Procedure, benefits, follow-up and more


Lip blushing is a permanent makeup procedure. A supplier will tattoo pigments on the lips to enhance their color and appearance.

Lip blush is a cosmetic treatment consisting of permanently tattooing pigment into the lips to give them an even color.

In this article, we look at what lip blushing involves, the potential risks and side effects of lip blushing, and what to look for in a provider.

Lip blushing is a form of tattooing and permanent makeup. A provider will apply colored ink to the lips to give them a deeper, more natural shade.

People may choose to have their lips reddened for cosmetic reasons, to enhance lip color or shape, or to provide more even coloring without the need for temporary lip makeup.

A tattoo artist or esthetician can provide lip blushing services.

People can first consult with a provider to discuss what the procedure and aftercare will involve and what results the person is looking for.

The whole process can take 2–3 hoursas this may involve before and after photos, a discussion of the final color, numbing time, procedure and aftercare instructions.

During the procedure, a provider may apply a topical anesthetic to numb the lips. It may take up to 30 minutes take effect.

A provider will then tattoo the pigment into the lips with a sterile needle. Suppliers can use a tattoo coil machine, pen, rotary device, or hand-held device.

After the procedure, a provider will explain aftercare instructions and provide necessary healing products.

People can experience some discomfort during a lip blushing procedure. The level of discomfort can vary depending on how each individual experiences pain.

To minimize pain, a provider may apply a topical numbing cream or anesthetic to the area beforehand.

Cosmetic blogs and articles also report that the pain from lip redness is minimal and similar to a scratching or pinching sensation.

If people experience extreme pain from the procedure, they should let the provider know.

According to Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP)permanent makeup is not easy to remove.

The SPCP considered Cosmetic tattooing, like lip coloring, must be permanent, as it involves tattooing pigment into the upper dermal layer of the skin.

Fading can occur over time, and if people wish to retain the coloring, they may need additional blushing to refresh the color.

Exposure to sun or other weather conditions can increase discoloration, and some topical lip products can also affect how long color lasts.

According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA)there are many color additives approved for cosmetic use, but none are approved for intradermal injection.

Due to the lack of regulation and scientific research around lip blushing, there is a risk of adverse effects.

The FDA warns of the following risks associated with permanent makeup and tattooing:

  • Infection: Unsterile equipment and needles or contaminated ink can lead to infection.
  • Allergic reaction: There have been reports of allergic reactions to certain ink shades in permanent makeup. This can be problematic, as the ink can be difficult to remove.
  • Granulomas: Granulomas are small areas of inflammation that occur when the body perceives a substance, such as tattoo ink, as foreign.
  • Keloids: Keloids are raised scars that can form in response to any injury to the skin. However, keloids are more likely to occur from tattoo removal than from a procedure such as lip blushing.
  • MRI complications: Some permanent makeup pigments can react with MRI magnets. People wearing permanent makeup may experience swelling or burning of the area if they have an MRI. This is usually a rare and temporary occurrence, but people with red lips should let their doctor or radiologist know before having an MRI.

It can also be difficult to remove or reverse a lip blushing treatment.

If people have cold sores on their lips, they may need take an antiviral medication before having the procedure.

Immediately after a lip blushing procedure, the lips will appear darker in color. As the lips heal, the color lightens and softens to the person’s chosen shade.

It may take up to 6 weeks for the lips to turn into the final color.

According to SPCPpeople may experience slight swelling after a lip blushing procedure.

Some people may also experience minor bleeding or bruising. This can happen if the skin on the lips is thinner and closer to the vascular system.

If people have bruising, it will usually diminish within a few days. Lips may also be tender for a few days after the procedure.

People will see much darker lip coloring for about 6-10 days before it fades to the desired color.

People will need to follow their provider’s specific aftercare advice. This may include using a protective lip balm, as people may experience some dryness.

The healing process usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure, and people can have a follow-up appointment so their provider can take a final photo of the healed procedure.

Although the FDA investigates all reports of safety issues in cosmetic treatments, there are currently no regulations on tattoo and permanent makeup procedures.

This means that regulation is up to the state or local authorities. Safety, hygiene and other practices can vary widely from supplier to supplier.

People will often have to judge for themselves the quality and safety of a lipstick supplier. To find a qualified and experienced supplier, people can look for the following:

  • proof of training, qualifications, experience and certification
  • experience and familiarity with lip blushing procedures
  • a portfolio of before and after photos, including highlighting people with similar skin or lip tones
  • a knowledge of skin undertones and color theory and an understanding of the lip color and appearance their client desires
  • a willingness to thoroughly explain the procedure, possible side effects and follow-up with a client, and the comfort of answering questions in detail
  • sterile equipment with new and sterile needles, which a service provider opens in the presence of a client, as well as single-use disposable inks or pigments
  • the use of disposable sterile gloves and a clean, tidy workstation with a disposable chair or bed cover

According to anecdotal sources and service providers, lip blushing can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more.

A report 2015 of the SPCP found that the average cost for full lip tint was $579, but costs may have changed since then.

Pricing may vary depending on location, a vendor’s overhead, and continuing education costs.

Lip blushing is a cosmetic procedure that applies permanent color to the lips. A provider will tattoo pigments into the lips to provide even color.

Lip coloring will usually be darker immediately after a procedure, before the lips heal and the color fades to the desired shade.

The FDA does not regulate cosmetic treatments such as lip blushing, so people will need to check that their provider uses sterile equipment and has appropriate training and experience.


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