How to Change Your Lip Piercing for the First Time

Wait until your lip heals before changing a piercing.
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Lip piercings are a way to express an edginess that reflects your personality -- and plunging into the world of lip jewelry can be a huge decision. Although you may love the look of your new piercing, you will need to change it out two to four weeks after you get it as the initial studs used for lip piercings are larger to accommodate any initial swelling. While changing your piercing for the first time is simple, be sure that the hole is completely healed before you do -- and insert new, smaller jewelry that won't damage your teeth.

Stand in front of a well-lit mirror so that you can clearly see the piercing. The hole is often small when you take the initial stud out, so you will need a particularly bright light.

Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water to prevent infection as you change the piercing. Dry your hands on a clean towel.

Open a bottle of sterile saline solution and pour it onto the end of a cotton swab until it is saturated. Pull the lip stud away from the outside of your lip gently with one hand and rub the cotton swab around the stem of the jewelry two to three times to remove any debris and to loosen the stud from the surrounding skin.

Grasp the part of the stud located on the outside of your lip with the fingers of one hand. Spin the stud one or two times in the hole to loosen it from the surrounding skin.

Reach inside your mouth with your other hand and take hold of the back portion of the stud firmly with your fingers. If you find you have difficult doing this, purchase a pair of forceps designed to hold the back of the piercing still and use them to hold the back portion of the stud firmly.

Grasp the front of the lip piercing -- while still holding the back part of the stud still -- and turn it counterclockwise until it screws off of the stem. Pull the stem out from inside your mouth with your other hand and set the two pieces of jewelry aside.

Apply more saline solution to a cotton swab and clean the outside opening of the piercing hole thoroughly to remove any remaining debris.

Insert a new lip stud from inside your mouth with one hand and screw the ball or stud portion onto the outside of the stem using a clockwise motion with your other hand. If you are inserting a lip ring, guide the stem in from the front and align the back of the ring with it inside your mouth.

  • Sterilize the replacement lip jewelry before inserting it to prevent an infection. Proper cleaning includes washing all parts of the jewelry using antibacterial soap and rinsing it well with water.
  • Monitor the piercing for signs of infection, such as extreme pain, redness or a white discharge. Visit a doctor if you notice any of these signs. Do not take out the lip piercing if infection occurs unless advised to do so by a physician.
  • If you can’t get your initial piercing out or you can’t get the new stud to go in, visit a piercing specialist, who can use a special tool to reinsert the piercing.

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.