What are Ashley piercing?

Ashley piercings, also known as angle piercings, are a unique type of facial piercing located on the upper lip, usually placed off-center below one of the nostrils. This piercing got its name from Elayne Angel, the first professional body piercer to perform this piercing back in the 1990s.

What does an Ashley piercing look like?

An Ashley piercing is a single piercing done on the upper lip, positioned off to one side. It’s placed below one nostril, angled toward the top of the lip on whichever side it is pierced. The jewelry sits flush against the inside of the nostril while the lower end exits from the lip. The ends are fitted with a small silver or gold stud, giving it a delicate and understated appearance.

Unlike a standard lip piercing that goes through the center of the lip, the Ashley piercing only goes through one side. This gives it an asymmetrical, angled look compared to other lip piercings. The jewelry is also relatively small and subtle, making it a more delicate facial piercing choice.

Where exactly is the piercing done?

An Ashley piercing goes through the upper lip just under one nostril. The entry point is inside the nostril, close to the flare. The jewelry travels through the skin and cartilage and exits out of the upper lip just off-center, below and to one side of the nostrils.

It’s generally placed between the nostril and the top ridge of the lip, angling toward the top lip on one side. The exit hole on the outside of the lip is very small and sits flush against the inside rim of the nostril. When viewed head-on, only the small lower bead that exits the lip is visible.

Is there a “right” side to get an Ashley piercing?

There’s no right or wrong side for an Ashley piercing. Some people prefer to get it on their left side, others on their right. It’s mostly an aesthetic choice and depends on personal preference.

That said, some factors that may influence which side you get it on include:

  • Your dominant hand – Get it on the opposite side from your dominant hand for easier application of salves or cleaning.
  • Facial asymmetry – If one side of your face is more symmetrical, highlight that side.
  • Hairstyle part – Consider your hair part so hair doesn’t constantly cover it.
  • Future piercings – If planning multiple facial piercings, balance both sides.

Your piercer can help determine placement based on the anatomy of your individual nostrils and lips. But generally it comes down to what look you prefer.

What kind of jewelry is used?

The initial jewelry worn in a new Ashley piercing is a small-gauge labret stud, most commonly 14g or 16g. This has a flat back that sits flush against the inside of the nostril and a small decorative front end that exits from the lip.

After it’s fully healed, the jewelry can be swapped for different options. Some common Ashley jewelry includes:

  • Petite labret stud
  • Small ball closure ring
  • Tiny curved barbell
  • Mini captive bead ring
  • Micro bananabell

The ends that show outside the lip are usually round or decorative beads, often with gemstones or enamel. The jewelry is delicate to complement the petite piercing.

What’s the process of getting an Ashley piercing?

Getting an Ashley piercing involves these steps:

  1. Evaluation – The piercer will assess your anatomy to determine if you’re a good candidate for the piercing and which side to pierce.
  2. Marking – They will mark the entry and exit points with a sterile, non-toxic marker.
  3. Piercing – Using a piercing needle, they will create the entry hole inside the nostril and guide the needle through to the exit point on the lip. Jewelry is immediately inserted.
  4. Aftercare – Your piercer will provide detailed aftercare instructions for cleaning, prevention of infection, and what to avoid to allow proper healing.

This process is very quick, taking only seconds for the actual piercing. Some slight bleeding or stinging can occur which usually resolves quickly. Proper aftercare over the next few weeks allows the channel to heal and stabilize the piercing.

What’s the pain level for an Ashley piercing?

Pain is subjective, but most people describe an Ashley piercing as having minimal to mild pain. On a standard pain scale of 1-10, it ranks between a 2-4 for most individuals.

Some key reasons it tends to be less painful than many other piercings include:

  • Thin lip tissue – The upper lip contains thinner tissue and less dense nerve pathways.
  • Small gauge jewelry – Tiny 14-16g needles are used, avoiding trauma.
  • Quick piercing – The needle passes through the tissue in seconds.
  • Minimal vascular tissue – Little vascular tissue in the area to bleed or swell.
  • Less dense cartilage – Only a small portion through the nostril involves cartilage.

