How Long Does It Take For Your Tattoo To Heal?
How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? After getting a tattoo, the outer layer of skin (the part you can see) will typically heal within 2 to 3 weeks. While it may look and feel healed, and you may be tempted to slow down on the aftercare, it can take as long as 6 months for the skin below a tattoo to truly heal.
- 1 What should you not do after a tattoo?
- 2 When can I shower after a tattoo?
- 3 How often do you moisturize a new tattoo?
- 4 Can you over moisturize a tattoo?
- 5 Can I drink 2 days after getting a tattoo?
- 6 What cream is best for tattoo aftercare?
- 7 Should I cover my tattoo at night?
- 8 Can I wash my tattoo after 48 hours?
How can I make my tattoo heal faster?
Can a tattoo heal in a week?
A tattoo may look healed within a few days. However, it’s important to stay consistent with aftercare : The healing process can actually take as long as 6 months. We’ll go over the healing stages of a tattoo, what types of tattoos take longer to heal, and the best aftercare practices to keep it clean.
What should you not do after a tattoo?
How long does a tattoo last to heal?
How Long Do Tattoos Take to Heal? – In general, it takes approximately one month from the time of tattooing for a tattoo to take on its permanent form in a young, healthy individual, though as mentioned above, tattoos are considered fully healed around 3 months.
- However, there are some factors that can influence healing time;
- For one, tattoos with more saturated color areas may take slightly longer to heal;
- Makharita explains that saturated pigment requires more needle pricks to deposit ink than finer tattoos;
This may create a larger inflammatory response, potentially requiring a longer recovery phase.
How do I know my tattoo is healed?
You will know that your tattoo is completely healed when there are no scabs, the texture of your skin where the tattoo was placed is the same as a similar surface of skin, and the colors on your tattoo are no longer faded.
When can I shower after a tattoo?
How Soon After a Tattoo Can I Shower? – Your first shower after a new tattoo can be the day after you got the tattoo. That could be between 12 and 48 hours. Sometimes, the tattoo becomes messy after a night of oozing blood and ink. In order for the tattoo to start healing properly, you need to give it a light wash with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water.
- After 48 hours, your tattoo should be good for water exposure, but only once or twice a day;
- During the first week, it is essential not to expose the tattoo to the water for longer periods;
- This will prevent the tattoo from drying and forming a new skin layer;
In such a case, your tattoo could get infected. Note : we also recommend you avoid sweat-inducing activities, like working out, jogging, etc. Sweat carries bacteria that can infect the tattoo. Furthermore, sweating prevents the tattoo from drying out, which could also lead to an infection.
Is it OK to wear clothes over a new tattoo?
So, What Kind Of Clothes Should I Wear Over a New Tattoo? – After getting a tattoo, and during the healing process, which can last between 2 weeks and a month in its initial and most important stage, you should be wearing loose-fitting clothes. That is of course if the tattoo is placed on your body apart from the neck, head, and feet.
For those areas, you need to pay special attention, especially in the case of feet tattoo (the issues of wearing socks and shoes). Loose clothes will cover the tattoo so much so that it stays protected. There is a lower chance the fabric will stick to the tattoo and introduce contaminants as well.
There will be minimal or rubbing of the fabrics against the tattoo, which will significantly minimize healing issues or the chance of an infection. Note: After getting a new tattoo, it will be wrapped and well protected. You can wear loose clothes over the wrap and not really worry about it.
How often do you moisturize a new tattoo?
Should I apply lotion to my tattoo? What kind of tattoo care products do you recommend? – Yes! Moisturizing your tattoo regularly is extremely important. You should moisturize your clean tattoo 3 – 6 times per day, for roughly two weeks (though proper skincare is always important, and most tattoo enthusiasts moisturize their tattoos daily for life!). A white cream lotion or moisturizer, preferably unscented, should be used! We recommend these fragrance-free, white cream lotions: Aveeno , Curel , and Eucerin . Be warned: your favorite fragranced lotion is not a good option for moisturizing your tattoo – this can cause an excruciating burning sensation when applied to the tattoo, which is essentially an open wound. The fewer chemicals in the product, the better! Pure cocoa butter or shea butter is also popular for darker skin tones and is a fine option. There are some manufacturers who design products specifically for tattoo aftercare that work well for long-term care (such as Tattoo Goo , H2Ocean , and Hustle Butter ). Do NOT use aloe vera gel to moisturize, and we don’t recommend A&D ointment either, as the oil in these products can extract some of the ink from your tattoo.
