What Is the Snakebite Piercing? Answer Your Questions Here! January 10, 2023 – Posted in: Piercing Advice, Piercing Types – Tags: , , , ,

We love lip piercings because the lips offer such a large piercing playground. There are so many ways that you can get pierced, whether you’re looking for something sleek and subtle or you want to go all out.

The snakebite piercing falls somewhere in between. Although the name makes it sound like a single piercing, it’s actually a combination of two piercings in one (two side labret piercings on either side of the mouth) to create a look that emulates a snake’s fangs.

Healing the snakebite piercing will be the same as healing a side labret piercing (after all, it’s nothing more than two side labret piercings done at once), but since it consists of two piercings, you will have to make certain considerations.

Here’s a quick guide to the snakebite piercing and tips for healing.

What is the snakebite piercing?

First things first, the term “snakebite” is colloquial, and piercers tend to shy away from it. They prefer the term “paired lip piercing.” If you go into a piercing studio asking for a snakebite piercing, they’ll likely know what you’re talking about, but it’s always good to know the proper terminology.

The snakebite piercing appears in the skin below the bottom lip on either side of the mouth where side labret piercings would take place.

It’s not difficult to imagine how it earned its name—when decorated with hoops, it takes on the appearance of snake fangs peeking out of your mouth. 

As a double piercing, you can easily get both piercings done at once, or if you already have a side labret piercing, you can get the other side pierced to take on the snakebite look. However, for easier healing, some people opt to put a month or two between piercings.

How much does the snakebite piercing hurt?

We’ll start with the obligatory statement: all pain is relative, and you might find that this piercing hurts more or less than the average. It’s good to be aware of your personal pain tolerance in order to properly prepare for this piercing.

Most find that the snakebite piercing falls about mid-low on the piercing pain scale; you’ll definitely feel a pinch, but it won’t be unbearable. (If you’ve gotten your cartilage pierced, it will probably hurt less than that).

woman covering her mouth

Even if you have a low pain tolerance, the snakebite piercing will probably hurt less than you think.

Remember that you’ll be going through two piercings. If you have a weak stomach when it comes to pain, you might want to consider taking a break between piercings. However, like many people, you might find that the first one didn’t hurt as badly as anticipated, which could make the second one a bit easier.

What is the snakebite piercing process?

If you’ve ever gotten a piercing done before, you know the drill. The snakebite piercing process won’t be much different than any other piercing.

First, your piercer will clean the area. Then, they’ll mark the points where you want to be pierced and have you confirm placement. Here is where you really need to pay attention; the snakebite piercing can be placed all over the lower lip, and it’s up to you to determine that you’re being pierced where you want. The piercer can make suggestions, but you’re the one who must confirm it. After approving the marks, your piercer will apply a skin preparation antiseptic such as povidone iodine. 

When it’s time for piercing, your piercer will tell you how they want you to sit and walk you through your breathing to help calm you and minimize pain. Then, they’ll take a hollow needle and swiftly pierce straight through your lip, simultaneously pulling the jewelry through. And, voila! you’re pierced! Then, they’ll do the same on the other side.

If this is your first piercing, you’ll probably find that the process is a lot faster and easier than you thought. If you find a reputable piercer—which you always should—they’ll have developed the skills to make the piercing as smooth and pain-free as possible.

The snakebite piercing healing process

Actually getting the piercing is the easy part. Now it’s time for healing.

The snakebite piercing will take around four to eight weeks to heal at a minimum. (You should always have a piercer confirm that the piercing has fully healed before stopping aftercare practices since some people take longer to heal.) During that time, you need to make sure that you clean the piercing 2 – 3 times daily with a piercing aftercare saline solution on both the front and back of the jewelry.

Woman drinking from a straw

To avoid chomping on your jewelry, you should stick to soft foods like mashed potatoes or smoothies for the first few weeks after getting pierced.

Since the back of the jewelry goes into the mouth, it’s a good idea to clean the piercing after every meal to clear the area of food debris.

Oral piercings, especially double piercings, require some unique care. Here are some tips to make healing easy.

  • Stick to soft foods in the first week or two. The reason for this is twofold: 1) The initial jewelry will be quite large to accommodate any swelling, which poses a chomping hazard, and 2) you’ll find it a bit difficult to chew around new jewelry on both sides of your mouth.
  • Try not to talk as much in the beginning of the healing period. Piercing 101 says that jewelry should remain still during healing. When it comes to lip piercings, that means keeping your lips as still as possible. (If you have a job where you have to talk a lot or you have an event coming up that requires you to speak often, then you might consider putting off your snakebite piercing until later.)
  • Keep swelling in mind. Since you’ll be getting two piercings on either side of the bottom lip, you’re going to see swelling all along your lower mouth. Everyone heals differently, so this might not pose too much of a problem for you. However, if you’re the type who tends to see a lot of swelling after you receive a minor wound, this can be quite uncomfortable. If you’re among the latter group, you might consider spacing each piercing by a week or two in order to make the healing process a little more comfortable.
  • After swelling has gone down, see your piercer about getting fit with a smaller piece of jewelry. While this is an option for any piercing, it’s a more important consideration when it comes to oral piercings. The longer initial pieces are essential for healing because they make room for swelling, preventing issues like embedded jewelry. However, once swelling has gone down, they pose a chomping risk (especially in piercings like the snakebite piercing where you have to get used to two pieces of jewelry at once). After a week or two, it’s a good idea to visit your piercer and get fitted with a smaller piece that won’t stick out as much.

What jewelry can I wear with my snakebite piercing?

Once your piercing has fully healed (and your piercer has confirmed this), you can have fun picking out new jewelry for your snakebite piercing.

The snakebite piercing can take the same jewelry that a side labret piercing can: flat back studs, circular barbells, seamless hoops, and captive bead rings. 

When it comes to studs, it’s important that you choose studs that have a flat back. This will ensure that the jewelry doesn’t rub against your teeth and gums. (If it does, it could lead to enamel wear and receding gums.)

Along those lines, if you choose circular barbells or captive bead rings, make sure that the ball ends stay on the outside of your mouth. If they move to the inside of your mouth, you can easily bite on them, and they could cause other oral issues.

Now that you know everything about the snakebite piercing, what are you waiting for? As long as you take care of it during the full healing period, pay attention to any potential oral issues, and do the proper research beforehand to find an excellent piercer, this could be a piercing that you enjoy for years to come.

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