How Much Pain Can You Expect From Lip Tattoos? A Tattoo Expert Reveals All

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If you are considering getting a lip tattoo, you might be wondering: How bad does it hurt to get a lip tattoo? After all, the lips are a sensitive area, and the thought of getting a tattoo there can be intimidating. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about lip tattoos, including how much they hurt, the potential risks, and how to prepare for your appointment.


Pain Level

Pain Level
Getting a lip tattoo can be a painful experience. Depending on the individual, the level of pain experienced can vary. The most painful area is typically the inner lip, while the outer lip tends to be less painful.

Factors Determining Pain Level

A number of factors can influence how much pain a person feels when getting a lip tattoo. Some of the most common factors include the amount of time spent on the tattoo, the skill and experience of the artist, and the individual’s pain tolerance.

Pain Management Techniques

There are a few techniques that can help manage the pain associated with a lip tattoo. Numbing creams can be used to reduce the pain. The artist may also apply a cooling gel during the tattooing process. Taking painkillers before the tattooing session can also help reduce the discomfort.

Overall, how bad a lip tattoo hurts can depend on the individual’s pain tolerance and other factors. However, with the right pain management techniques, the pain can be managed and the tattooing experience can be more enjoyable.

Types of Lip Tattoos

Types Of Lip Tattoos

Lip tattoos come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on the design and color of the tattoo, there are a few different types to choose from:

  • Outline tattoos: These tattoos are typically a single line outlining the lips, such as a heart, star, or other shape.
  • Full lip tattoos: These tattoos are more extensive and cover the entire lip area. They can range from simple coloring to complex designs.
  • Lipstick tattoos: These tattoos are designed to look like a lipstick stain and are often used to enhance the natural color of the lips.

No matter what type of lip tattoo you choose, it’s important to know how painful is a lip tattoo before getting one.

Duration of Lip Tattoos

Duration Of Lip Tattoos

  • Permanent Lip Tattoos: Permanent lip tattoos typically last for years, with some fading over time. The longevity of the tattoo depends on the individual’s skin and lifestyle.
  • Semi-Permanent Lip Tattoos: Semi-permanent lip tattoos are designed to last up to 18 months. The pigment is still deposited in the skin, but it is not as deep as a permanent tattoo.
  • Temporary Lip Tattoos: Temporary lip tattoos are designed to last anywhere from one to three days, depending on the individual’s skin and lifestyle.

Lip Tattoo Preparation

Lip Tattoo Preparation

  • Choose a Tattoo Artist: Look for a reputable artist who is experienced in lip tattoos. Ask to see their portfolio and check online reviews.
  • Understand the Risks: Understand the risks associated with lip tattoos, such as infection, allergic reactions, and scarring.
  • Consult with a Professional: Speak to a doctor or dermatologist about the risks, as well as to ensure you are healthy enough to receive a lip tattoo.
  • Choose the Design: Select a design that you are sure you want and will not regret down the road. It is important to remember that lip tattoos are permanent and cannot be removed.
  • Prepare for Procedure: Make sure to eat a meal prior to the procedure as it can take several hours to complete. Also, avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours before the procedure.
  • Aftercare: Follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist precisely to reduce the risk of infection and ensure proper healing.

Aftercare for Lip Tattoos

Aftercare For Lip Tattoos

Moisturizing: To ensure the healing process of a lip tattoo, it is important to moisturize the area regularly. Use a natural, unscented moisturizer and apply it to the area two to three times a day.

Avoid Pressure: Do not rub, scratch, or apply any pressure to the area. This will prevent the tattoo from healing properly.

Keep It Clean: It is important to keep the area clean. Use a mild soap and water to gently clean the area twice a day. Pat dry the area with a clean cloth.

Avoid Sun Exposure: Avoid direct sunlight on the area to prevent discoloration and fading of the tattoo.

Avoid Makeup: Avoid wearing makeup on the area for at least two weeks.

Avoid Touching: Do not touch the area with your hands as this can introduce bacteria and cause infection.

Follow Up Appointment: Make sure to make a follow-up appointment with your tattoo artist to make sure the tattoo is healing correctly.

Tasks Frequency
Moisturizing 2-3 times a day
Keep It Clean Twice a day
Avoid Makeup At least two weeks
Follow Up Appointment As soon as possible

Risks and Complications

Risks And Complications


Although lip tattoos are generally safe, there is still a risk of infection. Infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor hygiene, improper aftercare, and unsterile equipment. The most common signs of infection are swelling, redness, and discharge from the tattoo site. If any of these signs occur, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately to avoid any further complications.


