Tattoos are everywhere. Wherever you look, it would be doubtful to find at least one individual who doesn’t have a tattoo inked on their tattoo. Religious folks, army personnel, and even working professionals like to get a tattoo that speaks to them. A tattoo is an excellent way for one to express themselves to the wider world. So, is it any wonder that they are going strength to strength in their popularity?
But while there are many different types of tattoos that one can opt for, lip tattoos are by far the most unique. They are exceptionally uncommon, with one needing to be extremely brave to get a tattoo inked on such a sensitive part of their body. Lip tattoos are done just inside the mouth, under the lower lip. An excellent place for one to get an intimate tattoo and make a bold statement to the broader world.
Finding authentic information about lip tattoos is also tricky, with so much false information. But do not worry, as, in this blog, we will answer questions like ‘How long do lip tattoos last’ and other related questions to help you out.
What Are Lips Tattoos Exactly?
Ok, we are starting with the most obvious question, how to define a lip tattoo? A lip tattoo is a permanent inked tattoo design on the lip’s skin. Like any other tattoo design, their placement is unique (which is generally inside the mouth). This allows one to easily hide the tattoo when they want, as the design’s footprint is usually tiny. Lip tattoos are also significantly more sensitive than any other tattoo designs.
But the biggest misconception that one could have about the lip tattoo is their permanent nature – or lack of it. In fact, calling them a permanent tattoo is a misnomer as they usually last for only about one to five years. Reason? In the lip area, the turnover rate of cells is incredibly high, which results in the ink of the tattoo shedding quickly. And while there is no guarantee on how long these tattoos will last, there are ways one can extend their life.
How Long Does a Lip Tattoo Last?
All right, let’s get onto the question everyone is here for – how long do lip tattoos last, and is it painful to get a lip tattoo? The answer to the first question is around one to five years. But again, it is something that differs from person to person.
Why one to five years? The most straightforward reason is the faster rate of healing of oral tissues. Oral tissues heal significantly quicker than other skin tissues. Where a skin wound would take 2 to 3 weeks to heal, the healing period would be less than three days for oral cells. As one can see, this is a massive difference and why the lip tattoos fade quickly. Now onto the next part of the question, the pain inflicted due to the lip tattoo.
Is the lip tattoo painful? Yes. Is it worth getting one anyway? Absolutely. The answer to the pain question is a bit complicated. There is a massive debate in the tattoo community regarding whether the pain from lip tattoo is on a lower or higher scale or is about just the same.
There are arguments on both sides; however, the broader consensus agrees that a lip tattoo is significantly painful due to the higher concentration of nerves within the lip.
But what is more painful than getting that lip tattoo is the infection that one can invite on themselves. There is a high likelihood of one being infected with a tattoo infection than any other inked tattoo anywhere else on the body. It is a significant drawback of getting a lip tattoo.
The reason for that is the presence of various bacteria that are usually present in one’s mouth. So, folks that don’t follow proper oral care procedures are better advised to ignore getting a lip tattoo.
Factors That Determine The Longevity Of The Lip Tattoo
As mentioned earlier, lip tattoos cannot be called permanent tattoos because they tend to fade away after a year or so. But do not assume that you cannot do anything about it. Several factors influence the length of time a tattoo might last. By understanding these factors, you might even have a better opportunity to extend the life span of your lip tattoo.
So, let’s look at these factors.
1. The Regeneration of Mouth Cells
We cannot start from a better place than the regeneration of the mouth cells. It is the first factor we will discuss and arguably the most important one on this list. The mucosal cells (that is what cells inside our mouth are called) can regenerate at a breakneck speed.
It naturally results in quick healing of any lip wound. But do not be under the impression that due to the speedy healing process, the tattoo ink would not stick on the skin; that is not the case at all.
But yes, you would start seeing the fading of your lip tattoo more quickly than any other tattoo design.
2. The Ink Depth
Another factor that is equally crucial in determining the longevity of the lip tattoo is the depth of the ink on the skin. The higher the depth of the ink inserted into the skin, the longer it would take for the mouth cells to kick them out. Naturally, a balance between the placement and the correct depth of the tattoo ink is crucial. As the general rule, the deeper the ink goes, the more likely it is for a lip tattoo to hit the five-year mark.
