Vertical labrets are growing in popularity over standard labrets. Also known as Angle Kissing, this piercing can be done singly or in sets. Below, learn more on vertical labret pain, healing, aftercare and scarring. Also, find out what type of jewelry can be safely worn including clear retainers to help you hide the piercing from your boss, teacher or parents.
Vertical Labret or Vertical Labret Piercing
A vertical labret piercing is a lip piercing that goes through the lower lip just like a standard labret only that this one does not come out through the interior of the mouth- instead it comes out through the surface of the lip upwards or even slightly forward. This allows you to see both ends of the barbell. Most people like to use a carved barbell in this type of piercing. Vertical labret piercings are more common among women but can also be spotted on men. Instead of barbells, men go for spikes and rings for jewelry.
Vertical labret piercing also known as Angel Kissing Piercing was discovered and popularized in 1995 by an accident. A young woman who had requested for standard labret had the piercer accidentally do a vertical labret. The photo was spotted online and people have since imitated the piercing and its fast rising in popularity.
This lip piercing can be done variably, singly or in sets. A side vertical labret is in the same way but closer to the angle of the mouth. A double vertical labret is done on both sides of the lip just like the snake bites.
Unlike the standard labret, since this piercing comes out through the outer part of the lip, the oral risks are reduced. This does not however mean that there are no dangers that come with this type of piercings.
Some of the common risks and dangers include;
- Nerve damage
- Infections and transmission of diseases
- Swelling, keloid and scar formation
- Rejection and allergic reactions
What are the Pros and Cons of Vertical Labrets?
If well taken care of, any lip piercings give little or no problems at all. Here are the pros and cons of vertical lip piercings
- Unlike a standard labret, vertical labret does not come into contact with the inside of the mouth. Tooth erosion, gum recession, scrapped enamel and other dental issues are avoided.
- A vertical labret makes it very uncomfortable to eat some types of foods like sandwiches and burgers
- Rejection and scarring in this type of piercing is very likely if the piercings are made too shallow
- It is hard to drink out of a bottle for the first few days
- Chapping and flaking of the lip around the end that comes out of the surface since you cannot use a chapstick or moisturizer until completely healed.
Just like any lip piercing, the risks may outweigh the benefits of getting your lips pierced. This should however not put you off. Talk to your piercer and gather as much information to be able to gauge how best to reduce the risks that come with the piercings.
Inverse Vertical Labret
Also known as Ashley Piercing, an inverted vertical labret goes through the surface of the lip and comes out in the inside of the lip. While one end comes out on the inner part of the bottom lip-touching on the teeth or gums, the other end is visible outwards on the surface of the lip. Once the healing process is over, the ball on the inside of the lip has to be changed to a flatter piece to prevent tooth erosion.
Inverse Vertical Labret Jewelry
It is very important to choose the right jewelry for you inverse labret before you get the piercing. Note that with sizes running from gauge 20 to 00, the lower the number the thicker the jewelry. The lip area looks best with appropriately fitting sized jewelry.
The piercer will normally place a longer bar sized jewelry to allow for the imminent swelling which should later be changed to a fitting bar with a flatter end on the inside. For inverse vertical labret jewelry, the size (length and thickness) and attractiveness are the things that matter most. Most piercers prefer a small curved barbell for initial healing. Occasionally, a straight barbell or a spike may be worn.
Inverted Vertical Labret Lip Scarring
With any piercing, it is normal for scar tissue to form around the area with different levels of skin thickness from one person to another. When a piercing is worn for a long time, it leaves a scar. This means that, once you decide to get a piercing done, depending on the size of the jewelry you chose, the piercing hole may take long before closing up or may never close at all. Even when it does, the scar tissue around the pierced area tends to be thicker and may take very long to normalize. For less visible scars, go for tiny jewelry.
Keloid scars are a form of lip scarring that can be caused by piercing. These scars are caused by delayed healing and are more common in people who have a history of keloids. Keloid scars can occur to anyone but those who have a darker skin tend to get them more.
Discuss the possibility of scar formation with your piercer before getting it done. The thought of having a long term scar on the lips after the jewelry is taken off may put some people off of getting inverse vertical labret done. Consult your dermatologist for lip piercing hole stitching for faster closer and how to get rid of scars.
While anyone can do a lip piercing on themselves, it is always good to have a professional piercer do it for you. This reduces the risks of getting infections, scarring and also doing mistakes in terms of placement.
The procedure of doing an inverted vertical labret lip piercing is similar to that of a standard vertical labret. The bottom lip is thoroughly cleaned and marked for accurate placement. Piercing clamps are then used to hold the lip in place. The lip is pulled away from the gum and a hollow needle of whichever size you chose is pushed through the lip followed by the jewelry. For safe and accurate placement, go for a clean well known piercing studio with experienced piercers.
Vertical Labret Pain
How much does a vertical labret hurt? This depends on individual level of pain tolerance. Most people actually say that holding the lips with a clamp hurts more than the needle. Since it only takes a few seconds to go through your skin, it will only feel like a pinch or a sting. On a scale of 1-10, vertical labret pain rating stands at 7-10 with 10 being the least pain on the scale.
