Location: The Medusa is located just above the center of the upper lip, under the tip of the nose/septum, in the cleft of the cupid’s bow, which is anatomically know as the philtrum.
Alternate Names: Upper lip piercing, medusa lip piercing, cupid’s bow piercing, philtrum piercing.
Piercing: Like other lip piercings, the medusa is performed with a hollow piercing needle and a pair of pennington forceps. Common sizes are a 14 or 16 gauge, but more rarely a single size larger or smaller can be seen. Since piercings of the philtrum have begun to come into the mainstream, variations including stretches and doubles have also sprung up.
Aftercare: Most piercers will recommend seas salt soaks or rinses, along with the avoidance of acidic foods, smoking, makeup use, and alcohol. The lip will swell during the initial healing phase, so rinsing multiple times per day after eating is essential to the prevention of irritation and infection. With proper care primary healing should occur around the 12 week mark.
Jewelry: Most medusa piercings will be worn with stud style jewelry, like that used in lower lip piercings and monroes. For those who have a set of two piercings in the philtrum, a common practice is choosing a larger stone or design closer to the lip, with a smaller or simpler item above.
Popularity: Though far less prevalent than standard labrets or monroes, the medusa and it’s vertical cousin the jestrum are growing in popularity amongst the punk and alternative subcultures. It is estimated that lip piercings in general account for at least ten percent of overall piercings in the United States.