There may be some residual soreness, swelling, or tenderness for a few days afterward. Using proper aftercare and over-the-counter pain medication can help manage discomfort.

What’s the healing time for an Ashley piercing?

If properly cared for, an Ashley piercing will be fully healed in about 6-8 weeks. However, some swelling and tenderness can remain for up to three months before it feels completely normal.

Here are some guidelines for the healing stages:

  • 2 weeks – Initial swelling and pain subsides.
  • 4 weeks – Piercing has stabilized, but still requires gentle cleaning.
  • 6-8 weeks – Piercing should be mostly healed, but jewelry still shouldn’t be changed.
  • 3-4 months – Piercing is healed enough for new jewelry to be inserted.

Proper aftercare such as daily saline solution cleansing, not touching it, and avoiding trauma or friction can allow it to heal safely within this timeframe. Delayed healing is possible if it’s improperly cared for.

What’s the aftercare for an Ashley piercing?

Caring for a new Ashley piercing properly is vital to minimize risks and help it heal faster. Here are some important aftercare guidelines:

  • Wash hands before touching the area and only touch when necessary.
  • Rinse mouth with an alcohol-free oral rinse after eating and drinking.
  • Clean twice daily by spraying sterile saline solution and dabbing dry with gauze.
  • Avoid removing or changing jewelry during initial healing period.
  • Don’t submerge in bodies of water like pools, tubs, etc.
  • Refrain from kissing, oral sex, or sharing food/drinks during healing.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed for swelling and tenderness.
  • See your piercer if any signs of infection, irritation, or injury occur.

Following your piercer’s guidelines diligently allows it to heal properly. Once healed after 3-4 months, be gentle when changing jewelry and keep the area clean.

Can an Ashley piercing become infected?

Like any piercing, an Ashley carries risk of developing an infection if proper aftercare isn’t followed. Oral bacteria combined with minor trauma or irritation can allow pathogens to enter the piercing channel and cause infection.

Signs of an infected Ashley piercing include:

  • Inflammation, swelling, or redness
  • Pus-like discharge
  • Increased bleeding
  • Significant pain or throbbing
  • Skin feeling hot to the touch
  • Fever or chills

Seeking prompt medical care is vital if these infection symptoms arise. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotic medication. You may need to temporarily remove jewelry to allow the piercing to heal.

To minimize infection risks, closely follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions, don’t touch the piercing, use only clean hands near the area, and avoid trauma or friction to the delicate area during healing.

What are the risks and complications?

Ashley piercings involve some of the same risks as other body piercings, including:

  • Infection – Bacteria entering the puncture site can cause localized infection or sepsis in severe cases.
  • Poor placement – An inexperienced piercer can place the piercing crookedly or too close to teeth/gums.
  • Nerve damage – The trigeminal nerves in the lip area can sometimes be affected by the needle.
  • Tooth damage – Jewelry rubbing against teeth can possibly cause chipping with extended wear.
  • Scarring – If the wound doesn’t close properly, a small scar may form.
  • Rejection – In some cases, the body gradually pushes out the jewelry.

These risks can be minimized by going to a reputable and experienced professional piercer, following proper aftercare instructions, and taking precautions not to bump or irritate the area.

Can an Ashley piercing damage your teeth or gums?

With proper placement and care, an Ashley piercing is unlikely to pose much risk of tooth or gum damage. However, there are a few precautions to note:

  • The piercer should avoid placing the exit hole too close to the gums or teeth.
  • You should avoid playing with the jewelry excessively during healing.
  • Refrain from biting or chewing on the jewelry once healed.
  • See your dentist promptly if any tooth pain, chipping or gum irritation occurs.

In some cases, friction from jewelry can cause minor gum recession or enamel scratches if placed too close to teeth. But this is avoided with proper placement far enough away from the teeth and gums.

How long does an Ashley piercing usually last?

