When it comes to facial piercings, you have more options than you do for nearly any other one part of your body. You can choose from 13 popular lip piercing options--which include pairs of piercings and even 4-piercing sets--5 different nose piercings, cheek/dimple piercings, eyebrow piercings, and dermal piercings located anywhere on your face. We outline the positioning of each type of facial piercing below and discuss the best jewelry to use with each one.
Dermal Facial Piercings
Dermals are the most dynamic facial piercing option, because they can be placed nearly anywhere on the face. As long as there's room to insert a small dermal anchor, you can wear one or more dermals on your temples, at the corners of your eyes, as an anti-eyebrow piercing below one eye, as a "Third Eye" on your forehead, along your jawline, in between your eyes, at your hairline, and in just about any other spot you might want. (The piercings shown in the image above are dermal facial piercings by artist Arseniy Andersson.)
Once your dermal facial piercing heals, after roughly 6-10 weeks, you can safely change your dermal top. (If you try to change the top too soon, before tissue has grown up and around the dermal anchor and secured it in place, you could tear the anchor loose while trying to unscrew the top.) Choose from hundreds of dermal top options to use with your dermal anchor, like the custom jeweled sunburst dermal anchor top shown to the right. Most of our dermal tops are intended for use with 12g or 14g internally-threaded body jewelry with a matching internal 1.2mm thread pattern, since the majority of dermal anchors are either 14g or 12g with internal 1.2mm threading. We also offer a nice assortment of tops for 16g and 18g internally-threaded dermal anchors and other body jewelry with internal 0.9mm threading, and we carry dermal anchors in a few larger gauges, like 10g and 8g, too.
If you want a pair of piercings close together somewhere relatively flat, like on your temple, then you might consider having a short surface bar inserted instead of dermal anchors. Surface piercings are double-point piercings that are sometimes less prone to migration and rejection than single-point dermal piercings, depending on the placement. If you tried to insert a straight surface barbell over the curve of your cheekbone, the jewelry would put constant outward pressure on the healing fistula (piercing hole), which could trigger the jewelry to migrate out. A facial surface piercing positioned in a flat area like your temple will be much more successful.
Eyebrow piercings are surface piercings placed anywhere along the eyebrows, although the outer edge of the eyebrow is the most popular placement. As with other surface piercings, eyebrow piercings are prone to migration and rejection. The deeper your piercer pierces you and the heavier gauge jewelry you have inserted, the more likely your eyebrow piercing will be to last. Ideally your eyebrow ring should be either 16g or 14g, but you can go as small as 18g and as large as 12g or even 10g.
Eyebrow rings are bent barbells that sometimes have a larger bottom ball or other decorative end, making them like miniature belly button rings. You can also wear a circular barbell, a captive bead ring, another type of hoop, or a spiral ring in your eyebrow piercing, but it's best to stick with a micro bent barbell during the initial 6-8 week healing period. It may be 6 months or more before you can leave your eyebrow ring out for any length of time without the hole closing up. The more time that passes, the stronger and more reinforced the fistula will become, and the easier it will be for you to change your jewelry yourself and wear things like hoops and spirals without issue, even though they tend to put more downward pressure on eyebrow piercings.
Cheek piercings are most traditionally placed in a way that either gives a person the appearance of having dimples or that accentuates existing dimples, which is why they're also known as dimple piercings. Cheek piercings pass completely through each cheek and into the oral cavity, which means that they require double care to keep clean during the lengthy 8-10 month healing process. You have to swish the inside of your mouth with a gentle aftercare rinse like H2Ocean Oral Rinse morning, night and after meals and spritz the outside of your piercings frequently with something like Recovery Piercing Aftercare Spray. If the skin around the outside of your cheek piercings gets dry, put a drop of tea tree oil on a saline solution-soaked cotton ball, and apply it gently to the exterior of our piercing for a few minutes. Repeat on the other side with a freshly-dressed cotton ball, if needed.
If you decide to get your cheeks pierced, it's important to know that puncturing the parotid duct can cause permanent damage and problems like saliva leaking out onto your face. Since little can be done to repair a parotid duct once it's been pierced, you have to find an experienced piercer to give you dimple piercings--one who has successfully performed these piercings many times and knows how to locate and avoid the parotid ducts. Review any prospective piercer's portfolio and ask if s/he has any photos of clients after their cheek piercings healed before making a decision about having that person pierce your cheeks.
When you get your cheeks pierced, your piercer will either insert cheek jewelry studs, which are actually just long-post labret studs, or short straight barbells. The advantage of the studs is that the end piece that sticks into your mouth will be flat. (You could also replace the inner ball on a short barbell with a flat disc end.) To avoid damage to your teeth during the healing process, while you're wearing extra-long jewelry to accommodate any swelling that occurs, you may want to ask for soft, flexible, hypoallergenic BioPlast barbells for your starter cheek piercing jewelry.
