Lip piercings have become quite common. While most of them do not scar, some develop into unsightly scars once the wearer decides to remove the jewelry.
Hypertrophic scars and keloids are also common complications if it did not heal properly. In this article, learn more about how they look like as well as the cost and ways you can use to get rid of them.
Young people are very fond of facial piercings. However, as people grow up, they find them more juvenile and some even get rid of them. This can happen with minimal or huge scarring. The smaller the gauge used the smaller the scar that will be left behind- most times, this should only be a small one that resembles an open skin pore or a zit. Smaller ones may fade over time.
Whether one gets a scar depends on the time they took having the piercing on and how stretched it was due to a larger jewelry. This will also depend on individual healing capabilities. Since scarring varies in different people it is hard to tell how bad it will be once you decide to get the jewelry.
Professional piercers will usually ask you to sign a consent and no piercing would be done without accepting the risk of scarring.
A scar happens when fibrous tissue replaces normal tissue. There are three possible types that can form: hypertrophic, keloid, and atrophic scar.
Keloid scars are a form of scarring that can be caused by piercing. They are caused by delayed healing. They can occur to anyone but are more common in people who have a history of keloids- those who have a darker skin tend to get them more. Atrophic ones are more common and unlike hypertrophic and keloids which form raised tissue, they look like a sunken pitted appearance on the skin. It also does not extend beyond the piercing.
Note that some lip piercing scars are caused by trauma or injury during fights or contact sports. It is always advisable to replace your jewelry with softer and smaller retainer to avoid the risk of scarring.
Do lip piercings leave big scars?
Anyone who is thinking of having their lips pierced will normally try to get answers to these questions. It will be right to say that YES. It is a normal occurrence since there is an injury to the skin whereby the body responds by producing collagen- collagen forms a thicker skin lining which may be raised or indented. This is what appears as a scar.
Do they leave scars always? will they go away?
While this is a genuine concern for most people, they will only leave a tiny dot on the skin which will eventually fade into nothing. This, however, depends on the size of the hole in line with the needle gauge used. If your piercer used a gauge larger than size 16, it may affect your skin’s elasticity and leave some scarring.
Vertical labret piercing scar
Like all others, it is normal for a scar tissue to form around the area pierced with different levels of skin thickness from one person to another. Vertical labrets will almost always leave a scar especially in cases of early infection or be playing around with the jewelry before complete healing. They is usually tiny- almost the size of a blackhead.
For inverse vertical labrets or Ashley piercings, the part that comes out of the actual lip will not be noticeable but the one that comes out below might be visible- no big difference though. The scar tissue feels like a small lump. The small dimple like a mark that forms at the top of the lip is hidden by the jewelry and will only be visible if the lip is ‘naked’.
Lip scars vary in appearance and size. To give you an idea what one would look like, here are some images or pictures.
A small one from dented labret piercing
In this picture, you can see that the small dented scar left behind. This will fade and blend in with the skin tone making it less noticeable.
Bigger scars even after revision
This young man had an 18mm labret piercing. This is what the hole looks like after revision and closure with fine sutures- that is sure going to leave a bigger scar.
Image 3 Excessive Tissue Formation around jewelry
Excessive tissue overgrowth on the jewelry can pose the risk of embedding
Image 4- Before and After Closure of labret lip piercing hole
This image shows how a labret lip piercing hole looks like before and after excision and suturing
According to the piercingbible.com, the presence of jewelry and prolonged healing may cause excessive scarring. Piercing scars are usually very small. But if the size and the appearance are bothering you, there are ways you can reduce their appearance. Here is how to get rid of them;
Punch Excision Surgery
Punch excision method is growing popular with a very good success rate- here, the shape and size of the scar are altered by cutting into it and bringing the edges together with fine sutures under local anesthesia. The dented scar is singled out, the skin is removed and the edges brought together to a normal level using sutures or surgical strips.
The excision eliminates the deep pockets of the skin and replaces them with tiny marks on the skin. This method allows for regular and faster healing of the edges. While this improves the appearance and reduces visibility it cannot get rid of it completely- you will have to accept the possibility of being left with a smaller scar which will fade over time and become less visible.
If the scars are larger, punch excision can be combined with skin graft where it is removed and replaced with new skin.
How much does removal cost?
Depending on where you are, the cost may be anything from $300- $1000. It is best to first identify a well experienced plastic surgeon in your area and discuss the possibility of getting the procedure done, cost and course of treatment before settling down to decisions. If you are in the UK, you can get these services at Ramsey Health Care.
Other methods of removal such as laser and creams are not recommended for lip scars on the actual lip. For those piercings that do not go through the actual lip such as Monroe and Madonna, you can massage the area daily for 1-2 minutes with vitamin A. C or E oil. They soften and smoothen the collagen bonds in the scar tissue.
Sometimes a scar tissue forms inside the piercing and grows over the jewelry. If this happens, make a point of seeing the piercer for evaluation and immediate jewelry change. The extra skin around the pierced site poses a risk of embedment.
Does it go away?
According to Dr. Andrew Kaufman, M.D a Los Angles Dermatologic Surgeon, in the early phase of healing there is a fibrous reaction and scar formation. It is normal for the skin to feel thick and hard in the first few months. With time it becomes less fibrotic and becomes softer. Removal is usually delayed to allow for this process to be complete.
Application of pressure, massaging and injection of corticosteroids can hasten to soften and flattening it. Otherwise, since most lip piercing scar tissues are small, if they are not bothersome leave them alone and they will improve on their own.