Everything You Need to Know About Cheek Piercing

What Is Cheek Piercing?

Cheek piercing is a cosmetic procedure where the skin around your nose or cheeks are pierced with small metal rings. These types of piercings have been used since ancient times to cover up facial defects such as birthmarks, acne, and other deformities. They were popularized in the 19th century when they became fashionable among women seeking a feminine look. Today, they are mostly used as a way to hide scars from past surgeries.

Why Do People Get Cheek Piercings?

People get cheek piercings because it’s considered a “fashionable” way to show off one’s personality. Many people think that having a piercing makes them more attractive and desirable. Some people go through with these procedures because they believe that it will make their appearance more appealing. Others may not want to reveal too much of themselves, so they choose to conceal the piercing using makeup or even scarves.

How Common Are Cheek Piercings?

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), approximately 15% of Americans have had a cheek piercing at some point in their lives. Also, many people get their cheeks pierced at a young age. The most common age group to get cheek piercings is between the ages of 16 and 19. However, the second most common age group consists of those who are between the ages of 20 and 25.

Are Cheek Piercings Safe?

The short answer is yes. Despite common misconceptions, most reputable health care professionals agree that cheek piercings are safe to get. Of course, certain precautions must be taken before and after the procedure. It’s important that the piercer uses a fresh needle for each piercing to reduce the risk of infection. In addition, you will be given instructions on how to clean and maintain your cheek piercings both during and after the healing process.

What Are the Potential Risks?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved. The most common potential side effect of cheek piercings is infection. The piercer should always use a fresh needle on each customer to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. The risk of infection is further reduced if you know that the piercer follows health and safety protocol. In addition, you will be provided with aftercare instructions that will help prevent the piercing from becoming infected at home.

Other complications that may arise include excessive bleeding, bruising, and scarring around the piercing site. If you engage in any strenuous physical activity such as exercise or sports, the piercing may become dislodged. Piercing migration and rejection are also possible if you do not take proper care of your piercing. While uncommon, a more serious complication known as lip entrapment may occur in which the lower lip is trapped or engulfed in the piercing. This can lead to serious injury or even loss of blood flow to your lower lip and surrounding tissue.

How Much Do They Cost?

The typical cost for a cheek piercing is around $40 to $80, though prices may vary depending on the piercing studio. It is usually less expensive to get a piercing at a tattoo or body art studio rather than at a doctor’s office or medical center. Since your state may have strict laws about getting pierced at non-medical facilities, make sure you do your research before committing to a place.

Most tattoo or body art studios require you to be at least 18 years old to get pierced, though some studios may allow minors with a parent’s permission. If you are a minor, ask your parents before making a cosmetic alteration to your body. While it is extremely uncommon for parents to deny their minor child a cheek piercing, it is still better to confirm their permission in writing. Having your parents’ permission should decrease the risk of potential legal issues if you’re under 18.

In addition to the cost of the cheek piercing, you will need to pay an additional cost for aftercare solutions that help clean and heal your piercing. The piercer should provide you with these items for free or at a low price, but it is common for customers to be charged out the nose for this post-piercing care solution. These items can often be bought at a lower price at a local pharmacy.

While cheek piercings are an affordable body modification, many people who get them end up spending more money on aftercare solutions than on the actual piercing itself. This is because proper cheek piercing care can be costly and time-consuming. In most cases, you will need to purchase at least two or three bottles of saline solution before your piercing is healed. Some people also choose to buy prescription creams from a doctor to accelerate the healing process.

How Much Time Do They Take?

The average cheek piercing takes approximately 15 minutes to set up and perform. This time may be extended if you want the piercer to apply any decorative artwork to your cheek after the piercing is complete. Expect the entire process from arrival to departure to take around 30 minutes.

Getting a cheek piercing can be an exciting experience and shouldn’t take up too much of your time, though it is important to allot extra time for aftercare if you want to avoid infection or other complications. Most cheek piercings are fully healed in one to three months, though some people with slower-healing bodies may take up to six months or longer to heal.

Do I Have to Take Off My Earrings Whenever I Shower?

As long as you take proper care of your cheek piercing, you shouldn’t have to remove the jewelry at all. Whether you get the standard gold hoop or something more decorative will determine how easily it is to maintain. The only time you should take out your cheek jewelry is when you are in a pool, hot tub, or ocean to prevent it from rusting.

How Do I Clean It?

In most cases, you should be able to shower or bathe normally as long as you avoid getting the piercing directly into water. Use light pressure and saline solution to swab the piercing. As long as you keep the surrounding area clean and dry, there is no risk of infection or other complications.

Do They Hurt?

The actual piercing doesn’t hurt, though the application of pressure to the inside of your cheek might cause a bit of discomfort. Since different people have different levels of pain tolerance, some people don’t feel much at all, while others feel considerable pain.

