Lip Blushing Side Effects – What’s Normal and What’s Not

By Emily M.| Last updated on June 10, 2022
lip blushing side effects
⏱️ 5 min read

Lip blushing is essentially a form of tattooing, and as such, it involves breaking the skin of the lips over and over again with a needle to implement pigments into the punctures. This process leaves the lips rosied up and attractively enhanced, but only after the healing process is through and all the lip blushing side effects have subsided.

Some clients get justifiably worried about how their lips will handle all that needling and what they can expect after the treatment. To ease your mind – it’s nothing too bad and complications are quite rare.

PMUHub is here to present all potential lip blushing side effects and explain which of those are normal and to be expected, and which are cause for concern.

Common Lip Blushing Side Effects

Common and expected lip blushing side effects are primarily swelling and tenderness in the first 2 days, and flaking and itching for a few days after that. Lip blushing implies inflicting trauma to the lips, and the skin is bound to react, but the side effects are relatively mild and harmless.


As the skin of the lips is repeatedly broken, the body instinctively starts sending lymphatic fluid into the area. As a result, the lips can even double in size! This serves to sort of cushion the effects of the needling – it’s the body’s way of preventing the needle from going too deep into the tissue.

Some people’s lips swell more than others’ and they may stay swollen for longer. When the treatment is over, the body will start realizing there’s no risk anymore and the swelling will subside. This should happen within 48 hours.

If it doesn’t, this may be a sign of complications.

lip blushing side effectsImage source: Instagram @cosmeticsbylauryn


All that skin trauma is bound to cause some discomfort! The skin of the lips is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the face, so it will also react to permanent makeup more intensely than, say, the brows.

Topical anesthetics are used during the lip blushing treatment to eliminate pain, but the effects of it will inevitably wear off within a few hours. When they do, you might experience some tenderness clients describe in different ways:

  • Sensitivity
  • A throbbing sensation
  • Tightness of a sunburn

It’s normal to feel mild discomfort for the rest of the day after your treatment, and perhaps the next day.


Freshly needled lips start oozing lymph and there might even be some blood, which turns into a thin filmy layer of scabs. Plus, the needling causes damage to the outermost layer of the skin of the lips.

These 2 factors combined mean your lips will inevitably go through some peeling. The flaking is at its worst around days 3 and 4 after your treatment.

It’s important you don’t yield to the temptation to rip off the flakes of skin that may hang from your lips – if you don’t let the flakes fall off naturally, you risk pulling out some of the implemented pigments, which will leave the healed results looking patchy.

lip blushing day by dayImage source: Instagram @hdbeautybyval_brows

Some Itching

As the lips are healing, you can expect some itching.

Itchiness is a part of any wound healing. Wound recovery implies quite a bit of stimulation to the nerve endings in the skin, and our brains interpret this as the sensation of itchiness.

Mild itchiness is, therefore, a sign that the skin is healing. New cells are being produced and everything’s going according to plan. However, extreme itching is not normal and it might be cause for concern, but more on that below.

Additional Side Effect – Cold Sore Flareup

Unfortunately, if you’re prone to cold sores, the lips blushing treatment will likely cause a flare-up. There’s a way around this, though – consult your GP and have them prescribe an antiviral med to take a couple of days before the treatment.

In case your artist failed to ask you if you’re prone to cold sores and the treatment caused a flare-up, it’s not the end of the world, just make sure you don’t spread the infection further as you’re practicing your aftercare routine.

Signs of Potential Complications

Lip blushing is generally safe, but there are certain risks, like infection or allergies. Clients should be alert in the days following their lip blushing appointment and watch out for signs of something going wrong.

Here are the lip blushing side effects that may point to something going wrong:

Extended Side Effects

The common side effects of lip blushing are not a problem if they subside when they’re expected to. But if they’re prolonged, they might be signs of an infection developing.

Swelling past the 48-hour mark might be a sign of an inflammatory process going on, or allergies, or it can just mean that your lips had a particularly extreme reaction and need some more time to heal.

Extreme tenderness verging on pain may also point to infection, or be a sign that the lips had been overworked. Contact your artist.


An infection is a sign of the lips getting contaminated, either during the treatment, or in the days after it. However, due to strict health and safety regulations PMU artists have to adhere to, it’s very rare for contamination to happen during the treatment. The majority of infections happen due to improper aftercare, so be sure to follow the prescribed lip blush aftercare routine!

Extreme Itching

Mild itching is normal, but extreme itching is a likely sign of an allergic reaction to the pigments or to another product that was used during the procedure or as part of aftercare, especially if it’s combined with prolonged swelling.

Now we know that the intensity of itching is a subjective sensation difficult to describe with words, so if you feel like your lips are itchier than they’re supposed to be, contact your artist.


Allergic reactions to PMU pigments are prevented by doing a patch test 48 hours before the treatment. Skipping the patch test is slowly becoming the standard, but PMUHub strongly urges clients to ask for one to prevent at least one of the lip blushing side effects!

If You Want More Info…

It’s useful to get familiar with the lip blushing healing process so that you know what to expect and are able to distinguish between normal symptoms of recovery and more serious lip blushing side effects. Check out our Comprehensive Guide Through Lip Blush Healing for a more detailed overview of the recovery process!

Cover image source: Freepik



Exclusive insights into the PMU industry right in your inbox.

FREE newsletter. 100% good stuff.