Can you over moisturize a tattoo?
What Are The Risks of Over Moisturizing a Tattoo? – By applying thicker layers of lotion or ointment, several times a day (or every hour or two as some people do), you’re risking over-moisturizing a tattoo. By over-moisturizing a tattoo, you can cause the following problems;
- Due to excess moisture, the tattoo won’t be able to dry and heal
- Excess moisture can create a perfect environment for bacteria and germ growth
- Over moisturizing can lead to tattoo inflammation and infection
- Excess moisture can cause clogged pores since the moisturizer prevents the skin from breathing
- Excess moisture can cause the tattooed skin to break out
To avoid these issues, make sure to follow the moisturizing rules we mentioned before. However, make sure to not under moisturizing your tattoo as well. Some people are afraid they might over-moisturize their tattoo, so they leave it dehydrated, which results in heavy scabbing and tattoo dryness. So, make sure to stay in the middle and simply apply a thin layer of lotion/ointment twice a day.
Can I drink 2 days after getting a tattoo?
Drinking before or after – That drink beforehand is not smart. Bruno Vincent/Getty Images If you’re thinking about downing some liquid courage before taking the plunge, think again. Drinking before and after getting a tattoo is a no-no. Alcohol thins your blood, which means excess bleeding. When you bleed more than normal, it can cause visibility issues for the artist, potentially compromising the quality of the design.
- Excess bleeding can also thin the ink;
- Of course, there’s also the fact that alcohol impairs judgment, and you don’t want to make permanent decisions while impaired;
- And it’s not cute if you have to stop and puke in the middle of a four-hour tattoo session;
Furthermore, drinking after the fact can compromise the healing of the tattoo because of its effects on your blood, so take it easy for a bit.
What cream is best for tattoo aftercare?
Best Overall: Aquaphor Healing Ointment Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment is of the most widely used tattoo aftercare treatments, and you’ll find a lot of artists quick to recommend the old stand-by.
Should I cover my tattoo at night?
This info should guide you through the care of healing your tattoo, but if you have any other questions while it is healing, do not hesitate to contact your artist directly or call the shop for immediate reply. There are no stupid questions about healing.
– After your tattoo is completed, your artist will bandage your tattoo for your trip home. Leave the bandage on for one to three hours. When you take the bandage off, wash it with very warm water (as hot as is comfortable) and mild liquid hand soap (like Dr.
Bronner’s, Dial or Softsoap, just no perfumed or exfoliating body washes). Pat it dry gently with a paper towel, and let it air dry the rest of the way (never scrub the tattoo with a towel or sponge). Then you will apply a very small amount of Aquaphor Ointment or plain, unscented skin lotion (we recommend Aveeno, Lubriderm, Curel, or any of their generics) to the tattoo, just enough to lightly moisturize.
- Your first night sleeping, your artist might recommend you re-wrap the tattoo with plastic wrap (like Saran Wrap) to sleep without the tattoo sticking to your sheets. This is generally for larger or solid-color tattoos. If your artist did not recommend re-wrapping, just let the tattoo stay exposed to air overnight.
- Every day from then on, you will wash the tattoo in the morning and at night, and apply lotion 3 times a day or so, or whenever the tattoo feels dry or tight.
- Always wash your hands before touching the tattoo.
- DO NOT apply Vaseline, Neosporin, Bacitracin or any other medicated or perfumed product to your tattoo.
- After a few days, the tattoo will form a thin scab over it, and in about a week the scab will begin to flake off in the shower. DO NOT pick or scratch at the scab, just keep it clean and moist and the scabs will all fall off by themselves in about two weeks. Picking any of the scabs off will cause faded color and damage to the skin.
