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In recent years, lip tattoos have become more widely known. They include inner lip tattoos as well as permanent lip liner or lipstick. In this article, we’ll discuss the trend of inner lip tattooing and highlight some things to consider before getting a lip tattoo.
Inner lip tattoos are small images or short words tattooed inside a person’s lip, usually the lower lip. Unlike permanent lipstick tattoos, they aren’t visible when someone’s mouth is closed.
Like many body art and fashion trends, celebrities have played a major role in popularizing inner lip tattoos. They became widely known in the 2010s, as celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kesha, and Kendall Jenner revealed them.
Other factors that may play into the popularity of inner lip tattoos include:
Inner lip tattoos are often considered to be more painful than some more common tattoos.
However, different people have different pain tolerance levels, so what one person considers very painful may feel mild to another. Other factors can also affect how painful a given tattoo is experienced.
Regarding sensitivity, inner lip tattoos are often put in the same category as those on the ribcage, sternum, shins, and feet.
These areas either have a high concentration of nerve endings or are especially bony and low in body fat. They’re generally considered the most painful areas to have tattooed.
By comparison, tattoos on the back, outer chest, outer arms, and thighs tend to be some of the least painful, as these areas have more fat protecting them and/or fewer sensitive nerve endings.
While the inner lip itself is more sensitive than many other parts of the body, other factors may reduce the amount of pain you feel, including:
You can expect to pay between $50 and $200 for an inner lip tattoo. The exact cost will depend on a few factors, including:
For example, a small, simple lip tattoo design will likely cost less than a complex design done by a high-profile artist.
After discussing the design and procedure with your tattoo artist and signing the required forms, an inner lip tattoo session will likely go as follows:
This entire process will not take very long since the tattoo won’t be very large. Tattoo artists also tend to keep inner lip work relatively shallow since deeper ink could become visible on the outside of your mouth.
Due to its location, an inner lip tattoo may be riskier than more conventional tattoos. The soft tissue inside your mouth differs from the skin and responds differently to tattooing.
Bacterial infection is the most important risk to avoid with an inner lip tattoo. The tattooed area can become infected if you aren’t careful because it’s inside your mouth and can easily be irritated by food and drinks.
While some swelling early on is common, an infected lip can swell, making it painful and difficult to eat or drink. Good aftercare is essential to prevent this, as is choosing a reputable artist who uses sterile tools.
Because inner lip ink tends to fade fast (see below), you’d need frequent touch-ups to keep the tattoo looking the same. This could increase your risk of infection, as your inner lip would be repeatedly wounded.
Though uncommon, it’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to tattoo ink. If this happens, you may experience itching, swelling, or hives in the hours following your tattoo session.
In severe cases, an allergic reaction may cause difficulty breathing. If this happens, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
While inner lip tattoos tend to heal quickly, they also tend to fade for the same reason. Depending on your preferences, this could be a positive or a negative.
The lining of your mouth (oral mucosa) has a rapid cell turnover rate compared to many other parts of your body. This means that old cells are quickly replaced, and tattoo ink will tend to fade.
An inner lip tattoo may begin to fade in just a few weeks if the ink isn’t very deep. If the ink is deep enough, there may still be a faint remnant of the tattoo after 5 years. But the design won’t remain sharp and clear for a long time.
Lip tattoos require proper aftercare to ensure a good result and reduce the risks mentioned above. Take the following steps to care for your lip while it heals:
With proper aftercare, your inner lip can fully heal within two weeks. However, poor aftercare could delay healing.
Spicy or acidic foods and drinks are likely to irritate the area. Smoking and drinking alcohol are also best avoided. The irritation could lead to an infection and may cause some of the ink to run out or blur.
It usually isn’t recommended to touch up an inner lip tattoo. Frequently redoing the tattoo rather than allowing it to fade makes it likely that the ink will spread and ruin the design. It also increases the risk of infection.
Because they tend to fade quickly, inner lip tattoos would need touching up every few months, leading to the risks we just mentioned.
An inner lip tattoo isn’t likely to directly affect your teeth. However, poor tattoo aftercare and oral hygiene could contribute to a local infection or inflammation of the lower lip and gums.
As inner lip tattoos have become more popular, more established tattoo artists have begun to offer them. However, they’re still not as widely offered as more conventional tattoos. Try using a search engine to find inner lip tattoo specialists in your area.
Inner lip tattoos have become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. Their small size, low cost, and often temporary nature have contributed to the trend.
Before getting a lip tattoo, know the risks involved. Discuss it with an experienced tattoo artist. Consider talking to your dentist, especially if you have any existing oral health conditions.
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