When choosing a specific labret type, consider vertical, horizontal, side, and double labret piercings.
Image: Underground Tattoos Watford.
Variant 1. Vertical Labret Piercing
A vertical labret piercing is a vertical bar that goes through the middle of your bottom lip. One end is at the middle of your bottom lip and the other is in the area below your bottom lip. Usually, people will get balls, spikes, or gemstones on either end of the bar.
Variant 2. Horizontal Labret Piercing
A horizontal labret piercing is a horizontal bar through the middle of your bottom lip. This take on the labret piercing also usually features two metal balls, spikes, or other accents on either end of the bar.
Variant 3. Side Labret Lip Piercing
A side labret piercing is a single stud piercing located below the bottom lip, off to the right or the left side. In other words, it’s a stud below the left or right corner of your lip. This is perhaps one of the most popular placements for the labret and can be combined with other piercings for an edgier look.
Variant 4. Double Labret Piercing
A double labret piercing is essentially two side labret piercings. There is a stud below the right side of your lips and a stud below the left side of your lips. However, you can choose to have them positioned closer together or further apart. As a double piercing, this requires two pieces of jewelry.
Labret Piercing Pain
Does a labret piercing hurt? Labret piercing pain usually falls at a 4 on a pain scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being very little pain and 10 being immense pain. If you have an ear or nose piercing, it will likely be more painful because of its location. The area around your mouth is more sensitive because of the many nerve endings.
However, your actual pain level will vary based on your pain tolerance. Go to an experienced lip piercer to ensure the piercing is done quickly and cleanly to avoid any unnecessary discomfort.
Labret Piercing Healing
Labret piercings typically take around 6-8 weeks to heal. However, it’s advised you wait six months before changing your jewelry to ensure it’s completely healed. During this time eat foods that are soft, avoiding hard, crunchy, and spicy products.
Right after you get pierced, you may experience redness and swelling at the piercing site. Pain, discomfort, redness, and swelling should go down over the next few weeks with no blood or discharge. When the piercing is fully healed it will not hurt, won’t have any discharge, will feel comfortable, and will move freely.
How Much Is a Labret Piercing?
The labret piercing itself usually costs around $35. However, prices will vary based on your piercer. This cost does not include the price of jewelry, which typically starts at $40. So in full, you may spend around $75 or more for a labret piercing and jewelry.
Labret Piercing Jewelry
Labret piercings allow for many different jewelry types, allowing you to express your own unique style. Keep in mind: Vertical and horizontal labret piercings will require something different than traditional labret piercings.
Types of Labret Piercing Jewelry
Different types of labret jewelry to consider are:
1. Labret Piercing Stud
Flat back labret stud with a ball titanium $18.9, SHOP NOW.
The most common type of labret jewelry is a flat-back stud. This is a type of stud earring that features a flat disk on one side. The jewelry goes in through the inside of your lip until the disk is flush against the back of your lip. Then, a piece is screwed onto the front. This piece is usually a metal ball, spike, diamond, or other accent.
2. Labret Piercing Hoop
Piercing hoop 6mm 8mm 10 mm simple and minimalist $15.9, SHOP NOW.
This type of jewelry will go completely around your bottom lip. You can explore different metal colors, different gauges, and hoops with accents. Consider a seamless hoop that is a clean, simple loop, or a captive bead ring that features a ball in the center.
Titanium ring horseshoe barbell $17.9, SHOP NOW.
A labret barbell is an open circle, like a horseshoe. There are usually balls, spikes, or other accents on either end, with a screw-on closure to keep the jewelry in place.
Curved barbell piercing ASTM F136 implant-grade titanium internally threaded $16.9, SHOP NOW.
Labret bars are used for vertical and horizontal piercings. A vertical piercing could be just a straight bar, or, it could have a slight curve to it. Horizontal labrets will need a curved barbell to ensure it comes in and out of your lip in a way that’s comfortable and won’t pull the skin. Both types usually have a double screw to keep the bar in place.
Labret Piercing Size
When getting a labret piercing, you’ll need to find the right gauge, length, and diameter of jewelry.
