Face Piercings: What to Know Before Getting One

Emmanuella is a freelance writer and copy editor with a liking for simple yet elegant…

Curious about face piercings? Looking for a comprehensive guide? Look no further, we’ve got you covered.

Face piercings are the perfect accessory for a modern and elevated look. Celebrities, artists, and even royals have them. They increase appeal and go great with body art too. So if you have been considering getting your face pierced, consider this your sign to take the plunge. 

Throughout this article, we will go over the several different types of face piercings you can get, piercing care tips, what to know beforehand, and more.

Let’s get started! 


History of Face Piercings

Everything has its place in history — and piercings are no different. While it’s hard to pinpoint when the first piercing was made, anthropologist Paul King believes that piercings have been around for at least 25,000 years. But how exactly do these piercings work?

How do face piercings work?

Face piercings are punctures or perforations made on any part of the face for the purpose of wearing jewelry in them.

The right set of face piercings can create an illusion to make your face look slightly different. But it all comes down to the type piercing and jewelry you use.

When you go into a studio, the piercer will start the process by sterilizing your skin, this helps prevent infections that might occur during the perforation. 

When your skin is clean and completely dry, the piercer will mark your desired area for the piercing. Finally, they’ll create the perforation with a needle and insert the jewelry of your choice.

What’s the purpose of a face piercing?

Over the years, the purpose of face piercings has changed. Earlier civilizations had face piercings for religious reasons like showing gratitude to the gods for their lives or protecting themselves from demon possessions. 

In some cultures, girls got face piercings as an initiation into womanhood and a sign that they were of marriageable age. Other generations saw face piercings as a mark of slavery, prostitution, or wealth. 

However, in our day, face piercings serve as an expression of style and personality, and aesthetic enhancement. 


5 Types of Face Piercings 

Here are 5 types of face piercings you should know.

Lip Piercings 

Lip Piercing

Lip piercings are perforations made either on or around your lips. They give your lips a narrower or fuller look depending on the types of lip piercings you get. 

While pain levels vary depending on the spot you get pierced and your pain tolerance, it shouldn’t go beyond a 6 out of 10. Most lip piercings heal in about three months. We have a comprehensive lip piercing guide for more detailed information.


Nose Piercings 

Nose Piercing

Nose piercings are done through the skin or the cartilage on the nose. The earliest records of nose piercings go back to the 1910s but they rose to popularity during the 1960s. They draw attention away from less desirable areas of your face to your nose.

The pain level depends on the part of the nose being pierced. Common types of nose piercings include nostril, septum, and bridge piercings. Most perforations heal between 2-4 months.


Tongue Piercings

Tongue Piercing

While these are oral piercings, they are still listed under facial piercings.

Tongue piercings tend to hurt less than other types of facial piercings because the needle goes through connective tissues, and not skin or cartilage. 

The tricky part about tongue piercings is the aftercare. You have to diligently take care of the piercing to avoid infections and permanent damage to your tongue.


Anti-Eyebrow Piercings

Anti-eyebrow piercing

Source 

You have two options when it comes to getting an anti-eyebrow piercing. Your piercer could either put it above your cheekbone, which is the most common option, or under your eyebrow.

The perforation can be vertical or horizontal depending on your face structure and personal preference. Jewelry items often used with this type of piercing are surface bars and barbells.


Eyelid Piercings

Eyelid Piercing

Source

Eyelid piercings are one of the most dangerous piercings. You need to approach them with caution. The risks of infection are higher than with other piercings.

They can damage your eyeball and affect your vision, so it’s best to consult a professional before getting them. And paying extra attention to the aftercare if you go through with it.

💡 Take Care: To prevent irreversible damage to your eye, consult a professional reputable piercer with years of experience before getting an eyelid piercing. 


What to Know Before Getting a Face Piercing

There are a few things you might want to know before getting a face piercing. These can help you feel more prepared for your new piercing and its aftercare.

How old do you have to be for a face piercing?

You have to be over 18 to get a piercing without anyone’s permission.

However, for minors it depends on the laws of the state you live in. 

  • In Idaho, minors aged 14-18 require the presence of a parent or legal guardian. 
  • Currently, Hawaii has no age limits on piercings. 
  • Iowa has no laws on body piercings.
  • In Mississippi, it’s illegal to body pierce a minor.
  • In Minnesota, even with parental consent, it’s illegal for minors to get a tongue piercing or subdermal and microdermal piercings.

Check the laws in your state to be sure. 

How much do face piercings cost?

The pricing depends on the studio, the type of starter jewelry, and the location of the piercing. However, you can expect to pay anywhere between $20-$55 for a face piercing.

How to prepare for a face piercing

Here’s how to prepare for your face piercing.

  • Get a professional piercer: It all starts with getting the right person for the job. Find a licensed, highly recommended, and experienced piercer. You’ll feel more confident and less anxious when you’re in good hands.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol: Stay off coffee and alcohol for at least 24 hours before your appointment. These beverages contain blood-thinning elements that may cause excessive bleeding. 
  • Eat a proper meal: Professional piercers recommend having a full meal beforehand to keep your blood sugar steady. Low blood sugar may make you dizzy or you might even faint during your appointment.
  • Put your hair up: If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to hold it up, away from the piercings. The jewelry could snag your hair and it could get stuck.
  • Wear comfortable clothing: You’ll have to take the clothes off at some point after your appointment so make sure they’ll come off easily without rubbing against your piercing.

