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Snake Bites Piercing: Risks, Aftercare, and Jewelry Advice

Snake bite piercing is a form of lower lip piercing

Snake bite piercing is a form of lower lip piercing

A snake bite piercing is quite popular these days, and more and more young people are getting them on their lips. In short, they are a type of lip piercing in which two piercings are done on the lower lip. The piercings are done at an equal distance from the center of the lip so that it looks like the fangs of a snake. Typically, a ring or a stud is worn in each piercing.

The term is also sometimes used for two piercings placed on the eyebrows, tongue, or cheeks.

However, it is mainly a form of lower lip piercing.

The Risks and Pain Involved

A snake bite is a type of labret piercing. So, all the risks and pain involved in a labret piercing applies for a snake bite too. You can get more information on labret piercing by clicking on the link given on the right side.

However, you will need to consider one fact here. In a snake bite, you will be getting two piercings done at one go. So, it is going to be more painful than the single spot body piercings. Besides this, there is always the risk of damage to your lower teeth as well as gum infections. Infections and allergic reactions may also occur in the area of the piercing.

Also, keep in mind that this is both an external as well as an oral piercing, so you will need to follow the aftercare instructions for both. The area is going to be sore for a while, so eating and drinking maybe a problem for a few days. Swollen lips will also make it difficult for you to speak properly. However, these problems are only temporary and will disappear within a few days.

  • All You Want to Know about Labret Piercing
    Are you interested in a labret piercing? Well, then get all the information about what it is, the different types, risks involved, aftercare, and the jewelry you can use to adorn a labret.

The Importance of a Good Piercer

If you want to reduce the risks involved in a snake bite, you should choose an experienced piercer. A good piercer is also important to ensure that they line up properly. Both should be at an equal distance from the center of the lip. If one of them is slightly higher or lower than the other or if both of them are not at an equal distance, the piercing will not look symmetrical and you may just end up not liking it.

A good piercer is likely to mark the piercing area on both sides with dots and make you look into the mirror. If you think the placement is perfect, he or she will go ahead with the procedure.

Good aftercare of your snake bites can help quicken the healing process

Good aftercare of your snake bites can help quicken the healing process

What Happens During a Snake Bite Piercing Procedure?

Once you approve the placement of the piercing and the jewelry, the professional will clean your lips with an antiseptic lotion. A clamp may be used to hold the skin firmly in place as well as to reduce the pain.

A needle will then be inserted into the marked areas and the jewelry will be placed. The same procedure will be done on both sides of the lips. There will be some pain but not too much. Of course, it also depends on how much pain are you able to handle. Some people may feel minimal pain while others may find it a little more painful.

Aftercare for Your Snake Bite

It takes 10 minutes and voila you have your own snake fangs! Now, starts your real work. Good aftercare of your piercing will hasten the healing process and prevent infections and pain. Healing can taken anywhere from 6 to 12 months. However, most of the healing will be done within 6-8 weeks and you can change your jewelry after this period.

Considering that it is an oral piercing, that is, an area inside your mouth has been pierced, you will need to maintain proper oral hygiene. Use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash for rinsing your mouth for about 30-60 seconds. Do this around 4 times throughout the day at intervals of about 4-6 hours. Ideal times to rinse your mouth are after meals or after drinking a sugary beverage.

It is also an external piercing. So, you need to wash the outside area with an antibacterial soap at least twice day. Avoid using harsh soaps or moisturizers in the area. Use a Q-tip to clean the areas where it is difficult to reach.

A warm sea salt solution is the best way to quicken the healing process. So, dissolve about 1/4th teaspoon of sea salt in one cup of warm water. The water should be slightly warm but not hot. Rinse your mouth with the water for about 30 seconds. Soak a cotton ball in the water and place it on the external area of the snake bite for about 2 minutes. Use this saline water solution twice a day.

Avoid smoking, alcohol, deep kissing or oral sex during the healing period as these may irritate the area and also cause infections. If you are in the habit of putting pencils in your mouth or biting on your fingernails, now is a good time to stop.

While it may be tempting to play with the jewelry, you may want to keep your hands on the side. Playing with the jewelry may only lead to unnecessary pain and infections. It may also lead to teeth and gum problems.

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Don't take out the jewelry during the healing process. This may slow down the healing process and the holes may close up.

Avoid biting on the jewelry and eat small bites of solid food. Brush your tongue and jewelry gently to make sure that these are clean.

Rotate your piercing jewelry twice a day to remove crusts and ensure that it doesn't get stuck in one place. But don't overdo it.