- Gauge: Labret jewelry is usually 14g or 16g. Some people may opt for 18g, especially when going for a seamless hoop. However, 14g and 16g are the most popular with the largest variety of jewelry options.
- Length: The length of labret jewelry that’s right for you will be based on the thickness of your lip. It will need to be long enough to avoid tugging and pinching, but short enough to stay in place. Common lengths are ¼," 5/16," and 3/8" or 0.6cm, 0.8cm and 1cm.
- Diameter: Labret hoop diameters will also vary based on the size and thickness of your lip. 5/16” (0.8cm) and ⅜” (0.95cm) are the most common sizes, though your piercer might recommend something bigger or smaller once they measure your lip.
Labret lip piercing jewelry comes in many different materials, including:
- Implant-grade titanium: Implant-grade titanium is a great option because it’s lightweight, nickel-free, and won’t tarnish. This may help you avoid an allergic reaction and the need to frequently change out the jewelry. This metal is also used in the medical field for things like joint replacements and bone pins.
- 14K Gold: Gold offers an elegant look and is a durable material, though yellow gold is often more hypoallergenic, and white gold can be more durable because it has nickel and other metal alloys.
- Surgical stainless steel: A hard, affordable metal that won’t tarnish and is extremely durable but may cause allergic reactions in some people with trace amounts of nickel.
- Sterling silver: A metal allow that is durable, affordable, and appealing to the eye with its shiny appearance. However, sterling silver is often not recommended for new piercings because it can complicate the healing process.
- Bioflex plastic: Flexible jewelry made from renewable materials that are metal-free and can come in different colors.
Some of the safest options include implant-grade titanium and surgical-grade stainless steel. Bioflex plastic may also be a good option if you want something flexible and non-metal. Plus, they come in many different colors.
Other types of materials could lead to allergic reactions or irritations to the sensitive skin of your face. For example, gold-plated steel could be problematic for some people with sensitive skin.
Labret Piercing Pros and Cons
There are both pros and cons to think about before getting a labret piercing.
Potential pros include:
- They are unique piercings that can make you stand out.
- They offer many different types of jewelry.
- There are different placements you can choose from.
- They go well with other types of lip piercings.
Potential cons include:
- They can be more painful.
- They may make it difficult to eat, talk, drink, and more.
- They can be more prone to infection.
- They can take a while to fully heal.
Labret Piercing Risks
Before getting a labret piercing, you should consider the following risks:
- Infected labret piercing: Based on the labret’s location, it’s more susceptible to infection from the germs and bacteria in your mouth. If it gets infected, you may need to remove it and let it seal.
- Labret piercing scar: Labret piercing scars can happen when you take your jewelry out and allow the piercing to close. There could be an area of thick, raised skin, larger when caused by an infection.
- Oral complications: Lip jewelry rubs on your gums and teeth, putting you at risk of tooth and gum damage, including gingivitis.
- Nerve damage: There are many of nerves in your face, including around your mouth. Piercing this area can affect your nerves, affecting the movement of your face and introducing pain, especially behind the eyes.
If you have any signs of infection, oral problems, or other health concerns, you should talk with your piercer and a health care professional as soon as possible.
Labret Piercing Aftercare
To keep your piercing clean and healthy, follow the below steps:
1. Wash your hands with soap before touching the piercing.
2. Soak the piercing in a saltwater or saline rinse for at least five minutes, twice a day.
3. Pat the area dry using a paper towel or low-ply cloth that won’t snag.
4. Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash to keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria.
5. Avoid touching or playing with the piercing.
6. Keep your clothing, bedding, and other items clean to help keep bacteria away.
7. Monitor for any signs of infection and contact your piercer right away with any concerns.
As the piercing goes through the healing process, use a cold compress as needed to help with swelling and discomfort. Be sure to follow all care instructions from your piercer.
Labret piercings can be a fun, unique type of piercing to add to your body. Before getting this piercing, check out different variations and consider what type of jewelry you’d like. And, be sure to work through all of the pros and cons to understand the possible risks.