During healing do NOT:
- Wrap the tattoo after the first night (wearing breathable clothes over it is fine as long as they are not causing friction. (Keeping tattoos wrapped in plastic or bandages will stop air from getting to the tattoo, slow healing, and make gross stuff grow in there. )
- Submerge the tattoo in water. This means baths, pools and oceans. Regular showering is fine.
- Expose it to strong sunlight (Like outdoor activities or beach days. Walking to your car is fine)
- Shave over the tattoo (ouch!)
When all the scabs fall off and the skin feels smooth again to the touch, it is all healed and you can shave over it again, and swim and everything else. Sometimes after the scab falls off there is a secondary shiny, raised or waxy coat over the tattoo. This is just another healing layer of skin. Continue to moisturize it and it will smooth out by itself over time. If you have any questions about your tattoo while its healing you are always welcome to come by the shop and have us check it out, or email the artist who did the tattoo with “AFTERCARE” in the subject line for an immediate response.
- Do not slather a big, thick coat of product over it; just enough for it to stay moist and flexible;
- If you are using Aquaphor, you can switch to a plain lotion after the first few days;
- Lotion is generally fine for everyone, your artist will recommend if you would benefit from ointment;
If something doesn’t look perfect After your tattoo is finished healing, we’ll do our best to make it right. Sometimes with excessive scabbing, or other unpredictable reactions during healing, your skin can reject some ink, leaving a “light spot” that is closer to your skin color in the tattoo (or a line might get thinner or lighter in one spot).
- This is common as its unlikely your body will accept every spot of pigment uniformly, so just contact your artist via email after your tattoo is finished healing with a photo to see if a small touch up is in order;
Unless you were negligent during the care of your tattoo, touch-ups are very minor and quick, and guaranteed by our artists if you contact them about it within 3 months of getting the tattoo. Because older tattoos that have settled in fully and aged require more work to make uniform, we suggest coming in as soon as possible when it’s healed, as touch ups are performed for a fee at the artist’s discretion after 3 months.
Can I wash my tattoo after 48 hours?
You Can Shower After Getting a Tattoo, But Remember to Use Mild Soap – When it comes to showering after a new tattoo , it’s best to ask your tattoo artist when you can lather up. Their answer will depend on the type of bandage they use to seal their work before sending you off.
“Depending on what type of bandage you receive determines when you can shower,” Metz-Caporusso tells Bustle. “If you get Saniderm or Tegiderm, then you can shower immediately. This type of covering is waterproof.
If you get a classic bandage or cling wrap, then you must wait anywhere from two to 12 hours, depending on what your artist recommends. After you take that off, you can shower anytime. ” But it’s important to use a mild, fragrance-free soap when you do shower or wash your new ink.
Think classic Dial soap or anything anti-bacterial and gentle. After a gentle washing, Brooklyn-based tattoo artist John O’Hara recommends applying Aquaphor to hydrate the skin and create a barrier to prevent infection.
“The key is to apply a very thin layer, let the skin absorb the Aquaphor for about 10-15 seconds, and blot off the excess with a sanitary paper towel,” O’Hara tells Bustle. “This will give you the right amount.
How should a tattoo feel after 2 days?
Traditional Tattoo Healing Method – Directly Following Your Tattoo Appointment The tattoo healing process starts as soon as you walk out of the tattoo studio. Your tattoo artist should cover your tattoo with some type of wrap (cling wrap, medical pads, etc.
- ) to protect it on your way home;
- “This usually stays on for approximately 2 hours,” says Caldwell;
- “It will trap any of the blood and plasma (clear fluid) that leaks out immediately after being tattooed;
This bandage also protects your new tattoo from the outside elements and keeps the blood from clotting to form a scab. ” Your tattoo artist will cover your tattoo with a temporary bandage or plastic wrap. After removing the covering placed on your tattoo by your artist, you should carefully wash the tattoo with warm, soapy water using an unscented, antibacterial soap. Do not use any type of washcloth or loofah—simply clean it with your hands to remove any plasma and ink from your skin.
“You want to make sure you always pat dry with clean paper towels and then apply a thin layer of ointment,” says Caldwell. Try to wear loose-fitting clothing to bed, since your tattoo will likely continue to leak overnight.
