There are a large number of factors that cause a cleft palate or a hair lip / cleft lip including race, sex and environmental factors. Between 1 in every 600-700 people will be born with a cleft lip and/or palate, this is approximately 0.14% of the population. Many adults with a cleft will not be under the care of an NHS Cleft team, they may have already been discharged at the age of 16-20, or maybe their treatment took place before the Cleft Teams existed. Whatever the reason, you are entitled to treatment for issues caused by your cleft no matter your age. via CLAPA


The treatments and surgery these days are phenomenal giving life changing results. However, in a survey CLAPA conducted in 2014, 97% of all adults with a cleft lip / hair lip, said they thought of themselves as having a ‘visible difference’.


Visible Difference is a term that is recognisable for anyone with scarring, burns, birthmarks, port wine stains etc. This is an area of society that I am constantly working alongside. There are many people who are happy or contented with their visible difference and it does not affect their life in a negative way.


However the people that are concerned are the people that want to be able to change their visible difference, there is a wide range of levels of acceptance and expectations and they come to see me because they want some kind of change.


There is an age restriction for tattooing which is 18, so the people with a cleft lip that I see will have lived with it all of their lives, will have had cleft lip / cleft palate surgery at an early age to remedy their palate and/or lip and make it more functional. The final touch is needed when surgery is over, scars have faded and a touch of pigment in the right place can change the entire symmetry of the face and add a cupids bow to the mouth. Something they will not have had previously.


By tattooing / implanting small amounts of coloured pigment into the dermal layer of the skin and around the vermillion lip line you can create a lip shape bespoke for each person. It takes a discerning eye to view the lips from all angles to form a level of symmetry that doesn’t exist underneath the tattooing. The asymmetry in the skin and potentially bone structure can be improved upon by tricking the eye with dashes of pigment in the right place.


For the treatment in the photographs a very fine amount of pigment was mixed to match the lip colour, and implanted into the upper lip only. Adding a half millimetre here and there has added symmetry and definition and a small cupids bow, to keep the lips looking natural. After a healing period of 2 months, the lip was reviewed and it was decided to add small amounts of filler in certain areas to build up the shape. Once this was finished and fully healed, we went back to Medical tattooing. The patient then had time to get used to the subtle cupids bow and wanted a bit more definition. Another 2 treatments over a period of 4 months and the results were stunning.


Cleft Lip with Medical Tattooing

Before and During Treatment with Rae Denman


After Treatment


The patients own words:

“I was born with a unilateral harelip. Although I had a good initial repair and a few subsequent surgeries with dental work, I wanted to know if further tweaking was available especially as my upper lip scar was beginning to feel tight. My research led me to Rae Denman at Harley Street Skin Clinic, Reigate.

On meeting Rae, I found her to be instantly likeable, professional, patient and highly experienced in this area. Rae performed a couple of sessions of microneedling on my upper lip which certainly softened the scar followed by medical lip tattooing. Rae is very talented and created a Cupid’s bow and lip symmetry. Finally, I had small dermal fillers by Dr Ian Morgan at the same clinic to my upper lip. He reduced the scar appearance, plumped up a slight indentation under my nose, created a philtrum and added a small amount of volume to my top lip. My upper lip is now visibly improved and has a natural appearance.

This successful treatment plan is working for me and enables me to forget about my lip’s appearance and stop small things like constantly reaching for the camouflage. The care I have received has been outstanding and I would like to thank these wonderful specialists from the bottom of my heart!”


Cleft Lip with Medical Tattooing



Get in touch now for a consultation with Rae Denman if you are interested in Medical Tattooing

Call Me!