Another potential risk of lip tattoos is an allergic reaction. Allergies can be caused by pigments, numbing agents, or other materials used during the tattooing process. Allergic reactions can range from mild itching and swelling to more severe reactions such as hives and difficulty breathing. If an allergic reaction occurs, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Scarring and Skin Damage

Scarring and skin damage can occur as a result of lip tattoos. This is especially true if the tattoo is done too deep, or if too much trauma is caused during the process. Proper aftercare is essential to reduce the risk of scarring and skin damage. It’s also important to choose an experienced and reputable artist who specializes in lip tattoos.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Lip Tattoo

Pros And Cons Of Getting A Lip Tattoo


  • Lip tattoos can be very unique and attractive.
  • They can last for a long time and won’t need to be touched up as often as other tattoos.
  • They can be used to cover up scars, blemishes and other imperfections.
  • They can be done in a variety of colors and styles.


  • Lip tattoos are more painful than other types of tattoos.
  • They can be more difficult to heal and may take longer to heal than other types of tattoos.
  • They can be more prone to infection and may require more care than other types of tattoos.
  • The colors may not last as long as other tattoos.

Cost of Lip Tattoos

Lip tattoos are usually priced based on how long it takes to complete the procedure. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $500, depending on the amount of detail, size of the tattoo, and complexity of the design. Prices can also vary depending on the location of the shop, the artist’s experience, and the number of sessions required to complete the tattoo.

Pain Factor: Lip tattoos can be quite painful due to the sensitivity of the skin on the lips. However, the pain level varies from person to person as everyone’s tolerance is different. If you’re concerned about the pain, talk to your tattoo artist beforehand and they can give you an estimate of how bad the experience will be.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Consider Before Getting a Lip Tattoo?

    Pain Tolerance: Getting a tattoo anywhere on your body involves pain, and your lips are no exception. If you have a low pain threshold, you may want to reconsider getting a lip tattoo.
    Location: Consider the location of your tattoo. It is important to think about how it will look when your mouth is open, closed, or smiling.
    Size: Lip tattoos are small in nature, so you will want to think about how much ink you want to get.
    Commitment: Tattoos are a permanent commitment. You will want to think about how you will feel about your lip tattoo when you are in your 50s or older.
    Health Risks: There are some health risks associated with getting a lip tattoo, such as infection and allergic reaction, so you should research these risks before deciding to get a lip tattoo.
    Artist: It is important to do your research and find a reputable artist to do your lip tattoo.

How long does a lip tattoo usually take?

A lip tattoo usually takes around 1-2 hours depending on the complexity of the design. It is important to note that the process may take longer if the artist is perfecting details.

How Much Does a Lip Tattoo Typically Cost?

Lip tattoos vary in price depending on several factors:

  • Size of the tattoo
  • Design complexity
  • Type of ink used
  • Location of the tattoo parlor

Generally, a lip tattoo can range anywhere from $50 to $400. To get a better cost estimation, it is best to consult with a professional tattoo artist.

What kind of aftercare is needed for a lip tattoo?

Lip tattoos require special care and attention to ensure they heal properly and retain their vibrancy. Here are the essential steps for aftercare:

  • Avoid touching the tattoo for the first few days and keep it clean.
  • Apply a thin layer of tattoo ointment for the first few days to keep the area hydrated.
  • Gently clean the tattoo with warm water and a mild soap twice a day.
  • Avoid sun exposure and use a high SPF sunscreen if necessary.
  • Avoid applying any other products to the area, such as makeup or lip balm.
  • Do not pick or scratch the area as it can lead to infection or scarring.
  • Keep the area moisturized to ensure the tattoo doesn’t fade.
  • If there is any redness, swelling, or pain, contact your artist or doctor immediately.

Following these steps can help ensure that your lip tattoo heals quickly and looks its best.

Are there any risks associated with lip tattoos?

Yes, there are several risks associated with lip tattoos:

  • Infection – Lip tattoos can introduce bacteria to the mouth, leading to infection.
  • Allergic Reaction – Lip tattoos can cause an allergic reaction, especially if the tattoo ink contains ingredients that your body is not able to process.
  • Scarring – Lip tattoos can cause permanent scarring if not done properly.
  • Nerve Damage – Lip tattoos can cause nerve damage if they are placed too close to the nerves in the lip.
  • Discoloration – Lip tattoos can cause discoloration in the area, which could be permanent.
  • Pain – Lip tattoos can be painful, especially if they are placed in a sensitive area.

It is important to discuss any concerns with your tattoo artist before getting a lip tattoo, and to make sure that they are experienced in this type of procedure.


Getting a lip tattoo is a painful experience, but the outcome can be worth it. It is important to make sure you find a skilled, experienced tattoo artist and take the necessary precautions before, during, and after the procedure. After the initial pain of the tattoo, you should expect some swelling and discomfort for a few days. Following the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist will help you to minimize the healing time and reduce the risk of infection.


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