Embedding is a common complication that happens with new piercings – especially lip piercings. Sometimes, it resolves without treatment, but some cases require medical attention. We’ve gathered a few tips in this article to show you how to stop lip piercing embedding before it becomes too serious.
Is it normal for a lip piercing to sink into your lip?
Lip or tongue piercings typically go through a “nesting” phase after they are newly done. This nesting occurs when the jewelry sinks into the pierced tissue. The tissue then forms a pocket-like shape around the back of the jewelry.
Nesting is a normal reaction that helps to protect your gum and teeth from getting scraped at or damaged by the jewelry. As long as the jewelry can move freely after it’s nested, there’s no need to worry. Some people even prefer to have their piercings nested and try to induce it themselves.
Nesting can be subtle – many people don’t even realize that it’s happening. They only notice after a while that the piercing is no longer pressing against their teeth.
However, nesting becomes a problem when more than half of the piercing sinks into the tissue, the skin starts to cover the piercing, or when the piercing feels tightly stuck in its pocket. Most people visit their piercers when it happens, and others seek medical advice.
Why Your Lip Piercing is Embedding
Piercings may become embedded for different reasons.
As mentioned, it can be a natural response – to an extent – to new oral piercings.
Another reason is using the wrong bar length. If your piercer uses a too-short bar, your piercing will likely become embedded because of the swelling that occurs after a piercing.
In addition, if your piercer doesn’t insert your piercing correctly, it will eventually become crooked and then get embedded into the tissue.
Also, when a piercing is not allowed to heal properly, it can get infected and then nest into your lip tissue.
Can skin grow over the back of a lip piercing?
Skin growing over a piercing is possible (and even common). It can happen just after a new piercing or after a long while.
The “skin” growing over your piercing may be anything from keloids or lumps to fluid-filled bumps. It may be growing due to the body’s attempt to heal the area, overgrown fibrous tissue, an allergic reaction, or irritation of the pierced area.
Unfortunately, this can become a problem for you over time because you won’t be able to get the metal out if the skin completely envelops it. So, as soon as you notice skin covering your piercing, try to take out the jewelry and let the wound heal.
However, your best bet will be to go back to your piercer for advice as soon as possible.
How to Stop a Lip Piercing from Embedding
Your piercer probably knows best how to stop lip piercing embedding, but there are also a few things you can do on your own:
Take out the piercing jewelry
If you notice the piercing jewelry is sinking into your lip tissue, you can take it out and let it heal completely. Then when you’re ready, try piercing again.
Replace the bar with a longer one
Since piercings usually swell up after they are punctured, experienced piercers often use a larger piece of jewelry so that it doesn’t get stuck. Then when the piercing is finally healed, they replace it with the appropriate size.
If your piercer used a small bar for your piercing, you’ll have to take it out and get a longer one.
Clean your piercing frequently.
After a new piercing, piercers recommend cleaning materials like a saline solution to help prevent infections. Follow the instructions and clean the piercing regularly to prevent swelling, infections, or embedding.
Use the right metal.
Some people are allergic to certain jewelry metals. So make sure your piercer uses quality metal like steel or titanium on your new piercing. Even if you’ve already been pierced, you should still change the jewelry if it’s starting to cause a reaction in your skin.
Apply tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is known to help in wound healing. It may also ease any irritation or redness around the area.
💡 Take Note: Avoid using undiluted tea tree oil on an open wound. Dilute 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with half a cup of water and clean the wound with a cotton pad soaked in the mixture. You can also use one part of tea tree oil mixed with two parts of a carrier oil like coconut oil to clean the wound.
Choose an experienced piercer.
If you haven’t gotten your piercing yet, ensure you choose a reputable piercer when you finally decide to get it done. A good piercer will choose the right jewelry size and insert it properly. If they do it well enough, you can prevent an embedding entirely.
What should you do when your lip piercing is nesting?
The first thing you should do is contact your piercer so that they can figure out the problem. But if you can’t see your piercer, there are a few things you can do:
- If the piercing isn’t completely stuck in the pocket and the swelling isn’t too bad, try to push the jewelry around to prevent nesting.
- Clean your piercing constantly with saline solution and treat with ice.
- Take anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to help with the swelling until you can finally go to the piercer.
Try not to touch or irritate the piercing as much as possible, but if you can’t avoid it, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching it.
How to Remove an Embedded Lip Piercing
Once you notice your piercing is embedded, try to get it out as soon as possible. If you wait longer, your piercing may get infected.
Removing the jewelry yourself will be a little tricky, especially if it feels tight in the hole. The best option would be to go back to your piercer. But if that’s not possible, you can try to remove the jewelry with these steps:
- Apply pressure on the opposite side of the embedded piercing so that it protrudes a bit from its cavity/pocket.
- Grab hold of the jewelry once the back of the jewelry is visibly above the lip.
- Unscrew the piercing ball on the opposite side while you’re still holding the back of the piercing.
- Pull out the piercing gently.
If the pain is too much to bear or you can’t get the piercing out, it’ll be better to seek professional help.
There’s Hope for Your Piercing
Getting a piercing is an exciting experience that can be satisfying when it turns out right. But sometimes, there’ll be bumps on the road to recovery.
Embedded piercings are one of such bumps, but they shouldn’t push you to give up on your piercing. If you follow the tips in this guide, you can save your piercing and get the best out of it.
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