This factor also makes it quite essential that one only connect with a highly experienced tattoo artist for this. In the case of other tattoo designs, you can opt for a moderately professional tattoo artist and still get favorable results. But that is not the case with lip tattoos.
The artist not only has to ink a creative tattoo design that would suit well to your personality and requirement, but they would also have to determine the correct ink depth as well. So, yes, it would be far better to hire a more experienced tattoo artist.
3. Acidic & Moist Environment
Your lips are not the best place to get a tattoo inked, especially if you want it to last longer. That is because of the acidic and moist nature of the environment – both of which are not helpful in increasing the longevity of a tattoo design.
The chemicals present in the mouth are highly detrimental to your objective. These chemicals can easily break down the tattoo ink and fade the ink in record time. The environment inside the mouth is also helpful. The saliva present in the mouth makes it a very moist and damp place.
Even folks that are not that familiar with the mechanics of the tattoo would know that a tattoo anywhere close to such an environment would be disastrous. In simplest terms, the higher moisture content is not at all conducive to the lip tattoos.
4. The Quality of the Aftercare
It is pretty common with every other tattoo design as well. In fact, one can make a case that it is the standard for almost everything. The better one takes care of something, the higher the value of the return they will get. The same is the case with lip tattoos as well. And the most critical phase of a lip tattoo is the immediate aftercare one subjects it to.
The better the quality of the tattoo aftercare, the longer the lip tattoo will remain. It could not be simpler than that.
But do not presume that aftercare of the lip tattoo would be the same as any other tattoo design, as that is certainly not the case. It is very likely that the experienced tattoo artist would give you advice on taking proper care of your lip tattoo and what food items you should avoid. You should strive to follow all those tips and advice to the letter, especially if you want the lip tattoo to last for more than a couple of years at best.
Aftercare Tips for Lip Tattoo
Getting a lip tattoo is not just exciting but also comes with major challenges. You have to give it proper aftercare and ensure your tattoo looks appealing on your face. Here we have some useful aftercare tips for lip tattoos that actually help:
1. Fast & Rinse
Eating or drinking anything after getting that lip tattoo is something that should be avoided. It is advice that cannot be emphasized enough. In fact, it is possible that you have to avoid consuming anything for at least a couple of hours. The exact period would depend on the ink used, its depth, and even the design. Ask your tattoo artist when it would be safe for you to consume food and water and follow it to the letter.
For smokers, the lip tattoo could be challenging. You need to avoid smoking for at least a couple of days after getting the tattoo. And even in the future, you would be advised to be quick and immediately rinse your mouth afterward. This would preserve the lip tattoo and prevent any infection from taking hold as well.
2. Fight Infection
As mentioned earlier, due to the location of the inked tattoo, the possibility of infection is significantly higher with lip tattoos than with any other tattoo design. Several factors influence this, but the most prominent one is the presence of various bacteria in the mouth.
You would be well advised to use mouthwash to clean your mouth to combat this regularly. Make sure that the mouthwash is alcohol-free, which is extremely helpful in fighting infection.
Keeping the area clean and bacteria-free is a piece of good advice in general. Rinse your mouth after every meal, drink, cigarette, and consumable that enters your mouth. And while there is no guarantee that you would have to face the infection, this will certainly reduce your chances.
3. Use Anti-Fading Cream
You might be familiar with tattoo aftercare creams that one is advised to use and treat their tattoo with. Similarly, there are anti-fading creams for lip tattoos that can certainly help slow down the fading process of the ink.
These anti-fading creams are specially designed for sensitive lip skin and are made with skin-friendly ingredients. It will not only help slow down the fading process but would not adversely impact the sensitive region as well.
You can easily find anti-fading creams on Amazon or any other eCommerce site. Still, you should connect with your tattoo artist and ask for their advice if you are unsure.
