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Medusa Piercing Meaning, Costs, Infections, Scarring and More

What is Medusa piercing? Very similar to the standard labret, philtrum piercing popularly known as Medusa is done on the upper lip just below the septum of the nose (philtrum).


A medusa or philtrum piercing is quite similar to the standard labret just that this one is placed on the small groove just above the lip and below the septum of the nose. This groove (philtrum- above the Cupid’s bow) is what gives it name philtrum. Its popularity is fast growing in popularity as many people find it a way of drawing attention and highlighting the beauty of the lips. It also blends in very well with other facial piercings such as the nose

Double medusa lip piercing is two done together inline along the philtrum.

Why is the name? 

There is no exact reason why this piercing is popularly known as a medusa; probably because it is beautiful as the gorgeous Greek woman (Medusa) who had an affair with Zeus. While the real meaning of the term medusa has nothing to do with it, this was named in the mid 90’s by Kerrick a Canadian hairdresser and it never had a name that stuck.

It is commonly worn by women as it brings out a unique girly look. Alternative names include; cleft and Upbeat piercing. Medusa lip piercings are so outspoken and if not done correctly can distort the balance of your facial symmetry. It is best to get sufficient info about this it including aftercare instructions before you make the decision to have it done.

This piercing is normally done with a labret stud with the ball sitting comfortably in the philtrum. Other pieces of jewelry. A close variation of a medusa is the vertical or jestrum piercing where it is placed vertically through the lip using a curved barbell so that both beads are visible externally with one end on the philtrum and the other on the underside of the upper lip.


The price of getting a medusa in the US is $40-$85 and 15-20 Euros in the UK. Note that tis prices may depend on region and the individual piercer. Additional costs may include the type of jewelry you choose for your initial piercing.

Healing process

Averagely, the initial healing time is 6-8 weeks. The pain and swelling noticeably disappear and you can comfortably change the jewelry. This time may vary in different people. However, the complete healing of the tissues can take up to 6 months. During this period, you will notice that the piercing gets sore and tender during contact and when changing the size of your jewelry. Stop smoking and practice good aftercare to shorten the healing time. Cleaning daily with saline solution is a must during the healing process.

How to pierce it – procedure

Note that as much as you have the guts for self-piercing, you should never do it on yourself or your friend without proper knowledge of the body and how to pierce. It is all safer to have a professional piercer do it. While I am not an advocate of self-piercing due to health reasons, here is how to do to it safely.


  • Sterilized needle and jewelry- place them of a paper towel
  • Alcohol swab, medical marking pen
  • Laser light torch
  • Surgical lubricant
  • Sponge forceps


  1. Wash your hands with antibacterial mouthwash and dry with a paper towel
  2. Wear gloves
  3. Disinfect the area with alcohol swabs
  4. Mark the area to be pierced with a pen
  5. Clamp the area making sure the mark is at the center of the clamp
  6. Shine the torch through your lip to see where the veins run. Most of the time it is safe to pierce through the small veins
  7. Lubricate the needle and hold the lip with the clamp
  8. Push in the needle from the inside fast and firmly leaving only the blunt end of the needle
  9. Place the hollow part of the jewelry in the needle and push it through while pulling the needle out
  10. Place the ball on the jewelry

Piercing from the inside to the outside makes sure that you do not pierce your gums and frenulum. Remember to dispose of the needle and gloves then clean the other tools

Best way to hide it

Medusa lip piercing is so obvious and comes out at the center of your face making it very difficult to hide them. While you can easily find ways of hiding it for some occasions, it is going to be a little hard to hide them forever. It is even harder when the piercing is new and fresh.

Before healing is complete, you can wear a band-aid over it. (Well, you cannot do this forever). Once healing is complete, the best way to hide it is probably wearing a plastic clear or flesh colored retainer. While this does not completely hide it, it makes it less visible. You can also remove your jewelry for a few hours and just be sure to have it back on as soon as possible.

Piercings are a way of expressing yourself. If you find that you have to regularly hide it for any reason, simply, DO NOT get one or find another job. Removing jewelry from a new piercing predisposes you to infection and closing of the hole.


Pictures 1-5 show different ways to wear a philtrum piercing

Image 1- Medusa Lip piercing
Image 1
Image 2 - How does it look like
 How does it look like
Image 3 - Awesome
Image 4- Double medusa piercing
Image 4- Double one
Image 5- Medusa piercing on guys
Image 5- on guys


If you are looking for how to reduce a swelling, you are not alone- no one would love to walk around with a swollen face anyway. Just like for all other piercings, it swelling is very normal. Depending on how your body reacts to inflammation you can have anything from a small bump to a swollen face.

The swelling usually disappears within the first 1-2 weeks. it normally done with a long stud to accommodate the swelling. Once the swelling subsides, you the stud is changed to a shorter one to prevent damage to the gums and teeth usually in 6 weeks.

