Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Say Ahhhhhh!

February 2nd, 2009 by

Ah, the lengths we tattoo fans will go to. The most critical factor I am speaking of is not what the next design is going to be, but, where to get our next “ink fix” put. This has led to some very out-of-the-box areas of the body being chosen for the next tat. From the bottom of the feet, to the palms of the hands. From the more private areas of the anatomy, to the inside of the lip. So, what part of the human body is left for the newest fashion statement? Why, the tongue, of course.

While this may seem like something new for us, as the saying goes; “There is no new thing under the sun.” Hawaiian women have sometimes had their tongues tattooed as an act of grief, long before captain Cook and the western missionaries showed up on those golden beaches. This was once witnessed, and commented on, by a missionary named William Ellis in the 1820’s.

Recently, however, tongue tattooing has become the new rage, and it seems to be growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. Now before you rush out to have your very own tongue tattoo done, lets take a look at what you may, or may not, be in for.

Although the process of getting a tongue tat is much the same as getting any tattoo, (With the exception that the artist is not likely to shave your tongue.), You should still consider that you will not be able to get a very intricate design done there. The working area is very limited and the surface of the tongue is not quite the same as the surface of your skin. Designs with bold, simplistic outlines, or no outline at all, will be your best choice.

Another thing to consider is not every tattoo artist is going to know exactly how to tattoo a tongue. The tongue is a big, slippery muscle and as such is prone to a lot of movement. This can make it difficult for the artist to get a grip on things, as it were. Artists who are versed in tongue tattooing will usually use the same type of forceps used to pierce the tongue as a method of holding it still.

According to many collectors who have had the procedure done, the pain factor isn’t as much of a worry as one would think. In fact, most of them consider it less painful than many of the outside areas of the body, and report a mild tingling, or numbness of the mouth during the tattooing. However, be aware that some do say it hurts like Hell and speech is very difficult immediately after.

Needless to say, proper oral hygiene is an absolute must after getting a tongue tattoo, even more so than a piercing. The effected area is much larger than a piercing and there will be a form of scab that initially covers the tattoo to consider. It is said to be very crusty and usually sloughs off after a couple of weeks. So the danger of infection and other disease considerations, (Do I really need to spell that one out for you?), is very real. The tattoo will appear a bit lighter, and waxier than a skin version after the crust has fallen off, but will soon settle down to it’s normal appearance.

Many have actually used the tongue tattoo to enhance their piercing. In combination the effect is rather unique. It certainly can make the now common tongue piercing a bit more exotic and personal, depending on what your sick little mind can come up with. Some of the more popular designs have been stars, hearts, and tribal styles, but I’m sure that as the trend grows many more will be added when collectors begin to stretch their imaginations.

Do remember, though, that not all artists are skilled in this style of tattooing, and it’s not something you want to be a guinea pig for. Ask your prospective artist to see some photos of tongues he has done before you commit. You should also be aware that a few have reported some loss of taste, as heavy handedness here can permanently damage taste buds. I’m pretty sure no one wants their Big Mac to taste like the cardboard box it came in.

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