How Bad Does An Inner Lip Tattoo Hurt?

Being a tattoo lover myself, I have always been curious about inner lip tattoos. These tattoos are highly appealing to the younger generation due to their privacy. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Kendal Jenner have sparked intrigue in inner lip tattoos after sharing them on social media.  

An inner lip tattoo is considered one of the most painful places to get a tattoo due to the number of nerve endings packed into the inner lip. However, everyone has an individual pain threshold, so the level of pain one experiences can differ from person to person.

The nature of an inner lip tattoo can be quite appealing but knowing the ins and outs of getting a tattoo like this is very important. Take the time to learn all you can about inner lip tattoos and find out some useful aftercare tips to prevent any infection, leaving your tattoo looking beautiful for longer!

How Sore Is An Inner Lip Tattoo?

An inner lip tattoo is one of the most painful places to get a tattoo. This type of tattoo is as painful, if not more painful, than a rib cage tattoo or armpit tattoo. But pain is very subjective.

The inner lip is full of nerve endings, making it a very painful area to get a tattoo. People who have had both an armpit tattoo and an inner lip tattoo have said that the lip tattoo caused them more pain. This part of the body is highly sensitive, so a needle pushing into it will cause a fair amount of pain.

However, the amount of pain you experience is completely subjective. Everyone has an individual pain threshold. In simple terms, this is the minimum amount of pressure that can be placed onto your body before you start feeling pain.

Some people can experience a high amount of pressure and not experience pain, whereas others can only endure a small amount of pressure before the pain is too much for them. This is important because whether a tattoo is sore or not will depend largely on this.

Another thing is that tattoo artists will usually administer a numbing cream or some sort of topical cream to decrease the amount of pain you experience. This cream, paired with high pain tolerance, may leave you feeling very little pain.

Furthermore, the inner lip tattoo I know to hurt more than an external lip tattoo due to the sheer number of nerve-endings located inside the mouth.

As you can tell, the inner lip tattoo is quite painful. If you’re planning to get one, then you better hope you have a high pain threshold!

How Long Do Inner Lip Tattoos Last?

If you have considered getting an inner lip tattoo, you will know that part of the appeal of this tattoo is due to its temporary nature compared to other tattoos, which are permanent. It’s a place that is often used for experimentation since it is easily hidden and fades after some time.

Inner lip tattoos can last anywhere from a few months to years. However, on average, they last between one to five years before they start fading.

Depending on your preferences, this lack of permanency can be a good thing or a bad thing. Many people love the idea of a temporary tattoo, but others find this a problem. So before getting an inner lip tattoo, you should consider this factor.

The inner lip tattoo does not last long for a few reasons. The main reason is that, in general, any sores inside the mouth tend to heal relatively quickly due to the mouth’s repair genes which kick into action very fast. Furthermore, spit helps the tattoo wound heal fast and promotes the fading of the tattoo.

Another reason these tattoos fade fast is that there is a lot of friction inside the mouth. Food, drinks, saliva, and whatever else goes into one’s mouth causes a lot of friction. Over time this constant friction will fade the tattoo.

However, the person who does your inner lip tattoo and how they do it has quite a big influence on how long your tattoo lasts. An inner lip tattoo done by a highly experienced tattoo artist could last for years! Be mindful of who is doing your tattoo.

Will I Need Touch-Ups For My Inner Lip Tattoo?

Some people find it a problem that the inner lip tattoo fades quickly. A few find this appealing because they can then have a new one placed there a few years later. But if you are someone who wants that tattoo to remain, then touch-ups will be necessary.

Touch-ups are not highly recommended for inner-lip tattoos. Getting a single touch-up is alright, but doing many can lead to the ink spreading across the inside of the inner lip and losing its definition. Some have described it to look like a bruise on the inside of their mouth.

Everyone’s experience is different. Some peoples’ fade completely, while others still have theirs’ years later. Since the healing of the tattoo is largely based on how you personally heal, you may be fine with a touch-up or two. So check this out beforehand!

Inner Lip Tattoo Healing Process

This type of tattoo usually takes around two or three weeks to heal, depending on the aftercare steps you take. Even though the mouth heals relatively quickly, the time it takes for the tattoo to heal completely is usually similar to that of other tattoos.

It is vital that you follow some aftercare steps for your inner lip tattoo so that it heals properly. The mouth is loaded with various bacteria, so the inner lip requires extra care and attention.

Aftercare for An Inner Lip Tattoo

Your inner lip tattoo may start off healing relatively quickly but caring for it is important because of the bacteria in your mouth. Infections are more common in lip tattoos due to their location, so aftercare is vital. Please take note of the below aftercare suggestions to ensure that your tattoo heals properly!

Caring for your inner lip tattoo is a pretty different process from caring for a tattoo on your skin.

The main difference is that you will use an antibacterial mouth wash for your inner lip tattoo. You can ask your tattoo artists which alcohol-free mouth wash he recommends, and they often have a few suggestions for you!

Use your antibacterial wash every time after you eat. This frequent washing will prevent any new bacteria that could have come from your food from creating an infection.

