Dahlia piercings or bites are a set of two piercings placed at or near each corner of the mouth. Below is information on this piercing including; aftercare, healing, scars, and jewelry. I am also going to answer some of the frequently asked questions.
Information & FAQs
What is a Dahlia piercing? This is one of the less popular lip piercings due to its unusual location and the gory history behind them. It was done in the corners of the mouth entering from the outside and exiting inside.
Alternative names: Dahlia bites, joker bites, double corner, dahlias, lip corner piercings.
Placement: They are located at, near or slightly outside the corners of the mouth. The piercing does not go through the actual lip but rather through the flesh of the cheek.
Dahlia is another variation of the labret. Its name originated from the infamous gruesome murder of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles California dubbed the Black Dahlia. The woman was found badly mutilated and had been slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears. It is largely worn by women but a smaller number of men who have it choose to call it the Joker piercing inspired by supervillain Joker in Batman.
It is not very common and it is recommended that you visit a well-established parlor with experienced piercers familiar with it such as the Black Dahlia Piercing Studio just to make sure you get the right thing done. Be sure to get all the necessary info on how the piercing is done as well as the pros and cons of the dahlia so that you can make an informed choice.
How is it done?
- Both corners of the mouth are cleaned thoroughly
- Marking is done with medical marker pen
- A sterile hollow needle is used to pierce through both sides of the lip, one at a time
- Then the pierced hole is inserted with a labret stud
Can you do this it on your own? Big NO. Do not even try it. There is a bigger chance of puncturing your salivary gland and this would lead to uncontrolled drooling. The cash you would use to buy the tools is enough to pay a professional piercer to do it for you.
How much does it cost to have it done?
The average cost is between $20 to $80 for both sides without the jewelry or with a small stainless steel stud depending on the studio. These prices may, however, change depending on the type of jewelry you choose for your initial piercing and also your geographical location.
How much does it hurt?
While the levels of pain differ from person to person, it is important to know that this piercing is very painful since it is done on very sensitive areas of the face with a rich nerve supply. Soreness, swelling, and tenderness may give you problems performing simple functions of the facial muscles like smiling, eating and even speaking for quite some time.
Risks and problems
Due to the rarity, if done with an inexperienced person it poses greater risks. If done too close to the corners of the mouth, it may easily reject or migrate. If done further away, it becomes a cheek piercing which is a different type altogether. Other risks include:
- Nerve injury
- Excessive salivation
While aftercare for all lip piercing instructions is the same, dahlia comes in multiple. Care needs to be taken on each side, both inside and outside the mouth. Make sure you check with your employer or school before getting it because there is no way you are going to hide it. Here are basic aftercare instructions;
- Clean it saline water using a saturated cotton ball
- Rinse your mouth with antibacterial nonalcoholic mouthwash twice daily and after every meal
- Use mild antibacterial soap to gently wash your mouth and jewelry while you shower. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with running water to remove residue
- Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft bristled brush
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and eating hot spicy foods
- Do not touch it other than when cleaning
- Do not apply ointments, lotions or creams or makeup on it.
Since they are two holes made, it naturally takes a longer time to heal compared to other lip piercings. Healing time is usually 12-20 weeks. Healing takes the usual course as all other lip piercings and it is normal to experience swelling, irritation, redness and tenderness during the initial phase of healing.
The piercer will initially give you a longer stud to allow for swelling and have it changed once the swelling goes down. Touching or moving the jewelry unnecessarily may cause irritation and damage to the granulation tissue prolonging the healing time. Warm sea salt soaks not only prevent infection but also help in the faster healing of the skin.
All piercings will leave a scar and this is one fact that everyone who contemplates getting one should accept. Any injury or wound inflicted to the skin will surely leave a scar. Just that with different bodies and healing capabilities, some scars will be more visible than others. Other scars fade over time be it a couple of months or years whether small as a zit or as big as a hypertrophic or keloid scar.
Since dahlias are done with a small stud, the scars just appear as small holes on the sides of your lips. To make the scars less noticeable by using makeup and massaging with vitamin C or E oil.
Choosing a jewelry
Studs like those worn in Monroe piercing and labrets are commonly used for here. The common gauges used are 14g or 16g while the length is 13mm. The piercer will normally use a longer bar to accommodate swelling. However, based on preference and comfort, a small curved barbell or a captive beaded ring may be worn. Confirm with your piercer on the right length and gauge just so you do not have to go back inquiring about the size every time you want to change or buy new jewelry.
You should never remove your jewelry before healing is complete. If you have to stay without jewelry for some reason, wear clear or flesh colored plastic retainers. This should not be considered before the healing is complete.