How to Clean a Labret Piercing

A young woman with a labret piercing
A young woman with a labret piercing (Image: Matthew Watts\

A labret piercing is a common type of facial piercing where a stud is placed near the mouth, with part of it inside the mouth and part of it outside. Most labret piercings are under the lower lip, although some are in other places around the mouth. Keeping a piercing as clean as possible is the only way to prevent infection and promote fast healing. It's important not to touch a new piercing except when you are cleaning it. Labret piercings usually take six to eight weeks to completely heal, and it is necessary to clean the piercing daily during this time.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild anti-bacterial soap
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Cotton balls
  • Anti-bacterial mouthwash
  • Anti-bacterial lozenges

Clean a new piercing twice a day, in the morning and at night for at least a month. Make some salt water by dissolving ½ tsp. salt in ¼ cup of warm water. Wash your hands well with soap and water before cleaning the piercing. Rinse the pierced area well with warm, clean water. Soak a cotton ball in the salt water and wash the area around the stud. On very new piercings, let the salt water sit for a few minutes on the side of the piercing that is outside of your mouth to soften any crust that has formed, then gently wash it away.

Clean your piercing at least once a day while you're in the shower. After washing your hair and body, wash the pierced area with mild anti-bacterial soap. Gently turn the stud while the soap is on it, and let the soap sit there for a few minutes. Rinse it well, turning the stud more to make sure there is no soap left inside. Avoid soaps with strong perfumes, as these can irritate your skin.

Rinse your mouth with anti-bacterial mouthwash after eating or drinking, and suck on anti-bacterial throat lozenges a few times a day. This will reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and help prevent infection until the piercing heals.

Rinse the piercing with salt water once a day and wash it with soap and water every two or three days after you've had the piercing for a month, as long as there are no signs of infection. Over-washing can slow down the healing process and irritate your skin.

Contact your piercer if there are signs of infection like redness, swelling, pus, discoloration or severe pain. Do not attempt to remove the stud yourself.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take B vitamins with zinc supplements to promote faster healing.
  • Avoid using any anti-bacterial sprays or salves on a piercing, as these are generally not intended for puncture wounds. Follow your piercer's after-care instructions very closely and contact him or her if you have questions.

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