What is a Monroe piercing? It is just one of the many facial lip piercings that are placed on the upper lip imitating the famous beauty mark on Marylyn Monroe.
Here is will discuss the pain to expect pain, types, jewelry, aftercare, healing and how you can hide it from parents and at school with makeup.
Monroe lip piercings are commonly done by women. They can be worn differently and given names referring to icons that wore them in that particular place. What side is it on? Typically, it is placed on the left side of the upper lip. But placement can vary and given different names. If worn on the right side, it is known and Madonna. A double Monroe is worn on both the left and the right side, is known as angel bites or anti-bites.
Wearing a longer barbell gives it a similar look to the antennae on crayfish hence its name.
Usually, it is done with smaller gauge labret bars gauge 16 and 18. Once the swelling goes down and healing is complete, the labret bar can be shortened to gauge 14 or 16.
While it is growing very popular, it may not be appropriate in different settings such as school or workplace. These are just some of the reasons why people may choose to remove it. Here is how to remove it
- Rinse the inside of your mouth with mouthwash.
- Clean your hands with mild antibacterial soap
- Use a cotton swab or fingers to remove the crust from the outer part of the piercing
- Wear latex gloves to give you a firm grip
- Pull the upper lip from the gum with your right hand and hold the inside part of the jewelry between the left thumb and index finger
- While still holding on to the inside part of the jewelry with your left hand, use your left hand to hold on to the ball on the outer part.
- Unscrew or twist the ball gently until it goes free from the stem.
- Once the ball is out, pull gently (inwardly) to remove the stem and the flat disc of the jewelry
Note that removal can be easily and safely done by a professional piercer. Most of them will do it for free. This will be your safest bet on how to remove a Monroe lip piercing. If it is infected, it is not wise to remove it by yourself. If you remove jewelry before it is completely healed, the hole will close up very quickly and it will be very painful to reinsert the jewelry.
Risks or effects
Monroe piercings are known to heal very fast, making immediate side effects such as bleeding, swelling, and infection uncommon. However, without proper care, there are possible side effects. You should think about these side effects before getting it done
- Skin irritation
- Gum erosion and recession
- Tooth chirping
- Bacterial infections
Note that, this information is meant to give you a heads-up on what to expect. With adequate aftercare instructions, proper infection prevention, and good habits, the chances of having a safe and healthy piercing are increased.
Pictures and Images
The pictures that follow show how you can wear a Monroe with a different type of jewelry.
Pics 2 and 3 are that of a standard and a double respectively
How Much Does a Monroe piercing Cost
How much is a Marylyn Monroe lip piercing in the UK? This depends on where you get it done but generally, the price range is between 10-30 Euros. On average, this should be around 20-25 Euros. Usually, this price ranges include the initial jewelry. Pricing for the first bar change is variable. At Elemental Pricing in the UK, an initial it goes for 20 Euros including the first bar change.
In Canada, you will pay $30-35 and $50 for anti-bites or a double one.
Monroes like all piercings are prone to infections if proper aftercare is not practiced. Professional piercers make a point of giving you a set of aftercare instructions. Keep in mind that it is both facial and oral making aftercare very necessary to prevent infection and facilitate fast healing, the cleaning should be done on both sides (inside and outside) at all times as explained below,
How to clean it
Cleaning should be primary in all aftercare instructions given. While it is key in infection prevention, it also promotes faster healing.
Here is how to clean a new Monroe piercing
From the inside part: use alcohol-free antimicrobial mouthwash or non-iodized sea salt soaks.
Rinse your mouth with mouthwash after every meal and after smoking. It is recommended to use mouthwash not more than 5 times daily. Alternatively, you can rinse the inside of your mouth with sea salt solution at least twice daily and after eating and smoking. To make the sea salt solution, add 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt to a cup of warm water. Note that you should never clean your Monroe with peroxide or alcohol as they are too strong and can irritate it.
Use a new soft-bristled toothbrush to keep mouth bacteria under control. Brush the area with jewelry gently to prevent plaque build-up.
To clean outside part, use mild antimicrobial soap. Avoid scented and colored soaps.
- Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before touching it
- Using clean cotton pad, soaked in warm salty water to soften the crust on the outside of the piercing
- Wash the outside with mild medicated cleaning liquid and rinse under running warm water while rotating the jewelry for at least 30 seconds once a day
- Pat the dry with a disposable paper towel. Be sure to make sure that the ends of the jewelry are secured.
