A labret piercing is a form of lip piercing that has very precise positioning on the lower lip. Even though a labret piercing comes from the Latin word “labrum” for lip, not all lip piercings are considered labret piercings. 

How Lip and Labret Piercings Differ

Piercings referred to as labret and lip are similar, but differ slightly in placement.

  • A labret piercing is placed just below the lip line and is centered on the bottom lip.
  • A lip piercing can be positioned anywhere along the bottom or top of the lip.

Tips for Labret Piercings

Lip and labret piercings should not be made within the delicate, colored tissue of the lip itself. Hoops can be used for both types of piercings, although studs are typically used for a labret. Avoid hoops that fit snugly against the lip.

Fourteen gauges is a typical width for hoops and studs; smaller, thinner hoops could cause the jewelry to migrate, and you might experience complications during healing.

A stud should be long enough to clean and move easily but not so long that it rubs against the bottom row of teeth, which could result in bone injury or loss. Studs that are too tight can cause gum injury. Ask your piercer for recommendations.

Labret and lip piercings usually take two to four months to heal.

Vertical Labret Piercings

Another type of labret piercing is known as the vertical labret. Labret piercings are positioned just above the chin. Vertical labret piercings go through the bottom lip, just above the lip tissue, which means both ends of the barbell are visible.

The piercing is typically done using a sixteen gauge needle from bottom to top. 

One benefit of a vertical labret piercing is that there is no hole inside the mouth. Traditional labret piercings have the inner stud positioned just below the teeth. The vertical labret is considered more comfortable and prevents the risk of teeth or gum damage.

However, beware that vertical labret piercings may take longer to heal and be more sensitive early on. 

Other Types of Lip Piercings

There are a variety of other lip piercings that are defined based on their position on the lip. A few popular varieties include the Monroe, medusa, jestrum, and snakebite.

  • Monroe: a piercing positioned where Marilyn Monroe’s famous birthmark was above the upper lip on the left-hand side.
  • Medusa: a piercing positioned just below the nose on the philtrum. Much like the labret piercing, the hole goes through the inside of the mouth.
  • Jestrum: this piercing is the opposite of the vertical labret piercing and is positioned above the lip tissue with both ends of the barbell being visible.
  • Snakebite: two piercings positioned evenly apart on the lower lip. Much like the snake bite, there is also a spider bite lip piercing. These two piercings are positioned more closely together on the lower lip. 
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