Getting An Inner Lip Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on August 17, 2019
    Last Updated: March 17, 2022

If you’re thinking of catching up with one of the latest fashion trends by getting a unique inner lip tattoo, it’s always a great idea to find out what you’re getting yourself into first and foremost.

Tattooing your inner lip might seem like a great idea if you want to keep your ink private business, but it can also be a painful experience, as the inside of your lip has plenty of nerve endings.

Deciding on whether you should get an inner lip tattoo depends on various factors, including:

  • How long you want your tattoo to last, as inner lip tattoos can fade quickly
  • Your pain tolerance
  • Whether you want to show off your tattoo or not
  • If you’re concerned of infection risks
  • If you’re prepared for a lengthy healing time

Inner Lip Tattooing Step By Step

Whether you already have a tattoo or you’re a first-timer, getting a lip tattoo can be a bit unnerving as it’s on a susceptible area of your face. To help you relax and know what to expect, check the following step-by-step list:

  1. Design: Choose what kind of tattoo you’re looking for
  2. Tattoo artist: Choose an experienced and safe tattoo artist. Make sure they use sterilized needles, to prevent the transmission of blood-borne illnesses
  3. Drawing: The tattoo artist will draw the design you want and then trace it onto your lip
  4. Inking: The tattooer will insert the ink through slow punctures in your lip. You can expect more pain compared with other areas of your body, such as arms or legs
  5. Bandage: They’ll cover your lip with a sterile dressing to prevent infection
  6. Healing process: Make sure to have a safe healing process, as it will take a couple of weeks for your lip to heal. Wash your mouth with an antibacterial mouth rinse every time you drink, smoke or eat

Inner Lip Tattoo Pros 

  • Popular: Inner lip tattoos are very trendy, being flaunted by celebrities on social media
  • Privacy: If you want to keep your tattoo private, the inner lip is a great location since it won’t be on show all the time. This may also work for employment purposes
  • Low commitment: Fading can happen rapidly, as the inside skin inside of the lip repairs itself very fast. This means that you can get one without the commitment of having it staying on you forever.

Inner Lip Tattoo Cons 

  • Fade quickly: They fade away quickly, usually lasting between a few weeks to five years. You may need a touch-up every few months
  • Restricted design: You’ll have to decide on a small and straightforward design, as the area is small and very hard to tattoo
  • Painful: It can be a painful experience as the mouth is an extremely sensitive area

Risks and Side-Effects of Inner Lip Tattoos

If you’re considering getting your inner lip inked, it’s essential to keep in mind that it comes with certain risks:

  • Swelling
  • Infections
  • Scarring
  • Allergic reactions


Your lip can easily swell, as tattoo needles create micro-injuries in your skin. Swelling can also be due to irritation caused by the tattoo needle and ink. As such, be careful when you eat and drink and try and stick to liquids and non-spicy foods.

Along with the swelling will come pain. Since the mouth is a body part that’s in constant use, you’ll need to be more conscious of how you go about your day-to-day life. Using ice on the lip can help with the swelling and pain, but be sure to wrap it in a clean cloth to avoid burns.


The risk of infection can be higher than other types of tattoos, such as those on the arms or legs, as the lips come in contact with saliva, food and drink. Also, the moisture and bacteria inside your mouth increase the chances of infection.


If you get an allergic reaction or infection after tattooing your inner lip, it’s possible that scar tissue will develop. Make sure to have a safe and healthy healing process by strictly following aftercare guidelines to avoid this issue.

Allergic Reactions

As the lip is a very sensitive area, consider asking your tattooer to use allergenic ink, especially if you have sensitive skin or a history of skin allergies.

Aftercare for Lip Tattoos

As they’re done inside your mouth, lip tattoos require special attention. Here’s a list of some special requirements for inner lip tattoo after-care:

  • Careful with what you eat: Avoid acidic food while the ink on your lip is healing. 
  • Postpone make-out sessions: Kissing is off-limits as saliva contains bacteria, and it’s not a great idea for it to come in contact with a fresh wound 
  • Refrain from eating: After getting inked, you won’t be able to eat or drink after getting your tattoo. Fasting time depends on tattoo and skin size
  • Rinse your mouth: Wash your mouth with an antibacterial rinse after each time you eat, for three to four weeks

Inner Lip Tattoo: Yes or No?

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to tattoo your inner lip, you should carefully ponder what the pros and cons are. The biggest hurdle for most is the pain factory, which can be extreme — you’ve been warned! Even so, we hear of many customers that love their new inner lip ink, despite the pain.

An inner lip tattoo is quite a unique location to get inked, so consider it a statement piece that you can keep hidden from public view. The great thing is that you can flaunt it on your terms and keep it more of a personal affair.

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