Note that cleaning should not be overdone- do this at least two times daily. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and use of any recreational drugs. Keep of body masses used by the public such as lakes or swimming pools.
How to when it is infected
If the infection is still mild, prompt cleaning like explained above is just enough to take care of it. However, if you suspect severe infection, with symptoms such as severe swelling, pain, and fever, consult with your doctor for proper treatment.
Monroe piercing pain
Does a Monroe lip piercing hurt? Just like all other piercings, the thought of getting your lips pierced hurts enough. However, pain level is different for every person. It is quite difficult to be able to rate the pain perception.
On a scale of 0-10, it is rated 2-3 with 0 meaning no pain at all. However, when it is done very fast and you the pain feels like a pinch or sting. Afterwards, it will normally swell and feel sore for several days, after which you should be fine.
How long does it take for a Monroe piercing swelling to go down? Swelling and redness are very natural and normal occurrences during the healing period and it usually happens immediately after getting the piercing.
The time it takes for the swelling to go down depends on how well you take care of the piercing and individual healing capabilities- usually in 3-5 days or even shorter with proper care. This will most of the times come with tenderness. A swollen lip may snug tightly on the jewelry causing it to embed or sink into the piercing. That is the reason why the piercer uses a longer bar to accommodate for the swelling which should later be changed to a shorter bar labret.
Things you can do to reduce the swelling.
- Place an ice cube on the piercing for not more than 15 minutes several times a day. Chewing on small pieces of ice or sucking on a Popsicle will have the same effect on the inside of the mouth.
- Sea salt soaks are also a good way of reducing swelling.
- Use anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation
- Avoid oral sex and kissing to prevent trauma to the wound
- Speak less and chew on food slowly
- Sleep with your head elevated above the heart to avoid pooling of blood for the first 3 days
- Avoid infection, as this is another possible cause of the swelling.
- Keep hands off the piercing save for when you are cleaning it
The tips above should be able to help reduce swelling considerably. If the swelling is persistent and accompanied by severe pain or fever, consult your piercer or physician to check or infection.
Does it form a scar
While not all piercings scar, before you get one done, you should be able to accept the possibility of scarring. The variability in size depends on the gauge size used and whether you had a healthy healing process.
A Monroe piercing scar tissue will form with different levels of thickness from one person to another. The scar tissue is normally thicker than the surrounding skin. If you are concerned about what to tell your kids and grandkids when they ask about that scar on your face, choose small jewelry for less visible scars. It may be mistaken for a zit or a pimple.
There are different ways for scar removal. Consult with your dermatologist on scar revision or use spot treatment creams to fade off the scar.
How to make Monroe piercing scar go away?
- Massage the area with vitamin A, C or E oil
- Apply Shea butter or cocoa butter
- Tea tree oil on the outer part of the piercing
- Rub a slice of lemon, tomato or vinegar on the piercing scar daily to remove the darkness
Note that, these methods will help you fade off the scar and soften the collagen bonds. This will reduce visibility of the scar with time.
Below is a photo of a scar 1 year since the removal of jewelry
Can it get infected?
Can Monroe piercings get infected? Just like with all lip piercings, if not taken good care of, they are prone to infection. With lots of bacteria that reside inside the mouth, it is very easy to have it colonized and infected. An infected lip piercing can result in many complications. Once infection sets in, the symptoms can be seen in 2-3 days.
Common Signs and symptoms to expect
- Throbbing pain at the piercing site which increases as the infection gets worse
- Irritation, redness and swelling at the site
- Hotness and tenderness
- Yellow- greenish discharge. With time the discharge becomes foul smelling
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
Without treatment, the above signs can get worse and spread to other parts such as the teeth, gums, cheeks and lower lip. If you notice any of the above symptoms, seek treatment immediately as neglecting an infected Monroe may result in many complications- the worse being systemic or heart infections.
Note that, once infections sets in, you should not remove the jewelry as the piercing will close up with pus inside it causing an abscess which is another problem. DO NOT squeeze pus from the infected site.
