Updated: Aug 11
How long do lip tattoos last?
Tattooing for cosmetic use has evolved in recent years. In the permanent makeup industry, we have cosmetic tattooists like Nyma and we have classically trained Tattoo artists like Adam. Tattoo artists are already highly skilled and know how to create perfect outlines and shading. They are perfect for crossing over into the cosmetic tattoo industry and using the new cosmetic pigments means their work will look like a natural facial enhancement. The natural looking lip tattoos that we perform are called Lip Blushing (lightly tinted) or Candy Lips (a slightly darker toned pigment is selected).
Wondering how long it will Lip Tattoos last?
Lip tattoos can last 1-3 years, depending on lifestyle and treatment. Smoking and sun exposure can also help speed up the fading process. Because of saliva and food, lip tattoos colour towards the inner of the lip fade the fastest. So if you're thinking of getting a lip tattoo, let's get some insight into the actual process of getting a tattoo, the lifespan, maintenance, and the factors that lead to fading. These factors will assist you in making the best decision possible. Plus, you want to be sure you're getting a tattoo that lasts the distance!
What is a lip tattoo?
A lip tattoo is a semi-permanent colouring procedure that uses tiny needles to insert pigment into the lip membrane. Its like applying your favourite lipstick or lip liner that's permanent! Not only does it enhances the colour, it helps to improve the shape of the lips. By tattooing makeup, it creates the illusion of more definition and fullness without undergoing cosmetic surgery.
The actual process of lip tattooing
The first step is discussing your needs and desires during a thorough consultation process. Questions asked include what shape you like/dislike and lipstick colours that you enjoy using. While the numbing cream is on, Nurse Nyma or Adam will give you a choice of pigments to choose from. Once the colour is decided, the numbing is removed, lips are mapped to shape making them as symmetrical as possible to enhance the cupids bow. Then using the tattoo machine, tiny needles are pricked onto the lip membrane to form the layers of colour. The colour is applied to the entire lip using different techniques, depending on the desired look.
Is it painful?
All tattoo's will come with some element of discomfort and pain levels will vary depending on your pain threshold, response to medical anaesthetic and whether you have followed all of the tattoo preparation information prior to your appointment. Nurse Nyma will email you the tattoo preparation information which you will need to follow to ensure your experience is as painless as possible. Nyma has gone to great lengths to source her numbing cream (there are two types a pre-numbing cream and a during numbing gel), which is compounded by one of the most reputable tattoo numbing cream pharmacists on the market. While there is some discomfort at times, 99% of clients can tolerate the tattooing process well.
Please let your tattoo artist know prior to the appointment if you have a history of not responding to medical anaesthetic or low-sensitivity to pain relief as there are options beyond the routine process to manage pain.
The lip blush method offers a softer, more natural look. The result is a beautiful finish of shading and blending. If you prefer a softer look that's similar to your natural lip colour but add volume and definition then this style is for you.
The contouring and blending treatment of the lips aims to replace lost or faded pigment on the outer edge of the lips. This treatment also enhances the shape of the lips without creating visible demarcation lines.
Candy lips is a defined full pigmented finish similar to lipstick. Think of applying a bright red MAC lipstick or your favourite NARS coral lipstick, that's what we are planning to achieve with semi-permanent tattooed candy lips.
The benefit of this treatment is the whole experience of waking up every day and not having to apply your lipstick because it is already done!! If you have very pale lips, this treatment will certainly make you satisfied as you have instant fuller, defined, contoured, coloured lips!!
Reasons why a lip tattoo doesn't last long
To help you understand why lip tattoos don't last as long as tattoos on other body parts. I've listed some of the primary causes below.;
Production of excessive saliva
The mouth is an area that is constantly moist due to the constant production of excessive saliva. This moisture breaks down the tattoo, which shortens the life of the tattoo.
The acidic environment of the mouth
The acidic environment of the mouth can destroy and ruin tattoo pigments.
The skin in the oral cavity tends to regrow within a short period. Therefore, the tattoo ink tends to peel off, resulting in a fading lip tattoo.
