Archive for Labret and Monroe Piercings
Like many piercings of primarily contemporary origin, those that adorn the upper lip stem from a vast array of popular and cultural inspirations, including some of the most revered American icons.
The Monroe, for example, of course takes its name from legendary beauty Marilyn Monroe. But piercings in this area on either side of the nose are also known as Madonnas, or even Crawfords, citing the famous mole of supermodel Cindy Crawford. All three women bore such distinctive beauty marks, Monroe and Crawford on their left side, and Madonna on the right (though the illustrious Madge eventually had hers removed).
A piercing in the center of the upper lip, just above the cupid’s bow, is also laden with cultural references, being generally referred to as a “Medusa,” alluding to the infamous Grecian gargoyle who could turn men to stone with her gaze. When a Medusa is performed vertically however, it’s most often called a Jestrum, rumored to have attained its odd moniker via the first person known to wear the piercing, Jesika Bornsen.
Tribal lip piercing and even stretching have also heavily influenced the modern piercing scene in recent years, with African, American Indian, and South American cultural practices filtering into the modern primitives movement. It remains to be seen how these and other inspirations will continue to affect the modifications of our future, but we can rest assured that lip piercings and the like will only grow bigger and better as time goes on.
Location: The Medusa is located just above the center of the upper lip, under the tip of the nose/septum, in the cleft of the cupid’s bow, which is anatomically know as the philtrum.
Alternate Names: Upper lip piercing, medusa lip piercing, cupid’s bow piercing, philtrum piercing.
Piercing: Like other lip piercings, the medusa is performed with a hollow piercing needle and a pair of pennington forceps. Common sizes are a 14 or 16 gauge, but more rarely a single size larger or smaller can be seen. Since piercings of the philtrum have begun to come into the mainstream, variations including stretches and doubles have also sprung up.
Aftercare: Most piercers will recommend seas salt soaks or rinses, along with the avoidance of acidic foods, smoking, makeup use, and alcohol. The lip will swell during the initial healing phase, so rinsing multiple times per day after eating is essential to the prevention of irritation and infection. With proper care primary healing should occur around the 12 week mark.
Jewelry: Most medusa piercings will be worn with stud style jewelry, like that used in lower lip piercings and monroes. For those who have a set of two piercings in the philtrum, a common practice is choosing a larger stone or design closer to the lip, with a smaller or simpler item above.
Popularity: Though far less prevalent than standard labrets or monroes, the medusa and it’s vertical cousin the jestrum are growing in popularity amongst the punk and alternative subcultures. It is estimated that lip piercings in general account for at least ten percent of overall piercings in the United States.
Lip Ring- a piece of jewelry worn in piercings of the upper or lower lip, including labret, monroe, medusa, ashley, jestrum, dahlia, etc. coming in many styles: stud/post, circular, curved barbell.
Multiple lip piercings or “sets” of lip piercings in particular configurations are often referred to as “bites,” and consist of the following primary examples:
Some of these piercings will be called by several different names, which tend to vary widely based upon country, or even region, of origin. Piercings of the lips are amongst the most popular modifications worldwide, including instances in both westernized and tribal societies. The stretching of such piercings is also experiencing a resurgence on the coattails of the Modern Primitivism movement.
Most piercings in or around the lips will require dual aftercare including washes or soaks for the purpose of facilitating healing, along with rinses using alcohol free mouthwash to stave off infection and keep food particles from becoming lodged within. Avoidance of acidic foods and beverages, alcohol, smoking, and lipstick or lipgloss usage are also encouraged. With all fresh piercings, getting adequate sleep, practicing good hygiene, and resisting the urge to touch or play with piercing jewelry will assist in the skin’s reparative process. As with most oral piercings, initial healing is relatively quick, generally occurring between 4 to 10 weeks.
Lip Ring Styles:
Some of the jewelry that can be worn in lip piercings includes circular jewelry like BCRs and horseshoes, as well as lesser used jewelry like the spiral barbell, and the curved barbell jewelry often worn in vertical piercings like the jestrum.
Lip rings are a difficult subject to tackle, because so many different types of piercings can be worn in or around the lips, and a multitude of jewelry styles work there as well. For our purposes here, we’ll just cover the basics, starting with the different types of lip ring.
First we have the “labret/monroe ring,” or stud. This is basically just a stud style piece of jewelry with a small decoration on one side, a post in the center, and a flat backing of some type on the other end. The flat portion sits under the lip (inside the mouth), and the post rests inside the piercing itself, while the decorative portion is the only part that shows. This type of jewelry is measured for length along the shaft, from the backing to the bottom of the embellishment.
Next there’s the circular, most often just referred to as a “lip ring” or “lip hoop.” There are several different types of circular jewelry that can be worn in a lip piercing, including horseshoes, segment rings, BCRs, spiral barbells, and lippy loops. Each of these items will be measured for diameter rather then length, which is always the distance between the two inside edges at the widest part of the hoop.
Finally, we’ve got the last type of jewelry worn in the lip, the small curved barbell. This type of jewelry generally only works with certain piercings, like the jestrum (vertical medusa), the vertical labret, or the ashley (inverse vertical labret). This item will be measured for length like a stud, but instead of measuring along the curve of the barbell, you’ll be measuring the distance straight across from the bottom of one ball or decoration to the other.
