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Third time's the charm for my lip... I hope.

I got the itch for a new piercing about 6 months ago. I already had a ring in my left nostril, 2 captive bead rings in each earlobe, and a belly button piercing. It had been 6 years since my last piercing, during which I had been super-busy with college and became interested in tattoos, so piercing had been put on the back burner. But here I was again, trying to figure out what I could stab with a needle. I decided on a labret – simple, easy to heal and I LOVE the way they look.

So for my first attempt I failed to do very much research on the shop. I had just moved to a new city (El Paso, TX) and simply dropped by the nearest studio to my house. It appeared clean, and they used sterile needles, etc., but it just didn't have a good vibe. No one greeted my friend and I when we walked in, and the place smelled heavily of incense, and something else as well. In any case, I told the piercer I wanted the labret on the right side of my lip, and he tried a few markings. He didn't get it quite as low as I wanted, but I was feeling too picky and went with the lowest spot he dotted. That was my first mistake. Next he had me rinse with Scope and he clamped my lip, then pierced. He didn't tell me when to breathe, so I ended up almost passing out because I held my breath too long. I had to step outside and put my head between my knees before I could go back in to pay and get aftercare instructions, which were vague. Second big problem – I needed aftercar e instructions! Specific ones! Still, I was excited to have a new piercing.

It only lasted 3 weeks. The placement was terrible and I was constantly biting the bar while eating. He didn't offer to change the jewelry out for me, so I tried to change it myself after 10 days (too soon), but couldn't get the new jewelry in because I'm clumsy as fuck. So, farewell labret.

A month later, I decided I would try again, with a better piercer and better placement. This time I drove to Las Cruces, NM, which is about an hour from El Paso, but I knew the town better and had multiple recommendations for a good shop there. I had lunch at one of my favorite cafes and walked next door to The Tattoo Co. Upon entering the shop, I was immediately greeted with "Do you need help with anything?" by the front desk girl and one of the artists. I told them I wanted another labret, and the piercer went to get set up right away. I filled out the paperwork, gave them my license and paid for the piercing and a bag of sea salt. The piercer told me to come back to the piercing room and asked me about placement and jewelry, then dotted me exactly where I wanted it. He then had me sit down, explained the autoclave markings on the packages, and opened everything (while wearing gloves, of course!) in front of me. He clamped, told me when to breathe, pierced, and inse rted the jewelry, all very quickly. I had quite a bit of bleeding, but it stopped within a minute or two. I was super happy with the new placement and tipped my piercer before leaving.

This time it lasted 3 months. It healed easily with sea salt soaks on the outside and Biotene rinsing inside, other than one night of bleeding all over my pillow (I'm guessing the culprit was one of my pets bumping me in my sleep). After 3 weeks, I came back and the piercer changed out the bar to a short one for me, free of charge and painlessly. I absolutely LOVED my new labret, but my gums did not. After about 10 weeks, I started noticing some gum soreness. I thought I had just bumped it somehow, but it didn't go away – in fact, it got worse. I finally pulled down my lip to check it out one night, and sure enough, the gum in front of one front tooth was gone, and the jewelry was eroding the tooth. Crap. I promptly took out the jewelry and resolved to ask the guys at the shop about it next time I was in town. I love the piercing and all, but no way in hell am I going to mess up my teeth for a piece of jewelry.

Over the next few months, I was busy getting a whole bunch of new tattoos, so although I had lost my pretty lip decoration, I was collecting ink and getting to know all the artists and piercers at the shop really well. By the way, they also have fantastic tattoo artists in there.

I finally felt that the hole from my previous labret was sufficiently closed and I was craving another attempt at the ol' lip piercing. Last time I went for a tattoo touch-up, I talked to Drew, the most experienced piercer and half-owner of the shop, about the problems I had. He said he had the same problems with his snakebites, and he switched to lip rings, which have worked well for him. So this evening, I ate dinner with friends and then headed over to the shop. At this point everyone in the shop says "Hey Heather!" when I walk in. I singled out Drew and told him I wanted to get pierced. He set up and we went through the same paperwork and sterile packaging info, etc. as last time. When we had my lip cleaned and marked, he clamped and pierced. It hurt a bit more this time – before it just seemed like a quick stab, but this time was a larger gauge (14 instead of 16) and closer to the lip. I felt the needle push in, push most of the way through, then a little bit of a pop as it came through the outer skin. Drew was really great though, joking and chatting the whole time, and inserted the CBR very smoothly.

I am extremely happy with it (again!), even though the hoop is ridiculously large right now. I will be going back as soon as it's healed to get it changed to a smaller one, but the placement and jewelry is very comfortable. I don't anticipate any healing problems using the sea salt soaks and Biotene that Drew recommended (again). The Tattoo Co. is absolutely wonderful. They are very concerned with sterile procedure, knowledgeable, and a really fun group of people as well.

I really, really, really hope that this time, I can keep the labret that I love so much!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Lip Piercing

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Artist: Drew
Studio: The+Tattoo+Company%2FExotic+Expressions
Location: Las+Cruces%2C+New+Mexico

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