Swollen Medusa Piercing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Before you choose to get a Medusa piercing — a piercing in the middle of the upper lip — it’s good to realize something. You may look like a duck for the first two weeks, if not longer. If that’s something you can live with, nothing’s standing in your way.


Before you go to the piercing shop, the following will help with Medusa piercing swelling:

  • Make sure your first stud is large, to allow the swelling
  • Check if your piercer knows what they’re doing
  • Keep your lip as relaxed as possible while being pierced
  • Follow the instructions of your piercer
  • Don’t be lazy with the aftercare

What Are the Risks of Getting a Medusa Piercing?

A Medusa piercing — or, in Latin, filtrum piercing — is a piercing just above the “Cupid’s bow” of your upper lip, right under your nose.

The biggest problem with this particular piercing is that it’s often placed incorrectly, which is a fault of the piercer. It’s challenging to set a Medusa piercing because the flesh of the lip isn’t flat, and it can sit very differently when pierced. The piercing often ends up to be higher on the outside than on the inside. 

If this is the case, healing isn’t only very difficult, but it can also cause harm to your teeth. The flat disc of the jewelry will keep sliding against your teeth on the inside of your mouth. This can cause erosion and damage to your teeth gums. If this is what happened to you, the best thing you can do is remove the piercing and allow the wound to close so that it can be pierced again, but — hopefully — in the correct way.

Will My Lip Swell?

The answer is a simple, “yes.” You’ll look like you had some botox done for at least two to three weeks. This is normal and is something you need to take into consideration before you go ahead and pierce your upper lip. If you have a holiday or photo session planned or maybe a job interview, think about postponing. The good news is, the swelling will fade away.

How to Reduce Swelling From a Medusa Piercing

Avoiding swelling from a Medusa piercing isn’t possible since the swelling is your body’s reaction to trauma. But, you can go some lengths to reduce the amount of swelling.

Large Enough Piercing

If you go with an experienced piercer, they’ll know to allow the piercing to be big enough to accommodate the swelling. If there isn’t enough space, you have an increased chance of developing an infection or an ingrowing piercing.

Grab Those Ice Cubes

Try to reduce the swelling by sucking on ice cubes or using a cold compress. Cool temperatures can aid in the reduction of inflammation. If you’re in pain, look to switch between hot and cold.

Replace the Piercing If It’s Too Tight

If your piercing is getting too tight, it’s best is to go back to the piercer and ask if they can replace it for a more prominent piercing, or you have to take it out and let the wound heal. 

Don’t try to remove the piercing yourself for the first two months. The piercing will still be healing at this time, and you can do more harm than good by removing it yourself.

How Long Will My Medusa Piercing Take to Heal?

That depends since it varies between individuals. The upper lip is mainly muscle and can, therefore, feel very different in the morning than in the evening — you just went to touch your lip, didn’t you?!

It’s safe to say that you have to take extra good care of your Medusa piercing for at least three weeks. The first week will be the worst, and the swelling can be quite painful. After one week, there should be some improvement.

Your piercing might sometimes get stuck while you’re dressing or when you’re drying your face with a towel. Be extra careful! Usually, after 10 days or so, you can go back to the piercing shop and ask them to change the jewelry for a shorter one. For it to heal, though, it can take up to three to four months.

Avoiding Medusa Piercing Swelling

Always follow the instructions of your piercer — they know best. Usually, they’ll provide you with a small bottle of a disinfectant solution that you should apply two or three times a day.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.

You can wash your piercing with lukewarm water, but be careful with soap or shampoo. Go for an unscented soap and avoid anything that contains chemicals.

Whatever you do, don’t try to hide the swelling with makeup. First of all, it can cause infections, and secondly, you’ll likely not succeed in hiding the swelling. It’s just not worth the risk of infection.

Don’t make a habit out of touching your piercing with your tongue from the inside or outside, or with any body parts, for that matter. Not only will you create irritation and, therefore, increase the risk of infection, but nothing looks more silly than a person that’s developed a tic of tongue-wrestling with the stud. Always remember, you want to look cool!

Will I Look Cool After the Swelling?

Of course, you will! You’ll look super cool! A piercing is something that will become part of you and will highlight your personality. If, in time, you decide you don’t like it anymore, a Medusa piercing is very easy to remove. You might end up with a little beauty spot, but most of the time, that will slowly fade away.

By listening to the advice of your professional piercer and attending to the cleaning, you’ll avoid severe Medusa piercing swelling. Be sensible and don’t expect to wake up the day after with zero swelling — we’d all love to be swelling-free so soon, but it doesn’t happen in reality. Soon enough, the swelling will subside, and you can enjoy your awesome new Medusa piercing.