Vertical Labret Healing
With proper aftercare, most vertical labrets heal well. Factors such as infection, poor blood supply and smoking can prevent faster vertical labret healing. Most healing problems come up as soon as you miss a step of the instructions given by your piercer.
How long does vertical labret take to heal? Depending on how well you take care of the piercing, healing time is approximately 3-5 weeks. However, lip piercing healing time may be longer in smokers and diabetics. Follow these tips for faster healing
- Choose the appropriate jewelry
- Do not play with or twist your jewelry
- Clean both ends of your jewelry and piercing
- Take vitamin C and Zinc supplements
Vertical Labret Aftercare
Just like all other lip piercings, great care should be taken to ensure perfect healing with reduced risk of scar formation. Professional piercers will always give you a set of aftercare instructions. Following these will help to speed up healing and eliminates the risk of getting short or long term complications.
Due to the placement of vertical labrets, food and other foreign objects may easily get trapped in the piercing which makes cleaning a necessity to prevent colonization with bacteria. Always make sure your hands are clean before touching your piercing. Do not skip daily cleaning and soaks. Remember to also practice good oral hygiene.
Vertical Labret and Kissing
Once you get a vertical labret, your piercer will ask you to avoid wet kissing and oral sexual contact during the initial healing period. This keeps off external sources of bacteria and also ensures that you do not pass on any infection to a partner. Kissing may also cause the fresh piercing to be sore. Ensure that your lip is fully healed before you embark on kissing- that should be after the first 2 weeks.
Vertical Labret Scar
Unless you have a history of scarring with any skin injury such as keloids, vertical labrets should not be a problem. Even when the jewelry is removed, the piercing hole with little or no marks at all. The area pierced may heal with slightly thicker tissue and hyperpigmentation but this should clear with time. Most people report a small lumpy feeling in the hole on touch. A vertical labret scar is one of the risks you have to accept before getting the piercing done. Note that, someone else having a scar does not always mean that you will also get a piercing scar.
Infected Vertical Labret
While redness, swelling and itchiness are normal during the healing phase, you should always check out for signs of infection such as pus, severe pain and fever. An infected vertical labret should be taken seriously with immediate medical attention. Avoid manipulation of jewelry and unnecessary touching with hands to prevent infection. Maintain high levels of oral hygiene and be sure not to get food or any foreign particles in the piercing hole. Sea salt soaks are key in infection prevention.
How to Hide Vertical Labret
People choose to hide their piercings when looking for a job or from teachers at school, parents or those who do not approve of them. Here is how to hide vertical labret from parents, teachers or bosses.
- Use clear bioplast or studs for the piercings- they are less visible
- Clean regularly, it will be harder to hide an infected piercing
- Get your piercing at a time you can be able to avoid contact with people for at least two days- Friday evening is ideal
- Use a band aid
- Avoid visual contact as much as possible
- Wear distractive clothing
Once the piercing is healed, you can use foundation or skin colored markers to color the obvious parts of the jewelry or use clear plastic retainers.
Vertical Labret Jewelry
Small curved barbells are the most appropriate for the initial healing of vertical labrets. Spikes, straight barbells or hoops are options that can be used once the piercing is healed. While the size of jewelry depends on the size of your lip and skin thickness, the piercer will initially place a larger sized barbell to allow for swelling which is later swapped for a smaller barbell. 16g and 14g are standard gauges for vertical labrets.
While most people prefer curved barbells, if you want to wear a hoop or would consider one in the future, make sure your piercer knows this beforehand. Since lips move a lot, the piercer will then not pierce too shallow so as to allow place for the hoop to rest. D-hoops or Captive Beaded Rings are appropriate.
Most piercing studios will have these jewelry up for sale and readily give professional advice on what suites you best- not all types of lips are suited for hoops or spikes. Once complete healing is complete, you can choose from the vast types, lengths and thickness of jewelry.
Vertical Labret Bars
The lips are very delicate and since they move a lot, it would be best to keep the jewelry simple and light. Vertical labret bars are the most common types of jewelry worn for this type of piercing. The length of the bar should not be too short or too long and allow for free movement which makes it easier to clean and change jewelry without puling on your skin. If your find your jewelry is too snugly, have it changed soon for an appropriate size to avoid embedding.
Vertical Labret Retainer
Retainers are clean or skin toned alternatives that can be used in place of the obvious steel, titanium, silver or gold jewelry. They are made of bioplast, acrylic or glass with a flat or domed disc. While it does not make piercings invisible, a vertical labret retainer is the best way to make the piercing less noticeable. It is important to note that whether glass or pyrex, retainers should not be used for initial healing- they are too porous and may slow down the healing process.
Get 16g unique retainers for $4.99 from ebay with clear O-ring retainer rings. Most people say that the O-ring keeps sliding in and out of place but still prefer it for hiding piercings at work or school.
Vertical Labret Rings
Vertical labret rings are good alternatives when you are bored with the usual barbell. It is however important to note that circular rings can damage piercings as the curved area can exert outward pressure and cause the piercing to reject or migrate. Instead, go for small diameter captive bead rings. It is also recommended that vertical labret rings should not be worn for extended period of time.