With appropriate jewelry and proper care, an Ashley piercing can last for many years or even permanently. Like any piercing, scar tissue develops around the jewelry fistula to keep it stabilized long-term.

That said, there are factors that can influence longevity:

  • Rejection risk is higher in the lip area than other sites.
  • Friction from eating and drinking can cause irritation.
  • Dental work may require removal at times.
  • The delicate skin must be kept clean to avoid infection.
  • Trauma can damage the piercing site.

If you eventually want to remove an Ashley piercing, the hole will close relatively fast compared to other piercings, often within just a few hours or days.

Does an Ashley piercing leave a scar when removed?

Most of the time, an Ashley piercing will heal without much long-term scarring if removed. After a week or two of healing post-removal, the small entry hole scar inside the nostril becomes barely noticeable.

On the outside lip, the scar often fades significantly over time. Proper placement within the natural lip lines helps camouflage any slight scar tissue.

In some cases, a tiny dimple-like scar may remain visible on the lip. But because the original piercing hole is so tiny, scarring is usually minimal.

Can you get dental x-rays or undergo surgery with an Ashley piercing?

It’s generally recommended to remove Ashley piercing jewelry if possible prior to procedures like dental x-rays or surgery requiring anesthesia. Reasons include:

  • The metal can interfere with getting clear x-ray images.
  • Jewelry increases risks of breathing tube difficulties under anesthesia.
  • It raises chances of damage to the jewelry site during intubation.
  • Surgical masks and devices can catch on the jewelry.

For minor dental cleanings or checkups, the jewelry may be able to be temporarily flipped up inside the nose. Discuss options with your dentist or doctor beforehand.

The hole usually won’t close up if jewelry-free for several hours. But swelling after procedures may make re-insertion slightly difficult short term.

Can you still wear makeup with an Ashley piercing?

An Ashley piercing shouldn’t get in the way of wearing makeup. You’ll still be able to apply lipstick, lip liner, and lip gloss normally. Here are some tips for makeup with a new Ashley piercing:

  • Use clean applicators and replace them frequently to avoid infection.
  • Avoid getting makeup, lipstick, etc. inside the piercing hole.
  • Be very gentle removing makeup around the area.
  • Use minimal makeup during the initial healing period.
  • Apply an SPF lip balm before applying lip color to prevent drying out the skin.

Once healed after several months, you shouldn’t have to take any special precautions with makeup application around the area.

How much does an Ashley piercing cost?

The average cost for an Ashley piercing performed by a professional piercer is $40 – $80. This includes the service, jewelry, and aftercare instructions.

Factors that affect pricing are:

  • Geographic location – Cost is higher in major cities.
  • Studio reputation – Renowned studios often charge more.
  • Jewelry quality – Solid gold rather than stainless steel costs more.
  • Extent of portfolio – Master piercers can command a premium.

It’s advisable to view pricing as an investment – paying a bit more for an experienced, reputable piercer is worth it for safety, results, and minimizing any risks or complications.

Should you get an Ashley piercing?

An Ashley piercing offers a delicate, subtle look for those interested in a facial piercing. It can be flattering on many different lip shapes. Before deciding, consider these key points:

  • It has a quick healing time of 6-8 weeks with proper aftercare.
  • The small studs offer an understated appearance.
  • It allows you to still comfortably wear lip makeup and balms.
  • Oral hygiene must be kept up to avoid infection or dental issues.
  • There are some minor risks like rejection or scarring.
  • It suits those wanting a distinctive but not overly bold piercing.

discuss your specific anatomy, goals, and concerns with your potential piercer to decide if it’s right for you.


An Ashley piercing is a unique lip piercing with an angled, asymmetrical appearance. Placed under one nostril and exiting through the upper lip, it provides edgy style while still being delicate and subtle.

While aftercare is required during the 6-8 week healing period, properly performed and cared for Ashley piercings can last for many years. Their dainty jewelry and strategic positioning makes them a versatile facial piercing option.

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