Cosmetic Lip Tattoo Procedures – A Guide To Lip Micropigmentation

This post is also available in: Spanish

The American Academy of Micropigmentation, headed by Dr. Dixon, offers advice on lip micropigmentation, commonly known as a cosmetic lip tattoo, and is one of the primary sources for information on facial pigment tattoo procedures, how to take precautions against lip infection, common allergic reactions, and how to promote lip tattoo healing. The American Academy of Micropigmentation and The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, headed by Rose Ann Cloud, are the sources for permanent makeup and cosmetic tattooing information for women who wish to investigate a procedure and for professionals who wish to become certified in the field.

*Note: The information in this post is NOT about decorative inner lip tattooing procedures, but about a form of permanent makeup using lip pigment coloring for a natural-looking enhancement – like lip liner. The information contained herein does not replace advice from medical professionals or members of the Academy of Micropigmentation or the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, or from certified technicians, but offers a beginner’s guide to help those unfamiliar with permanent make up tattooing procedures.

Common Permanent Makeup Concerns

One of the most common questions asked by women in the United States, who are contemplating permanent makeup procedures, pertains to lip infection and allergic reactions. In part this questions arises frequently because of a highly publicized problem a few years ago with a product called Premier Pigments True Color Concentrates.

To clarify the situation, Sandi Hammons, the founder of Premier Pigments, voluntarily recalled that particular line of permanent makeup pigmentation, despite the fact that the product was known to cause a reaction in a very minute segment of the women who had received a lip tattoo using that cosmetic tattooing concentrate. However, since it has been removed from use, and most professional micropigmentation specialists use both inorganic and organic pigments that are tried and tested within the industry, the risk of an allergic reaction is quite small. (There is no such thing as government approved or FDA tested tattoo pigments, but the industry itself takes great pride in being extremely conscientious, offering patients the best quality pigments available on the market. Consider that the science of creating tattoo pigmentation is not new but rather an age-old art that began long before there were regulatory bodies for product control.)

Nevertheless, anyone undergoing any type of cosmetic tattoo procedure runs some risk, and there are times when cosmetic tattooing is contraindicated, such as for those who take certain medications like blood thinners or those who may suffer from hay fever and regularly take antihistamine prescriptions. Also those who are on beta blockers for blood pressure and have severe dry eyes may find that eyeliner procedures are not advisable. Those who are diabetic must also be aware of the potential risk of infection and may find that healing is delayed. Anyone on painkillers or any form of narcotic medication should consider the increased risks of having a cosmetic procedure. Those who use valium, or other tranquilizers, may also have an adverse pigmentation reaction with melanin in their skin.

It may be wise to consult a physician regarding the possible effects on color alteration of pigmentation if a women is on any hormone replacement therapy. Also, certain antibiotics, like tetracycline, which induce skin sensitivity, may be contraindicated prior to a procedure. Likewise some arthritis medications may cause adverse reactions.

Problems With Lip Tattoo Aftercare Ointments

There may be risks, as Dr. Dixon states, from an allergic reaction caused by the aftercare ointment or product that is applied immediately following the procedure, such as Bacitracin. However, a none medical expert may not be able to distinguish the difference between a temporary reaction to an ointment and a sever allergic reaction to the pigmentation that could develop long after the tattooing is completed.

If a woman, who is contemplating having a cosmetic tattoo procedure, knows she is not a risky candidate, is not on any medication, is generally healthy, has been assured that her professional and experienced technician is using lip pigments that are safe, then the last concern will be about the ointment or soothing aftercare lotion that will be applied. If a patient would prefer that Bacitracin not be used, this option should be discussed in advance with the professional cosmetic micropigmentation specialist to see if a product like A&D might not be better. Although A&D does not contain an antibiotic (just vitamins), it does offer the moisture necessary to aid the area from drying or peeling excessively, and also protects the newly tattooed skin from foreign elements like small particles of dirt and bacteria. You may also choose to use a product like Tattoo Goo or Tattoo Lube or just a simple formulation made from natural Aloe Vera gel. Remember that extreme complications and severe allergic reactions are rare. The vast majority of professional permanent makeup procedures, done in hygienic conditions with trained technicians who use quality machines and single-use needles, are successful.