Take a vitamin B and zinc supplement for a few weeks since it helps in accelerating the healing process.

Dealing With Swelling, Pain, and Infections

Swelling for the first 3-5 days is quite normal. If you are feeling very uncomfortable, take Advil or Motrin to reduce the pain and swelling. A little bit of bleeding for the first few days is quite normal. So, don't get scared.

A little bit of reddishness in the area is also normal. Slight tenderness and discomfort may occur throughout the healing process. Whitish or yellowish secretion is also normal. It just indicates that the healing is taking place.

If you notice an unusual swelling or there is an increase in pain, make sure to contact your piercer for advice. In case of an infection, you may want to consult your physician, who may put you on a course of antibiotics.

Quick Facts About Snake Bite Piercing

  • Snake bites are a type of lower lip piercing.
  • Perfect placement of the two piercings on the two sides of the lip is important for it to look good.
  • Good oral as well as external aftercare is necessary for the healing.
  • Studs and rings can be worn on your lip piercing.

Choose Your Snake Bite Jewelry

After 6-8 weeks, you may just be ready to try out a new piece of jewelry. Take a look at a few of the labret studs and rings on the right side of the article and buy one that you think is just right for you.

Keep in mind that proper aftercare of your snake bites lip piercing ensures that healing is quick and fast. So, take good care of the area and use some pretty pieces of jewelry to show off to others!

© 2014 Great Living


Great Living (author) on September 05, 2017:


Sounds like an infection since you say that the swelling has come up after 3 weeks. Try and do some sea salt water soak for a day or two. If it doesn't subside, please do get treatment. It is not a good idea to touch the bar if there is an infection. Just leave it as it is. It will be okay once the swelling subsides.

Do continue sharing your experience!

Pixie on September 05, 2017:

I got mine done about 3-4 weeks ago, last night one decided to swell up(which caused half a big lip) it also tightened around the back but over the plate of the bar. I just pushed it through and it was grand, but should I get a longer bar in?

Great Living (author) on June 25, 2017:

Hi Kristine!

The swelling is common for about 5-7 days, you needn't worry about it. That blue line could also be something to do with all the bruising your lip has gone through. Wait for a few more days and take action only if it gets worse. Else, just relax and enjoy your lip piercing!

Have fun!

Kristine on June 25, 2017:

I just got my snake bites two days ago and i just noticed a blue line on the right side of my lip, I think it might be a vain but im not really sure. Is this something i should worry about? And also my mouth is still kinda puffy

Jaz on December 08, 2016:

I want to get snakebites but im aa smoker is there a safe way to go about it or should i stop smoking untill its healed

Chaze on November 17, 2016:

Hi there. In my experience having snake bite piercing, actually its not painful at all. The first one on the left and in the next third week the right one. The cartillage piercing in your ears is much more painful than lip piercing but you really need to take care of it like cleaning ever now and then after eating and its quiet hassle. That's it.

Great Living (author) on October 24, 2016:


If you are not facing any issues, like swelling or pain, there is no reason not to change your jewelry. It is anyway falling off. So, you are actually putting it in again. Might as well, try out something that doesn't fall off.

Do continue sharing your experiences! It may help someone else!

Ayse Pohl on October 23, 2016:

Hello there, I know from what I've read in the comments that you recommend not switching the jewelry at all during the 6-8 weeks of healing time. Unfortunately, the current jewelry I have has fallen out twice on one side and once on the other just today. Despite how often I wash and tighten them, they still end up loosening themselves. Due to this, I really want to swap out my jewelry for another set. So far it has been 4 and a half weeks since I got the piercings, they began falling out a week ago. Would you recommend a swap in jewelry or that I persevere through it?

Great Living (author) on September 23, 2016:


That sounds slightly strange. Your piercing can't really close up within 9 hours. The piercing is probably a little tilted or something and that's why the ring isn't going back in.

Don't try to force anything, you might just damage the skin. Talk to the piercer and ask him/her to check this.

Jayman on September 22, 2016:

I got snake bites done early this year (January). 1 of the rings went partially through my lip because piercer said i "flinched".

I did all the aftercare for 3 months. Everything was awesome. I needed surgery in early April so had to remove all my piercings. I was home 9 hours later. 1 side of the bites went back in no problem. The side through my lip had grown in within the 9 hours & wasn't able to get the ring back in, even with smaller gauge.

Is that normal?


Great Living (author) on September 19, 2016:


A retainer should be fine, but talk to your piercer before you get the piercing done and let him or her suggest an option for it or best, let them provide it to you.

