These days, body modifications are part of everyday life, and more people are exploring facial piercings than ever before. One of the most popular facial piercings is the Monroe piercing. A Monroe piercing is an upper lip piercing, located on the skin above the lips on the left-hand side. This placement is reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic beauty mark, which is why this piercing is called a “Monroe.”
Monroe Piercing Process and Pain Level
A successful piercing depends entirely on finding a reputable piercer. The facilities should be hygienic, and the piercing artist should be well-trained in administering piercings in this area. With a Monroe piercing, the piercing artist will mark the skin above the upper lip with a pen. This shows where the final piercing will be placed. Once the customer approves the placement of the mark, the piercing artist will clamp the upper lip and pierce it with a hollow needle. The process is complete once the jewelry is inserted. Then, the customer is free to focus on healing.
Many people report that Monroes are moderately painful. The skin around the lips is very sensitive and rich with nerves. Some people may experience more pain than others. Individuals with thick lips or strong muscles around the mouth, like woodwind or brass musicians, have more flesh to pierce through. Men may also experience more pain than women while receiving this piercing, especially if they have been shaving for multiple years.
Healing and Aftercare for Monroe Piercing
Monroe piercings can take 8 to 12 weeks to heal, depending on the individual. A little bit of swelling and drainage is normal and should subside as the piercing heals. Infection is the biggest risk with any piercing. Following proper aftercare practices is the best way to avoid infection and protect a new piercing. Anyone with a new piercing should only touch their piercing when they are cleaning it. Hands should be thoroughly washed beforehand. When cleaning the piercing, one should use a sea salt solution or an aftercare product approved by their piercer.
Due to the placement of a Monroe, it’s also important to pay attention to oral hygiene. Along with regular brushing, someone with a new Monroe should also rinse their mouths regularly with a sea salt solution. Some professionals may recommend an antiseptic mouth rinse that’s specialized for piercings around the mouth. Other things that can hinder the healing process of a Monroe are smoking, alcohol, spicy food, and kissing. Obviously, all of those things should be avoided until the piercing heals completely.
It’s common for the outside of a Monroe to heal before the inside. Don’t stop the practice of aftercare simply because the piercing appears healed on the outside.
General Piercing Aftercare
- Wash hands before touching or cleaning the area
- Clean twice a day (or as recommended by your piercing artist)
- Use clean, disposable cotton
- Avoid swimming and using makeup around the piercing area
- Don’t change jewelry until piercing heals completely
- Use clean pillows and bedding while sleeping
Variations of the Monroe Piercing
Lately, variations on the Monroe have become popular among people who want to achieve a very unique look. The Madonna piercing is a similar piercing, but it’s placed on the right side rather than the left. When a Monroe and Madonna are used together, it’s often referred to as an “angel bite” piercing. Double Monroes have become popular as well. With a double Monroe, two piercings are made rather than one. The piercings can be placed side-by-side or one on top of the other. In these cases, the customer may be asked to come in for two separate piercing sessions to ease healing.
Types of Jewelry
The initial piece of jewelry for a Monroe will likely be a labret stud. At most piercing shops, the standard size for a Monroe will be a 14 or 16 gauge. The initial labret will also have a longer post to accommodate swelling.
The fun really starts after healing is complete. Monroe jewelry is represented almost exclusively by labret studs. After all, the piercing was named after Marilyn’s famous beauty mark, and a sparkly stud on your face makes for a very intriguing beauty mark. Individuals with Monroe piercings can opt for a stud that pushes in or is screwed on. A screw-on stud with internal threading is slightly more expensive than one with standard threads, but it can be a great option for people who want to avoid pinching themselves while changing their jewelry.
The stud is the most visible part of Monroe jewelry. Styles can vary between simple metal balls and gemstones to more “out there” designs like pandas, flowers, stars, and more. The opposite end of a piece of Monroe jewelry is the disk-shaped base, which is designed to sit comfortably against the inside of the mouth.
Most people don’t have any problems with their Monroe jewelry as long as it’s made from body-safe metal. However, they can experience mouth irritation from the base rubbing against their gums. This can result in gum recession or dental problems in some people. In these cases, jewelry made from Bioplast (a flexible, medical grade plastic) can help reduce the problem.
Is the Monroe Right for You?
Some people are better suited to Monroes than others. People with large lips are more difficult to pierce, so they don’t make the best candidates. Also, any natural beauty marks in the same area can distract from an artificial one. Therefore, people who already have a beauty mark above their lips might want to invest in a piercing elsewhere. Those with poor oral hygiene habits, dental problems, or lower pain thresholds should probably avoid piercings in the Monroe area.
The very best way to decide if a Monroe is right for you is to consult a professional. The most important thing to look for in a piercing artist is experience, especially if you’re considering a Monroe. A reputable piercer can examine your face, take into account your lifestyle, and recommend the right piercing for you.