All You Need To Know About Lip Tattoo

Lip Tattoo is a procedure done to enhance the color of one’s lips.  Pigments of varying shades of pink or red are implanted in the lip mucosa to cover dark lips or add color to pale lips.  If you have dark lips, it is best to choose lighter shades with hues of orange to camouflage the dark undertone.  If you have pale lips, you can go for the bright red or pink colors.


What do you need to do before the procedure?  It is best to exfoliate your lips prior to the procedure.  After brushing your teeth, also brush your lips to remove the dead skin cells.  The next thing to do is moisturize with petroleum jelly or lip balm.  If you have previous history of Herpes Infection, seen as cold sores around the mouth, you need to take prophylactic antiviral prior to the lip tattoo.  Ask your doctor about it.


Is it painful? Without the right anesthesia, lip tattoo is painful since the lip mucosa is very sensitive.  Most often, you will see from youtube videos that they use topical or cream type of anesthesia to numb the lips.  This is effective in removing the pain sensation for only a couple of minutes, usually around 5 to 10 minutes.  After which, you need to reapply again.  The best type of anesthesia is a nerve block, which will last for 1 to 2 hours long.  This is done by injecting a small amount of anesthesia at the correct anatomic landmark to numb the whole upper and lower lips.  Only doctors and dentists are authorized by law to do this kind of injection. 


Will you see results after 1 session? Yes and No. Yes, there are already changes seen in the color of your lips to a more pinkish hue, mostly seen on the outer lip line area. It takes time before you notice the result.  The color will be more visible after 3 to 6 months.  No, because it is still not the end result that most women want.  To achieve the lipstick effect, it is best to do 3 to 4 sessions of lip tattoo with an interval of at least 1 month.  


Are the results permanent? Expect the color to last for a couple of years.  The color around the lip line area is more or less permanent.  The area that fades is the inner lips which is constantly exposed to our saliva.  To prolong the result, it is advised to use sunblock over the lips and moisturize with lip balm or petroleum jelly.  


As with other permanent makeup, lip tattoo is highly skill dependent.  Using the same machine, nor the same pigment does not mean you will get the same exact result.  The result will always depend on the skill and technique of the person performing the procedure.  Choose wisely!


Written by Dr. Aicee Bernal Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon and Permanent Makeup Artist since 2013.