Getting Specific: What is a Cosmetic Lip Tattoo?

As stated above, this is not about inner lip tattoo designs, but about a cosmetic procedure that injects pigment into the skin to accent, outline or fill-in the lips with a color. The most common procedure is the tattoo lip liner, which simply adds a bit of color to outer edges of the lip. Often ladies find that this is all that’s required to eliminate having to use liners and lipsticks, and with just a touch of gloss the lips look finished. Some women choose to have a blush added all over the lip, others use a dark fill, others a blended feathered look that gives a natural softness to the entire area.

Why Choose A Permanent Lip Tattoo

It is said that a woman’s age shows up more around the mouth than the eyes because the lips tend to get less full over time. Also small cracks may begin to appear on the outer lip area and sometimes lipstick bleeds and looks less becoming. There are so many factors that cause lips to appear smaller and less luscious as ladies age, things like the natural changes in the body’s hormone balance, sun exposure, chapped lips, active lifestyles and even illness. Although tattooing a lip liner does not necessarily correct the effects of sun damage or aging, it can make the lips look fuller and therefore give the face a more youthful appearance overall. It can also define the mouth in a way that looks very natural, especially if soft pigments are chosen and an expert technician uses the right techniques so that the liner does not look tattooed. However, immediately after receiving the liner, a patient will notice that the line may be darker than desired. Will a lip tattoo fade? Yes. Within the first few weeks, as the area heals, the line will most certainly fade and look more natural.

Lip micropigmentation is a delicate procedure and due to the nature of the lip tissue and its reaction to pigments, a liner can appear very dark or very light during the healing process, so patience is required to see what the final result will be. In many cases, because permanent cosmetic specialists use great care not to apply TOO MUCH pigment, the results may be a tad too light once healing is complete. Therefore a second retouching application may be needed to add a bit more color. Most specialists offer the initial application and one touch-up for the initial price and that is usually all that’s required to get the desired results. Remember that it’s always better to have your technician err toward a lighter application, and have to add a little color later, than to have a permanent tattoo color that’s too dark.

Lip Tattoo Aftercare Suggestions

As with all permanent makeup procedures, the aftercare is very important. Since it’s normal for lips to feel dry and chapped, moisturizing is one the most essential aspect of the aftercare process. Sometimes there can be slight bruising, and some areas may look bluish, but this is not usually due to the pigmentation but an effect of the tattooing process and should go away during healing.

We’ve talked about fading and retouching, and about areas that may be too dark initially and fade over time, but…

How Long Does A Lip Tattoo Last?

Lip tattoos, like all permanent makeup applications, are considered “permanent”, however that does not mean they will retain their initial vibrant color or richness forever.

In general, lip permanent makeup tattoos stay looking great for 2 to 4 years, although some women say they last for as long as 5 years. The factors that will affect lip tattoo fading are sun, wind, salt and chlorine exposure, and how well the lips are moisturized. Ladies who swim in chlorinated pools or the sea on a regular basis, or those who ski and are exposed to cold, wind and other natural elements, and may frequently have chapped or dry lips, will find their tattoos don’t last as long, or stay as bright. A good sunscreen and regular application of moisturizers, which all women should do anyway, will not only prolong the life of the liner but will maintain more youthful looking lips overall. Nevertheless, no matter how great a job is done, lip tattoos fade over time, as do all tattoos and all permanent makeup applications.

The Actual Cosmetic Lip Tattoo Procedure

Kelly H. Kim, a certified microdermabrasion specialist, member of the ASPM association, a professional permanent makeup technician and a talented aesthetician (who works in Costa Mesa, California) offers her clients full lip color / lip liner procedures. She explains that this procedure is called by different names, such as dermagraphics, micropigment implantation and what we’ve already mentioned: micropigmentation.

