Labret Piercing: The Complete Guide

The labret piercing is steadily gaining popularity as a unisex tool of expression. It allows one to create a versatile look that is fresh and unique.

Here’s all you need to know to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Whether you’re a piercing virgin or a full body pro, you will benefit if you first familiarize yourself with this particular piercing. The more you know, the better.

Read on as we break down the fundamentals of labret piercings and answer any questions you may have.

What is a Labret Piercing?

Simply put, a labret is a piercing under the lip. Traditionally, it is placed centrally underneath the bottom lip. Labrets continue to grow in popularity, primarily due to their ability to enhance the face’s aesthetics.

It is a fun, unique, asymmetrical, balanced, small, and delicate choice of facial ornamentation. If your lifestyle allows it, a labret piercing is a good choice.

Various Types of Labret Piercings

Avant-garde variations exist when it comes to labret piercings. The traditional version is placed centrally under the bottom lip, but there are several other styles. Most piercing shops will have:

  • Lowbret piercing – centrally located underneath the lower lip
  • Vertical labret – Sits vertically with one end going through the lower lip and exiting where the traditional labret usually rests.
  • Side labret piercing – Also located under the bottom lip, but on either the left or right side.

There are numerous possibilities when considering a labret piercing. You can even tweak some variations to create other piercing styles.

For instance, someone who gets a side labret piercing can make a few modifications to end up with a snake bite or dolphin bite.

Why the Labret Piercing is Popular

There are several reasons for getting a piercing of the labret.

Aesthetic Value

Labret piercings can accentuate your looks. The beauty of your lower lip is highlighted, making your smile sparkle.


The piercing can be used to bring out different styles. Whether you’re going for punk, rock, stat, or sexy look, you cannot go wrong with a labret.

Plus, there are many variations, so you can dress it up any way you like.

Popular Culture

Some people are diehard members of the piercing cult. They are enticed by anything that involves studs, rings, hoops, and barbells.

Trends are highly significant to them, and they will get a labret piercing simply because it is trending.


In the same, tattoos are used to mark certain occasions or memories, so are labret piercings. A survey among university students indicates that about 10% of people with this facial piercing got it to mark a point in their life.

The labret piercing is an excellent way to commemorate a moment or serve as a reminder, especially for those unwilling to commit to the permanence of a tattoo.

What Should I Expect?

Once you arrive at the piercing shop, the piercer will discuss the various options available to you. They will inform you of things like:

  • What the procedure entails
  • Equipment and technique they will use
  • The healing process
  • Aftercare

At this point, ask any questions you may have and clarify points you didn’t understand well. You are paying for a service; ensure you maximize the opportunity.

The piercer places a mark on the preferred spot to visualize the piercing position. They will then open a pack of sterilized needles and piercings in your presence.

Never accept to be pierced if you don’t witness him opening a new untampered pack. He then makes a single puncture at the chosen site.

The procedure is quite quick and will last about 3 minutes. Immediately after, you experience throbbing and a bit of swelling. These symptoms should clear within the next few days.

Before you leave, you get advice on how to care for your labret piercing. Some shops will give you an aftercare package with clear how-to-use instructions.

Are Labret Piercings Painful?

We all want to hear that the piercing of our choice is the least painful. However, this is not always the case. Pain is relative – we each have different thresholds for pain. Some people can withstand an 8 on a 10-point scale.

Others are screaming as soon as the pangs hit 3.

Many people shy away from body piercings because of the misconception that they are painful procedures right after tattoos. This is far from true. Just like tattoos, it all depends on where the piercing is put.

Some parts of the body are more sensitive. The lips and adjacent areas have numerous nerve endings. You will first experience a tinge of pain when the piercer makes a puncture. Throbbing then takes over, and the pain at this point feels like a drawing hymn.

These feelings of discomfort usually subside after 1 – 3 days. If the pain doesn’t dissipate after a few days or excessive bleeding occurs, the labret piercing might be infected. Make an appointment to see the piercer for possible treatment and advice.

All in all, among all look piercings, the labret piercing is the least painful. Well, that is if you stick to the traditional styles.

I hope I didn’t scare you out of getting a labret piercing. After the placement pain, you will barely feel the presence of the labret piercing.

How Long Do They Take To Heal?

The first few days after the procedure, you may have to care for your labret piercing diligently. This greatly promotes healing.

Complete healing occurs after about 7 weeks post-procedure. This is, however, different for everyone.

Factors such as biology, style (vertical or classic), and piercing aftercare influence the time it takes to heal.

The inside will typically heal slower, so it shouldn’t worry you. Give it a week tops to catch up with the outside.

When I got my labret piercing, the piercer put a large stud. When I inquired, they told me it was to accommodate the swelling. Too small a stud might get embedded in the skin, causing pain and infections.

