How Long Until You Can Change A Labret Piercing?

If you’ve had your lip pierced for the first time, you’re probably concerned about how long it takes before you can change the initial piercing for your favorite piece of jewelry. You shouldn’t change your jewelry before the piercing has healed; the time will depend on certain factors

When your piercer puts in the initial jewelry for your labret, they will use one with a longer bar to accommodate the swelling. Once your labret piercing has healed, you will probably want to replace it with a different barbell, post, or captive bead ring with a smaller size.

But how do you know when the time is right?

How Soon Can I Change My Labret Piercing?

The soonest you can change your labret is when the swelling is completely down, and the site has fully healed. If there are no problems, most labret piercings heal within six to eight weeks. It’s not recommended to change your labret piercing before this.

With this in mind, the soonest you can expect to change your labret piercing is four weeks if you heal quickly.

Your piercer will use a barbell or post with a longer bar to avoid the piercing becoming embedded in the flesh when your lip swells up. Once the swelling has subsided, you’ll likely find the longer bar irritating – mine kept knocking my teeth.

If there are no complications – such as signs of infection – you can go to your piercer and have them exchange the initial flat-back stud with a shorter one.

How Long Does It Take A Labret To Heal Fully?

If you keep your piercing clean and practice proper aftercare as your piercer recommends, your labret piercing should heal quickly and cleanly. Lip piercings are generally some of the fastest to heal, and most heal to the point where you can change the jewelry within six to eight weeks.

Healing can be delayed by infection and other complications such as using too small jewelry that needs to be cut out of the swollen skin. Some people are also slower to heal than others, especially those with anemia or other illnesses such as diabetes.

Getting sick can slow the healing process as your body fights off infection. People who abuse substances like alcohol, drugs, or smoke may also have compromised immunity and longer healing times.

It might surprise you that even the season can affect your healing time – in general, warmer weather and improved circulation can help wounds heal faster, and some people report that their piercings take longer to heal in winter.

A labret piercing is usually fully healed after about six months. However, you should be careful with it for about nine months as the exterior heals faster than the interior wound.

How To Make A Labret Heal Faster?

You can’t make your labret piercing heal faster than your body would typically heal, but you can prevent it from taking longer.

Good hygiene is essential to the labret healing process, as bacteria in the wound will cause infections that will take longer to heal. Especially with piercings like labrets, which are oral piercings, you want to stay on top of oral hygiene, as the mouth is a perfect breeding place for bacteria and disease.

Avoid eating spicy foods, smoking, or drinking alcohol, as these can irritate the wound. Another thing to think about is avoiding kissing or oral sex, as these activities can also bring bacteria to the wound site. Don’t fiddle with the piercing, especially with dirty hands.

Shower rather than bathe; don’t go swimming until your piercing has healed.

You can clean the outside of your piercing by applying a saline soak to your lip twice a day.

Keep the inside of your mouth clean. Brush your teeth as usual, and use an alcohol-free mouth wash to rinse out your mouth. Avoid mouthwash with strong flavors and alcohol as these can irritate the open piercing as it heals. Even better is to use saltwater as a mouth wash.

Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution made with pure sea salt and distilled water every time you eat, drink, or smoke. You can make the solution with ¼ teaspoon of pure sea salt mixed into a cup of distilled water.

How Do I Know When My Labret Is Healed?

You’ll likely notice your lip swell and the piercing area turn red during the healing process. There may be some pain, and the wound could have some discharge as it begins to heal. These are relatively normal, but you should keep watch for them if the piercing doesn’t improve.

If the swelling doesn’t go down, the swollen area is inflamed, itchy, and hot to the touch, or excessive fluid or pus, you should have a doctor look at the piercing. The sooner you stop an infection, the better your body will heal.

While the initial healing process generally takes about two and half months, the area is only fully healed at about six to nine months. By this point, the interior of the piercing wound will no longer be sensitive, and the skin will be more supple.

Vertical labrets take longer to heal than horizontal labrets, so bear this in mind.

Can You Kiss With A Labret Piercing?

Avoid kissing with a fresh labret piercing. Labret piercings take six to eight weeks to heal, and kissing before this can encourage the spread of bacteria, which can make the wound infected and slow healing.

If you kiss someone, rinse your mouth before and after with a sterile, alcohol-free mouthwash. You can also ask your partner to rinse their mouth out with a suitable mouthwash before they kiss you. The movement of your lip ring or stud may also aggravate the piercing site.

Once your labret has healed, kissing someone should not have problems. By the time you’ve had it for a while, you’ll not even notice any difference.

How to Change Labret Once it Has Healed

The first time you change your labret piercing – usually for a piercing with a shorter bar to avoid bashing your teeth – you might prefer to have your piercer change it for you.

Once the piercing site is wholly healed (about nine months), there should be no issues about changing the piercing jewelry yourself. If you have a flat back bar, the easiest way is to turn the bead until it comes loose and slide the post out.

Ensure your hands are clean and don’t use pliers to turn the bead.

When buying new jewelry, make sure it is the correct size. You can ask your piercer for the correct jewelry size if you don’t know. You don’t want to try putting the wrong jewelry size in the piercing hole.

It’s easier to put in jewelry if you lubricate it first. Regular KY jelly can make the new labret jewelry a little more slippery and easier to change.


Labret piercings take an average of two and half months to heal before you can change the jewelry. However, the healing process is still incomplete, and the interior takes longer to heal than the exterior. By nine months, the wound should be completely healed on both the outside and inside.

Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Design and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):


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