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What is a Monroe Piercing?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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A Monroe piercing is a facial piercing which is located in the soft flesh just above the upper lip, exactly like Marilyn Monroe's classic beauty mark. Often, a Monroe piercing is performed with a very small stud, enhancing the resemblance to a beauty mark. This piercing is also known as a Crawford or Madonna piercing, referencing two other famous females with distinctive beauty marks.

Technically, the Monroe piercing should be considered an oral piercing, which means that aftercare instructions will include steps to maintain oral health. Like other oral piercings, a Monroe will heal very quickly if well cared-for, with most healing within six weeks. After the initial healing period, the labret stud used for the initial piercing can be replaced with a shorter stud, which will reduce the amount projection from the face, making the Monroe piercing look more natural.

Monroes can be placed on either side of the face, depending on personal taste and anatomy. As a general rule, these piercings can be placed in anyone, although people who play wind instruments may want to consider the fact that the piercing can interfere with the sound of their instruments. In addition, the piercing can be more painful, as a result of thicker muscle around the upper lips which develops over the course of years of practice with a wind instrument.

Thanks to widespread adoption by celebrities, the Monroe piercing has become socially acceptable in many parts of the world. However, facial piercings can attract discrimination or unwelcome attention, and this is something which all piercees are encouraged to consider before taking the plunge.

The piercing process starts with the sterilization of the site to ensure that it is clean before being pierced, and then the piercer will don gloves and use a marking pen to mark the site of the piercing so that the piercee can examine it in the mirror. If the placement looks suitable, the piercer will clamp the upper lip, pierce it, and then thread the jewelry in behind the needle.

As with all puncture wounds, there is always a possibility of infection with a Monroe piercing. The site of the piercing should be kept clean with antibacterial soap, and use of mouthwash and toothbrushing on a regular basis is recommended to keep the mouth clean. Piercings benefit from a free flow of air, minimal interference, and periodic sea salt soaks to reduce the risk of infection and swelling; some people also find that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs can help cut down on swelling as well.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon245864 — On Feb 07, 2012

@anon126499: Amen. I won't hire them either.

By anon197386 — On Jul 16, 2011

If I have a beauty mark on my right upper side of my lip where the piercing's supposed to go, will it get infected?

By SuzieDsouza — On Mar 22, 2011

A Monroe piercing is meant to be similar to a beauty spot on the face. But the celebrity Monroe had it naturally on her face. It does not necessarily suit everyone.

By anon161415 — On Mar 19, 2011

The Monroe piercing is so attractive on women. This piercing is really not meant for guys. I had to learn that the hard way. How old do you have to be to get it done? I think i saw some girl the other day who looked like she was 13 with the piercing.

By anon154640 — On Feb 21, 2011

anon126499: you speak of God not wanting humans to have additional holes. Would "God" not have wanted people to be able to creatively express themselves? Hence why "he" gave us the ability to be creative thinkers. Would "God" have wanted you to be this judgmental towards others? Why would it be acceptable for earrings, additional holes as you would put it, but nothing else? Why would it be OK to have a nose piercing, due to religious beliefs, but not OK for a monroe piercing? Why? Because it didn't stem from a magical book? How about you keep your small minded opinions to yourself. Cheers.

By anon140898 — On Jan 09, 2011

I'm getting mine tomorrow, i live in Christchurch, New Zealand and these piercings and other labrets are becoming very popular. they look really hot on guys and girls. i think anyone could have one.

By anon126499 — On Nov 13, 2010

Really? A Monroe piercing? Marilyn Monroe would have never damaged her face this way!

If God wanted us to have more holes in our faces we would be born with them!!

If I were (and I will be) hiring women to work for me, I would never hire anyone with holes in their faces! Never!

No one will be viewed as serious with things sticking out of their faces that they were not born with unless it's a nose piercing that is a part of their religion!

By lightning88 — On Sep 27, 2010

I am thinking about getting a Monroe piercing, but I was wondering if somebody could tell me what is involved in the aftercare, and how I can choose the best studs to work for a Monroe.

So can anybody enlighten me as to Monroe piercing aftercare, and how to choose the best Monroe piercing body jewelry?

By musicshaman — On Sep 27, 2010

@streamfinder -- Just so you know, although a labret is a Monroe piercing, not all labrets are Monroe piercings. A labret can also refer to any piercing of the lip, not necessarily the upper lip, as a Monroe piercing typically does.

By StreamFinder — On Sep 27, 2010

I think that Monroe piercing studs look so cool -- I've always wanted to get one but I just never got around to it.

Just a quick note to add, a Monroe and a labret piercing are the same thing -- both are that "beauty mark" type of piercing. That's why you so often see Monroe piercing studs, but not Monroe piercing ring jewelry.

One final piece of advice -- don't be one of those people who tries to wear earring in your Monroe piercing. Earrings just don't work for Monroe piercings, and they look weird and hurt your mouth too. So stick with classical Monroe piercing jewelry, and you'll be good to go!

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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