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The Ins and Outs of Inner Lip Tattoos

Inner lip tattoos are not new, but they are steadily increasing in popularity. Browse through images shared on social media feeds and you will see that inner lip tattoos are becoming more prevalent. Celebrities who have flaunted their inner lip tattoos, such as Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne, and Ke$ha, are partially behind the increased incidence of this phenomenon, but there is more to it. Inner lip tattoos are an interesting option for people who want to conceal their tattoos, and adding to their allure, they allow an opportunity to get a tattoo unlike anything you’d display on the rest of your body.

One of the more unique aspects of the inner lip tattoo is that they are considered temporary because of the nature of the mucosal cells that line the inside of the mouth. One difference between the ectodermal tissue lining our skin and our oral cells, is that our oral tissue repairs faster. A skin insult or wound that typically takes 2-3 weeks to heal only takes 2-3 days in the mouth due to the rapid regeneration of mucosal cells. Because of this, most inner lip tattoos fade and disappear in 1 to 5 years. However, some only last from weeks to months, so make the most of the opportunity and get something you might be afraid to have inked on your body for the rest of your life. For example, your girlfriend/boyfriend’s name, a silly word, or something profane. It’s hidden and it’s probably not going to last, so have fun and be bold.

The amount of pain inflicted by a lip tattoo is debatable. Some people report that the process is less painful than tattoos on the rest of the body, others claim it is more painful because of a high concentration of nerves in the lip. Either way, one certainty is that infections are painful, and the rate of infection with lip tattoos is much higher due to the cornucopia of bacteria found in the human mouth. This means taking care of your tattoo is going to be especially important in the days following the procedure. Rinsing your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash after meals and after smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the probability of a painful and annoying infection. You can find a great alcohol-free mouthwash in the Piercing Aftercare Products section.

Keep in mind it takes more than just rinsing your mouth to maintain and sanitize the inner lip, so be sure to get aftercare instructions from your artist. They will provide you with foods to avoid, information about how to keep it dry, and more. Lastly, it is important to know that tattooing the inner lip is not easy, even for an experienced artist, so make sure you get it done by a licensed professional with clean tools, and not by one of your friends. Otherwise it could end with a nasty infection, scarring, and a heap of misery. So steer clear of those easily avoided pitfalls, keep it clean, and relish in the brevity of your ink like one of those perfect summer days that you know won’t last.