Once you’ve got the length or diameter measurement for your lip jewelry, there’s a couple more things that you’ll need to get a good fit. First, you’ll want to know the gauge, or thickness of the item, as lip piercings can be done in more than one standard size. Most commonly a labret, monroe, or medusa will be pierced with either a 16 or 14 gauge, and the difference can make or break the fit of certain jewelry.
After making sure of the correct gauge and length (or diameter) of your lip ring, you’ll then need to decide what type of ball or decorative tip you’d like and how big you want it. For those interested in minimizing the look of their piercing due to professional or aesthetic reasons, a small simple ball or single gem might suffice, but if you have fuller lips or are looking to make a statement, anything from larger gems or multiple crystals, to spikes, shapes, or even dangles might be what you’re looking for.
The last you’ll want to consider is material. For some, allergies might dictate what they can wear, and others might find non-metallic backings more comfortable against the gums. It really is a matter of anatomy and preference. If you’re ever in doubt, your piercer is a great resource for sizing and material suggestions. For more about jewelry and sizing, check out our Jewelry Sizing Category, and as always, buy smart.
Regular ball studs are arguably the simplest of labret/monroe piercing jewelry. They consist of a metal or bioplast backing with a flat end, and a ball of some type that either screws on or pushes in. For everyday wear, the ball stud is a great choice, particularly in a universally flattering hue such as steel, black, or blue.
Gem studs are a slight step above a standard ball. They include the same style post, but with a ball, prong setting, or bezel setting containing a decorative gem. These types of simple jewelry will come in a variety of sizes to ensure a proper fit.
Embellished studs are good for special occasions or short term wear, and can include a variety of gems, metals, and more intricate designs.
The standard ball captive ring is often worn in lower lip piercings, particularly sets of piercings such as spider bites or snake bites. This type of jewelry is composed of two parts: a ring with an opening, and a dimpled ball or bead that fits into that opening to secure the item in place. Captive balls can be made out of metal, acrylic, or natural stone, and may be embellished with gems or designs.
The horseshoe circular barbell is exactly what it sounds like: a horseshoe-shaped ring. A ball, spike, or decoration screws onto either end to hold the barbell in place, and the look of the jewelry makes it ideal for lower lip piercings. Like BCRs, horseshoe rings will come in a variety of sizes, so knowing exactly what diameter you’ll need is vital.
Segment rings are very much like captive rings, but with a slightly larger opening and no ball. Instead, the piece that’s used to secure the jewelry is tube shaped, fitting perfectly into the ring’s opening to give the illusion of a solid hoop. Segment rings make beautiful lip jewelry, but due to their sleek design, opening and closing them properly can take a small amount of practice.
Specialty jewelry pieces called “lippy loops” are also great for lower lip piercings, and unlike most circular jewelry, are made specifically to be worn in the lip. Their unique shape provides a comfortable fit, and as such they can be worn for long periods of time.
There are many different looks that can be created with different lip jewelry, and the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity. So why not try a type of jewelry you haven’t worn before? You might discover a style that’s almost as unique as you are.
If you’re looking for a unique new facial piercing, why not try a Medusa or its vertical counterpart the Jestrum? Medusa piercing is also called philtrum, divot, or upper piercing. It’s a facial piercing above the middle of the upper lip in the center of the divot between the nose and mouth. The actual scientific name for this area is the infranasal depression. This piercing looks good on its own or can be successfully worn with other facial or lip piercings. Depending on the aesthetic you are going for and your actual anatomy, the medusa may work better nearer to the nose, closer to the lip, or right in the center. Jewelry is normally a flat back labret post.
A Jestrum piercing is a vertical medusa, still located in the middle of the upper lip. It is directly under the nasal septum. The procedure is very similar to a vertical labret piercing. Unlike the Medusa a Jestrum piercing generally uses a curved barbell. Both ends of the piercing are visible externally, with the lower part of the barbell curving around the underside of the upper lip. A Jestrum piercing looks awesome alone, or creates a symmetrical look when combined with a labret piercing.
Both Medusa and Jestrum piercings should be done by a trained, professional piercer with a 14 or 16 gauge hollow piercing needle. The piercing spot is marked with a surgical pen, forceps are applied to the area to keep it in place, and the needle is pushed through the flesh in a smooth motion. During this procedure some people report that it feels a little like you’re getting a quick punch to the nose (rather than the normal sensation you feel with an oral piercing). Your eyes are also likely to water. Incorrect jewelry and improper placement can lead to oral problems such as tooth and gum erosion, so make sure your piercer is professional, and check their portfolio for similar piercings.
Medusa and Jestrum piercings are both fun additions to your own personal collection. Do you have these piercings? Respond below with your story!
These days a lip piercing is pretty, interesting, but it’s not really anything to balk at anymore. Facial piercings are common place, and lips are one of the most popular locations. The growing and evolving culture of mod though, has spit out plenty of developing trends, and one of them is multiple piercings visible around the mouth.