Reese on September 19, 2016:

I want to get mine pierced this weekend but I'm not trying to have OT that visible can I wear a retainer in for the healing process....

Great Living (author) on August 15, 2016:


It should be probably be OK after a few days. Give it at least 10 days, it should settle down. Don't replace unless the area is healed!

mickala on August 12, 2016:

i got my snake bites done a couple days ago, and the back of the flat part is digging into my lip.. should i get longer ones ?

Great Living (author) on May 08, 2016:


The right time to change your earrings is when the area has healed. 1 week is very less time for healing. The best thing to do is to wait for about 6-8 weeks because the healing would be complete by then. No risk there.

But if you still want to change it after a week, take a look at the pierced area after a week, if there is no pain and infection, you can consider changing it. If not, just give it another week, and so on. Don't hurry. It will only cause problems.

Do share you experience again! It may help someone else!

margarita on May 08, 2016:

I just got my piercing today but it was not done Professionally it was done with a earing for the ear they said change it after a week is it the same as if I got it done professionally

Great Living (author) on March 20, 2016:


Scar tissue can cause issues, mostly rejection. Just keep an eye on the area and keep it clean and disinfected. It may take more time for healing but it will be fine!

elizabeth on March 20, 2016:

I had my snake bites done before but this time they went threw the scar tissue I was wondering it the healing time would be different

Nightshade013 on March 14, 2016:

Thank you ^_^

Great Living (author) on March 13, 2016:

Hey Nightshade013,

It has been two months, so the chances are quite low that they will close up if you take them out for only a few hours. It also seems that you have no issues taking out. It must have healed pretty well. But don't make it a permanent thing. If you wear something for only a couple of hours everyday, it should be OK. You can easily do it when you get back from office. You could also try out and see if just wearing over the weekend does the trick. Experiment and you should be fine!

Nightshade013 on March 12, 2016:

First, it's hard to believe it's been two months now :)

Second, I was able to change them after a week with no problems and continued to clean inside and out twice a day, but here's my big question.... What are the chances of my snake bites closing up if I have to take them out for a few hours? I have a job interview tomorrow and possibly starting my new job as well. Not 100% sure what the policy is on facial piercings there and at the same time I don't want them to close up. Any advice or tips are welcome and much appreciated :)

Great Living (author) on February 16, 2016:


Sea salt is ideal because your normal table salt (the salt that we generally use) can cause a slight irritation and itching. But if you don't have access to sea salt for some reason, you can use normal salt too!

China on February 16, 2016:

Do you have to use only sea salt or can it be just salt

Great Living (author) on January 13, 2016:

Hi Angel,

There isn't any food restriction. Of course, if you are too fond of spicy or chili-based foods, or even hard foods, you may want to be careful or avoid it for sometime. It may just cause some discomfort at the piercing spot. Basically, any food that causes irritation or burning at the spot, try to avoid it.

Do share how the healing goes!

Great Living (author) on January 13, 2016:

Hi Nightshade013,

Ideally, you shouldn't be removing it unless it is healed completely. I think it would be better to be just careful while eating. The swelling will also subside soon. Just wait for a couple of weeks and it should be OK.

Do let us know how it goes!

Angel on January 13, 2016:

is there any food that is restricted during the healing process?

Nightshade013 on January 10, 2016:

I was just curious on how long I need to wait to switch my studs to smaller ones. I just got it done a couple nights ago and my lip is no longer swollen. The reason I want to wear smaller ones is because the ones I have in now are too long (the piercer made sure they would allow room for swelling). I'm mainly afraid of biting the barbell when I eat and it getting caught on my teeth when I smile.

Great Living (author) on January 02, 2016:


It should take about 6-8 weeks minimum to heal. Wait for that much time to remove your present stud and re-insert another. If its new, it can close up within a few days. Some people say it can close up within a few hours if its taken out during the healing phase or immediately after that. If it's more than 6 months or so, it will take a few weeks to a few months.

Eric Nieters on January 02, 2016:

How long do snakebites take to close up? I want to get the "ring" snakebites but I'm worried if it'll close up so quick that it'll re-heal.

mona on December 13, 2015:

Hi i got my snake bites friday this is the swcond time first time was 2-3 yrs ago well i have bruises on the inside both sides and my lip is super swollen. None of this happened the first time i got it swollen and i know sea salt is best but after the piercings he didnt give me nor ny sister any and she got a triple tongue piercing and cant talk now. Any way whay can help the swelling and the pain for me

Great Living (author) on October 03, 2015:


Sorry I missed your comment. I hope you are doing OK now and I am sure your piercer was able to place the 2nd piercing symmetrical to the first one. They usually are able to do so. It is not necessary to wait for the 1st piercing to heal to get the 2nd one. But it may make it difficult to get it symmetrical to the 1st one because of all the swelling.