Do they numb your face before piercing?

You can ask your piercer to use numbing spray before making the perforation but studios don’t typically use numbing elements.

What type of jewelry is used for a face piercing?

Piercers generally use studs, straight barbells, and curved barbells for starter jewelry. It depends on what area of the face you’re getting pierced.

The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) has approved a few safe jewelry metals for fresh piercings. They include implant-grade titanium, surgical steel, 14K and 18K gold (yellow, white, or rose), platinum, and glass (fused-quartz, lead-free soda-lime, and lead-free borosilicate). 

When the perforation heals completely, you can use any type of jewelry that suits your piercing. And if your skin is not sensitive to nickel or other elements, you can use any metal.  

💡 Beware: Some piercers use hoops for starter jewelry but these can easily get caught in clothing and delay healing or cause infections. 

What is the normal gauge size for a face piercing?

It depends on the type of face piercing. For example, the standard gauge size for a tongue piercing is 14G. For a labret lip piercing, it’s 14G or 16G, and for a nose piercing it’s 18G or 20G.

Do you need dimples to get cheek piercings?

No, you don’t need dimples to get cheek piercings. But dimple piercings will make it look like you have dimples.

How bad do face piercings hurt?

The pain level will vary based on the piercing site and your pain tolerance. However, you should remember that the pain is momentary either way.

How long does it take for face piercings to heal?

Healing times vary depending on the type of piercing and aftercare. Tongue piercings can take as little as three to four weeks to heal while nose piercings can take upto 16 weeks to heal. 

Do face piercings close?

As your perforation heals, the starter jewelry keeps the hole from closing. If you keep the jewelry in until it heals, it won’t close. The scar tissue prevents the hole from closing. 


How to Care for Face Piercings 

The healing period of a face piercing is sensitive. If you don’t care for your piercing properly, your body will reject the piercing, or you could get an infection and possibly cause irreversible damage. Here’s how to care for your face piercings:

  • Avoid touching the piercing and jewelry unnecessarily.
  • If you must touch it (like when cleaning), wash your hands first.
  • Apply a cool compress or gel pack within the first 48 hours of getting the piercing to ease the swelling and discomfort. 
  • Clean the piercing site with a saline solution at least twice a day.
  • Dry the cleaned piercing with a paper towel and not a cloth as it may contain germs. Also, the jewelry could snag the cloth.
  • Avoid using makeup and cosmetics.
  • Avoid oral sexual activity and sharing utensils if you have an oral piercing.
  • Rinse your mouth with saline every after a meal if you have a tongue or mouth piercing.
  • Avoid shared water bodies like swimming pools and the ocean as they are bacteria habitat. 

How do you clean face piercings?

After washing your hands, soak your piercing in a saline solution for about 10 minutes. 

If the piercing is located in an area you can’t soak, dip a clean piece of gauze in the solution and apply it to the piercing.

Rinse the area with clean water then pat it dry with a paper towel. 

💡 Warning: Avoid cleaning your piercing with hydrogen peroxide and alcohol-based cleaning agents as they will irritate the piercing site and lengthen healing time. 

When can I change my face piercing?

We recommend waiting until the perforation is healed (at least three months) before changing your jewelry. This allows the perforation to heal fully.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Face piercings are a big deal and most people have a lot of questions about them. Luckily, we’ve answered them for you. 

How do face piercings stay in?

Most piercing jewelry has barbells that close on both ends using screws. This allows the face piercings to stay in place.

What facial piercings suit what face shape?

Oval faces can rock almost any type of piercing, but found faces will need angular placements for their facial piercings. Cartilage piercings are best for square faces, and nose or lip piercings can go well with narrow facial structures.

How many face piercings can I get done at once?

Reputable studios will let you get a maximum of four piercings in one sitting. However, multiple piercings are harder to care for and take longer to heal, especially if they are close together. 

For example if you have three nostril piercings and one gets inflamed for whatever reason, the others probably will too. 

How can I hide my face piercing?

Fresh face piercings are hard to hide because you need to keep the starter jewelry in until they heal. But once they are healed, you can hide them by using clear or skin-colored silicone retainers especially for nose and mouth piercings. 

What does cheek piercing symbolize?

The cheek piercing was originally used by seal hunters on the Aleutian islands to disguise as whiskers so that the seals could relate to them and come to the shore. Today, the cheek piercing is purely for aesthetic purposes.

Who shouldn’t get a face piercing?

Don’t get a face piercing if you’re constantly under the influence of drugs and alcohol. They contain elements that thin the blood which causes over bleeding. The piercing will take long to heal which may lead to infections.

Don’t get a face piercing if your job doesn’t allow it. Some face piercings aren’t easy to hide.

How many face piercings does Dabi have?

Dabi, the major antagonist in the anime series, My Hero Academia, has a triple nostril piercing on the right side of his nose. He also has several helix piercings in both ears. 


Ready for Your New Face Piercing?

Your new life after getting a face piercing can feel weird for the first few days as your body adjusts to the feel of jewelry on your skin. However, if you follow the care guide we provided above, you can enjoy a speedy and healthy recovery. 

If you want to go one step beyond getting facial piercings and learn about other types of perforations, then you will need a comprehensive guide to getting body piercings. You can also turn to other people’s piercing experiences for an idea of how the procedure will go.

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