Everything You Need To Know About Freckle Tattoos, According to Experts

Closeup portrait of a gorgeous girl with freckles in fashionable outfit and long hair

If you've made it to this article, you probably have freckles and want to enhance them, or you're starting with a freckle-free base and want to add them. Either way, hi, hello. You're at the right place because we'll deep dive into freckle tattoos from what to know about the service, how long they last, and if they're worth it. 

There are a few ways to recreate freckles on the skin, like using a makeup freckle pen, but freckle tattoos are the most permanent option. Ahead, we spoke to professional tattoo artists Nikki O'BrienBethany WoloskyClaire Vuillemont, and board-certified dermatologists Michael I. Jacobs and Papri Sarkar about everything you need to know about getting freckle tattoos before you book an appointment.

Experts In This Article
  • Bethany Wolosky, NYC-based permanent makeup artist and owner of Bethany Wolosky Microblading & Permanent Cosmetics.
  • Claire Vuillemot, owner and lead artist at Laurel Cosmetic Tattoo in NYC.
  • Michael I Jacobs, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Nikki O’Brien, owner of Vonfluff Tattoo Studio, ATX.
  • Papri Sarkar, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in Massachusetts

What are freckle tattoos? 

According to O'Brien, freckle tattooing is a semi-permanent cosmetic procedure where pigment is tattooed onto the face to mimic the appearance of freckles. The practice is done by either hand-poking the pigment into the skin or by a machine. 

"While there isn't one preferential skin type for freckle tattoos, I recommend always telling your treatment provider your skin type and any existing skin concerns before your appointment to ensure it is suitable for you," says Dr. Jacobs. He also recommends consulting with a board-certified dermatologist before you get freckle tattoos because they can help assess if you're a good candidate.

Next, you must arrive at your appointment with clean, makeup-free skin. "We start with a brief consultation where clients can share inspirational photos or pinpoint exactly where they want their freckles if they have a particular preference," Wolosky says. Then, the artist will sketch the freckles on your face with a pencil or pen, and your session will begin.

Why do people get freckle tattoos?

The most obvious reason for getting freckle tattoos is to add them to your skin or enhance existing marks. However, O'Brien says she's had clients use freckle tattoos for creative expression. "Recently, I've been adding freckles in the patterns of astrological constellations, and it's been such a fun way for my clients to express themselves," she adds.

How long do freckle tattoos last?

Generally, freckle tattoos can last 1-3 years, depending on the client's skin type and skincare routine, says Wolosky. "Clients with more oily skin or who use products with active ingredients like retinol may find that their freckles fade more quickly," she says.

It also depends on what type of ink the artist uses. The pigment used for freckle tattoos often differs from the ink in traditional tattooing, making the cosmetic tattoo semi-permanent instead of permanent. "This means they will gently fade over time, which is great—it allows you to have far more natural-looking tattooed freckles," says O'Brien. It's also possible (and recommended) to get touch-up sessions over the years to maintain the appearance and pigmentation of tattooed freckles.

How much does a freckle tattoo cost?

The cost of freckle tattoos can vary depending on location, artist, and desired look but generally falls between $50 and $300 per session. "We charge $100 for up to 3 freckles (or beauty marks) or $250 for more artistic natural groupings that adorn the whole face," Vuillemont says. It's also important to note that the more freckles, the more possibility for a multiple-session visit, which can cost more but allow for more freckle coverage. 

Are freckle tattoos painful?

The good news is that, for the most part, freckle tattoos are not painful, but it does depend on the client's pain tolerance and the specific technique used. "Topical anesthetic is used throughout the process to ensure the client is as comfortable as possible," says Wolosky. The procedure should also take about 30 minutes (at most), depending on how many freckles are tattooed. Overall, it's a quick endeavor. "There can be a few spots that are a little spicy, but my clients are usually quite impressed at how easy and painless it is to get freckles," O'Brien says.

While the experience will have minimal pain, there can be risks associated with cosmetic tattooing. "Some patients may be allergic to the pigments used, and if not done by an experienced professional or cared for well after application, patients can get an infection, scar, or poor wound healing," says Dr. Sarkar.

This is why freckle tattoo aftercare is just as crucial as aftercare for any tattoo. Follow your artist's aftercare instructions and avoid harsh scrubbing or soap. O'Brien tells her clients to splash lukewarm water over the tattoo twice daily. "As your skin continues the healing process, the color will bloom to the surface of your skin and become more visible. The healed color will be roughly 30% lighter and softer than your initial results. A soft and natural healed result, like real freckles, is the goal," she says. 

According to Dr. Jacobs, it is normal for the skin to experience some irritation during the healing treatment. Still, if it continues post-treatment, he recommends checking in with your artist and dermatologist to ensure the skin is healing properly. Once you can start incorporating skincare products into your routine, apply gentle and non-fragranced cleansers and moisturizers until fully healed. Of course, make sure you're protecting your freckle tattoos with sunscreen daily.

Are freckle tattoos worth it?

Freckle tattoos are subjective, depending on the person. Still, according to all the experts, they can be worth it as long as you use a clean, safe, experienced professional who can make them look as natural as possible. "It's important your artist knows how to make them slightly irregular—not perfect polka dots. They also appear more real when using multiple tones layered in the skin and when placed where the sun naturally hits the high points on the face," says Vuillemont. 

It's also important to assess your skin before getting a freckle tattoo. "Patients with more sensitive skin or a history of allergies to skin products should use caution when considering freckle tattoos. In addition, patients with skin conditions like keloids, eczema, or psoriasis should pause as they may have higher than usual side effects," says Dr. Sarkar.

If you're an avid user of exfoliants and active skincare products, freckle tattoos might also not be for you. If this is the case, a few freckle-pen makeup products on the market, like the Freck Beauty The Original Freckle Pen or the Lime Crime Freckle Pen, can give you the look instead.

Final takeaway

Freckle tattoos are a great semi-permanent option if you've always wanted freckles or to enhance the ones you have naturally. Although a little expensive, they're worth the try if you find an experienced and trained cosmetic tattoo artist to do the job. Depending on your skincare routine and use of exfoliator products, they'll last up to three years, but you can get touch-ups to maintain their pigmentation every few years. O'Brien said it best: "Remember, this is a tattoo on your face, and it's well worth the investment and care," so consider all the options and necessary care if you're looking into freckle tattoos.

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don't
Sign up today to have the latest (and greatest) well-being news and expert-approved tips delivered straight to your inbox.

Loading More Posts...