Days 1-3: Oozing and Sore During the first few days, your tattoo is still an open wound and will be sore, painful, and warm to the touch. The skin around your tattoo might also appear slightly red and swollen. During the first days of tattoo healing your tattoo will continue to release plasma, blood, and ink—this is completely normal.
Plasma, which is a clear liquid, makes up the largest part of your blood ( 55 percent ) and it’s release is part of your skin’s natural healing process. It’s important to keep your tattoo as clean as possible during this time.
Follow the same cleaning instructions (wash with soapy water, pat dry, apply a thin layer of ointment) as the night before. “Wash your new tattoo at least two times a day—when you wake up and before bed,” says Caldwell. If the tattoo is really leaky, you can add one more wash to the rotation to remove excess goop. Wash your new tattoo carefully in the shower using fragrance-free soap. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer or aftercare ointment after your tattoo is fully dry to help minimize scabbing. “The moisturizer/ointment is crucial to keeping your tattoo from forming a scab,” says Caldwell. “The softening of the skin prevents this. ” Follow your artist’s aftercare instructions carefully.
- All tattoo artists recommend different aftercare products and have their own tattoo healing methods;
- Trust and listen to your artist;
- Days 3-7: Dry, Tight, and Starting to Flake After the third or fourth day following your tattoo appointment, your tattoo will begin to dry out;
It may feel tight. Swelling should start to subside, though your skin might still feel warm and uncomfortable. By the end of the first week, you will likely see your tattoo flaking. This is also a normal part of the tattoo healing process. What tattoo flaking looks like. “Flaking is simply your body shedding its outermost layer of skin,” says Erin Belley , an artist who works at the Parkdale location of Boss Tattoos Collective in Calgary, Alberta. “But this time, the skin had been damaged and filled with ink, so it comes off in larger flakes and full of color.
- ” If you see your tattoo flaking, don’t be alarmed;
- This is not a sign that ink is being removed from the skin;
- Just make sure you let your tattoo flake naturally;
- “As long as you’re not picking at it, scrubbing it, or peeling the flaky skin off, you should be fine,” adds Caldwell;
Days 7-14: More Flaking, Scabbing, and Itching During the second week of tattoo healing, your tattoo will continue to flake, and you may start to see scabs forming over some areas of the tattoo. While trying to prevent scabbing is recommended, tattoo scabbing is not uncommon.
- “I would consider scabbing normal, but not ideal in tattoo healing,” says Belley;
- “Scabbing is what happens when the plasma is not efficiently cleaned off of the tattoo after your body is finished producing it (usually between 24-48 hours) and it evaporates and dries;
” Caldwell explains that scabbing may also happen if you apply too much moisturizer or ointment to your tattoo or if a particular part your skin was overworked during your session. Do not pick at the scabs on your tattoo. Continue to wash and lightly moisturize your tattoo as instructed by your artist.
During this time, you may also experience the dreaded tattoo itch. Some may experience a mild itch, while others will experience an intense itch. Your skin will be dry and flakey as it heals, so some level of itchiness is to be expected.
Some clients may also have a slight allergic reaction to some inks, which may cause an itchy feeling. Although it may take every ounce of willpower, do not scratch your new tattoo. Not only could this affect how it looks, but you can also cause infection or irritation.
Eventually, the itch should subside. Days 15-30: Slightly Dry and Dull Most tattoos will finish flaking and essentially be healed around the 2-week mark. But it still may take a couple of weeks for your tattoo to fully settle in.
During this time, your tattoo may look a little dull or faded. This is normal and once the tattoo is fully healed and settled in, its brightness will return. You may also feel slightly raised portions of your tattoo during this stage, but this should eventually disappear.
Do color tattoos hurt more?
So, Do Color Tattoos Hurt More? – Generally speaking, ink color doesn’t determine the amount of pain you’ll feel. The color simply doesn’t have to do anything with the pain of the tattoo. As we mentioned, tattoo placement, your pain tolerance, and your tattooist’s technique are the main factors determining how painful the process will be.