The first question ladies often ask is: do lip tattoos hurt? The answer is yes, but not as much as you might think because a topical anesthetic is applied during the procedure. It might sting or pinch or feel irritated, even sore, but with a good anesthetic to numb the region isn’t what you would call really painful. (Naturally this depends on your tolerance, but in general qualified technicians make the procedure very comfortable.)

Although the eye area is delicate (and may seem more uncomfortable), the lip area is usually a bit more tender. Of the three procedures, eyebrow tattoo, eyeliner and lip liner, the lips are often considered the most sensitive.

Immediately following the tattoo procedure, there may be a stinging sensation, and later tightness and dryness, but it’s more uncomfortable than it is painful, and doesn’t last very long with proper aftercare and a good moisturizer. Dr Dixon also recommends that a cool pack can be used afterwards to help relive the stinging.

Getting A Lip Tattoo

If you want some great information, view the Permanent Makeup Tips by Dr. Dixon, which will help any lady deice if getting a lip tattoo, or other cosmetic proceedure, is right for her.

If you choose to get a lip tattoo, or an eyebrow tattoo or eyeliner, make sure to choose a trained, experiences technician or permanent makeup specialist, preferably someone certified by either The American Academy of Micropigmentation or The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (which also has an international division), and assure yourself of getting the quality care you deserve before, during and after your procedure.

Tracie Giles And The London Centre of Permanent Make

If you’re in the UK and want a great pair of lips, visit Tracie Giles, famous for using what is called the Blush System.

This is about lip contouring and adding a full, but soft, blush of color all over the lips using a special feathering and shading technique that’s natural and unique to each lady.

Some of the services that come with these lip enhancing procedures include lifting, defining, adding volume and even rejuvenating as well as giving them a permanent makeup outline and a filled-in glow of color. The cost of getting Tracie Giles to enhance your lips with luscious full color starts at around £400. Check into the many gorgeous pampering treatments and beauty enhancements offered by Tracie Giles and also The London Centre of Permanent Make, which is located at #1 Harley Street, London.

*Note: In Australia, visit the Sydney Permanent Makeup Center on Great North Road, Five Dock, New South Wales, where you’ll find certified technicians and experts in cosmetic tattooing who use the latest in lip liner and color blending techniques.

How Much Do Lip Tattoos Cost in the US?

Before getting too excited about having permanent makeup done, you may be asking: how much are lip tattoos? Can I afford this kind of luxury?

Although prices vary depending on your specialist and the area where you live, you should never go shopping for bargains when it comes to permanent cosmetic procedures.

Lip micropigmentation experts like Dr Dixon, and certified professionals she recommends, will charge between $700 to $1,000 depending on what is involved. For example a full color lip tattoo will cost around $770 if you consult the center that Dr Dixon runs in Oahu, Hawaii. Lip liner and shading is also about $700, and what is called an extension lip line costs about $100. These prices include up to 3 appointments which you will require for consultation, the procedure, and the touch-ups and aftercare to get the perfect look.

There are clinics that charge more, and those who offer procedures for less, and the key to determining what is the right price for you isn’t to hunt for the cheapest place with special offers online, but to go in person to the best, most experienced technicians and cosmetic tattoo professionals, in the most hygienic centers in your area and see for yourself what is offered.

Nancy LaTouche, a certified member of the Academy of Micropigmentation and the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professional’s, who now acts as a permanent makeup consultant, and recommends the services of Dr. Laura Reed, from Artistic Cosmetic Solutions in Garden Grove California, states that it’s wise to pay at least $400 to $600 for a procedure. The reasons are simple. How much a lip tattoos costs is related to the quality of the work offered. Cheaper prices may well mean what Nancy calls “substandard work”. (Thanks to Nancy and Artistic Cosmetic Solutions, we show you some images of her client’s lips after their micropigmentation procedures healed. Thanks Beautiful Ladies!)

