Cannabis Science

How Long Do Lip Tattoos Last?

inner lip tattoo

If you’re thinking about getting inked, a lip tattoo may have crossed your mind. After all, they’re an awesome and unique way to express yourself. Just to be clear, we’re specifically talking about an inner lip tattoo. They’re so discreet and for some people, that’s might be important. If you’ve never had an inner lip tattoo before, you probably have so many questions. How long do lip tattoos last? Do lip tattoos hurt? How much do they cost? We’re going to try our best to answer these questions for you, so let’s get into it. 

Photo: Pexels

How Long Do Lip Tattoos Last?

Lip tattoos are pretty temporary, especially in comparison to others. Dr. Hadley King, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, told Bustle that inner lip tattoos last between one and five years before they start to disappear. 

The reason why they fade so quickly, according to King, is because of the unique nature of your lip cells. Your body replaces those cells quickly and so the tattoo will fade more quickly. This is the same reason why your tattoo will probably heal in about two weeks.

The fact that the tattoo fades can be a great thing if you got your tattoo on a whim one night and end up hating it. However, if you really love your tattoo, you can get it redone every couple of years. 

It’s important to mention that some inner lip tattoos don’t simply disappear. 

Gianna Caranfa, a tattoo artist, told Bustle that depending on how deep the tattoo was placed, you may end up with a faint mark for a while. 

Are Inner Lip Tattoos Safe?

No tattoo is without risk. You may be at risk for blood-borne disease from unsterilized needles, allergic reactions, and infections. 

However, inner lip tattoos may be seen as a little riskier than others.

As a matter of fact, some tattoo parlors won’t do lip tattoos because they’re risky. 

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Colgate reminds us that there are a lot of bacteria in our mouths. Since tattoos, particularly at the beginning, are wounds, the bacteria may enter and cause an infection. It’s hard to keep inner lip tattoos clean and so infections aren’t uncommon. 

With that said, pregnant women should approach this and all tattoos with caution. 

You can minimize risks by practicing great aftercare and finding a clean and reputable tattoo parlor. In addition to that, find a tattoo artist that knows what they’re doing to prevent mishaps. 

Do Lip Tattoos Hurt?

Yes, they do. Technically all tattoos hurt, but you might have heard that depending on where you place the tattoo, some will hurt more than others. 

Lips are one of those areas that can really hurt because lips are really sensitive

Even though people experience pain differently, more than likely this one will really hurt. 

Please don’t drink alcohol to calm your nerves before getting the tattoo. Alcohol and tattoos don’t mix.

There isn’t a lot of information on weed use before tattoos. However, if weed makes you more anxious instead of relaxed then it’s best to put down the blunt before your tattoo session. 

Indica strains and CBD heavy strains may be great to calm your nerves but make sure you know how you react to them beforehand. 

How Much Do Inner Lip Tattoos Cost?

The cost varies. According to The Pricer, the general range for inner lip tattoos are between $50 and $125. 

Factors that affect the cost includes:

  • How popular the piercer is
  • Style (Complex styles will cost more)
  • Color (Multiple colors may cost more)
  • Location (some shops are more expensive than others)

You may have to budget for touchups as well, even though they’re not advised due to the risk of infection. 

Can I Smoke After Getting a Lip Tattoo?

There isn’t a lot of information on weed and tattoos. However, smoking while the tattoo is healing is probably not the best idea.

Weed can cause dry mouth which can create a favorable environment for bacteria to flourish therefore increasing your chance of infection. 

Cigarette smoking isn’t encouraged either. 

A dental clinic mentioned that smoking tobacco after getting a lip tattoo is a no-no. They noted that smoking tobacco could not only increase more bacteria in your mouth but delay healing and slow blood flow.

Tattoo Authority says that you should be able to have a cigarette however you should wash out your mouth after to prevent infection. 


How long do lip tattoos last? Lip tattoos last anywhere from one year to five years. Due to their unique position in the mouth, they’re susceptible to fading and infection. Oh, and did we mention they hurt a lot? However, mentally preparing for the pain, finding a clean tattoo parlor, experienced artist, and practicing aftercare are important. Practicing self-care may include avoiding smoke although there isn’t a ton of information on that. Inner lip tattoos can be great forms of self-expression and so may totally be worth it for you.

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About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].

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