Angel bite piercings are double piercings that sit symmetrically above the upper lip. The name doesn’t seem to have a traceable origin, but they’re referred to by a number of other titles, including anti-bites and Madonna Monroe piercings. Pierced in the opposite location of snake bites, angel bite piercings earned the name anti-bites for their location. It’s the same reason they’re sometimes referred to as Madonna Monroe piercings, as the two piercing sites of angel bites are placed in the area of a Madonna piercing and the Monroe piercing.
Regardless of what you call them, angel bite piercings are a unique and typically edgy piercing that can truly go with any style. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about angel bite piercings, from cost to aftercare.
Angel Bite Piercings
Placement: Two piercings symmetrically placed on either side of the upper lip
Pricing: $50–$75 per piercing
Pain level: 6/10, according to Thompson
Healing time: 12–16 weeks
Aftercare: Wash twice daily on the outside with sterile saline solution and on the inside with alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash.
What Are Angel Bite Piercings?
“Angel bites are a set of piercings with each one sitting symmetrically just above your upper lip,” says Kynzi Gamble, a professional piercer at Ink'd Up Tattoo Parlor in Boaz, AL. These are two identical single piercings on each side of the upper lip. Angel bites are also sometimes called “anti-bite” piercings, as they have the opposite placement of snake bites.
Angel bite piercings are done by first cleaning and prepping the area, before marking the piercing sites on the upper lip. After the markings are approved, your piercer will push the needle through the first point, either using a clamp or free-handed. Finally, the jewelry is installed before moving to the second piercing.
Pain and Healing Time
Gamble says that angel bites tend to be about a 6 out of 10 on the pain scale, but exactly how much it’ll hurt varies between each person. “It really depends on your own pain tolerance and the thickness of your lip,” says Gamble. “These things vary with every person!”
“With any oral piercing, it's very important to keep it clean,” says Gamble. If you take care of the piercings correctly and avoid traumatizing the skin anymore during the healing process, expect them to be fully healed in a few months. “Average heal time for angel bites can be anywhere from 12–16 weeks,” says Gamble.
Cost of Angel Bite Piercings
The cost of angel bite piercings will vary depending on the shop and the piercer, as well as your location geographically. It’s also important to consider that angel bite piercings, because there are two of them, will be priced per piercing. William Thompson, professional piercer at Blacklisted Tattoo in Crown Point, Indiana, says you can expect to pay between $50 and $75 per piercing from a well-run shop. “I would say anywhere between $100 to $120 on up is normal for a pair of piercings in a shop using high-end implant grade materials,” says Thompson.
Of course, don’t be dissuaded by the fact that angel bite piercings will cost you double. “At our studio, we give a little bit of a discount for more than one piercing done at one time, as it cuts down on the supplies needed for two separate piercings,” says Thompson. While that’s not always the case, it may help if a deal is available.
Because angel bite piercings are oral piercings—as they’re partially in the mouth—keeping it clean is of utmost importance. “Every time you eat, drink, or smoke...you should be rinsing your mouth with a nonalcoholic mouthwash,” says Thompson. Using a sterile saline solution, clean the front of the piercings two or three times per day. Gamble also recommends using alcohol-free mouthwash half-and-half diluted with water to clean the inside two or three times a day as well. Clean the piercings in this way until fully healed.
Board-certified dermatologist Jenny Liu, MD, FAAD, says that following your piercer’s directions is the best way to ensure your piercings heal safely and quickly. Straying away from the products they recommend could even cause harm, she says.
“[I] would avoid use of topical antibiotic ointments, as they can be a common cause of contact dermatitis, and our lip is a dirty area to start,” says Liu.
Side Effects of Piercing
Scarring: A scar could potentially form around your piercing site if the jewelry is too irritated during the aftercare process. While this isn’t necessarily harmful, it will leave marks around the piercing site. It’s also a possibility that keloids, or a build-up of extra scar tissue, could form as well if the piercing is not properly cared for.
Infection: All piercings present the possibility of an infection if not taken care of properly. Follow the aftercare instructions given by your piercer’s closely and correctly to keep your piercing healthy. Seek medical attention if you notice prolonged swelling, redness, burning, itching, or intense pain.
How to Change Out Angel Bite Piercings
Angel bite piercings require change out during the healing process, as they’re pierced with a larger-than-needed piece of jewelry. “Initial piercings are always done with a post long enough to compensate for swelling that will be shortened at your downsize appointment a few weeks after the piercings are performed,” says Thompson.
When you’re getting that initial change-out, Gamble says you should go back to your piercer. “For the first-time changing out, most of my clients come to me,” says Gamble. “They're put in with professional hemostats—therefore they're not exactly easy to get out on your own.”
Once the piercing is fully healed, though, you’re more than welcome to change out your own jewelry. All you have to do is screw off the removable, threaded front piece and replace it with another one.
What Type of Jewelry Is Used for Angel Bite Piercings?
Labret stud: Labret studs are composed of a fixed, flat back and a threaded, removable accessory affixed on the front. While labret studs are most commonly used for lip piercings, they’re also typically seen in nose or ear piercings. “Using either clamps or a freehand method, the first piercing is done and jewelry is inserted,” says Thompson.
What Jewelry Material Is Used for Angel Bite Piercings?
When choosing your jewelry, be sure to consider what metal it’s made out of, as some are more allergy-prone or easier to take care of than others. “I can say that stainless stain is not reactive,” says Liu. “Stay away from nickel or gold, as these can cause contact dermatitis in [some] groups of people.”
Surgical steel: While nonreactive, surgical steel isn’t necessarily the safest, as it does contain nickel. If you have a nickel allergy or are worried about possible irritation, it may be best to avoid surgical steel.
Titanium: Titanium doesn’t contain any nickel, meaning it won’t cause an allergic reaction or any general irritation. The metal also won’t tarnish and is quite lightweight, meaning you won’t have to worry about changing it often.
Pure Sterling Silver: While potentially the most common type of jewelry metal, silver is a trickier material. Pure silver, which claims it has 99.9% silver content, is probably the most common type of piercing metal. Be sure to talk to your piercer about potential sterling silver jewelry, as anything too soft could harbor bacteria.
Gold: If you want gold jewelry instead of silver, be sure that your jewelry is at least 14 karats. Otherwise, that means it’ll be too flimsy and could harbor bacteria, just like sterling silver.