No matter how your lip is pierced — like a birthmark in the Monroe style, the Medusa through the middle of the upper lip, or a Labret stud through the lower lip — a painful infection is a distinct possibility. Treating an infected lip piercing requires a regimen of cleaning and maybe a switch to a slightly smaller gauge of piercing or type of metal. It also will require the discipline not to tinker with the piercing until the skin around it has fully healed.
A regimen of cleaning with warm water and antibacterial soap will greatly improve the chances of avoiding an infected lip piercing. It also will speed recovery if an infection has already taken hold. Another common treatment is regular soakings of the lip in salt water, inside and out. A cleaning saline solution likely is available from your piercer, which should be applied after every meal and before bedtime until the piercing is healed. Some solutions contain peroxide or Bactine, which are particularly fierce against bacteria. Even with this type of solution, though, it could take up to two weeks or more for a lip piercing to heal — even longer if it becomes infected.
Applying an antibiotic ointment to the lip piercing is a way to keep it moisturized while fighting any bacteria present. Though the impulse may be great, the piercing should not be manipulated in the hole until healed. Do not spin or rotate it, as this could inhibit the healing process and introduce bacteria from your hands.
If an infected lip piercing becomes painful, regularly bleeds or starts producing copious pus, medical attention is advisable. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics and prescription-strength ointments and solutions to better address the infection and your pain. Do not let the doctor talk you into taking out the piercing unless medically necessary, though; that could lead to an abscess and leave a mark that will not go away.
While treating an infected lip piercing, it is important to improve your body's chances of fighting disease. A balanced diet and rest can improve immune function. Refraining from smoking and consuming alcohol immediately following a piercing will also minimize the bacteria and irritation to which the piercing is exposed. Cleaning your bedding, towels and any other fabrics that will come in contact with the face is another way to decrease the chances of infection, as is abstaining from the use of irritating chemicals such as alcohol-based perfumes and lotions.