How Long Until A Tattoo Is Fully Healed?
2 to 3 weeks 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 How do you know if your tattoo is fully healed?
- 2 How long does it take for a tattoo to fully settle?
- 3 Is it possible to over moisturize a tattoo?
- 4 Do tattoos look better after healing?
- 5 Do tattoos darken as they heal?
- 6 Why is my tattoo still raised after a year?
- 7 What makes a tattoo heal bad?
How do you know if your tattoo is fully healed?
Stages of the tattoo healing process – One of the biggest decisions in getting a tattoo is settling on a design and the right artist to bring your vision to reality. But the time you spend in the tattoo parlor is just a small part of the entire process.
Once you leave the shop with your new tattoo, it’s important to turn your focus to the tattoo healing phase. So, how long does it take a tattoo to heal? As you might expect, the answer is ‘it depends. ‘ Depending on how the inking process went and where your tattoo is located, it can take anywhere from four weeks to a couple of months for it to fully heal.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how you can speed up this healing process, let’s first take a look at the various stages of it: 1. Week 1: open wound Immediately after the tattooist is done with the art piece, your body begins the process of healing.
Though it might not look like it, your tattoo is actually an open wound on your skin. Your body begins to repair the damage right there and then. In this stage, your body mobilizes its first responders to injury, and you might notice a slight stinging or burning sensation resulting from inflammation at the site of the tattoo.
That sensation, which lasts a week, on average, is your body working hard to patch things up and prevent infection. It’s therefore recommended that you treat your fresh tattoo as an open wound. By doing this, you can avoid infections and other complications that can occur when you leave an open wound unattended.
Your tattoo artist will go over the things you need to do to keep your new tattoo clean, and it can feel overwhelming at first. Add to this some stinging pain, and it’s not hard to see how your stress levels might increase a bit during this time.
A good tattooist can recommend some ways to alleviate this stress so that your skin can heal properly. Week 2: itching and peeling In the second week of the tattoo healing stages, the inflammation around your tattoo will subside a little. As you might have experienced with other healing wounds, an itching feeling — which replaces the burning and stinging sensation from stage one — is normal during this part of the healing process.
A new top layer of skin has formed over the tattoo, which means the old skin will form scabs and flake off. The dryness is what causes you to feel the itchy sensation on and around the wound — the tattooed area.
The incessant itching might make you wonder, “How long do tattoos take to heal?” In such a situation, try to resist the urge to scratch the skin or peel off the flakes. Your tattooist can likely recommend some lotion to keep your skin moisturized, which can reduce the itchy feeling.
Weeks 3 and 4: drying out When the topical healing is done, you will stop feeling itchy at the site of the tattoo. At this point, the skin dries out. In many instances, there’s a layer of dry skin that covers the tattoo after the scabs fall off.
While this often causes the tattoo to appear slightly duller in color, it will naturally slough off to reveal the vibrant piece of art you went in to get. Weeks 5 and 6: completely healed This is the last part in the four stages of tattoo healing. You’ll know you’re in this phase — and that your tattoo is fully healed — because all the dry skin and scabs have sloughed off to reveal new, smooth skin with a vibrant tattoo and you no longer feel the burning and itchiness because the body has repaired itself. Take a quiz. Find out what you can do with our Health Assistant.
Is a tattoo fully healed after 2 weeks?
– The healing process is different for every person and tattoo. Most sources indicate that tattoos generally take about 2 weeks to heal. However, it may take up to 4 weeks for the skin to fully recover. Some complications may prolong the healing process. The following is what a person can typically expect.
How long does it take for a tattoo to fully settle?
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.
Can I have a bath 3 weeks after a tattoo?
– Nope. Your tattoo is an open wound, and soaking in water could expose it to bacteria and increase the risk of infection. Soaking can also dry out the skin, leading to cracking and making it more susceptible to infection and scarring. You need to avoid submerging your tattoo in water or keeping it wet for a prolonged period of time.
Is it possible to 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.
Do tattoos look better after healing?
Aftercare – After the first month, your tattoo will look vibrant and fully healed. It’s easy to remember aftercare in the first few weeks, but it’s essential to keep it up for several months. Doing so will help the tattoo stay clean and look its best.
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.
When should you moisturize a tattoo?
Week one – Some tattoo artists recommend waiting between 24-48 hours before applying moisturizer, though others recommend doing so as soon as the first wash. A person with a fresh tattoo should follow their tattoo artist’s instructions on when to start using moisturizer.
- For the first couple of days, the tattooed skin may feel warm to the touch and have a reddish appearance;
- The colors may also appear very bright against the rest of the skin;
- The tattoo will become less vibrant as the healing process continues;
A person should avoid submerging the tattoo in water or getting the tattoo wet during the first 3–6 weeks, except for when washing it. A person can continue using the washing technique above throughout the first week when needed. How often washing is necessary will vary depending on a person’s activity levels and environment.
- Someone who is sitting in an air-conditioned office all day may only need to wash the tattoo once a day;
- However, someone who is working in a hot or dirty environment and sweating may need to wash the tattoo every few hours;
It is best to wash the tattoo with clean fingers only and not a cloth or towel, which may irritate the skin and prematurely remove any scabs that may have formed. Scabs will often form in the first few days, and ink may still come up through the skin and need to be washed away.
