Everything You Need To Know About the Medusa Piercing and How to Care for it

By Tephanie Stephenson / March 22, 2018
Medusa Piercings
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The Medusa piercing is popular for its very visible yet subtle placement. Always done on the philtrum, or better known as the soft tissue area between the upper lip and the base of the nose, these piercings can be some of the coolest forms of body modification when done right.

Because they don’t carry around any hidden meaning, medusa piercings can be a great way to express yourself by going with designs that perfectly describe your personality. As far as ideas go, you may feel a bit limited because of how small and particular the piercings are. But they do seem to be more accepted as stylish body modifications as opposed to big ear piercings, horn implants, etc.

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The History and What It’s Made of

Medusa is a popular mythical creature that almost everyone knows thanks to books and movies. In the case of medusa piercings, there is no correlation between them and the mythical creature everyone is familiar with. The name was chosen randomly in the early 90s by a Canadian hairdresser because it just sounded way better than the anatomical description.

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A simple and common medusa piercing.

Medusa piercings are at the core a three-part piece of jewelry. Each one consists of the bead, the barbell, and the disk. The bead is what you’re able to see on the outside and it’s often the most customizable piece too. The barbell is the middle section which penetrates the tissue and holds the ends together. The disk is similar to the bead only that it resides inside your mouth and usually doesn’t come in too many variations as it will not be visible.

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The medusa piercing is similar to the monroe piercing except it is located exactly in the middle above the top lip.

How Painful is the Medusa Piercing?

All of us react to pain differently. Some of us may have a higher pain threshold, while some will have lower pain tolerance. If a friend tells you that they have had a hard and painful time during their medusa piercing, it does not mean that you will, too.

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During the Piercing

Medusa piercings have the same level of pain as with other facial piercings. You will surely feel a sharp pain once the needle enters your cupid’s bow, but that will only last for a couple of seconds. That area on the top of your lip is full of skin and tissue though, so expect it to hurt more than your usual piercing.

After the Piercing

During the healing period and after a couple of days, you will still feel a slight pain in the pierced area. It won’t be a sharp pain though – you can rest assured that all that is now over.

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It will be more of a dull and throbbing pain, which will typically last for a couple of days. This is quite normal, as the area has been temporarily irritated due to the piercing.

Bruising and minor bleeding may also appear after the procedure, but don’t worry, as these things are totally normal.

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Just remember to clean your piercing and avoid touching it too much.

Weighing Pros and Cons

Medusa piercings are also known as oral piercings. They are part of the same category that includes tongue and lip piercings. Although both the hole and the medusa piercing itself are small in comparison to tongue piercings, this piercing is considered just as dangerous as larger-scale modifications because of its location.

A classical medusa piercing with a stud.

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There’s no denying that medusa piercings can look insanely hot. Piercings are cool in general, but this in-your-face placement somehow makes it cooler than even a tongue piercing. Let’s face it, you only see those on rare occasions as no one is walking around with their tongue sticking out.

Another advantage of medusa piercings is probably the fact that they carry no hidden meanings or messages by default. Although many of us usually seek some hidden symbolism in our favorite forms of body art, sometimes it’s nice to just have something we can use to express whatever we want or nothing at all.

When it comes to the drawbacks of medusa piercings, they are usually health related. As with any other form of oral piercings, these can take quite a while to heal. Not everyone heals at the same rate, but there are certain areas of the body that are harder to heal no matter who you are. The philtrum is one of those parts that require extra care before and after the procedure.

Preparations Before Getting Pierced

What most men and women don’t realize is that when you get ready for a medusa piercing you have to keep both the outside and inside of the philtrum as clean as possible. This means that just having a clean shave is not enough. Brushing your teeth as often as possible is very important if you want to minimize the chances of getting an infection.

As hard as it may be for some to digest, your tongue is just not as sanitary as you think. Oral hygienists recommend even brushing your tongue before taking the chair at a piercing parlor. Flossing and using mouthwash regularly or at least in the few days leading up to your appointment will help tremendously in reducing the number of bacteria in your mouth.

Medusa piercing coupled with a few more piercings on the face.

It’s very important to not indulge yourself during the preparation period. If you decide to dedicate 2-3 days to eliminate most of the bacteria that call your mouth its home, then stick to that schedule. Besides, this will also act as a training session for what comes after you get your piercing.

As the tissue is penetrated all the way through, it’s quite possible that you could get an infection from something lodged behind your teeth, gums, or under your tongue. If the medusa piercing is not your first oral piercing, you should already know what to do before and after in regard to how to sanitize the area, what to eat, what to drink, etc.

How Much will it Cost Me?

Different artists and piercers charge differently for their services.  It all depends on their skills and experience, so you can expect that a piercer that has been in the business longer will charge you more.

Paying for a couple of bucks more for a professional piercer would be your best bet. With them, you can be sure that your risks of getting an infection will be lessened. Look for a shop that looks clean and hygienic to avoid getting a bacterial infection in your piercing.

For most states in the U.S.A. though, you can expect to pay between 40 – 80 USD for a medusa piercing.

How to Properly Clean your Medusa Piercing

You should always follow the aftercare tips that your piercer will give you after getting pierced. This will prevent you from acquiring a bacterial infection, which you definitely do not want.

For the inside of the piercing, make sure that your mouth stays clean. Always brush your teeth and use mouthwash after. Be careful not to tug on your stud, as this can irritate the piercing.

