Lip Tattoo Guide: Aftercare Procedures & How Long Healing Takes

lip tattoo aftercare

Tattoos have long been a form of self-expression, a way to adorn our bodies with meaningful symbols or beautiful artwork. While traditional tattoo placements like arms, legs, or backs are common, there’s a unique and often overlooked canvas for ink—your lips. Yes, lip tattoos are a thing, offering a subtle yet distinctive way to showcase body art. If you’re considering this unconventional choice, delve into our comprehensive lip tattoo aftercare guide. We’ll explore what to do, what to avoid, and unravel the mysteries of the lip tattoo healing process.

Why get a lip tattoo?

Lip tattoos have gained popularity among individuals seeking a discreet yet alluring form of self-expression. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus or a desire for hidden ink usually inspire lip tattoos, which offer a canvas that’s both unique and personal. The delicate nature of lip tattoos allows for diverse designs, from small symbols to words or abstract patterns.

Potential risks of getting a lip tattoo

While the prospect of a lip tattoo opens doors to creative expression, it’s crucial to understand and address the potential risks associated with this unique form of body art. The lips, with their heightened sensitivity, thin skin, and abundant nerve endings, create an environment where the tattooing process can be more painful compared to other areas of the body.

Beyond the discomfort, there’s a notable risk of infection due to the natural bacteria present in the oral mucosa. This risk underscores the importance of selecting a skilled and experienced tattoo artist who not only possesses artistic proficiency but also prioritizes hygiene. The use of sterile tools and adherence to proper hygiene practices significantly diminish the likelihood of complications.

Moreover, the nature of the lips, with their rapid cell turnover, makes the healing process distinct. Understanding and mitigating these risks are crucial steps for anyone considering a lip tattoo.

What you can and can’t do before getting a lip tattoo

Preparing for a lip tattoo involves a set of precautions to ensure a smooth and successful experience.


  • Eat Before Your Appointment: Consuming a meal before your lip tattoo appointment is recommended. This not only supports your overall well-being but also helps stabilize blood sugar levels during the tattooing procedure, contributing to a more comfortable experience.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water before your appointment is essential. Hydration ensures your body is in optimal condition for the tattooing process.
  • Inform About Medications: Disclose any medications you are currently taking to your tattoo artist. This includes prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Transparency about your health ensures a safe tattooing experience.
  • Plan for Cold Sores: If you’ve experienced cold sores in the past, consult with your doctor and take the prescribed antiviral medication before and after the lip tattoo. This proactive step helps prevent herpes outbreaks and promotes a smoother healing process.


  • Avoid Alcohol for 24 Hours: Refrain from consuming alcohol at least 24 hours before your lip tattoo appointment. Alcohol thins the blood, increasing sensitivity during the tattoo process and the potential for bleeding.
  • Say No to Blood-Thinning Medications: In the 72 hours leading up to your appointment, avoid blood-thinning substances such as aspirin and ibuprofen. This precautionary measure minimizes the risk of excessive bleeding during the tattooing process.
  • Skip Cold Sore Medication: If you have a history of cold sores, neglecting to take the prescribed antiviral medication can increase the risk of complications during and after the lip tattoo procedure.

What you can and can’t do after getting a lip tattoo

The post-procedure phase is critical for the successful healing and longevity of your lip tattoo.


  • Apply an Ice Pack: Immediately after the lip tattoo, apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and tenderness. This helps minimize discomfort and creates an optimal environment for the healing process.
  • Follow the Aftercare Routine: Consistently apply the provided aftercare balm as directed by your tattoo artist. This specialized balm not only keeps the lips moist but also plays a crucial role in retaining the vibrant color of the tattoo.
  • Protect from Direct Water Exposure: During the initial days post-tattoo, avoid direct water exposure to the lips. This precaution prevents disturbances to the delicate healing process.
  • Use a Straw for Drinking: Opt for a straw when drinking during the initial healing period. This minimizes direct contact with the lips and reduces the risk of unintended disturbances.


  • Avoid Rubbing or Picking: Refrain from touching, rubbing, or picking at your lips post-tattoo. Allowing the natural healing process to unfold without interference is crucial.
  • Say No to Spicy, Salty, or Acidic Foods: During the initial days, steer clear of foods that are spicy, salty, or acidic. This helps prevent irritation and interference with the ink settling in the delicate lip area.
  • Minimize Direct Sun Exposure: Shield your lips from direct sun exposure for the first few days post-tattoo. Sun exposure can impact the healing process and the vibrancy of the tattoo.

By adhering to these detailed dos and don’ts, you contribute to a seamless healing process and ensure the longevity and vibrancy of your lip tattoo.

How long is the healing process?

The healing process for lip tattoos is a delicate but crucial phase. While the inside of the mouth heals rapidly, complete healing comparable to other tattoos may take time. Typically, lip tattoos may take around two weeks to fully heal. However, the presence of bacteria in the mouth emphasizes the importance of vigilant aftercare.

Proper care for your lips is important after a lip tattoo

In the weeks following your lip tattoo, maintaining proper care is paramount. Since traditional antibacterial soap isn’t suitable for the inner mouth, using an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash is recommended. This helps to keep oral bacteria levels low and supports the healing process.

Avoiding activities that may degrade pigment, such as smoking or consuming foods that may interfere with the ink settling, is crucial. Additionally, refraining from facial beauty treatments and direct sun exposure for a specified period is advisable.

Lip tattoos are a unique and intriguing choice for body art. The aftercare procedures outlined in this guide are essential for ensuring a smooth healing process and vibrant, long-lasting results. From what to do before your appointment to the meticulous care required post-procedure, understanding and adhering to these guidelines will contribute to a successful lip tattoo experience. So, if you’re contemplating a lip tattoo, embrace the uniqueness it offers, but don’t forget to give your lips the care they deserve during the healing journey.


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