Smiley Piercing

A smiley piercing is done to the inside of the upper lip; more specifically, it is done to the 'frenulum' of the upper lip. The frenulum is right in the middle of the inside upper lip, and is a very thin piece of skin that stretches from the lip and attaches to the skin of the upper gum. You could say it is a 'support beam' from the lip to the gum, adding a little strength and support to the upper lip and keeping it more securely attached to the gum. It's very similar in action to the 'web' between your thumb and index finger, keeping them mobile with each other yet firmly connected.

It's called a smiley piercing because whatever jewelry you wear there, whether ring or barbell, is not usually seen unless you have a big wide grin on your face. Since the piercing and the piece of jewelry are tucked quite high up under the inside of the lip, it's only seen when you grin widely and your upper lip peels back. Even then, many smiley piercings can't be seen, especially on people with large lips, you'll often have to peel the lip back with your fingers so people can see it. 

The smiley piercing is catching on as one of the more exotic body piercing spots. People like the 'hidden beauty' factor, where you rarely see a piece of jewelry except in those sudden authentic moments, a quick laugh or talking a certain way that reveals the inside upper lip and a quick flash of jewelry. Most of us like 'always visible' jewelry also, but the smiley piercing adds yet another layer by offering an attractive, rarely-seen, more understated piece of body piercing jewelry.

Tattoos and piercings go hand in hand and many tattooists will also do body piercings if you're not wanting to do it yourself. It is recommended that a professional be involved with any body modifications. Tattoo needles and piercing needles differ, so be sure to do your homework.

You can wear a large enough lip ring so that your smiley piercing can be seen more often, if the jewelry (see our store to the left) hangs down far enough to be seen whenever your mouth is open, but it does get in the way and it looks a little cheesy, so most people opt for the smaller rings and barbells. Since this is such an unusual body piercing location there are some differences in how you should care for it, which I'll mention on the next page.