For the outer area, always remember to never tug or rub on it during its healing period. If you see any blood or crust present in the area, make sure to never pick on it, instead, get a small cotton round, wet it with warm water, and dab it gently on the piercing. Pat dry with a tissue to get the blood and crust out.

After this, you can apply a mixture of salt and water to your piercing to further clean it out. Do not rub; just dab.

Finally, pat the area dry again with a dry tissue or a clean towel.

Possible Infections for the Medusa Piercing

Every single piercing on the body can be infected, especially if not taken care of and cleaned properly.

If you see pus or a lot of blood oozing out of your medusa piercing, then seek the help of a doctor right away. This usually means that your medusa piercing has been irritated and that a bacterial infection is now present.

Other signs of infection may include severe swelling, extreme redness, tenderness, and pain. If you are experiencing these, then go ahead and visit your medical practitioner. Never self-medicate, as this can only worsen the problem.

AfterCare: Things to Avoid After Getting Pierced

During the first week, and even the second week for some people, the philtrum will be the most vulnerable. It should take no more than two weeks in worst case scenarios for the wound to heal as long as you remember some key pointers.

No swimming

It should be obvious that swimming in a public or private pool just exposes the open wound to chemicals that can trigger irritation. Also, don’t even think about going for a swim in untreated water because that’s just worse. With all the bacteria that could live in that body of water, you’re just inviting potential complications.

No Smoking

Smoking is bad enough as it is, but if you can’t quit, you should at least try to take a break after you get a new medusa piercing. All the chemicals found in the smoke can seriously damage your exposed tissue. This could lead to either infection or at the very least slow down the regenerative process.

No Drinking

By now it probably looks like getting a medusa piercing is equivalent to living your life Old Testament style, but it’s really just common sense if you think about it. Pouring alcohol into your mouth while you have an exposed wound just invites a whole host of irritation, dryness, and tissue damage.

Eat Carefully

Don’t worry. You don’t have to go on a diet just because you got a medusa piercing. However, you will have to choose how much food you put in your mouth at a time and how you chew it. The more usage you get out of your lips, the more chances for the exposed wound becoming irritated.

Avoid Kissing

You’re probably getting your medusa piercing to look even more appealing to your partner. If that’s the case, you’ll still have to wait a while before you can fool around. The transfer of saliva, no matter how clean the other person is, is just not something that any medical professional would recommend for an open oral wound in its early stages of healing.

Medusa Piercings for Men

A classic medusa piercing for men.

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They’re not as uncommon as you may think. Although they are mostly seen in women, medusa piercings do find their way on the faces of men around the world. Of course, sometimes they tend to be bigger or at least shinier so that they can stand out from a moustache.

That being said, the risk of infection from medusa piercings is higher with men if they don’t bother to completely shave the area prior to the procedure.

Medusa Piercings for Women

A double medusa piercing for women.

Although the history is clear and medusa piercings have no connection to the mythical female creature of Greek legends, they do seem to be favored by women more than men. You can see them on women walking down the street, public figures, celebrities – you name it.

They also seem to look better when they’re in plain view. As most men will often blend the piercing with their facial hair, you definitely get to enjoy it more with women as you’re able to see the entire design without obstruction.

A fancy type of jewelry for a medusa piercing.

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Often times you will see women combining medusa piercings with Mao or chin piercings. They could all use the same bead design or come together to create an interesting pattern. Of course, that’s not to say that medusa piercings don’t look awesome on their own if the design matches your personality and fashion style.

Summary

While they may not be as versatile as ear piercings or as interactive as tongue piercings, medusa piercings are still among the most stylish piercings you can get today. They may heal a bit slower and require more attention to hygiene on your part, but it’s nothing time-consuming, expensive, or anything you wouldn’t already be doing. These piercings can be as glamorous or as classy as you want them to be, depending on what design you choose for the bead.

Photos

Even though medusa piercings are generally small in size, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t tons of ideas on how you can express yourself with even the tiniest piece of body jewelry. To give you a better view of this type of body modification, here are some amazing design ideas to choose from if you’re considering your first medusa piercing or replacing the one that doesn’t do it for you anymore.

Unique earrings for different piercings, including a medusa.

unique medusa piercing

A small and blue stud for a medusa piercing.

A small stud for a girl’s medusa piercing.

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Simple medusa piercing for men.

simple medusa piercing

A redhead with a couple of piercings inclduing a medusa.

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Septum and Medusa piercing on a girl.

A gorgeous girl with a medusa piercing.

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Multiple piercings for men.

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A unique take on the medusa piercing.

medusa piercing for boys

A boy with a couple of piercings including a medusa.

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Classical medusa piercing for men.

A glam and gothic girl with a medusa piercing.

glam medusa piercing

A girl with a septum and medusa piercing.

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A medusa piercing coupled with a septum, nose, and snakebite piercing.


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About the author

Tephanie Stephenson

Tephanie has extensive knowledge when it comes to body and facial piercings. She has seen it all – from nostril piercings all the way to nipple piercings. She has over 10 piercings including a nostril, medusa, eyebrow, tragus, earlobe, and industrial. She is an expert when it comes to cleaning piercings and keeping it infection-free. If you have got any questions for Tephanie about any type of piercing, comment it down below and she will get back to you in a jiffy!

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