Medusa Piercing 101: Your Ultimate Guide to This Striking Style

The Medusa or ‘Philtrum’ piercing is currently one of the fastest-growing trends in the world. It’s so popular because of its location and because it stands out, giving you a unique look.

It was nicknamed ‘medusa’ by a Canadian hairdresser who chose to name it after a famous street in California and the name stuck. Nowadays, this piercing is considered one of the sexiest facial piercings of all time and looks great on both men and women.

If you’re considering getting this piercing and looking for some information on it, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the process, the aftercare, jewelry styles and pros and cons of the medusa piercing.

What is a Medusa Piercing?

Medusa piercing
Medusa Piercing

The medusa piercing is a single perforation done just above the upper lip and centrally below the nasal septum. This area is known as the philtrum which gives the piercing its other name ‘philtrum piercing’. There are several variations of this piercing in case you want to try something other than the traditional Medusa. These variations include the following:

Double Medusa Piercing

While the traditional Medusa piercing involves just one perforation of the philtrum, the double Medusa involves piercing the area twice. This option allows the wearer to combine different jewelry styles.

Vertical Medusa Piercing/Jestrum Piercing

This piercing involves piercing of the philtrum area vertically so that both ends of the barbell protrude out of the skin, making it look like two studs sitting one above the other. Unlike the double Medusa which involves two separate perforations, this one is only a single piercing.

What’s the Procedure for a Medusa Piercing?

Girl with medusa piercing

Before you choose a piercing studio to get this piercing done, make sure to do some research first. You need to go for a professional piercer with a lot of experience especially with Medusa piercings.

The placement of the Medusa piercing is a tricky one and if it’s not placed right, it could heighten the risk of issues such as dental erosion and gum recession.

In addition to this, it needs to be placed perfectly in the center of the philtrum area as the slightest deviation can really spoil the symmetry of your face. 

The piercing procedure itself isn’t that complicated but it’s always good to know what to expect before you go in.

Before the piercing begins, the piercer will usually have a consultation with the client. This is to discuss the type of jewelry preferred, the risks involved, aftercare instructions, and to answer any questions the client might have.

The piercer will then clean the area and mark the precise location where the piercing will be made using a surgical marker. You will have the opportunity to check the placement to make sure it’s where you want it.

The next step is choosing the jewelry and after this, the piercer will make sure that all tools, such as forceps and needles, are sterilized. Your lip and surrounding area will also be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

The piercer may use forceps to hold the upper lip in place. A hollow, sterilized needle is then pushed through the philtrum, from outside to inside, and the jewelry is immediately inserted following the needle’s path.

What’s the Best Jewelry for a Medusa Piercing?

Although the jewelry options for the Medusa piercing are rather limited, they come in tons of shapes, sizes, colours and materials so don’t be discouraged as you will actually find yourself spoilt for choice! Let’s have a look at the different types of jewelry you can wear with your piercing.

1. Labret Stud

medusa piercing labret stud
Medusa labret stud. See it here.
labret stud opal for medusa piercing
Labret piercing stud for medusa piercing. See it here.

The jewelry of choice for the traditional Medusa piercing is the standard labret stud. This works well with the traditional as well as the double Medusa piercing and comes in many different styles and patterns.  If you’re going for a minimalist look, a simple stud would be perfect but if you prefer something flashier, you can opt for a more elaborate design.

2. Curved Barbell

curved barbell
Curved crystal barbell. See it here.

If you’re going for a vertical Medusa or Jestrum piercing, the curved barbell would be the best choice for you. The curved barbell feels more natural to the body’s shape and hardly exerts any tension on the tissue so that the risk of rejection is less. There are tons of styles for you to choose from, be it plain studs, spikes or even skulls!

3. Ball Closure Rings (BCR)

ball closure rings
Ball closure ring. See it here.

Some people opt for a BCR in their medusa piercing. However, it can be less comfortable than a labret stud due to the curved nature of the ring inside the mouth. This choice is less common but can be made for those who want a different look.

4. Circular Barbells

black circular barbells
Circular barbell. See it here.

Also known as horseshoe rings, these are similar in shape to BCRs but have a small gap and two balls or spikes at either end. Using these in a medusa piercing might be for a specific look but can also be less comfortable due to the jewelry’s shape inside the mouth.

What’s the Best Metal for Medusa Jewelry?

stainless steel labret stud
Stainless steel labret stud. See it here.

