What You Need to Know About Tongue Tattoos

There is almost no part of the skin or body that can’t be tattooed. One of the more unique places to get tattooed is the tongue. 

As a tattoo artist, it’s important to be prepared to handle the challenges and risks involved with a tattoo on the tongue.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Whether tongue tattoos fade
  • The healing process and risks involved with a tongue tattoo
  • How to design and carry out a good tongue tattoo

Why Tongue Tattoos?  

inked tongue tattoo

People were getting their tongues tattooed as early as the 18th century in the Pacific Islands, and the trend continues today. 

Tattoos on the tongue can be extraordinary accessories that show off a person’s unique personality or complement a different dressing style. A tongue tattoo can also be a cool surprise that a person can show off to their friends. 

One of the potential draws of tongue tattoos is that they are usually temporary, which means a person can experiment with their body art.

Do Tongue Tattoos Fade?

A fading spider web tongue tattoo designs

A tongue tattoo will start fading in as quickly as two weeks to a year, so they are not usually thought of as permanent. 

The tongue is a muscle that heals very quickly. The epithelial tissue of the tongue is constantly regenerating cells, which means that a tongue tattoo will fade much faster than most other tattoos.

How Much Do Tongue Tattoos Hurt?

Peace sign tongue tattoo ideas

One of the good things about tongue tattoos is that it’s one of the least painful places to get tattooed. Clients getting a tongue tattoo generally report a numbing or tingling sensation. 

Some have also described the discomfort as being similar to a piercing. 

What Are the Risks of Tongue Tattoos?

Because of where the tongue is and what it does, some of the normal tattoo risks are increased with the tongue. The first big risk with tongue tattoos is infection. 

The tongue is always moving around in the mouth and brushing against the teeth, which means that it can get irritated and infected pretty easily. The amount of bacteria in the mouth can also increase the risk of infection. 

Other Risks  

  • Swelling

Tattoos will cause the tongue to swell a lot, which could lead to some trouble with breathing in really severe cases.

  • Damage to Taste Buds

A big risk involved with tattoos on the tongue is the potential to damage the taste buds. Clients should be aware that tongue tattoos can result in permanent damage to their taste. 

If clients experience bad redness, swelling, pain, or irritation with their tattoo, they should talk to a doctor.

Caring for Tongue Tattoos 

There are a lot of steps clients can take to reduce the risks involved with getting their tongue tattooed, but it can be a tricky spot to heal. 

One of the most important things to do with tattoos on tongues is to keep them clean by practicing good hygiene. 

Clients should brush their teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and use alcohol-free mouthwash to keep their mouths clean. During the healing process, it may help to avoid acidic or spicy food that can irritate the tongue.

What Are the Risks of Tongue Tattoos?

Simple temporary tongue tattoo

Because the tongue is a lot different than the skin on the rest of the body, tattooing it will require a different technique.

The tongue is a very thick muscle, so coil and rotary machines may not work on the entire tongue, because the ink might not be able to penetrate deeply enough into the tissue. The epithelial tissue on the lower part of the tongue toward the tip is thinner, so it may work with conventional tattoo equipment

One thing you’ll need to do a tongue tattoo is a tongue stabilizer (like what is used for tongue piercings). This will allow you to get to the entire tongue without it moving too much. 

Some artists choose to use the hand poke method or ink “injections” for clients getting a tongue tattoo, especially in the upper part of the tongue.

Design

Moon and stars tongue tattoo design

The tongue is a hard spot to tattoo, and the tattoo will fade quickly, so it’s best to stick with very simple tongue tattoo designs. 

Things like stars, hearts, a symbol, or short words are great tongue tattoo ideas, because they aren’t overly complicated. Make sure to “dry” the tongue before applying a stencil.

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Learning how to tattoo different parts of the body is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

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AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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