Labret tips

I have had a difficult time with my labret (lip piercing) so I thought I'd share how I finally made friends with it. It was a real pain in the tushy at first. I even gave up and took it out for a while once. It hurt all the time, but eating and drinking were worse, and talking? Fuggeddaboutit. On top of that I got a cold sore right above it from all that messing about with my lip. On top of THAT, the back of the stud caught on my teeth and pulled the gem INTO my lip. Blood streamed down my face like I'd been sucking someone's blood. It hurt like crazy. Plus I had a gem inside my lip. There was nothing for it but to push it back through, and that whole experience made me pretty done with the whole thing too. But I put a (smaller and shorter) post back in because, well, I just liked it, and at some point you think, "If I've gone through all THAT, I'm keeping the damn piercing."

So, initial misktakes I made? First and worst, I assumed it would be an easy piercing because my tongue was. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The actual piercing hurt more than I thought, and unlike my tongue stud I did NOT get used to it quickly. You move your lip a lot, during chewing and swallowing but also just talking and smiling, and it all hurts. The long initial post complicates eating because the back of it catches on your teeth, but even with a shorter one you have to learn not to open your mouth too far. Sort of keep your lip level with your bottom teeth all the time.

Second, I immediately went to eat Indian food, which irritated my lip and was an intensely bad idea.

Third, I got it right before a string of shifts, so I had to talk a LOT and was totally miserable.

Fourth, I got a micro gem for my initial post, which I don't recommend because those can BE pulled through the hole. A bigger bead or gem wouldn't have. The theory was that the longer post would make it okay, but if you've pulled the post in it doesn't matter how long it is.

So. I would recommend against any of that, and also against trying to eat anything that needs to be bitten off, like sandwiches. Tear or cut everything into tiny bites, put it back by your molars, don't open your mouth too wide, and eat sloooooowly. Sound like a royal pain? It is. But I did get used to it and now the piercing is just a cute piece of sparkle on my lip.

Also, here are a few pointers on labret jewelry. It seems like it would not be complicated, but it is. Gauge? I was pierced with a 14 and sized down to a 16 because I like the ability to wear super tiny jewels and those come on studs meant for tragus piercings, which are usually 16-gauge. YMMV here. Length? I was pierced with a 3/8" stud which is short for a new piercing because I have thin lips evidently. It was plenty of room for swelling. I didn't give it anywhere near the month I was told to wait before shortening it. As soon as the swelling went down I changed it. No reason to have extra metal clanking about against my teeth. YMMV there too.

The issue was what to chage it TO. You go to buy a labret and think your biggest problem is what color to buy, but au contraire. You've got to pick a length, and you may need a piercer's input there. Most often labret studs come in 3/8" or 5/16". If you're in between, you can buy "trim to size" bioplast studs. You've got to pick material: generally, some type of gold, steel, titanium, or bioplast. I like the bioplast ones because they don't clank against my teeth. They're also really cheap, so I can have a lot of different colors. Then disk back: diameter and type. You can get UFO-type backs which I prefer because they're rounded and don't catch on my gum line when I smile. I find smaller-diameter backs are easier to deal with, but they can also cause those little white bumps to appear around the post. If bumps inside your mouth bother you, get larger backs. THEN bead or gem. For new piercings, get a bigger bead, the biggest you can deal with, optimally, to keep from its being pulled back through the piercing. Because you WILL snag that thing on your teeth. My switch to a micro gem on a short post was dictated by "when I tug on the post and it doesn't hurt anymore," and I've been fine, but admittedly that is not very scientific.

I think that's it. Oh: best to commit to leaving the thing alone from the get-go. Train yourself not to move your lip around a whole lot. Just let the jewelry sit there. I kept finding myself "experimentally" grinning and moving my lip around just to see where the post fell. No need for that. You'll smile and move your lip enough without doing it while you're just sitting around. Also, you literally look like a grinning idiot doing that.

Hope this helps someone...