What does an infected one look like? Early signs are redness, fever, and severe pain. These usually worsen with time if the infection is not treated promptly. There are hardly any pictures of Monroe lip piercing online. I would really appreciate sharing if you got some.
Healing stages and time
The estimated healing time for a Monroe is usually 8-12 weeks but depending on a person’s healing capabilities, other take only 3-6 weeks. During the healing process, proper care should be taken on both the inside and outside to hasten to heal and prevent infections.
For the first weeks or a few weeks- there is redness, swelling, bleeding, and soreness. It may also get very hot and itchy. Infections commonly occur at this stage. Cleaning and regular sea salt soaks are recommended.
A few weeks to several months. This is where healing really occurs, the time frame depends on your healing capabilities and general health. There will be mild soreness, itching and irritation. While the outside may appear well healed, the inside part of the piercing is still sore and fragile. Trauma and excess movement may take you back to stage one.
While your wound will be healing, there will be an exudation of dead cells, lymph or plasma. This appears as a whitish crust on the surface of the piercing around your jewelry- it may be trapped into the piercing and attract bacteria. Regular sea salt soaks help to soften this crust for easy removal. You should never pick on crust with your fingers.
You should also check whether there is skin growing on the inside of the lip. This is an indication that the bar is not long enough and should be changed immediately.
This is the final stage. The skin cells inside the piercings become tough, smoothened and sealed making it very easy to move the jewelry in and out. Once this stage is complete, closure even after removal of the jewelry will take some time. Follow the aftercare tips given above to facilitate healing
Monroe piercing fast healing tips
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Change your bedding frequently
- Do not attempt to remove your jewelry during the healing process
- Take multivitamin supplements with zinc and vitamin C to boost your healing capabilities
- Chew slowly and in small bits. Avoid hot, spicy and salty foods for the first two weeks
- Avoid smoking and drinking
- Do not play with your jewelry during healing time
- Do not engage in oral sex or deep kissing during the healing time
- Do not apply makeup directly on your piercing before it is fully healed
Remember that, healing times may be different for each person. Be patient with your piercing and be sure to take good care of it.
Jewelry to use
Typically, small labret studs are used. You can, however, choose to wear small rings specially made for tiny piercings. The dainty nature of this piercing makes it more common among women. Men can go for more masculine jewelry such as spikes and rings.
Jewelry comes in different lengths and sizes. The standard gauges used are 16g and 14g. The standard lengths are 5/16” and 3/8”. For initial piercings, longer bars are used and can be changed once the swelling goes down.
Most jewelry, come with a flat metal piece, diamond gems or crystal ball that is worn on the outside part of the lip. They are designed with a flat disc that comfortably rests on your gums. The top part can be screwed on or pushed to secure it to the bar. It is recommended that you check the tightness regularly to make sure the jewelry stays in place.
To make the piercing less prominent, wear silicone retainers or clear labret studs. You can buy jewelry at Walmart, Hot topic and Etsy. You can also buy online on Amazon. Remember to buy jewelry from reputable stores so that you do not fall for fake or poor quality
Can I have a fake one?
Monroe piercings can highlight your facial features and change your look. While many people would like to have them, not everyone can have their lips pierced for varied reasons. You may also want to wear a Monroe for an event. Faux or fake ones are now widely sold in jewelry and beauty stores in the United States and the UK. You can now buy fake Monroe jewelry and studs at stores such as eBay and Walmart.
Can you make a fake Monroe piercing? Fake ones are easy to make. Use eyelash glue or nail vanish to stick gems or labret studs with different interesting shapes just above your lip to mimic a Monroe. You can also fake Monroe piercing by wearing magnetic studs in different colors.
How to hide it at school or from parents
One may hide a piercing for various reasons when you are in places where they are not approved such as at school and from parents. You can also conceal with makeup or with a clear labret retainer. Here is how to hide a Monroe piercing with clear stud or labret retainer
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water
- Remove the stud as shown above and store in a container
- Disinfect the retainer or clear labret in a cup of sea salt water for five minutes
- Place the new bar through the piercing from inside the mouth
You can also use a band-aid or a clear colored marker to make the flat part of the Monroe piercing metal less visible. If you cannot have a piercing freely, you can use fake jewelry that can allow you to wear and remove them whenever necessary. Removing jewelry can cause it to close up. Do not use make-up to conceal piercings that are not fully healed.