Do lip tattoos fade?
All cosmetic tattoos are semi-permanent and the vibrancy of colour will naturally fade overtime. It is impossible to determine precisely how long the lip tattoo will last, as the tattoo's care is a prominent element however they last on average 1-3 years, with a touch-up every 12 months.
The fading of semi-permanent colour can slow down by how well you care for them such as avoiding acidic foods, drinking through a straw and avoiding excessive sun exposure. It is known that tattoos on the inner of the mouth fade the fastest as they come into contact with food, drinks and saliva.
Contacting the tattoo artist prior to tattooing is advisable for information on colour recommendations and designs to ensure the pigment will last. At Nurse Nyma Aesthetics we use the highest quality pigments that are long lasting and SAFE. Australia does not have the strict pigment guidelines like what is in Europe, however Nyma only sources European the best European pigments. You can read more about our cosmetic pigments here.
How does a lip tattoo fade?
A lip tattoo is an investment, not only a financial one but also an investment in yourself. Very rarely is it a random decision; many spend a lot of time researching before taking the plunge. Therefore, you need to know what factors cause the lip tattoo to fade to protect your investment. A lip tattoo can fade due to the following circumstances:
Sun exposure can cause the lip tattoo to soften and change the appearance of the colour. Often there is a lightening of the pigment. It is advisable not to expose the lips to direct sunlight for at least a month after the tattoo. Sun exposure causes the tattoo to fade and burns the lip, leading to scarring.
Smokers often have damaged lips caused by excessive smoking; this can often lead to less desirable lip tattoo results.
Exposure to saltwater
A freshly inked lip tattoo should avoid saltwater altogether, as it will cause the tattoo to dissolve, run or fade. Research has shown that a saline solution of salt and water effectively absorbs the ink rather than allowing it to be absorbed into the skin.
Excessive exfoliation can cause the top layer of skin on the lip to flake off and remove ink pigments.
Retinol or Vitamin C
Although retinol is used to lighten the skin, it can cause discolouration in tattoos. Retinol also helps remove unwanted pigmentation because lip tattoos contain pigments; retinol on the lips can remove the pigments from the lips.
Which colour of lip tattoos will last longer?
Although red and orange lip tattoos have been proven to last longer, the challenge is that you need to wear these colours for a longer time. Almost up to 5 years compared to 1-3 years for the more subtle colours.
What can I do to make my lip tattoo last longer?
With semi-permanent lip tattooing, you can follow a few basic routines to maintain the original look and hopefully prevent the lip tattoo from fading.
1. Keep your lips hydrated
A dry, chapped or cracked lip tattoo will not have the desired effect you were hoping for; therefore, it is important to keep the skin hydrated. Invest in a lip balm that is formulated without petrolatum.
2. Always wear sunscreen
Research has shown that ultraviolet light can fade most tattoo colours. Make sure your lip tattoo is adequately protected by applying a lip balm with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. SPF 30 or above. This application must be done every two hours to ensure effectiveness.
3. Avoid tanning
Sun baking, and tanning beds can cause the lip tattoo ink to fade. The UV light can also react with the tattoo pigment and cause a skin reaction that can be very painful. It would be helpful to avoid sunbathing for 30 days before and after the procedure.
4. Minimize exfoliation
Exfoliation is known to remove dead cells. However, too much exfoliation can remove lip tattoo pigment when it comes to lip blushing. Limit the use of lip scrubs in hopes of preserving lip colour longer.
5. Invest in colour refreshers or colour top ups
Your lip tattoo can last longer if you have a colour refresher every 6-12 months. Having a colour top up every 12 months will keep your lips looking perfect
6. Minimize smoking
Excessive smoking can also cause your lip tattoo to fade.
Are you wanting more information about getting your lips tattooed? Contact the team at Nurse Nyma and we can discuss what type of tattoo and colour will suit you best.
Contact Nurse Nyma by email to book your appointment - firstname.lastname@example.org