Combinations of labrets, monroes, and medusas can be used to create sets of piercings called “bites,” and unnamed combinations can include up to twenty piercings around the lips. Common sets of bites look something like these:
Many of the most pierced individuals wear sets of coordinated studs in their piercings, which is sometimes required for every piercing to be able to have jewelry fit in it (because they’re so close together). For the most part there aren’t any impairments to normal functions like speaking, eating, or brushing the teeth, but a number of piercings have the potential to start healing shut if jewelry isn’t regularly worn. Just ask Elaine Davidson, the most pierced person in the world, whose visible lip piercings number over 17!
How many lip piercings would you get? Let us know in the comments below.
So you have this amazing new monroe piercing that you’ve been checking out in the mirror every morning for the past few weeks and are super psyched about, but now it’s healed up enough to finally change your jewelry. What do you do?
With so many options available to fit the wide variety of lips and faces out there, it can be a little overwhelming the first time you go online to shop for a new Monroe stud. The great news is, that if you arm yourself with a few choice bits of knowledge before you hit the e-store, shopping can be way less stressful. Here’s what you need to know:
Like most piercings, the monroe can be done in a couple of different gauge sizes depending on the preferences of the piercer and the person being pierced. For this piercing, the two common sizes are a 14 gauge and a 16 gauge. If you’re not sure what you were pierced with, just ask your piercer, or if you got it done on vacation, go to a new piercer in your area and they can measure for you. You’ll definitely need to know before you shop because the wrong gauge size just won’t fit right.
Next you’ll need to know how long you need the post to be. This is another thing that your piercer is a great resource for, but if you already know what size you’ve been wearing, visually gauging whether you need it to be shorter, longer, or the same size should be relatively easy. The two most common lengths for monroe jewelry are 5/16″ (8mm) and 3/8″ (10mm), but there are definitely people who have thinner or thicker flesh in this area and need a slightly shorter or longer size. For these individuals, jewelry as small as 1/4″ (6mm) or as large as 1/2″ (12mm) is available.
Now that you know your size, you’ll want to decide which style stud is best for you. This is generally just a matter of preference, so you might want to try a couple different types before choosing a stand-out favorite. There are monroe studs that push in, those that screw on, and even internally threaded styles that screw in (as in the threads are on the ball rather than the post.) From here, it’s just a matter of what you think looks good. Happy shopping!
Depending on the type of piercing, there are four basic styles of jewelry generally worn in the lip. Those are: the stud, the talon, the curved barbell, and the circular.
For those who have a vertical labret piercing, an inverted vertical labret (also called an Ashley), or a jestrum (the vertical version of a medusa piercing) which lays just above the top lip’s center underneath the septum, curved barbell jewelry will be the standard. The barbells are usually small, with a length of about half an inch or less.
Persons who have a standard Medusa piercing or a Monroe will generally prefer a stud (jewelry that has a flat backing and a visible ball or gem that either screws on or pushes into the back). Studs can also be worn by those who have standard labrets, lowbrets, dimple piercings, or any variety of “bites” including Dahlia bites, cyber bites, spider bites, snake bites, etc.
Talons, also called claws or hooks, are worn almost exclusively in regular labret piercings or “dolphin bites,” a set of two piercings underneath the bottom lip. This style is often referred to as “Disturbed Labret,” after famous wearer David Draiman, frontman of the rock band Disturbed.
Finally, circular jewelry can be worn in piercings of either the bottom or top lip. Common types of circular include the ball captive ring, the horseshoe ring, and the lippy loop, which gives a look similar to that of a vertical labret piercing, but for those who have a regular piercing.
All of these types of jewelry will commonly be found in either a fourteen or sixteen gauge, and will be measured by length for barbells or stud ring shafts, and by diameter for circular pieces.
Location: Through the bottom lip, normally in the center, but on an angle so that both ends are visible, one atop the lip and the other just underneath it.
Alternate Names: vertical labret piercing, inverse labret piercing, vertical lip piercing
Piercing: The piercing of a vertical labret is done much the same as a standard labret. The bottom lip will be thoroughly cleaned, a marking will be made to assure proper placement, and a pair of piercing clamps will be used. The lip will then be pulled away from the gums, and a hollow piercing needle of about 14 gauge will be pushed through, followed by the jewelry. To insure placement and safety, it’s recommended that a seasoned professional piercing perform this piercing.
Aftercare: As with other oral and lip piercings, sea salt soaks or sprays and mouthwash are recommended for aftercare of a vertical labret. Avoidance of certain foods, alcoholic beverages, and cigarette smoking may also be required or strongly encouraged. One of the advantages of a vertical labret over a standard labret is that because the jewelry doesn’t sit inside the mouth, the risk of associated dental issues is nearly eliminated.
Jewelry: Most vertical labrets will be initially pierced and worn with a small curved barbell, though occasionally a straight barbell or spike may be used, usually after healing is completed.
Prevalence: Although no specific studies have been completed, it is commonly asserted that women are more likely to get a vertical labret piercing than men. Oddly enough, the modern history of vertical lip piercings suggests that they first came to prominence as an imitation of regular labret piercings that had gone awry due to a piercer’s inexperience.