When choosing your Medusa piercing jewelry, make sure to pay attention to the type of metal as well. Some metals we recommend avoiding are sterling silver, copper, nickel, zinc, tin and brass as these are low-grade metals which can cause allergies, infections or increase the risk of jewelry rejection.

The ideal metal for body jewelry is surgical stainless steel, especially for people with allergies since they are body friendly.

However, for people with hypersensitivity to metal, titanium is a much better option. Titanium is perfect for initial piercings as it’s comfortable, lightweight and barely contains nickel, making it highly biocompatible. It’s also a very strong metal which is hypoallergenic and highly resistant to sea water corrosion.

Another hypoallergenic metal is niobium, a low toxicity material which is also malleable and very soft. Niobium, though similar to titanium is much heavier and softer and doesn’t react to chemicals, oxygen or bodily fluids.

Another popular biocompatible metal for body jewelry is gold as it doesn’t react with the body or discolour in any way. Choose high purity gold like 14k or 18k for best results.

Is the Medusa Piercing Painful?

Not painful pain meter

The Medusa piercing is not considered to be a painful procedure, ranking 4 out of 10 on the pain scale. Most piercees state that it’s much less painful than some ear piercings.

However, the amount of pain you feel depends on your level of pain tolerance which is different for everyone. Finding an experienced and skilled piercer is a plus for you as they will know how to perform the procedure in the least painful way possible, making the experience much easier.

Don’t forget that this piercing can hurt far more after the procedure is over and will most likely swell for the first few days but there’s no reason to panic as this is a normal reaction of the body to the perforation of the skin tissue.

Medusa Piercing Healing and Aftercare

stainless steel curved barbell in rose gold color
Stainless steel curved barbell. See it here.

The Medusa piercing can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to heal but it depends on your health, your immune system and the type of jewelry you’ve chosen. It’s important to take good care of your piercing during the healing period as this can speed up the process and help reduce the risk of infections, migration and rejection. Taking care of your piercing will influence the speed of the healing process so make sure to follow these special aftercare rules and you should be fine.

  • Don’t pull or play around with the jewelry as this will irritate the piercing and interfere with the healing process.
  • When you do need to touch the piercing, only do so after you’ve thoroughly washed your hands. Touching it with dirty hands is a sure way of getting yourself an infection.
  • Don’t use any makeup or other facial products as these contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the piercing and even cause allergies.
  • Take extra care not to trigger the jewelry when you’re brushing your teeth. Also remember, your toothbrush must always be clean.
  • Clean the piercing regularly using saline solution or sea salt soaks at least 2-3 times a day. When cleaning, make sure you do it from both inside and outside. It’s important to keep your mouth very clean during this period as it will help reduce the risk of getting an infection brought on by mouth-borne bacteria.
  • Avoid using mouthwash since it contains alcohol which can irritate the piercing.
  • Avoid moving your lips too much as possible. You run the risk of your jewelry getting snagged or tugged which could leading to migration which is the last thing you want, considering that it can ruin the entire symmetry of your face.
  • Watch out for signs of infection. Redness, pain (after the first few days), pus oozing from the site, fever and tenderness are all signs that your piercing is infected so if you experience any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. Do not ignore any of these symptoms as it will only make things worse.

How Much Does a Medusa Piercing Cost?

The prices of this piercing vary, but the traditional Medusa will mostly likely cost you somewhere between $40 and $80. This also depends on the price of the jewelry you choose.

However, don’t let the price affect your choice of piercer. Even if it costs you a little bit more, we recommend finding a piercer who is well experienced in this type of piercing.

Placement is of crucial important when it comes to this piercing so don’t run the risk of getting a bad job done by skimping on the quality of your piercer.  

Pros and Cons of a Medusa Piercing

Stainless Steel Circular Barbell
Stainless steel circular barbell. See it here.

If you’re still on the fence about getting this piercing, taking a look at the pros and cons might make it easier for you to decide:

Medusa Piercing Pros

  • It’s a universal piercing type that grabs attention because of its position
  • It highlights the beautiful lip contour perfectly
  • Suits both men and women
  • Very sexy yet cute

Medusa Piercing Cons

  • It requires a lot of attention during the healing process
  • Unsuccessful execution of this piercing could affect your facial symmetry
  • It may not suit everyone’s face shape
  • Teeth and gum erosion are a possibility with this piercing when the jewelry is frequently in contact with your teeth.

Wrapping Up

This piercing is a lot of work, but if you really want it and if you’re prepared to be committed, it’s totally worth it! Once it’s fully healed, you can have a lot of fun dressing it up and showing off your gorgeous new look.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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