Getting a semi permanent lip tattoo is a great way to enhance your lips without having to apply any makeup. The technique of lip PMU is very versatile and it can be used to recreate a whole range of lip makeup looks, from the basic lip liner, to the dramatic ombre lip.
Since the treatment involves coloring the lips from within, your lip enhancement won’t be removed by water, eating, talking, kissing. The biggest benefit of getting a lip tattoo is the fact that it doesn’t come off. But just how long-lasting is it?
Keep reading to find out how long do lip tattoos last, what factors can affect their longevity, and how to prolong them.
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How Long Do Lip Tattoos Last on Average?
For most people, lip tattoos last about 2 years without additional touch ups.
There are cases where they fade after about a year, as well as those whose lip tattoo lasts up to 5 years. It’s all very individual and depends on many factors.
Some of these factors can be controlled, while others, like your body chemistry, cannot. It’s important to get informed about all the things that determine how long do lip tattoos last before you book an appointment to decide whether it’s worth it or not – the lip tattoo cost is not a bargain!
Image source: Instagram @beautydreamsla
Wait, Isn’t a Lip Tattoo Supposed to Be Permanent?
Although it’s called a tattoo, the semi permanent lip color is very different from traditional body art.
It’s a form of permanent makeup, which isn’t technically permanent, but it does last a long time compared to regular makeup. It’s also known as cosmetic tattooing – a form of tattooing developed for the face.
It’s done with an electric needle device, but it uses PMU pigments rather than ink, which are formulated in such a way that the body gradually breaks them down. As a result, the color fades over several years, and the pigments become invisible at one point.
This allows you to modify and refresh your lip tattoo every few years, so it’s actually a perk, not a downside.
What Factors Determine How Long Do Lip Tattoos Last?
The longevity of the lip tattoo is about 2 years for most people, but it can fade much faster, or last much longer. The factors that will determine how long does permanent lip color last have to do with the properties of your system, the aftercare routine, and your lifestyle.
Here are the key factors:
1. Body Chemistry
Everyone’s system is different and everyone’s skin treats PMU pigments differently.
How long do lip tattoos last depends on how quickly your body dissolves the pigments, and how quickly your skin will regenerate itself and get rid of a portion of the pigmented cells. Some systems work hard to extract the foreign matter, while others tolerate pigments and retain them.
That’s why no artist can tell you exactly when the tattoo will fade.
One condition that is known to accelerate the fading of pigment significantly is anemia. Most PMU pigments contain iron oxides. An iron deficiency will cause your system to “eat up” these components, so to say. That’s why anemic people aren’t great candidates for permanent makeup.
2. Skin Type
Dry to normal skin retains pigments better than oily skin.
The overproduction of sebum pushes out the pigments, and the results fade faster. So if you have oily skin, you can still get permanent lip makeup, but be prepared for more frequent touch ups.
How long does permanent lipstick last is decided to a large degree in the days following the treatment.
In order for the pigments to settle into the skin properly, you need to follow a simple aftercare routine throughout the lip tattoo healing process, which lasts about 10 days. It implies coating your lips with a layer of moisturizing ointment that prevents the formation of thick scabs.
If thick scabs are formed, they can take large amounts of pigment with them when they fall off. The same goes for ripping off the scabs before the skin underneath has healed.
How long do lip tattoos last if you pick at the scabs? Less than 10 days. Talk about a waste of money.
Getting the lips wet during the healing process also disrupts the pigment settling. So it’s best to refrain from swimming, saunas and steam baths, and excessive exercise.
For detailed instructions on how to treat your lips during healing, visit our Lip Tattoo Aftercare Guide.
Image source: Instagram @eyebrowsnbeauty
4. Your Lifestyle
If you expose your permanent lips to certain factors, the pigments will fade quicker. These factors include:
- Sunlight exposure. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, the pigments fade faster. Also, if your skin is sunburnt, it will go through a cycle of excessive peeling, which will shed some of the pigmented cells.
- Frequent swimming. The chemical compositions of salt and pool water react with the pigments and could potentially cause them to fade quicker.
5. Skincare Routine
Some skincare ingredients are known to accelerate the fading of PMU pigments, primarily retinol and acids. These ingredients are often found in anti-aging products, but they may appear in any formula. So you might want to rethink your skincare routine – study the ingredient list of the products you normally use and try to find alternatives that don’t contain these ingredients.
Many beauty treatments and facials can also accelerate fading. Exfoliating treatments get rid of the surface layer of the skin, so pigmented cells are also removed. This applies to both mechanical exfoliation and chemical peels.
PMUHub Note: With all these factors in mind, you can try and predict how long does permanent lip color last in your case. However, no one can tell you with 100% precision. It’s all very individual and you should be prepared to get a touch up once in a while to refresh the color.
Can I Prolong How Long Does Lip Blush Last?
You can adjust your lifestyle slightly to make the most out of your lip tattoo, but you can’t control your body chemistry, which is the primary factor in lip tattoo longevity. The most important thing is to follow the aftercare routine in the first 10 days after the procedure – that’s entirely down to you.
You can prolong your lip tattoo by getting a color-boosting touch up whenever you feel like your lips are too faded. Most clients get them annually.
Is It Possible to Remove My Lip Tattoo?
If you’re not thrilled with how your lip tattoo turned out, or you got tired of it a couple of years in, you can get it removed.
Your options are laser, glycolic acid and saline removal, but be aware that not all removal specialists work on lips. It takes a special technique. Plus, it takes several sessions, and those can be pricey – from $150 upwards. Also, laser removal is not the best option, because the pigments are reddish and can turn into an unattractive dark color.
With this in mind, it’s best to just wait out until your lip tattoo fades. You can cover it up with regular makeup if you really don’t like it.
Image source: Instagram @nadinesemaanofficial
How Long Do Lip Tattoos Last – Main Takeaways
The lip tattoo can last anywhere from 1 to 5 years, but most clients feel like they need a touch up after 2 years.
The factors that determine how long do lip tattoos last include your body chemistry, the properties of your skin, how you treat your lips after the procedure, and your lifestyle and skincare routine. Some of these are out of your control, but you can always get a touch up and prolong your lip PMU.
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