Life & Style

FAQs Before Getting a Medusa Piercing

There’s no denying that a medusa piercing can look insanely hot. Not only do you look cool, but this in-your-face representation of your personality is more wearable than most piercings on the mouth. 

What is a medusa piercing? 

A medusa piercing is a “philtrum” piercing done on the soft tissue area between the upper lip and the base of the nose. 

This central upper lip piercing is commonly pierced with a 16 or 14 gauge surgical steel flatback barbell. Other titanium or gold options are available too. A medusa piercing will take somewhere between 2 to 4 months to fully heal but can generally be downsized around 6 to 8 weeks. Medusa piercings are one of the few piercings that require downsize jewelery due to the amount of anticipated swelling that can occur. 

Because they don’t carry around any hidden meanings, medusa piercings can be a great way to express yourself through designs that perfectly describe your personality. As far as ideas go, you may feel a bit limited because of how small the piercings are. 

And if you’re into smaller piercings (as opposed to big ear piercings or horn implants) then these are a fantastic choice.  

Do medusa piercings ruin your teeth?

Just like other lip piercings, medusa piercings also carry a risk of tooth and gum erosion, caused by the rubbing of the jewelery on your teeth and gums. But with some lucky people, they don’t experience any oral damage, while others are forced to retire their medusa piercing aspirations.

Do medusa piercings hurt?

A medusa piercing is considered to be a less painful piercing, in comparison to some painful ear piercings like the rook piercing. A medusa piercing pain can be measured as 4 out of 10 on the pain scale, while the rook piercing is at a 6 or 7 out of 10. 

However, keep in mind that a medusa piercing can hurt your lip more after the procedure. 

It can get swollen after the procedure because there are a lot of nerves in the area above the lips. The medusa piercing is still not considered to be one of the most painful piercings because it doesn’t take too long for the healing period. This is because the mouth tends to heal very fast.

Why is it called a medusa piercing?

Medusa is a popular mythical creature that almost everyone knows thanks to books and movies. But the piercing has nothing to do with her. The name was chosen randomly in the early 90s by a Canadian hairdresser because it just sounded way better than the anatomical description or sounded way better than calling it an inverse labret or a philtrum piercing.

How long does medusa take to heal?

2 to 4 months. Medusa piercings are considered both oral AND a body piercing so it takes between 2 to 4 months to fully heal, but can generally be estimated around 6 to 8 weeks. This is much faster compared to a complex rook piercing which takes around 6 months or more to heal. 

Just a few days after the medusa piercing,  you will still feel a slight pain in the pierced area. It won’t be a sharp pain though and you can rest assured that all that is now over.

It will be more of a dull and throbbing pain, which will typically last for a couple of days. This is quite normal, as the area has been temporarily irritated due to the piercing.

Bruising and minor bleeding may also appear after the procedure, but don’t worry, as these things are totally normal.

Remember to clean your piercing and avoid touching it too much.

What is the process of a medusa piercing?

Step 1: If the medusa piercing is placed incorrectly it could increase the risk of various issues occurring such as gum recession and dental erosion. To avoid this, ensure that the piercer you choose is both professional and experienced with not only piercings in general but with medusa piercings specifically.

Step 2: Once at the studio, your piercer will usually start off by putting on a clean pair of latex gloves and cleaning the outer area of skin using an antibacterial substance such as alcohol. They will also likely give you an antiseptic oral solution to rinse the inside of your mouth out with before starting with the piercing.

Step 3: The actual piercing process will involve the piercer sanitizing the area to be pierced, and the cleaning substance may sting for a few seconds. Next, the piercer will use a small needle to pierce the area. A traditional piercing gun, like the ones used to pierce ears, cannot be used because it would go through too much skin. 

Step 4: A medusa piercing may sound scary because it’s important that the piercing is placed perfectly centered within the philtrum area, as any slight deviations either left, right, up or down can cause the piercing to look symmetrically out of place or otherwise wonky. (This is why I think piercers are like surgeons in many ways) 

Step 5: Due to the close location to your gums and the skin on your face not being the toughest, this piercing can be a little painful despite the needle being fairly small.  However, the pain will only last for a few minutes, and you will need to do some simple maintenance for aftercare for a few weeks after the procedure. Most piercers will recommend that you start off with a smaller stud for the actual ring, but you will be able to stretch it out a little later.

Medusa piercings are one of the few piercings that require downsize jewellery due to the amount of anticipated swelling that can occur. 

Do medusa piercings make your lips look bigger?