Sure, there was a time when colored ink used to have a thicker consistency than black ink. This was an issue since it took the tattooist longer to pack the colored ink, which in itself hurts. The longer you’re getting tattooed, the higher the skin damage and the more painful the process becomes.
Nowadays, all inks are of similar consistency, so there isn’t an issue there. Now, if your tattoo artist takes a long time to complete the tattoo, you’ll experience more pain as the process goes on. Also, if the tattoo artist uses a dull needle, chances are the process will hurt more.
Sharp, new needles tend to hurt less. Now, as the needle gets worn out, it remains sharp, but it dulls out a little bit. This small difference in needle sharpness can promote faster skin damage and of course, cause more pain.
If your tattooist uses white ink highlight , you can expect more pain. This is again not because of the needle or the ink color, but rather the pain is caused by the repetition of needle penetration in one place. In order for the white ink to fully show and become saturated, the tattooist needs to go over the same area several times.
That is what causes skin damage and pain. Now, after all of the information, we do have to point out that there are people who swear that the coloring/shading of the tattoo hurts more than the linework or tattoo outline.
Pain is a subjective thing, so it can be hard to be exact with the answer to whether color tattoos hurt more than regular ones.
Do black tattoos heal faster?
Tattoo Healing Duration – The tattoo healing stages and duration may differ from one tattoo to the other. The healing duration depends on several factors, like;
- The style of the tattoo
- Whether it is grey or colored
- The size of the tattoo
- The location or body placement
- The execution of the tattoo artist
- The time the tattoo was wrapped and protected
So, taking into consideration the factors, we can determine an estimated healing duration for different tattoos;
- Colored tattoos – the colored tattoos take the longest to heal. The reason for this lies in the very tattooing execution when coloring the tattoo. The needle has to go over every inch of the tattoo to fill it in with color, without any breaks. The increased work irritates the skin more, leading to skin trauma, and later, longer periods of scabbing and overall healing.
- Black & grey tattoos – these tattoos heal much faster than the colored ones. The reason for this lies in the less intense approach to the skin. These tattoos often have some blank space or some light shading, which doesn’t irritate or damage the skin as much as the coloring does. Such a tattoo may take up to 3 weeks to have the surface skin healed if taken care of properly.
- Tattoos with sensitive body placement – if a tattoo is placed in an area that has very thin skin and a lot of nerve endings, the damage to the skin might be greater. That is why any type of tattoo done in a sensitive area takes much longer to heal than expected. You may experience longer periods of redness and irritation, and the skin may even be itchier during the healing process. The overall healing duration for a sensitive tattoo may be up to 6 weeks, but there were cases where the healing lasted for several months (just the surface skin layer).
Image Source: Saved Tattoo.
Is it OK to put Vaseline on your new tattoo?
– The first 24 hours after getting a tattoo are critical to your aftercare. Your tattoo artist may advise that you wear special bandages for added protection. After a few days, you may be able to safely take showers, but you’ll still need to avoid submerging the tattoo in water when bathing.
While your tattoo is bandaged, this may allow for a very small window for using Vaseline too, since your tattoo is already covered. However, you’ll want to verify this with your tattoo artist first. Generally, there’s no need for Vaseline on a new tattoo whatsoever.
Once your bandages are off, you’ll want to stay away from Vaseline during the healing process, too. You may be able to use Vaseline on a newer tattoo only after it’s completely healed. The only use for petroleum jelly on your tattoo is for extremely dry skin around the area.
What types of tattoos heal fastest?
‘ Linework usually heals a lot faster than something fully colored because with full color there’s a lot more damage to the skin and more surface area that needs to heal. ‘ When you get a full-color tattoo, your artist has to go over the same area of your skin with their needle multiple times, leading to a more severe.
Can you use Vaseline to heal a tattoo?
What NOT to do? DON’T re-bandage your tattoo, rub, scratch or pick at your new tattoo. DON’T apply alcohol, Neosporin, Vaseline, or petroleum jelly (they can trap dirt and germs and cause infection). DON’T apply a heavy coat of lotion (remember the skin must breathe in order to heal).