Healing piercings are also typically not painful. In most cases, you will only experience a slight tingling or itching sensation due to foreign particles in the area. This can usually be remedied by cleaning your piercing and using an anti-bacterial cream.

Can I Sleep on This Side?

You shouldn’t have any problems sleeping on your cheek piercing side. However, if you sleep on that side normally, you may experience some soreness in your ear due to the weight of your head. In this case, you may need to switch sides every once in a while to give it a break.

Does it Get in the Way?

Healing cheek piercings shouldn’t get in the way of your normal facial expressions or speech. You can still smile, talk, and make other facial expressions as usual.

How Much Does it Cost?

The average cost for a cheek piercing in 2018 is $40. Many places charge an extra $5 to $20 to perform the procedure, though higher-end shops may charge more. If you want to have any decorative elements added to your piercing, such as gems or colored studs, this will typically increase the price.

Do the Designs Have to be Basic?

In many cases, the jewelry options for cheek piercings are more limited than other areas of the body. You can typically choose from gold hoops or studs, though some shops sell fancy rings and designs. For most people, the basic gold or silver studs are sufficient.

What Should I Watch Out For?

Due to the nature of cheek piercings, you have to be careful when performing certain activities. While showering and bathing, you should avoid exposing the piercing to excess moisture to prevent swelling and irritation. When you sleep, you need to be careful when you turn your head since you could pinch the area.

How Much Maintenance Is Required?

As long as you avoid getting the piercing wet, you shouldn’t have to perform any extra maintenance. Over time, the piercing should heal completely and stay that way as long as you don’t get it wet. Once it heals, you can increase the wear time for the jewelry.

How Long Does It Take to Heal?

The healing time for cheek piercings is between 4 and 6 weeks. If you sleep on that side during this time period, it may take a little longer for the piercing to fully heal.

Does It Hurt When It’s Done?

Most people find that cheek piercings don’t hurt as much as other areas, such as the ear when getting it pierced. The inside of your cheek doesn’t have as many nerve endings, so the piercer is able to perform the procedure easier. The clamp used may cause a little discomfort, but you’ll be able to handle it.

What Jewelry Can I Wear?

Once your piercing is fully healed, you can wear any type of stud or hoop you like. Skinny jewelry works best though since anything too bulky may cause the piercing to close up. Your piercer may give you some recommendations on types of jewelry that work best with this piercing, so be sure to ask when you’re there.

Does it Scab?

Due to the nature of this piercing, the skin will be very fragile in this area. Any jewelry that is too big or heavy can damage or tear the skin, so this must be kept in mind when choosing jewelry. A good rule of thumb is if you’re comfortable with the size and weight of the jewelry, then it should be fine.

What is a Labret?

A labret is a lip piercing that goes through the lip itself. It is placed anywhere between the top and bottom lip, though the center of the bottom lip is most common. The entire inside of the lip is pierced, so it’s an invasive procedure. Labrets typically have a large ball that sits on the inside of the lip to keep the jewelry in place, though you can get a smaller one if you want to wear a stud or smaller ball instead.

What Do I Need to Consider?

Due to the intimate location of this piercing, you’ll need to think about how it will impact your day-to-day life. This is especially important if you’re in the workforce, as a visible lip ring may not be appreciated by your boss or coworkers. If you can dress however you like at work or don’t care, then this shouldn’t matter.

Do I Want a Large or Small Ring?

Many people prefer to start with the smallest ring they can, as they may find it to be too painful. Any pain you experience is likely to be less with a smaller size anyway, so it just makes sense to start with a smaller one. The only exception is if you’re using this piercing to anchor a tissue tunnel.

What Do I Pick for the Jewelry?

There are various different styles of lip rings, and you’ll need to choose the one that appeals to you. A lot of people have a natural preference for a stud or a ring, so you should go with whatever style gives you the most confidence.

What Are My Other Options?

You can get a septum ring, which is worn through a small hole in your nose. However, this piercing is more for a septum, as there is no flexibility in where it can be placed.

Getting a facial piercing can be a great experience, so long as you do your research and plan ahead. We wish you the best of luck and hope you achieve the look you desire.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Tongue piercing and associated tooth fracture by C Botchway, I Kuc – Journal-Canadian Dental Association, 1998 – cda-adc.ca

Body piercing: could you answer your patient’s queries? by M Sears, P Sears, W Sears, RW Sears, J Sears – 2011 – Little, Brown Spark

ORAL PIERCING AND HEALTH by E Angel – 2009 – Crossing Press

Nonmainstream body modification: Genital piercing, branding, burning, and cutting by I Peate – British Journal of Nursing, 2000 – magonlinelibrary.com

Tattooing, body piercing, and branding are on the rise: perspectives for school nurses by WTOK MORE – 1998 – bristolctoralsurgery.com

Body piercing by J Myers – Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 1992 – journals.sagepub.com

Piercing the Skin of the Idol by ML Armstrong, L Kelly – The Journal of School Nursing, 2001 – journals.sagepub.com