Your lips can appear swollen around a medusa piercing a day or two after the procedure. The amount of swelling that may occur will also depend on various factors such as how your body usually reacts to trauma.

While you may be lucky and produce no swelling at all; your whole upper lip may bloat out if you’re especially unfortunate. However, most cases of swelling will simply result in a small, slightly raised bump around the central upper lip area (likely inside and outside), which will slowly disperse over the next week.

In order to accommodate for any swelling that may potentially occur, most good piercing professionals will use a longer barbell for the initial jewelry.

This use of a longer barbell is to make sure that if there is any significant swelling, there is enough depth along the jewelry to ensure the stud doesn’t get pulled into the inflamed skin and become lodged, which may cause injury or scarring.

If your piercing becomes particularly swollen, there are a few things that can be done in an attempt to reduce the swelling:

  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of your upper lip
  • Suck on a clean ice cube to soothe the inner lip
  • Keep your head elevated above your heart as much as possible for a few days to help drain fluid down and away from the area
  • Be extra careful with the piercing and resist the urge to prod and poke the area as this could make the swelling worse and increase the risk of getting an infection
  • Drink and eat slowly and carefully for the first week with your new piercing

How much is a medusa piercing?

A medusa piercing roughly costs between $40 to $85. 

Does a medusa Piercing leave a hole?

Lip piercings in general close up pretty fast. Everyone is different, and some people could keep their healed philtrum(medusa) jewelry out for two weeks with no problems. This isn’t advised though. 

To keep the piercing:

The “fistula” or the healed hole in a philtrum (which is the area that gets pierced) touches without jewellery, it wants to close up fast. Some people can take theirs out for a few hours and find the hole is smaller. For some, that might take days, or a week or two. The max closing time is probably 3 months. 

If you need to take the jewellery out for a job interview then get a clear retainer put in. Pretty much all piercing shops that sell jewellery have them, and the piercer on duty can put them in. It’s not worth the risk to leave it out for longer than an hour or two.

On the other hand, if you want it to close:

Just keep it clean and wait. Wash it with non-scented soap (I like Ivory) when you wash your face every day. It should be completely closed in a couple weeks or a little more. I wish I could be more specific! Again, the max is around 3 months, but that seems unlikely.

Can you smoke after getting a medusa piercing?

No. Avoid drinking, smoking or eating in the first three hours after piercing.

If you can’t quit, you should at least try to take a break after you get a new medusa piercing. All the chemicals found in the smoke can seriously damage your exposed tissue. This could lead to either infection or at the very least slow down the regenerative process.

Moreover, avoid the use of drugs before or after the piercing and until the wound has healed completely. 

Where is a medusa piercing?

A philtrum piercing, is an upper lip piercing located in the (you guessed it) philtrum, under the septum of the nose. It is usually pierced using a labret stud as jewelry, with the ball sitting outside the mouth in the dip of the upper lip.

Always done on the philtrum, or better known as the soft tissue area between the upper lip and the base of the nose, these piercings can be some of the coolest forms of body modification when done right.

How do you take care of a medusa piercing?

  • As the first week of healing is always the most important, you’ll want to ensure that you take extra good care during this period. So, eat and drink carefully to ensure the area doesn’t get irritated as your lips/the insides of your mouth move around.
  • Along with taking care when eating and drinking, it’s highly recommended that you completely avoid smoking during the first week (at least) as all of the harsh chemicals can seep into the wound and cause further damage and inadequate/delayed healing.
  • Alcohol consumption is a big NO during the early stages of medusa piercing aftercare as it can cause the wound to not only dry out, but the strength of the alcohol can also cause damage to the healing tissue inside of the wound.
  • Swimming is also an activity that should not be undertaken for at least a couple of weeks while the area continues to heal. Swimming in a chlorinated pool can cause the wound to dry out and alternatively swimming in an untreated (unchlorinated) body of water can open your new wound to a whole host of nasty infection-causing bacteria.
  • Kissing is avoided for at least a week to ensure that no bacteria is transferred over from somebody else’s lips/mouth into your open wound.

After the first week or two have passed the most important moments of your piercing are out of the way! Now you can focus on keeping the area clean for the rest of the healing process.

Every day, after eating, or drinking or smoking, rinse your mouth using ½ capful of oral rinse. 

Alcohol free mouthwash is perfect for oral piercings and can be used as many times as necessary. 

Also use H2Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray which is made of natural ingredients and also works brilliantly on all skin types (including sensitive skin). 

Don’t play with your piercing during the healing process. Once the swelling from your piercing has gone down, you can downsize your jewelery to avoid chipping teeth or gum damage.

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