Do share your experience, it may help others!

Great Living (author) on October 03, 2015:


It may be difficult to hide! Removing the jewelry immediately after the piercing can cause complications. Best is to get it over a vacation, so it gets at least partially healed when it is time to go to school. You can then take it off when going to school. A bandage could work temporarily too. It is going to be painful in the beginning. So, you will need to be careful. Plan on getting it on a vacation.

Regarding the cost, it will depend on where you live. Best is to locate your nearest piercing studio and ask them. Could cost anywhere from 40-90 USD depending on whether the jewelry is being included in it or not. Could be more.

Do share your experience when you do get the piercing!

Mireya❤ on October 03, 2015:

Hi im 13 and im turning 14 in 3 months, i read the whole article because im thinking of getting snake bites pericing but im scared to get them...

My school doesn't allow piercings and i would have to cover it up with like a bandage so if i do get it i dont want it to close during school, how do i hide it? Also how much would it cost to get them done?

Anto on July 14, 2015:

Reason I ask is I recently (2days ago) got a labret on one side and changed my mind i want one on both side. Will I have to wait it to heal and redo both piercings ? Or i can go and piercer should be able to calculate the distance so it's symetrical

Anto on July 14, 2015:

Do you HAVE to do both sides at same time or you can do one side and the other some weeks later. Wouldn't it be easier to eat with one side healed.

Great Living (author) on June 26, 2015:

Hi nephalem,

I hope you are better now. Please just don't change the ring unless the area has healed. It has already gone through quite a trauma. Use the sea salt soaks. They will really help. Give it time. It will subside. If you are too worried, just ask the piercer, they may be able to take a look and let you know if everything is normal or not.

Leonard on June 25, 2015:

Hey for people having issues with Jewellry causing damage to the inside of your mouth with the flat parts digging into the flesh, shredding the flesh etc. I solved this problem by changing to horseshoes (the rings) it takes a weeks to heal the damage, but that's how you can solve that problem without taking out the Jewellry and heal the piercing altogether. Of course use salt water to rinse your mouth if damage has been done. Mine were done in March 2014, it's now late June 2015.

nephalem on June 22, 2015:

Ive had the left side of my lip pierced for about five years now. A few years back i went to somebody else to complete my snakebites and was pierced at an angle so, i took it out, waited quite some time and had it done again, this piercer did the EXACT same thing. I dont mean they looked crooked. I mean the needle didnt go straight, it went at an angle, same place, twice. So rougly four years later, three days ago, i went back to my ORIGINAL guy from five years back and it is completly symetrical now. However, this is my first time dealing with a hoop as a starter, And the scar tissue from before and i smoke now. This is the third day, ive been eating ice and washing my mouth. The ring is alittle small and im afraid to go back to change it.

How can i minimize this swelling and discomfort?

And will this heal differently from my first one since it's not a stud?

(i chipped my tooth twice with a stud.)

Great Living (author) on May 16, 2015:


That's an excellent suggestion! Even I would recommend not to go for a snake bites during a cold or flu. It can indeed make matters worse. Yes, wait for a week or so or until you are sure that the infection has cleared up and then only go for the piercing.

Thanks for sharing your experience and excellent suggestion with everyone! I am sure it's going to help others!

tammy on May 16, 2015:

For those of you who want to get snake bites my advice is not to get them while you got a viral infection like a cold or a flu it can cause a wicked bad cold sore and even if it hasn't developed yet don't be fooled if the piercing needle goes through and you've got the flu it activates the cold sore so if you consider getting a snake bite pleases wait a week or two til your rid of the flu virus I had to take mine out and go on antibiotics to clear it up I don't want anyone else to do the same because really it's a waste of money if you have the flu please wait til your better

Great Living (author) on April 25, 2015:

Glad you consulted the doctor! At least you won't cause any further damage to the area! Do share your experience when the piercing gets healed and you are ready to change the jewelry. It will help so many people!

tammy on April 25, 2015:

Thank you so much for your advice I went and seen a doctor today and he gave me antibiotics with strict instructions, don't change the jewelry again and drink water of a night to prevent a dry mouth in the mornings to enable better cleaning and don't move the jewelry so much and having asked my piercer about the skin pocket she confirmed it was normal thanks once again

Great Living (author) on April 24, 2015:


It is normal to have this feeling in the initial stages. But you shouldn't be moving it around too much because it will only irritate the area. If the swelling doesn't subside within 2-3 days, better to have it checked.

tammy on April 24, 2015:

Is it normal for the base to be nestled in the swelling though I can feel it on my teeth when I smile and it feels like it gets stuck when I eat and I can still push it up from its nesting spot is this normal?

