Looking Into The Mouths Of America: Lip Tattoos Are Still a Thing

Looking Into The Mouths Of America: Lip Tattoos Are Still a Thing

The hidden, silly world of people getting the inside of their mouths tattooed.

There exists a special moment in cultural shifts wherein something that was once underground breaks its way into the mainstream. One such shift took place in the world of tattoos in 2002, with the release of the seminal film Blade II.


In a scene from the movie, a vampire familiar named Scud shows off a lip tattoo that identifies him as such to vampires. Before this, neither I nor any of my friends knew that you could get a tattoo inside your mouth. It was a shocking revelation.


Over the course of the next couple years, lip tattoos became somewhat of a fad. It’s my strongly-held personal theory that Blade II opened the floodgates on a sort of national Baader Meinhof complex. Even I jumped on it, my lower lip adorned with the word “pizza” and two arrows leading into my mouth – in case I ever forgot what to do with pizza, which, thankfully, hasn’t happened yet.


The most interesting thing about lip tattoos is how painless they can be. Your inner lips have way fewer nerves that your skin, and my experience was by far the least painful tattoo I’ve ever gotten. But this comes with a trade-off, as you’ll spend a good twenty minutes after getting a lip tattoo trying to brush excess tattoo ink out of your mouth.


Lip tattoos are often very light-hearted affairs.  Many are downright silly.  It’s just not a tattoo many take seriously, which leads to some fun results.  Sadly, lip tattoos are often much less permanent than their not-on-the-inside-of-the-human-body counterparts.  Most fade away and turn into mush after a few years, although, strangely mine looks great after a decade.  But who cares what happens inside your mouth?


Let’s take a peek inside some mouths, check out some fun lip tattoos, and marvel at the legacy wrought by Blade II.

As you can see, a lip tattoo is something to have fun with. Think about the stupidest thing you can, and then go get it tattooed on your lip!

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