If you want to be bolder with your piercings, here’s an idea: why not get a snake bite piercing?
Snake bite piercings are striking lip/tongue piercings that make a statement. When paired with the right jewelry, it adds a gorgeous accent to your look. It’s also difficult to miss this piercing since they often sit below your bottom lip. As for the name of this piercing, it comes from the look that it gives: you either have the fangs of a snake or a snake bit you.
A snake bites lip piercing (or a tongue version of it) is a great tattoo idea for people who want to drastically change their look, to look more “punk,” to give off an edgy Lydia from Beetlejuice look or to get an eye-catching piercing. But before you drop by the nearest piercing studio, here’s everything you need to know about the snake bite piercing.
How are Snake Bites Piercings Done?
If you’re going to have a snake bite piercing, have a discussion with your professional piercing artist first. Since this piercing involves your face, choosing the right spacing can help you achieve the look that you want.
Next, pick your jewelry. Make sure it’s a piece that you’re OK with wearing throughout the recovery period. Once you’ve chosen your jewelry, your piercing artist will get to work.
They’ll start by disinfecting your skin before they insert two new and sterilized needles into your lip and tongue. They often use claps to make sure that the needles are inserted correctly. Once the piercings are done, your new jewelry will be in place and you’re good to go with your piercings.
How Much Does a Snake Bite Piercing Cost?
The cost of this piercing depends on different factors like the location of the piercer, the piercer’s experience and your choice of jewelry. Based on these factors, the piercing can cost between $60 to $120. Also, don’t forget to tip your piercer with a 20 percent tip.
What Type of Jewelry is Used for This Piercing?
Labret studs and rings are often used for snake bite lip piercings. Rings are simply rings that wrap around the lip while a labret stud is an accessory that sits against the inside of your lip.
When it comes to snake bite piercings and jewelry, the material is an important consideration. Snake bite piercings are also mouth piercings, which means they will always come into contact with your gums and teeth.
If this is your first oral piercing, the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) recommends using jewelry made from 14-karat (or higher) gold or implant-grade metals. Your choices of jewelry can include the following:
- Titanium. Nickel-free, implant-grade titanium is safe for everyone. It costs more than traditional stainless steel, but it’s a safe option for people with sensitive skin.
- Niobium. This lightweight and affordable metal is slightly similar to titanium — minus the implant-grade designation.
- Surgical steel. Jewelry made from surgical steel contains other alloys which include nickel. However, the nickel content has a low release, so it’s still safe for use.
- 14-karat gold (or higher). If you want to use gold, use the real one; never settle for gold-filled or gold-plated. Also, stay away from gold overlay or vermeil since these contain other alloys.
How Painful are Snake Bite Piercings?
Initially, getting a snake bite piercing might sound more intense compared to getting a traditional ear piercing. However, they aren’t considered as painful compared to other lip and tongue piercings, especially those that go through the lip.
If you’ve had a cartilage piercing before, the snake bite piercing should be easier. Snake bite and other tongue/lip piercings are only a bit more painful than ear piercings since the skin is soft and doesn’t have many nerve endings.
If you’re worried about the pain, get the piercing done one at a time. Getting both snake bite piercings might save you time, but it can cause more stress on your body.
How Long Do Snake Bite Piercings Heal?
Typically, the healing time takes two to three months. Fortunately, you have the power to speed up the recovery process. The duration of the recovery period depends on how well you follow the piercer’s aftercare instructions. However, there are other factors to consider, such as your overall health and the piercer’s skill level.
So, what kind of aftercare is needed for snake bite lip or tongue piercings?
- Always wash your hands before handling or cleaning your piercing.
- Rinse your mouth with a saline solution when you eat, wake up and prepare for bed.
- Spray or rinse the outside of your piercings with saline solution.
- Use mild soap to gently wash the area around your piercing.
- Use a new, soft-bristled toothbrush.
- When drying your lips, gently pat the area with paper towels. Cloth towels can snag the jewelry or harbor bacteria.
- Be careful when you eat. Stay away from crunchy, spicy or hard foods, as well as hot drinks and meals.
Are Snake Bite Piercings Dangerous?
Snake bite piercings are not 100 percent dangerous. However, like other piercings, there are some risks, especially since this piercing involves puncturing the tissue. Some of the possible side effects and complications to watch out for are:
- Gum or tooth damage. When you chew or talk, the jewelry rubs against the surface of your teeth and gums. These can damage your tooth enamel or irritate your gums.
- Infection. Bacteria that get in while touching your mouth, eating, kissing or giving oral sex can result in an infection. If your piercer doesn’t sanitize their equipment, you can also contract a bloodborne infection like HIV or tetanus.
- Swelling. Swelling is normal, especially during the first few days. Some people might experience more swelling than others. To keep the swelling down, sleep with your head elevated or apply some ice.
- Tearing or trauma. You can easily snag lip jewelry when doing daily activities like styling your hair, putting on a shirt or kissing.
- Nerve disruption. The chances of you experiencing a nerve disruption are quite low, but one study reported that some facial piercings led to nerve disruption, which led to eye misalignment and chronic back pain.
“Does My Snake Bite Piercing Have a Problem?”
For the first five days, expect light bleeding, tenderness and swelling. These are all normal. If you see yellowish discharge from the piercing, this is also normal. However, anything beyond these could be a sign of an infection.
See a doctor if you experience one or more of the following:
- Blisters or rash around the area
- Severe pain, swelling or redness
- Redness spreading out of the site
- Tooth or gum issues
- Smelly discharge
- Vomiting, chills, fever or confusion
Snake bite piercings are ideal for people who want an edgy-looking piercing. In general, they are safe as long as you follow the aftercare instructions. So, if you want to get this piercing, talk to your local piercer today.