After a few weeks, you can change to a smaller stud or switch to a hoop. It would be best to visit the piercing parlor so the piercer can give you the go-ahead to get rid of the large labret.

Care Guide For Your Labret Piercing

Just like bringing a new pet home, new piercings require a bit of TLC. “The key to avoiding a bigger issue is to keep your piercing clean,” says founder of Entière Dermatology, Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD.

Experts recommend using a saline solution and water for cleaning. Most products we use to clean ourselves contain numerous chemicals, some of which may irritate a new labret piercing.

Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and use ample water to rinse off. Avoid sanitizers as they contain alcohol which dries out the piercing, elongating the healing time.

During the actual cleaning, focus on the hole region. Refrain from twisting the piercing, which may irritate the tissue. When I got my labret, I kept on twisting and twisting at every opportunity I got.

It was what people did back then. After a few days, it got itchy. I had to go back to the piercer. Turning labret piercings is an outdated practice. Plus, you are more susceptible to introduce germs causing an infection.

Dip a cotton pad or ball in a sterile saline solution and cleanse all sides of the labret piercing. If you do it properly, you speed up healing time significantly.

A few parlors will provide you with a free takeaway kit. Brian Keith Thompson, owner and head celebrity piercer in LA, provides his clients with both aftercare tips and products.

In brief:

  • Clean at least twice a day
  • Use a saline solution and water
  • Avoid cleaning with your everyday scented soap
  • Always wash your hands before you begin
  • Use cotton wool
  • Avoid using products containing alcohol

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Parlour To Get a Labret Piercing

The decision to conduct any form of modification to your body is personal. However, anyone in the piercing community will tell you that the most difficult part is choosing a piercing parlor.

Here are a few tips to make the process a walk in the park.


What’s the word on the street? Ask around to find out what people are saying about the piercing parlor. Check online sources. Reviews and testimonials are good sources of information.

Only engage with credible piercers. It is perfectly acceptable to request to see their certification documents. Reputation is everything in the body modification industry, and the best parlors are known within the piercing world.

Delivery of Services

What range of services do they offer? Do they allow consultations? Most places will charge you for every type of service. A few will quote one price for all.

Find a piercing parlor that allows you to consult for advice. They should also give aftercare tips.

What of their hygiene and sanitation? A piercing can act as an avenue for infection. Thus, confirm their sanitary practices are up to standard.


The level of experience matters a great deal. Piercings are an art form, and piercers often undergo months of training to master the practice.

Contrary to populist belief, these professionals have to know a thing or two about the human anatomy. For instance, a piercer will know to avoid the interior labial artery when giving a labret piercing. They should also be familiar with different techniques.

Experience can be measured by the years of relevant work one spends practicing the art. The number of satisfied clients can also indicate it.


Piercing parlors will quote different prices for a labret piercing procedure. Typically, the cost ranges from $25 – $40. But there are celebrity piercers who charge upwards of $100. LA-based shop, Body Electric, charges a minimum of $200 for any piercing.

You might want to change your look in the future. So factor in the cost of purchasing extra jewelry. A 16G labret stud is about $6 – $15, depending on where you buy it.

However, beware of any places with meager prices. Chances are high. They’re cutting corners to cover operational costs. Buying very cheap studs might be detrimental. They could be made with low-quality material making you prone to infection.

Before You Go

Piercing shops will have a minimum age requirement for anyone asking for a labret. In more states, laws and regulations around minors are pretty serious. A transgression will land you in a bunch of trouble. So, ensure you meet the age limit. Most states in the U.S set it at 16.

Imagine visiting a piercing parlor for a central labret piercing only to leave full of disappointment. The piercing has gone through the inferior labial artery and keeps it rubbing against your teeth. Painful and uncomfortable. So make sure you pick a piercer with the necessary skill set.

But how do you do that with so many choices available? The factors mentioned above will help you find a reliable piercing shop.

Fun Fact About Labret Piercings

A labret piercing is one of the few body piercings that traces its origin back to ancient times. Forget nose piercings that only gained popularity in the 60s after the Beatles toured India. Labret piercings were in existence way before.

Anthropologists (and I’m not talking of the whip-carrying kind who are chased by boulders in mythical caves) reveal that tribes in the American Northwest Coast historically adorned the piercing. It was regarded as a symbol of identity for the elites.

So the next time you see someone rocking a labret piercing, show off with a bit of trip-down history. Friends are bound to be impressed.

Tip For Thought

If you are thinking of getting a labret piercing but are unsure whether it would suit you, carry out a trial run. It is a serious commitment. So try a faux labret ring before you take the plunge.

After you decide to sport this facial ornament, find an experienced professional to carry out the procedure. If placement is improperly done, you risk the jewelry sinking into the lip or rubbing against your gum.

All in all, a labret piercing can accentuate the aesthetic appeal of your facial features, serve as a commemorative tool, and is an excellent way to express yourself.

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