Dahlia (Joker) Piercing 101

Dahlia (Joker) Piercing 101

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     Nearly everyone loves a lip piercing. They come in a huge range of styles, they’re almost universally flattering, and they offer extensive jewelry options. And out of all the different styles of lip piercing, one of the absolute coolest is the Dahlia Piercing.


     Dahlia piercings are matched horizontal piercings, usually done near the outermost corners of the lips. They get their name from the infamous Black Dahlia Murder, for reasons we won’t be discussing in this blog. (You can look that up on your own.) That said, not all horizontal lip piercings are created the same and that’s where Dahlia piercings zig while other piercings zag. They come with their own healing process and set of risks, which you need to know if you are considering getting a set of your own.


     Healing Dahlias is not a straightforward process. Generally, one gets a piercing. It swells. Then the swelling goes down. Then it heals. All is good. Dahlias, on the other hand, have an up-and-down sort of healing where first they swell…. A LOT. Like, way more than your standard lip piercing. Then they very, very, very slowly come down. Because the initial swelling is so intense, the jewelry used for piercing has to be far longer than would be used for a standard lip piercing. Because the swelling comes down so slowly, the jewelry has to be changed out for shorter jewelry repeatedly. But just the simple act of changing the jewelry can cause the swelling to worsen, as can any number of things including spicy food, allergies, the weather, and skincare products. This means that you can require numerous jewelry changes, some of which may require custom length jewelry. If you want to get Dahlias, you need to be prepared to pay for A LOT of jewelry. Dahlias usually require flatback style straight posts to avoid snagging on teeth. Ball ends inside your mouth (aside from tongue jewelry) are a recipe for disaster.


     Another thing about Dahlias is that they may not wind up exactly where you wanted them. The cheeks are full of… well, stuff. There’s large blood vessels, muscles, salivary glands and ducts, there is a lot going on inside your cheek. This means that your piercer has to find a spot where they can pierce you without damaging any of these things. They also need to look at your teeth to make sure that the jewelry isn’t going to damage your teeth or constantly get chomped on every time you eat. (Remember that swelling we talked about earlier? This is another way it can happen.) And unfortunately, Dahlias are prone to migration. This means that even if your piercings were performed exactly where you wanted them, they may not end up staying in that location. Migration can lead to some extremely unsightly scarring. Dahlias are also meant to be larger gauge than most lip piercings. They should be 14 gauge or 12 gauge. This makes them more stable, but it also means that if they do migrate, the scarring will be more noticeable. This is definitely something to consider.


     A final thing to know about Dahlia piercings is the extended healing time. These can take as long as two years to fully heal. And even when healed, they can still be prone to swelling and irritation. (Think for a moment about how much motion your mouth goes through on an average day!) That is a long-term commitment and not one that should be taken lightly. And let’s just take a moment to point out that Dahlia piercings come with all the potential issues of standard lip piercings. They can cause gum loss and dental damage, just like any other lip ring.


     This post is not meant to discourage you from getting Dahlia piercings. Let’s face it, they look cool as heck and your body is yours to do with as you please. We just want to make sure you have all the facts before embarking on the epic journey that is healing Dahlia piercings and that you are knowledgeable about them so you can make sure your piercer is safely assessing your anatomy to ensure that it is suited to them. Dahlia piercings totally rock and if you can physically, anatomically, and financially make the commitment to them, more power to you! Rock on and happy piercing!