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My Chelsea Smile

I've been into body mods for quite some time now. When I was eight, I went with my (much) older sister to get her first tattoo, and I was hooked. After much begging and bargaining, my mother allowed me to get my first piercing when I was 15. I got an off center labret, which was not very common at the time. Over the past several years, everyone I see has a lip piercing, and I got frustrated. I hate seeing someone with the same things as me, whether it's a T-shirt or a piercing. After several tattoos and other piercings, including stretched lobes, two nostril piercings, septum, and tongue, I decided I wanted something obscure, something no one had even heard of.

After doing a bit of spy work on the web, I came across Dahlia piercings. There are just two studs placed at either corner of the mouth. I keep calling them a Chelsea smile, but Dahlia is the term I saw when I found the pictures. I had never seen them before, and I could only find a handful of pictures online. I decided it was a sufficiently obscure piercing and was resolved to make it happen.

I had just had my tongue pierced two weeks before, so when I came back to the piercing studio to get the bar changed I talked it over with my piercer. He told me he had never done them before, but after our countless talks about me wanting something different, he said he was game for it.

I brought a friend with me for emotional support, but refused to tell him what I was getting done. I wanted to keep it a surprise, so I just referred to it as 'that piercing we talked about last time'. My piercer caught on pretty quickly and went to set up. My friend and I looked around at the jewelry counter for a while, then my piercer called me into the room.

He washed his hands and put on a pair of gloves, then instructed me to rinse my mouth out with mouthwash, then have a seat in the chair. As we had previously discussed, he sat out a pair of 16g needles and labret studs. He said he was going to use the shorter studs because there shouldn't be much swelling, but assured me I could come back and get the swell bars if I had any problems. He leveled out and marked the corners of my mouth and had me check in the mirror for placement. I decided to have them moved closer in, as they looked a little too much like poorly placed cheek piercings. Once the marks were level and in the right spot, he opened the needles.

He went for the right side first and clamped on the forceps. There was some pressure, but it didn't hurt much. He told me to breathe in and pushed the first needle through. There was a sharp pain, but the pain wasn't bad at all. I remember telling him if felt like a bee sting. He threaded the jewelry through and secured the ball. Then he went for the lefty.

Again, the clamp was fine, but this time, the needle took a little extra effort to get through. I could hear it push through the inner part of my mouth then pop through the skin. It hurt. A lot. He put in the stud, secured the ball, cleaned up the little bit of blood that seeped out, and had me look in the mirror.

I was in love. They were beautiful. I thought they looked a little odd with my single lip stud, but they were just perfect. They look like an extension of my lips, just like a Chelsea smile.

He had me rinse again and gave me the aftercare instructions. They were pretty sore, but all was well. We came out of the piercing room and my friend flipped. He said they looked perfect. I was so happy with the whole experience.

Then I woke up the next day.

They were extremely swollen and the left one was started to imbed into my skin. It was very painful, but it was a Sunday, so I had no choice but to just soak them in sea salt water and wait it out. The next morning, things had only gotten worse. I went back to the shop as soon as they opened and asked to have the swell bars put in. My piercer obliged, but he had some trouble getting the balls off. It took three different instruments to finally clamp down the back disc and twist off the balls. Pus and blood oozed out, and it hurt SO BAD. He cleaned them up and got the swell bars in, but as soon as the balls were screwed in, they both started to imbed again. He said that the longer studs had a tendency to lose the balls and to be careful. He gave me the shorter studs to keep for when they were healed, and I left.

As the day went on, the swelling only got worse. They were badly infected, sore, and very puffy. The balls in the studs were tiny and were sinking into my skin. I went out to Wal-Mart with my sister that night, and the left ball suddenly popped off. I looked around for it, hoping to rush home and clean it, but it was nowhere to be found. I checked out Wal-Mart's limited selection of body jewelry and got the idea that maybe, just maybe, a pair of curved barbells would work. I purchased a pack of four and rushed home to sterilize them. I stuck one in the left hole and after some fumbling, got the ball on. Immediately, it felt much more comfortable. I put the right one in and soaked both sides in sea salt water. They started to feel so much better. They were still sore, still swollen, and still infected, but they finally had the room they needed to swell as normal.

It's been a day since I switched into the curved barbells and the improvement is astonishing. Of course, the infection hasn't cleared up completely, but it's not nearly as bad as before. There is nothing pushing into my skin now, and they feel totally comfortable. Sea salt combined with not touching them for ANY reason is helping them to finally heal up properly.

I've had every piercing done at the same shop and have never had any problems with them until now, but despite the issues I've had, I love them. The only advice I have for anyone thinking about getting them is to INSIST on curved barbells. Although it makes sense that they would act like a lip or monroe piercing, the corners of the mouth have the most muscle and move the most, so they will swell pretty bad, and the curved barbells allow for that swelling while staying comfortable.

Other than that, I'd recommend the piercing to anyone. It would probably be best to find a piercer who has done them before if you can, but they are seriously adorable.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 08 Dec. 2009
in Lip Piercing

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