How Long Do Inner Lip Tattoos Last? 3 Tips

How Long Do Inner Lip Tattoos Last? 3 Tips

Dec 13, 2023 | Bridget Reed

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Aftercare Set
Aftercare Set


Inner lip tattoos saw a huge surge in popularity about a decade ago. Although the buzz has calmed down to a dull roar, there are still plenty of people interested in giving an inner lip tattoo a shot. 

Most of the OG inner lip tattoo folks don’t have their inner lip tattoos anymore, and it’s not because they got them removed. They have a shorter lifespan than you may be expecting. 

Here’s what you should know before you book your appointment.

How Long Do Inner Lip Tattoos Last?

There are a lot of factors that determine how long a tattoo will last. The most common concerns with tattoo fading are dehydrated skin and unprotected sun exposure

Since the inside of your mouth is always wet and never exposed to the sun, it seems like an inner lip tattoo should last longer than most tattoos. The opposite is true.

The skin on the inside of your mouth is designed to constantly regenerate. It erodes away from acids and sugars in the foods you eat, and your body is constantly replacing it. 

The rapid cell turnover of wet tissue means that an inner lip tattoo will last five years, tops. Most people notice significant fading after the one-year mark. Some inner lip tattoos essentially disappear with time, almost like they’re semi-permanent. 

Being especially cautious during the healing process can get your inner lip tattoo off to a good start. Making mindful choices about mouth hygiene and the foods you eat after you get an inner lip tattoo can push its lifespan a little further. 

How Long Does It Take for an Inner Lip Tattoo To Heal?

Healing wounds, like tattoos, really love moisture. When you get a tattoo on your skin, you’re supposed to keep it wet to speed up the healing process. 

Lucky for you, the inside of your mouth is constantly wet. An inner lip tattoo can completely heal in as little as two weeks because it’s never at risk of drying out. 

The two-week scenario is the ideal scenario, and it won’t always work out that way. If you aren’t keeping up with proper aftercare practices, you can slow down the healing process or even permanently damage your inner lip tattoo. If you’re shooting for a speedy recovery, make sure you stick to the plan.

Tip 1: Watch What You Eat

It’s a good idea to watch what you eat in general. It’s a make-or-break situation when you have a fresh inner lip tattoo. You know what lemon juice feels like on a paper cut. Now imagine what it feels like on a tattoo inside of your mouth. Yikes. 

As much as you love orange juice, spicy food, and tomato sauce, you’ll need to take a brief break from your relationship with these foods. Spicy or acidic foods can irritate your healing inner lip tattoo. 

Irritation can damage your tattoo and extend your healing process. Hold off for just a few weeks. 

Tip 2: Don’t Smoke or Vape Anything

We’re not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t smoke. You’re a grownup, and you probably already know that smoking most things comes with far more risk than reward. 

Although some of the things people smoke or vape are considered medicinal (ahem), switching to an edible type of medicine might be a better idea while your inner lip tattoo is healing.

Tip 3: Lay Off the Love 

Human beings express love by swapping bodily fluids. This means kissing and, well, other stuff we do with our mouths. Bad news, lovers: our bodily fluids are packed with germs

Making out puts stress and pressure on your lower lip. This combo spells bad news for your inner lip tattoo. Hang back for a couple of weeks. You’ll be back to smooching in no time

How Do I Help Inner Lip Tattoos Heal?

Inner Lip Tattoo

Our tattoo aftercare kit is amazing, but it doesn’t fit the bill here. Inner lip tattoos are different from most tattoos because they’re technically inside your body. 

You can’t use the same aftercare products you would use to heal a tattoo on your arm or your back because you’ll inevitably swallow some of the product. Your tattoo artist will tell you to avoid eating or drinking anything (besides plain water) for a few hours after you get your tattoo. Eating before your appointment is better, so it’ll be a while before you get hungry again.

The most important thing to do to help your inner lip tattoo heal is to use mouthwash frequently. Don’t go for the green stuff that stings! Mouthwash containing alcohol can dehydrate your healing tattoo and delay the healing process. 

Use an alcohol-free mouthwash that doesn’t contain any colorants or flavorings. Imagine strong peppermint on a fresh tattoo. Nope. We’ll pass. 

Use your mouthwash every time you eat or drink something that isn’t water. Aim to swish about five times a day, and be careful to avoid bumping into your healing tattoo when you brush your teeth.

The Final Word on Inner Lip Tattoos

Inner Lip Tattoo

Inner lip tattoos can be cool, but you should remember that they’re not designed to last forever. If you’re looking to permanently commit to a design you love, you’re better off getting a tattoo on your exterior skin. 

If keeping your tattoo discrete is a major concern, there’s always the back of your neck, behind your ear, or on your inner bicep. We’ve got the best tattoo numbing cream to take the edge off of your tattoo session.

If you decide to go ahead with your inner lip tattoo, take very good care of it. Its unique location is going to change up your daily routine for a few weeks, but it’s already in an ideal environment for healing. Follow your artist’s instructions to help move the process along. 

Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation: What It Is & Its Effect on Your Skin | Cleveland Clinic

Saliva and wound healing | PubMed

Should You Bandage a Cut or Sore or Let It Air Out? | Cleveland Clinic

The salivary microbiome shows a high prevalence of core bacterial members yet variability across human populations | NPJ | Biofilms and Microbiomes

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