Why Is My Lip Piercing Randomly Swollen

Concerns have been growing about the after-effect of lip piercing which begs the question: Why is my lip piercing randomly swollen?

Here in this article, we will give you every information you’d need to know regarding precautions, treatment, and much more.

When a foreign object is introduced to your body, your cells react negatively or positively, and after a while, your cells get used to the newly introduced invasion. 

Generally, swelling after lip piercing is normal, but of course, not for a long period of time.

Contact with the pierced area is not easy to miss because you will feel it when you move your mouth to talk, eat, drink, and even breathe. 

The constant movement between your mouth and the pierced area will increase the swelling of your piercing.

Caring for this highly visible piercing should be on your mind when deciding to get your piercing done.

After a lip piercing, it is common to experience mild discomforts such as itching, redness, and a slight discharge or pus from the pierced area. 

If your piercing becomes more swollen than usual, painful, hot, oozes blood or pus, or feels unwell, you may have an infection.

The mouth harbours bacteria, and as a result, infections are more likely to occur in or around lip piercings.

Most people have more than one piercing on their lips. It is important you note that the more piercings you have, the more prone you are to experience an infection.

You must follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions to prevent infection after lip piercing. If you have a piercing on your lip, keep the inside and outside of the lip clean.

Your mouth comes into contact with various foods and other objects throughout the day, which means you need to clean it more often than other piercings. 

Why Is My Lip Piercing Randomly Swollen

If your piercing continues to swell after the first few days of healing, you may have an infection. You may also face an allergic reaction to the metal in the piercing.

Although about 20% of people who get pierced report an infection, it’s usually a localized infection.

This means the infection was not severe and manifested as redness, swelling, or some crust around the jewellery.

You can tell if you have an infection because the swelling is usually accompanied by fever, tenderness, or pain.

If you have swelling without these other symptoms, try to reduce the swelling by sucking on ice, eating cold foods, drinking cold drinks, and taking ibuprofen.

If the swelling interferes with your ability to speak, eat or breathe, you must seek medical attention immediately.

It could be a result of some factors, most likely infection. 

Some people’s body cells may not suit the instrument or sharp objects used to pierce the lips. Whatever the case, you must see a doctor if you have continuous swelling. 

Symptoms of Infection After a Lip Piercing 

Symptoms of infection after a lip piercing is not hidden as you will get an early warning through symptoms which include; 

  • Redness: The lips, especially pierced holes, will turn red.
  • Slight swelling: When this happens, you will feel like your lips may pulsate at times, and you are not in control.
  • A bump on the front or back of the piercing.
  • Constant heat: As the white blood cells perform their function of fighting bacteria, it causes the blood to speed up, making you feel warm.
  • White discharge: As the infection becomes more severe, some tissue fluid leaks out of the body.
  • Worsening pain: Alerts you that you should pay more attention to the wound.
  • Excessive bleeding: Go to the doctor immediately to get some medicine.
  • Fever: Also, visit the doctor for some medicine.

How to Prevent Infection After a Lip Piercing 

1. Do Not Play With or Remove Jewelry

Twisting or touching the jewelry used for the piercing increases swelling and irritates that pierced holes.

When this irritation occurs, it can introduce new bacteria to the area. 

Since touching the jewelry used for piercing can cause infection, you are permitted to touch it only when you want to clean the area. 

Taking the jewelry off can also be tempting, but doing so can do more harm than good.

Not only will this cause further irritation, but removing the jewelry may allow the updated perforations to close. 

This traps bacteria and spreads infection from the piercing site.

2. Be Sure to Keep Your Mouth Clean

You don’t just have to clean the piercing with a lip piercing.

It would help if you also kept your mouth neat and clean at all times. This will, in turn, help prevent bacteria from entering the pierced hole through the mouth.

Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth and avoid all possible contact with the piercing area. 

3. Clean the Area With Warm Water and Sea Salt

Cleaning the area with warm water and salt could help prevent bacteria from penetrating, thereby avoiding infection. Irritation in the area will also be reduced. 

You should wash it with salt two or three times a day.

Pour some salt into the mug and mix with warm water. Gently rinse the piercing hole and the mouth as well.

4. Give Warm Compress to the Piercing Parts. 

If the infection is on the outside of the lip, you can apply a warm compress to minimize irritation, reduce swelling, and reduce pain.

You can use a towel and put the towel in hot water (not too hot, try before compressing).

5. Absorb Ice or Use Cold Operation

Cold compresses can slow the speed of blood, helping to reduce pain and swelling of the wound.

This process is used when the infection occurs inside the lips.

6. Until You Are Healed, Be Mindful of What You Eat

When you have a wound, what you eat should be your concern, especially in the case of an infected puncture in your mouth.

When piercing your lips, aim for food that is soft and unlikely to get caught in your jewelry. These include mashed potatoes, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Any chewy item requires an additional salt rinse after eating. At this point, water should be your beverage of choice.

Coffee can also have a blood-thinning effect. If you don’t want to stop temporarily, reduce your regular intake until the infection clears.

7. Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Smoking Cigarettes

Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and can also destroy the skin cells around the piercing. This can prolong recovery time and increase the risk of complications.

How to Treat Infected Swelling After Lip Piercing 

You will need more antibiotics if your piercing is infected. It is essential to have a medical examination if you experience symptoms of infection on your lip piercing. 

OTC medications

Using over-the-counter medications can help you feel more comfortable while treating your infection. Some medications that can help reduce this swelling include: 

  • Pain relievers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Antihistamines to help relieve itching associated with an allergic reaction
  • Topical antibiotic (if recommended by a healthcare provider)
  • Before trying over-the-counter medications, check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to make sure they make sense for your situation.

Home Remedies

In addition to OTC treatments, some home remedies can help an infected lip. These include:

  • Freezing the infection to reduce pain and swelling
  • Rinsing with salt water to maintain cleanliness (especially after meals)
  • You can relate with your piercer the symptoms you feel after lip piercing. They can relate to you the steps to take before seeing a doctor. You may also be given some cleaning and healing tips.  

How to Clean Your Lip After Piercing 

It is necessary to keep the lip clean, especially when you notice signs of infection. 

Below are some tips on how to clean the pierced lips to avoid bacteria and infection. 

  • Wash your hands well before cleaning.
  • Rinse with salt water or apply a saltwater solution.
  • Use mouthwashes free from alcohol.
  • Wash the outside of the lips with mild, unscented soap.
  • Rinse the area with water to remove soap residue.
  • Dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal and rinse with a saltwater solution or mouthwash. 
  • Hand towels and washcloths can harbor bacteria, only use disposable paper towels to dry your piercing as it heals.

Other Preventive Measures

  • Avoid using lipstick or other lip products. 
  • Do not share food and drinks to minimize the spread of bacteria.
  • Avoid open-mouth kissing and oral sex to reduce the transfer of bacteria and saliva.
  • Change the pillowcase once a week and the sheets at least once every two weeks.
  • Pull the tops over your head slowly so you don’t catch the jewelry by mistake.

A Trained and Licensed Professional

Getting your body pierced by anyone other than a trained professional is a mistake. To avoid complications, you need a sterile environment.

A professional also knows how to pierce without causing undue trauma to the area. A traumatic piercing can damage the healing process, cause scarring, excessive swelling, and infection.


Lip piercings can be more susceptible to infection due to their location in the mouth, where bacteria can harbor.

While some tenderness is expected during the healing phase, certain things such as excessive swelling, pain, and oozing blood or pus can indicate the development of an infection. 

Hopefully, this article answers your ”why is my lip piercing randomly swollen” question. 

If you find this post helpful, please share it with others.

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