To download a free booklet by Dr. Dixon called: Look Like Yourself…Only Better, follow this link:

There are many centers that specialize in semi-permanent lip color and makeup, which makes some women ask: are lip tattoos permanent? and….

What About Semi Permanent Makeup?

Let’s clarify what we’re talking about in this post: Tattoos. And all tattoos use pigments or inks that are injected below the skin and become permanent. A tattoo will not wash off after a few weeks or months. They fade over time, but the outline will probably last a lifetime.

On the other hand, there are tinting methods (which DO NOT use tattoo technology) to color the skin in a semi-permanent fashion, but these techniques of makeup application do not break the skin to add the color, they are temporary treatments like dying your lashes or hair.

Are they a good means to test if a tattoo is right for you?

In general, they can give you an idea of what shape and color you would like, and also what it’s like to wake up with your make up already on, but tinting or semi permanent beauty enhancing treatments will never be able to give you a clear view of how a tattoo will react on your skin, how the pigments will interact with your natural melanin or skin undertones, or how well you will heal. The two procedures are totally different.

If you would appreciate more information about other permanent makeup and cosmetic tattoo procedures, such as Eyebrow Tattoo, please browse the series of related topics. We have a vast amount of information including article like: Eyebrow Tattooing – What The FDA and Doctors have to Say, and Potential Problems With Eyebrow Tattoos. We also discuss Eyebrow Tattoo Removal techniques that really work, such as the newest laser methods that break down the pigment particles without abrasion. We frankly present important information for every woman to consider who is contemplating a micropigmentation procedure in the article entitled: Permanent Makeup Is It Right For You?

For the ladies who decide against tattooed brows, and will stick with pencils, we offer some good advise on shopping for specific beauty items in the post called: What Happened To the Models Prefer Eyebrow Pencil?

Part of women’s beauty, weather permanent makeup is part of their life or not, is waxing. So we offer a Guide to Eyebrow Waxing and show what kits and supplies are available and provide a detailed description of the procedure so you can do it at home, or know what to expect from your aesthetician. There are also some other Facial Hair Removal tips offered in another related post that discusses depilatory systems on the market that are designed for delicate areas like the face.

Even if you have permanent eyeliner, eyebrows tattooed perfectly in place and gorgeous fully tattooed lips, you may still want some Eye Makeup Tips, especially how to use eye shadow to achieve natural looks with neutral and subtle shades that enhance your skin tone without looking artificial.

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About the editor

Nena Argent, editorial director of EbT magazine since 2009, oversees online editorial content in English and Spanish. She joined EbT after ten years as an investigative journalist in Asia where she researched oriental health, nutrition and beauty treatments. Now based in Europe, she reports on the latest beauty trends, health issues, high-tech medical advancements and state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures from around the world.

Permanent Makeup / Cosmetic Surgery / Health / Beauty / Nutrition / Weight Loss / Diet Pills / Supplements / Hair Removal / Skin Care / Tattoo Removal / Eyebrow Tattoo / Permanent Eyeliner / Cosmetic Lip Tattoo / Eyelash Extensions / Cellulite Removal / Makeup Tips / Permanent Makeup Directory / Cosmetic Surgery Directory / Hair Restoration Surgeons Directory / Tanning Lotion / Natural Remedies / Low Calorie Foods / Acne Cream / Hair Transplant / Eyebrow Implants / Breast Implants / Liposuction, Liposculpture / Vaser Lipo / Tummy Tuck / Laser Hair Removal / Laser Tattoo Removal / Cosmetic Surgery Prices / Permanent Makeup Schools / Micropigmentation / Permanent Makeup Supplies / Permanent Makeup Equipment / Beauty Product Reviews

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The info in this site doesn't replace consulting with a dermatologist, micropigmentation expert, plastic surgeon or nutritionist prior to undergoing a dietary change or a cosmetic/surgical procedure.