How to make the swelling go away

  • Suck on small pieces of clean ice
  • Elevate your head above the level of the heart for the first few days
  • Take anti-inflammatory drugs to counter the inflammation
  • Protect your lip from any kind of trauma
  • Chew food slowly and talk less


Aftercare instructions given by your piercer are a must do for the first few weeks after the procedure to ward off infections and hasten to heal. You should rinse outside of your piercing daily with saline solution and use an antiseptic nonalcoholic mouthwash twice daily and after eating. Also, avoid any sugary and salty foods.

  1. For the outside of the piercing, wash with a mild antimicrobial cleaning liquid for at least 30 seconds and rinse thoroughly under warm running water and gently part dry with a disposable paper towel.
  2. Rinse the inside of the mouth with non-alcoholic mouthwash twice a day and after eating during the entire healing process. Sea salt soaks can be used in place of or together with a mouthwash. DO NOT use betadine or peroxide.
  3. Use a new soft-bristled brush to help reduce bacteria and remove plaque build up

Remember that you should always wash your hands before and after cleaning your piercing. Unless you are cleaning, keep your hands off it.

If infected

Proper cleaning and following the aftercare instructions reduces the chances of getting an infected medusa piercing. Regularly cleaning with sea salt soaks, warm water and antibacterial soap protects it from external bacterial invasion. Note that once infection sets in, you have to deal with pain, regular bleeding and pus. It also prolongs the healing time.


  • Fever
  • Swelling and redness
  • Throbbing pain persistent for more than 2 days
  • Irritation, itching, and burning
  • Foul smelling yellow or green colored discharge
  • Difficulty in eating or swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

How to Treat an infection

Some of the signs of an infected philtrum piercing are normal occurrences which get heightened in once infection sets in. If you notice any of the above signs, consult your piercer or doctor for immediate intervention and to prevent the spread of infection. You can only treat a mild infection at home and here is how to do it

  • For a mild infection, rinse your mouth with sea salt and warm water at least twice daily. This will help to get rid of the discharge and remove the crusty discharge
  • Brush your mouth then rinse and gargle with appropriate mouthwash especially after eating
  • Use warm compresses to reduce pain and swelling caused by the infection. Ibuprofen can also help
  • Take yogurt- it has beneficial bacteria that will boost your body’s infection-fighting capabilities
  • Take lots of vitamins

Note that a severe infection characterized by generalized fever, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty in swallowing should be checked by a doctor.

DO NOT remove jewelry- the piercing will heal and trap in the infection forming an abscess

DO NOT squeeze out the discharge

Does it cause a scar?

Will or does it cause a scar? This is a big concern for many people who contemplate getting any facial piercing. How badly a medusa will scar depends on a few things:

  • The gauge use
  • Whether you had an infection during the healing process
  • Healing capabilities of your body
  • How long you had the piercing on

People are different and scarring may not be the same. Depending on how smooth your healing process was, the scar may be unnoticeably small to a big lump. Overgrowth of scar tissue may result in keloid or hypertrophic scar formation which are more difficult to get rid of.

Pictures 6 and 7-  scar

Image 6- Medusa piercing scar
Image 6-  scar
Image 7 - Philtrum scar
Image 7 – Philtrum scar

How to Hide it

If you are looking for how to hide a philtrum piercing scar, there isn’t much you can do to hide it. That’s why it is always advisable to accept the risk of scarring even before you get the piercing done. The best way to do it is using liquid make up matching your skin tone or powder foundation. While this may work for some people, those with bigger piercing scars may find that make up tends to cake around the area of the piercing making it even more noticeable.

Consider scar revision or massage the scar tissue daily with bio-oil, vitamin C oil or tea tree oil to fade off the scar with time.


Philtrum piercings are normally done with a small labret stud. The best medusa piercing jewelry for new piercings is the internally threaded. The externally threaded jewelry causes tears in the tissue lengthening the healing time and can be a source of infection.

Initial piercings are done with gauge 14 or 16 labret studs. The standard length is 5/16 or 3/8. If the pose is too long, it will cause injury to your gum and if it is too short it may get embedded in your flesh. Consult with your piercer on the correct size and length of your Medusa. Longer studs are used to allow for swelling.

You can wear different kinds of jewelry for every look to get that unique look. Labrets studs are probably the easiest to find with great listings at leading jewelry stores like in the US and UK. You can also find unique pieces online at Etsy and eBay.


Any piercing comes with a few risks and it is proper for the piercer to make sure that you understand each one of them before getting the piercing. On your part, you can gather as much information on what medusa piercing risks to expect and how best to reduce the chances of having to deal with them.

  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Teeth erosion
  • Gum recession
  • Scarring
  • http://www.skin-artists.com/medusa-piercing-care.htm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philtrum_piercing
  • http://www.bluebanana.com/article.php/7503/medusa-piercing
  • http://www.bodyjewelleryshop.com/body_piercing_information/location_types/oral_medusa.cfm
  • http://www.blueboutique.com/medusa-philtrum-piercing/

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