Great Living (author) on April 23, 2015:


You shouldn't have changed it so quickly! It's not even been a week! You need to wait for at least 6-8 weeks before making any changes.

My advice would be to visit a doctor immediately. Do use the sea salt water bath also.

tammy on April 23, 2015:

Hi I got my first snake bite done on Wednesday and had to change it to a 16 Gauge yesterday but it's swollen heaps and I have to keep pushing the back through is this normal

Great Living (author) on April 01, 2015:

Hi Amanda,

Just click on one the links above in the article where it says "Buy Now", for example, the 2pcs gold-plated labret ring. You don't have to buy it right away. The link will take you to Amazon, just enter "lip rings" or "lip hoops" in the search box there and you will find loads of hoops for your snake bites.

There is also an Ebay ad up there, just click and you will find a few there also, but not a big range.

The gauge will depend on what was used for your piercing, probably a 14 or 16 gauge. You can ask your piercer if you are not sure.

Do share when you find something you like. It will help many people a great deal!

amanda on April 01, 2015:

I am looking to buy the hoop type jewelry for ny snake bites. What is the jewelry called for this and can you recommend the gage and i have small lips so i would need something smaller. I would love a link to look at several. Please and thank you.

Great Living (author) on March 05, 2015:


It seems quite normal, the crusting as well as the hard skin. I hope it is not painful and getting worse? If it isn't and you feel that the area is getting better, you should be fine.

Do continue the salt bath!

colette on March 05, 2015:

Hi i had my side labret pierced 6 days ago. Iv noticed that on the outside of my lip, like under the skin (right above the stud) my skin feels a little hard, also i have abit of crust that's started to form all this normal?

Great Living (author) on March 05, 2015:


The law varies from state to state. But even if there is no law, I suggest you take written permission from your parents.

Great Living (author) on February 13, 2015:


If you are talking about the flat inside part of the bar sinking in the bottom lip, it is quite normal. But if you have any concerns, talk to your piercer. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Aiva on February 09, 2015:

Is it normal for the flat back piece to sink in your bottom lip?

Great Living (author) on January 27, 2015:


If the bump has suddenly appeared after the initial healing, it may definitely be infected. I hope you are doing the salt water bath. It should help. If it doesn't go away in a couple of days, time to see the doctor. Not to worry, a few medicines will take care of it.

Lisa on January 27, 2015:

I Got Mines Done In Sept And I Noticed About 3 Weeks Again The Labret Made A Circle In The Inside Of My Lips But Now Its Like A Bump In Front Of It Like A Piece Of Skin I Guess Could It Be Infected

Great Living (author) on January 15, 2015:


Bruising is normal after a piercing. Make sure to use the sea salt bath to help it heal faster. If it keeps on getting worse or if it is really too huge, then maybe it is time to get it checked.

hayley on December 28, 2014:

I got mine done yesterday and there is a huge bruise on the entire right sode (inside, outside, and on top of my lip) is that normal?

staci on December 16, 2014:

i have snake bites and in my opinion they are very easy to maintain but it does suck when ive had them out for a few days and having the labret make a circle in my lip again

Great Living (author) on December 08, 2014:

Hi Katherine,

The area will be a little sore for a few weeks, so you may feel pain while playing the instrument. So, plan it in such a way that you don't have any performances for about 2 months. Once it is healed, it shouldn't cause any problems as such.

Good luck!

Katherine on December 08, 2014:

So i play bass clarinet in the band at my high school and i was wondering if i woukd still be ablle to play with snakebites

Great Living (author) on December 07, 2014:


You can safely remove it after 6 to 8 weeks. Just make sure that the piercing has healed and be careful while removing it. Also, try to wear something in the piercing at least for a couple of hours every day. Otherwise, the hole may just close and you will have to do it again.

Good luck getting your piercing!

Alex from Virginia on December 05, 2014:

After the initial 6-8 weeks of healing when you can change out the jewelry, can you keep the piercings out for a few hours? I'm considering getting these before my summer job and I want to know if I'll be able to take them out during the day.

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