Inner Lip Tattoo Aftercare: Careful What You Eat

When you first get your tattoo, you may not be able to eat solid foods for a few hours. Your lip will most likely be very swollen and sore so refraining from eating solid foods is good. You could try smoothies or shakes; however, this may still cause you some discomfort.

Aside from the pain eating can cause, the type of food you eat over the first two weeks of healing can affect the appearance of the tattoo.

While your mouth is trying to heal, it is a good idea to keep the acidity levels in that area relatively low. Avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes or oranges, and stay away from spicy foods. These types of food could interfere with the ink that is trying to settle.

Additionally, you can irritate your tattoo by eating food that is still hot. It’s wise to make sure that any food you eat has cooled down significantly.

Inner Lip Tattoo Aftercare: Don’t Aggravate The Area!

It is vital that when you first get your tattoo, you do your best not to create additional friction in your mouth. Friction can disrupt the ink that is trying to settle and cause the tattoo to fade or distort its appearance.

You can prevent aggravation by eating soft foods and staying away from sucking on lollipops or using your mouth for any strenuous activities.

Inner Lip Tattoo Aftercare: Keep It Clean

In general, try your best not to introduce any new bacteria into your mouth. This means no kissing! Kissing will pass bacteria-filled saliva into your mouth and can cause infections.

Furthermore, staying away from smoking is essential. These sorts of activities will introduce foreign bacteria and irritate the tattoo. This will slow the healing process down and cause infection. 

Inner Lip Tattoo Aftercare: Look Out For Infection

An essential part of aftercare is purely watching the tattoo and making sure there are no changes that could indicate an infection.

The tattoo will be red and slightly inflamed initially, but if this persists or gets worse, it could indicate an infection.

Some signs of infection:

  • Persistent swelling
  • Red, rash around the tattoo area
  • Fever
  • Abnormal Shivering
  • Persistent pain

If you are worried that you could have an infection, it is best to get the tattoo looked at by a health professional.  

Your mouth will heal itself no matter what, but following the above aftercare will help prevent infections and leave your tattoo looking better and lasting longer!

Inner Lip Tattoo Risks

Although the risks associated with an inner lip tattoo are low if you follow the proper aftercare procedures, it is good to be aware of the risks.

Some of the risks include:

  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to the tattoo ink
  • Blood Borne Illnesses
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis

If you’ve suffered from an allergic reaction to tattoo ink before, I would advise not attempting an inner lip tattoo. An allergic reaction can be life-threatening, so please refrain.

Inner Lip Tattoo Ideas

Okay, enough of the negative stuff. Let’s look at some inner lip tattoo ideas!

If you’re heading off to your tattoo parlor with no idea what to get on your inner lip, you have come to the right place.

Celebrity Inspired Inner Lip Tattoos

Lots of you probably first heard about inner lip tattoos through celebrities. Over the last few years, a few celebrities have shared their inner lip tattoo designs. If you want to come up with a design similar to one of theirs, below is a list of some celebs and what they have!

  • Miley Cyrus – Sad Kitty
  • Kendal Jenner – “Meow”
  • Ke$ha – “Suck It”
  • James Charles – “Sisters”
  • Noah Cyrus – “Reh”
  • Ethan Dolan – “Create”
  • Madison Beer – “ Honey”
  • Justine Skye – Smiley Face

Word Inspired Inner Lip Tattoos

While you can get full designs on your inner lip, the best and most common type is getting a word. Words usually look the best as they are relatively simple and easy to do, so there is little room to mess up.

The ideal number of words is having one word or two words maximum, but three can look good if done with a thin enough needle.

Some inspiration that you can use for your inner lip tattoo:

  • Hello
  • Kiss Me
  • Wild
  • Dolce
  • Nutella
  • Wild Child
  • Rawr
  • C’est La Vie
  • Rock-N-Roll

Simple Inner Lip Tattoo Designs

Lastly, if you don’t feel like having a word on your inner lip, you can always pick a simple design for your lip. Personally, I would recommend having a basic line drawing for a design and refraining from coloring or filling the tattoo in. The simpler, the better!

Some simple inner lip tattoo designs:

  • Heart
  • Dog paw
  • Musical notes
  • Palm tree
  • Diamond
  • Crown
  • Infinity symbol
  • Four-leaf clover

The list for simple designs is endless! Take the time to think of what would mean the most to you and get started on your inner lip tattoo design!

How Much Do Inner Lip Tattoos Cost?

You may be reading this and thinking – this is definitely the kind of tattoo for me! As you probably know, getting a tattoo can be pretty pricey if you go to a professional tattoo parlor. Lucky for you, inner-lip tattoos are not too expensive!

Most of these tattoos are restricted to a relatively small size compared to the rest of your body, so they can’t be too expensive. On average, these tattoos can range from 50$ to 125$, depending on where you get it done and your design choice.


In conclusion, inner lip tattoos are painful due to the number of nerve endings located inside the lip. However, the level of pain you experience will depend on your pain threshold and whether you received numbing cream.

It’s essential that you follow the correct aftercare procedures to prevent any infection. Furthermore, there are risks associated with inner lip tattoos, but these are relatively uncommon.

Take the time to go through our inner lip tattoo ideas and hopefully find some inspiration for your next tattoo!


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