Lip Labrets

by RITIKA CHANGRANI

The Dogon and Nuba tribes of Mali and Ethiopia come to one's mind while talking about piercing of the lips for the insertion of rings but the same art craft, though with different objects, is practiced all over the world. Other forms of lip piercing involve labrets including the types like ivory, metal or quartz crystals etc. There's no restriction on the size of the labrets and the same is extended to large proportions. Since ancient times, even high-caste males have adorned their bodies with exotic labrets in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and metal or material type.

A style statement today, the lip labret is becoming increasing popular and you have a wide variety of choices when it comes to selecting a piece of jewelry for the lip piercing.

The Dogon and Nuba tribes of Mali and Ethiopia come to one's mind while talking about piercing of the lips for the insertion of rings but the same art craft, though with different objects, is practiced all over the world. Other forms of lip piercing involve labrets including the types like ivory, metal or quartz crystals etc. There's no restriction on the size of the labrets and the same is extended to large proportions. Since ancient times, even high-caste males have adorned their bodies with exotic labrets in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and metal or material type.

lib labretsA particular kind of lip plates called 'Pelele' is worn in the upper lip by the Makololo tribal of Malawi and unlike various guesses regarding the reason behind sporting such a labret, the actual truth is that the same is considered a piece of jewelry for the females.

A RING OR A STUD?

The person interested in the piercing should decide whether he/she prefers a ring or a stud since the piercing will probably last forever after healing. The piercing style differs depending on the selected labret. The labret stud does not fit beautifully in the piercing for a ring because of the fitting angle differences. The wide range of options available for labret studs adds to its versatility and many rate the stud to be far better than the ring in terms of aesthetical looks.

While piercing for a ring, the spot can be chosen along the lip and depending on the type of look you need, you can use rings with varying diameters. A few cases of nesting have also been reported in case of thin gauge jewelry though they heal rapidly. Nesting is the process of movement of position of the piercing inside the lip and this tendency is more regularly seen in case of rings. The choices available for ring bodies are in solid gold or surgical steel or a combination of both.

In case of studs, the piercing is done at an angle or else the back portion of the stud might damage your gum. It is placed at the center of the lower lip or in the upper lip's corner. A distance of about 5-10 mm below the line of lower lip is the most favored place for the labret stud. The front plate of the labret stud sports a small bolt adorned by a ball whereas the back flat plate is inside the mouth. The versatile stud offers you a wide range of options including the standard solid gold or surgical steel and their combination along with others like Lucite, which glows in the dark. Each of these options allow for the person's particular choice of attachments or gemstones. The available jewelry options are jeweled studs, colored acrylic balls and spikes, UV acrylic shapes, steel balls with or without gold plating and different shapes.

God planned it perfectly for everyone so that the piercing for the rings or studs does not lead to any infection in the mouth. The mouth has enzymes to inhibit growth of bacteria and the 6-10 weeks of healing is infection-free though a swelling with a life span of a week to a dozen days might be visible after 2-3 days of piercing. It is advisable to prefer longer labrets till swelling lasts and then, shorter labrets can be regularly worn as well.
The nesting process due to rings puts extra stress on the piercing wound. The wound usually settles down and you need not panic if the back plate of the stud embeds in it because the skin is in the process of dying off to form a depression so that the stud can sit fittingly.

DOS AND DON'TS - FEW CARING TIPS

Once you have got your skin pierced, you need to be very careful about the maintenance of the region or portion of body in/around the piercing. This requires the use of a number of aftercare products available at any chemist's shop. Unlike misconceptions, avoid using hydrogen peroxide, betadine, methylated spirits or alcohol-based cleansers as they can be styptic and can damage the cells. Similarly, creams and ointments should not be used as they allow for moist wounds that will hamper the healing.

Useable products include lavender oil, sea salt, mouthwash, Difflam-G and B-vitamins with Zinc. Check the medicinal grades of the chemicals before using them. Iodine content should be nil in all the chemicals especially, salt because it can affect the healing of the wound. Besides these, paper towels or tissues can be used for hot compressions.

Besides these products, one should be careful enough not to touch the piercing except while cleaning it. Rinse mouth with a suitable mouthwash and also, suck lozenges like Difflam-C to reduce swelling and infection chances. Clean the front portion of the piercing using saline-cotton balls. Lavender oil lubricates the pierced wound to promote healing but any excess of it should be removed after placing the jewelry as it might cause irritation otherwise. Prefer eating cold things like ice cream since it promotes healing and reduces pain and swelling. Gently remove the crust formed on the stud.

While chewing food, be careful not to hit the stud back plate with your teeth. Check hygienically that the jewelry is placed tightly. Playing with the jewelry by chewing on it can damage you teeth. Remove the stud only after the healing period or else the closed up hole would cause you great pain while reinserting the labret. For the first 2 years, removing the ring or labret for more than a day might lead to closing of the piercing.

A labret stud can be changed yourself once the healing period is over but to change the ring, seek a piercer's help. They can also help to reinsert in the closed hole using their taper pins, if such a situation develops. Studs are usually very small and therefore, while changing them, keep a towel in front of you. Once having developed a firm grip on the stud's plate, unscrew the stud's front counter-clockwise and insert new stud after removing the older one. Screw the front finger tightly. Practice a couple of times and you would master the art of looking great with different kind of rings and lip labrets.

Take care of your piercing and sport different lip labrets to suit your style - make heads turn wherever you go!
 
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