It seems that people are coming up with more parts of their body than ever to tattoo, and the tongue is no exception. So, how do tongue tattoos work, how will it be different from tattooing other parts of your body and how long do tongue tattoos take to heal?
Tongue tattoos have a short healing period of about two to three weeks due to the tongue’s resilient composition. Healing can be painful, uncomfortable and could be accompanied by crust buildup and flaking. But if you feel severe pain, experience swelling, or have a fever, visit a doctor immediately.
So, if you’re considering getting a tongue tattoo, you probably have a lot of questions about the procedure, healing, aftercare, and potential health risks. This article explains everything that you need to know.
On average, a tongue tattoo will take about two to three weeks to heal. This is significantly less than the 50-day healing period that most tattoos require because the tongue is biologically equipped to heal faster than most other parts of the body.
Wounds in the oral cavity will heal at an accelerated rate due to the environment in your mouth that is warm and humid. Saliva is the important factor that creates this environment and there is a presence of proteins and other growth factors that promote epithelial cell proliferation.
During the first few days after you’ve got your tongue tattoo, you will feel a tingly sensation, numbness, and occasional pain, which comes from the buildup of crust and the tattoo flaking. However, the tongue is one of the fastest healing parts of the body.
You should also note that tongue tattoos won’t last very long. They can retain their pigmentation for a few weeks at worst or a few years at best as a consequence of the tongue’s propensity to heal.
However, tongue tattoos are also susceptible to infection and it is therefore critical that you practice good oral hygiene both before and after you get the tattoo.
This means that you should brush your teeth thoroughly, floss, and use mouthwash before your appointment to ensure that your tattoo artist has as sterile an environment to work in as possible.
There is a lot of bacteria in your mouth and, while your tongue is healing, you need to make sure that it is as clean as possible during this time.
You will find that many tattoo artists will refuse to do tongue tattoos because of the risks involved. It takes a high level of skill and lots of experience to create a tongue tattoo and it can have long-lasting consequences such as damaging your tastebuds.
The receptor cells in your tongue are designed for different tastes like sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, sourness, and so on. The punctures and damage caused by tattooing can kill those cells and affect your sense of taste.
Above this, it is also possible for you to contract infections like tetanus, hepatitis C, or even HIV if an artist uses equipment that hasn’t been adequately sterilized. Your tongue could also experience an allergic reaction to the ink.
Therefore, it’s important for you to go to an artist or tattoo parlor with a good reputation and experience with tongue tattoos to ensure that these risks are reduced.
The basic principles of finding the right design and approaching the tattoo artist with good references remain the same for tongue tattoos, but you may be hard-pressed to find an artist that’s willing to do a tongue tattoo because of the associated risks and difficulty of the procedure.
Unlike other tattoos, tongue tattoos do not use an electric gun to inject ink into your tongue because of the thick layer of epithelial tissue on top of the tongue, which will quickly dissolve the ink and it will disappear immediately.
Rather, the tongue is tattooed by hand. The tattoo artist will clamp your tongue down and will inject the ink directly into its capillaries.
You may also be concerned that a tongue tattoo will be incredibly painful, but the tongue is actually one of the least painful parts of the body to tattoo, due to its resilience.
Also note that you shouldn’t opt for intricate designs because tongue tattoos don’t last as long as normal tattoos and therefore, a complex design is unlikely to retain its fresh, crisp look for very long.
As is the case with tattooing any other part of your body, aftercare is very important. It is actually even more important than it is for other tattoos, because of the presence of bacteria in your mouth.
This means that continuing to practice good oral hygiene needs to be your number one concern in the three-week healing period. You need to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and make sure that there are no bacteria in your mouth.
Some pain, tingliness, or numbness is inevitable, but if you experience any severe pain, swelling or fever, you need to see a doctor immediately.
Tongue tattoos, unfortunately, do not last very long. Sometimes they can fade after as little as a few weeks, due to the tongue’s ability to heal. At most, you can expect your tongue tattoo to last for a few years, but it won’t last for a lifetime like tattoos on other parts of the body.
However, if you’re committed to having a tongue tattoo, you can do regular touch-ups to retain the artwork that you love so much, but it can work out to be very expensive in the long term.
The time that it takes for a tongue tattoo to heal is very short compared to other tattoos and can be expected to be around two to three weeks. This is because the tongue can heal a lot faster than most other parts of your body. However, this also means that tongue tattoos don’t last as long.
If you’re considering a tongue tattoo, you need to make sure that you enlist the services of an experienced artist, because there are various risks involved such as infections and a loss of your sense of taste. It is also very important to practice good oral hygiene to reduce any risks of infection.