It is important not to pick the scabs or scratch the skin. In general, Scabbing is not a sign of improper wound care. Scabs will form anytime the skin is injured, and can be a sign of healthy tissue forming underneath the wound.
Keeping some form of antibiotic ointment or moisturizer under occlusion (as long as there is no known allergy) on the wound can help it heal better and the sooner this is done the better healing will happen with less chances of scarring. Any redness or mild swelling usually goes away near the end of the first week.
How often should you wash tattoo?
Once you leave the shop, the artist is no longer responsible for the tattoo. Informed aftercare starts from the minute you leave the shop, and this involves washing the area diligently. Treating your new tattoo with appropriate attention and responsibility can make the difference between a well-healed, crisp, long-lasting piece of art and an uneven, distorted shadow of the tattoo you envisioned. Here’s how often you should wash your new tattoo:
- For the first time, within 5–24 hours of getting it
- At least daily until it’s completely healed – ideally twice-daily
- Each time your tattoo becomes contaminated with dirt or bacteria
Do tattoos darken as they heal?
Reasons Why a Black Tattoo Might Fade – A black healing tattoo turning gray is perfectly natural and isn’t necessarily something to worry about. Most tattoos will darken again once healed, but some will remain lighter, and this is completely natural.
Why is my tattoo still raised after a year?
A tattoo can become raised for a number of reasons. The most common factors that can cause tattoo raising are allergies, tissue damage, certain weather conditions, poor healing and rough tattoo artist work. Below as a complete list of potential causes:
- Bad healing
- Infections or allergic reactions
- Skin tissue damage
- Your unique body chemistry
- Certain weather conditions
- Skin conditions
- Absolutely no reason at all
The most common reason from the above list is the last point. Most of the time, tattoos remain raised for seemingly no reason at all. This is more common in newer tattoos, and as they get older, they normally settle down within several months to a year. However, if you wish to delve a little deeper, the below issues can also cause a tattoo to remain raised beyond the initial healing period. .
Is it normal to not like your tattoo at first?
It’s not unusual for a person to change their mind after getting a tattoo. In fact, one survey says 75 percent of their 600 respondents admitted to regretting at least one of their tattoos. But the good news is there are things you can do before and after getting a tattoo to lower your chances of regret.
What can’t you do after getting a tattoo?
Can I put Vaseline on my 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.
Is aquaphor good for tattoos?
– Aquaphor is a commonly recommended part of a tattoo aftercare regimen. It has hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties that can speed healing and make the process more comfortable. If you’re getting some new ink, or have just gotten a tattoo, you may want to consider using Aquaphor..
What does the healing process of a tattoo look like?
The Final Takeaway – The tattoo healing process is fairly straightforward. Swelling, pain, and oozing typically resolve by day three and are followed by itching and peeling for another week, in our experts’ experience. Your tattoo may even look darker and duller than expected for the first month. FAQ
- Should I cover my new tattoo at night? The first night with your fresh ink, you might want to wrap the area in plastic. (But consult with your tattoo artist for their advice on the matter. ) After that, you want to make sure the tattoo is getting as much air as possible, free of coverage.
- Can I wear clothes over a new tattoo? You can definitely wear clothes over your new tattoo (depending on where you’ve been inked, you might have to). Just make sure to opt for loose, natural fabrics like cotton, and avoid tight clothing that could rub against the tattoo.
- When can I touch my tattoo? Be sure to ask your tattoo artist for their specific instructions, but in general, your tattoo should stay under the initial bandages for a least a few hours. During the healing process, you should try to only touch your tattoo when cleaning it—and when cleaning it, make sure you’ve washed up first. “The most important step would be to clean your hands before you clean your tattoos,” says tattoo artist Tuki Carter. ”
Why is my tattoo GREY instead of black?
How the Healing Process Turns a Tattoo Gray – Since the skin goes through trauma when your new artwork is adorned on your body, there’s no single part that is at a healthy stage immediately. This includes your new black tattoo. As the healing process takes shape, a new tattoo healing and turning gray is very common.
Over a few weeks, the new tattoo will form a scab, like any other wound. This scab is just a layer of dead skin, however, and will flake off on its own once the tattoo site is fully healed. The only scarring left behind will be the tattoo itself.
Even so, as the scars begin to heal, the appearance of your tattoo is distorted as the skin pigmentation changes. Such graying is normal, and once the healing process is fully complete, your black tattoo will reveal its dark, rich appearance once more. It should be noted, however, that it’s likely your tattoo will never appear quite as vibrant as it was the second you left the tattoo artist’s chair. The tattoo you saw then was fresh with no skin covering the dark pigments. After healing, that same tattoo will now have several layers of skin protecting it from outside elements, meaning the vibrancy and sharpness will have visually toned down slightly, and your tattoo may look slightly lighter.
What makes a tattoo heal bad?
You skin needs air to heal, too much use of petroleum jelly / or any aftercare product can suffocate skin and may lead to infection. Tattooed skin is like any open wound (like scratch wound), too much dust around, or too much water can let bacteria to enter the wound and multiply fast.