There are 5 different types of nose piercings you can choose from, if you're interested in having your nose pierced. You can either go with the more common and ever-popular nostril or septum piercings, or you can get something a little more unusual like a bridge piercing, a nasallang piercing, or a rhino piercing. Nostril and septum piercings are fairly self-explanatory; nostril piercings can go in the sides of either or both nostrils or through the nostril higher up along the nose (called a high nostril piercing), and septum piercings go through the soft tissue just below the septum, underneath the tip of your nose. Bridge piercings pass horizontally through the skin covering the bridge of the nose. Nasallang piercings go side-to-side through the nose, piercing the outer sides of the nostrils and the septum in between them. Rhino piercings go through the tip of the nose at an angle, so the top ball sits on the tip of the nose, much like a rhinoceros horn would, and the bottom ball peeks out beneath the tip of the nose. The following graphic illustrates each of the 5 nose piercing placements:
There are several styles of nostril rings that are popular for nostril piercings, including nose bones, nostril screws, nose hoops, and fishtails, which can be modified to create custom nostril screws. (See our How to Bend a Fishtail Into a Nose Screw article for details.) Labret studs also make great nostril rings--ones that you'll never have to worry about losing because of the way they're secured. These different styles of nostril rings are available in a wide range of materials, styles and sizes, with the most common sizes for nostril rings being 18g and 20g.
There are also a number of different jewelry styles that work well for septum piercings. You can wear a circular barbell, a captive ring (a.k.a. bull ring), a pincher, a septum retainer, or even a tusk in a septum piercing. Check out our full selection of septum rings in our Septum Jewelry section.
Bridge piercings, nasallang piercings and rhino piercings all typically call for straight barbells in varying lengths (longer for nasallang piercings, shorter for bridge and rhino piercings), but sometimes bent barbells are used in bridge and rhino piercings instead of straight barbells. Your piercer will insert the style of jewelry that's best suited to your anatomy. If that means following the curve of the bridge of your nose with a bent barbell to reduce outward pressure and minimize the chances of migration, then that's a better option for you than a straight barbell would be.
There are 13 different types of lip piercings ranging from a basic horizontal lip piercing placed through either side of the lower lip to pairs of lip piercings, like angel bites, to sets of 4 lip piercings, like canine bites. The 6 most popular combinations of lip piercings, known as "bites", are shown in the graphic below.
Some of the piercings shown above are actually combinations of other piercings. For instance, cyber bites are actually a Medusa piercing (piercing of the philtrum above the center upper lip) paired with a labret piercing (central piercing below the lower lip). Other popular options include the Monroe piercing (also known as the Madonna or Crawford piercing, since it mimics all 3 famous ladies' upper lip moles), joker or Dahlia bites (placed at the corners of the mouth, giving the impression of an elongated, Joker-like smile), and vertical labret piercings, which go straight up through the lower lip, so that the top ball rests on the center-top of the lower lip. The least common lip piercing is the lowbret piercing, which is literally a labret piercing placed as far down within the lower lip as possible. You can read more about these 13 types of lip piercings in our Lip Piercing FAQs.
Labret studs are used for many of the different types of lip piercings, and they're the ideal style of jewelry for all of the upper lip piercings. Circular barbells, captive rings and other hoops, like segment rings, can be worn in many lip piercings, too, although they're most often used in lower lip piercings. Other styles of lip piercing jewelry include labret loops, like the one shown above, and spirals.
As with cheek piercings, lip piercings require a two-pronged aftercare regime. You need to keep the outside of your lip piercings clean using sea salt solution or a piercing aftercare spray like Recovery; you also need to keep the inside of your mouth rinsed out using a gentle, sea salt-based oral rinse. (Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes at all costs! They'll dry out your piercing and delay healing.) Swish saline oral rinse around the inside of your mouth morning, night and after meals to keep the fistulas flushed of food debris, and spritz the outside of your lip piercings with saline wash several times a day.
Additional Facial Piercing Resources
We offer a plethora of piercing information in our Information Center that you may find useful if you decide to get a facial piercing like the lip, eyebrow, dermal, cheek, and nose piercings detailed above. Check out the links below to watch instructional videos and read articles and blog posts containing useful aftercare tips, suggestions for problematic piercings, answers to frequently asked questions about specific types of facial piercings, jewelry suggestions, and other helpful information.
- Cheek Piercing FAQs
- Choosing Your Ideal Nose Piercing Jewelry
- Dermal Piercing & Surface Piercing FAQs
- Everything You Need to Know About Dermal Piercings
- How to Bend a Fishtail Into a Nose Screw
- Lip Piercing FAQs
- Lip Piercings & Lip Rings
- Modifying Your Labret's Length, Gauge & Decorative End
- New Body Piercing FAQs
- Nose Piercing FAQs
- Nose Rings & Nose Piercing Info
- Opening Traditional vs. Snap Fit Captive Bead Rings
- Piercing Aftercare Tips
- Types of Body Piercings
- What Are My Dermal Jewelry Options?
- What Type of Nose Ring Should I Be Pierced With?