4. Use a Paper Towel to Improve Skin Penetration
Sometimes even the small things can make a huge difference, which is undoubtedly the case with paper towels. It might seem silly initially, but the paper towels can significantly influence the life span of your lip tattoo. Hold the paper towel between the lips and press lightly. The light part is crucial here, as you do not want the tattoo to be smudged because you were too forceful.
This simple step can help the tattoo ink penetrate more deeply into the skin, ensuring a longer life span.
5. Avoid Irritating the Area
This tip is simply expanding on the previous one. Naturally, you should avoid the tattooed area for as long as possible. The ink should settle peacefully, but also you need to make sure that your lip does not get too much dry in the process. You would have to find a perfect balance between those two to have an excellent result on your hands or, more precisely, lips.
Side Effects of Lips Tattoo
Everything comes at a cost. If you are getting a tattoo on your lips, you should be aware of its side effects. Since lips are the most delicate part of your body, the chances of side effects can never be zero. Let’s have a look at the side effects of getting a lip tattoo.
1. Redness of the Skin
While the infection is the most dangerous of the lot, the redness of the skin can be pretty irritating on its own. You should be aware of it, as redness and swelling are some of the most common side effects of getting a lip tattoo. It does usually goes away after a time, especially after following the proper aftercare procedure, but the prolonged impact is an indication that this might be a worsening problem.
In such a case, it would be better to connect with your doctor immediately, without even a minute delay. As time passes, the situation could become more troublesome.
Scarring is also something you need to familiarize yourself with, but mainly as a worst-case scenario of not following the proper aftercare procedure. Search some pics for scarring after a failed aftercare process, and you would be sufficiently encouraged not to repeat such a mistake. The permanent scar is something no one wants on their lips.
3. Tattoo Infection
We have already discussed lip tattoo infection quite thoroughly in this blog. So, it only shows how essential it is for one to keep a lookout if they are seeing any of the common symptoms attached to lip infection. Self-diagnosing a lip infection is nearly impossible.
In many cases, the skin is sensitive to the needle used and would take a couple of days to get back to normal. Otherwise, connecting with a doctor would be wise.
Here are some symptoms that you need to keep an eye out for.
- Continuous fever
- Heat and cold waves
- Shivering for no reason
- Pus from the tattooed area
- Swelling, even after following proper aftercare
- Red lesions
- Hardened areas and raised tissue at and around the tattoo ink
If you find one or more of these symptoms, then it is very likely that you might have a tattoo infection and should get treated immediately.
Some Facts About the Lip Tattoo That Everyone Must Know
Don’t forget to understand the lip tattoo completely. Here are some facts about lip tattoos that you should never avoid.
1. It is Relatively Cheap
Yes, it might surprise many readers, especially after spending time on exciting the difficulty of lip tattoos. But for experienced tattoo artists, lip tattoos are something that would take at most a few minutes. Compare it to the hours and even multiple sitting one might have to go through for a chest tattoo. So, lip tattoos are often priced at the lower end of the spectrum.
2. The Tattoo Would Not Fade Away Completely
Yes, your lip tattoo would fade away after some time, whether one year or five years. But they do not entirely go away. Even after years, you would be able to notice a slight mark where your lip tattoo used to be. This would stay with you for the rest of your life. So, yes, it is something that one must know before they opt to get a lip tattoo.
3. Avoid Touch-ups at All Costs
If you are under the impression from the last tip that you could quickly get a touch-up when your tattoo starts to fade, it would be an ill-advised step. While many tattoo artists would do the touch-up a second or even a third time, it only increases the chances of infection every time you opt for it.
First, you are opening an old wound, which is already healed or in the process of healing. And secondly, the ink would start to spread under the skin, which is not good news. So, yeah, avoid this at all costs.
4. Only Hire an Experienced Professional for Lip Tattoos
Lip tattoos can be complex, which might be too challenging for an inexperienced tattoo artist to crack on their first attempt. Always choose an experienced and licensed tattoo parlor with professionals experienced in this field.
A Lip tattoo can be a whole lot of fun, a unique way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. If you are getting your inner lip inked, you should understand everything related to it. We have got you covered with all the details above. Hope you find this article useful and get much-needed help.