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How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Heal

The Healing Process Of A Tattoo

How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo to Heal? Healing Stages and Aftercare for Tattoos.

A tattoo should have healed in the outer layers of the skin after about 2-3 weeks to such an extent that there are no more restrictions on your lifestyle. However, the complete tattoo healing process in all skin layers will take about 4-6 months.

This isnt a one-size-fits-all process though so we cant give you an easy answer to How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? It varies greatly depending on a variety of factors. A simple small tattoo for example with only black ink will heal much faster than a large, detailed tattoo with colours. Your skin type, your lifestyle and your physical condition also determine the healing time of your tattoo. Here weve detailed the most important tattoo healing stages as well as what you need to be aware of when going through each one.

What Happens If My Tattoo Is Bubbling Months Or Years Later

If you notice your tattoo is bubbling after a few months, then the issue may be related to colour fading. Some tattoos will itch during this time due to constant exposure to the sun and other elements.

If your tattoo still has not healed after several months, then you should see a dermatologist or doctor have it checked out for any possible infections or skin conditions.

It is important to visit a reputable artist when getting a new tattoo so you can be sure they are following proper safety standards. They should also use quality tattoo inks that are free of harmful chemicals, such as steroids or petroleum.

What Is Silver Skin And When Will It Disappear

After 3 weeks or so, the scabs should have completely fallen off and a thin layer of skin should have appeared over the tattoo. This layer of skin is called silver skin and will make the tattoo look a little shiny and dull. The brightness will return in time once the tattoo is fully healed.

In this phase you can go swimming and take baths again, but you should make sure that the tattoo in the upper skin layer has healed completely and the skin is completely closed.

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Tattoo Healing: How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Heal

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Tattoos are on the rise in the US. Currently every 1 in 5 Americans have at least one tattoo and among younger people the percentage is even higher.

If you are considering getting one yourself, one of the questions you are probably wondering about is how long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

In short it may take about 3 weeks in total, but there is more to it.

Keep on reading and well tell you all about it.

Most Tattoos Will Heal Within Three Weeks

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In most cases, it will take between two and three weeks for a tattoo to finish healing. Its rare for it to take any longer than three weeks for a tattoo to heal. Once the healing process is over, youll be able to fully appreciate the new piece of art that youve added to your body.

If youre worried that it will take months for your tattoo to heal, you dont need to be. While you will have a period of healing time, that period shouldnt be all that long. Before long, your tattoo will be fully healed, which means it will just be a part of your skin.

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A new tattoo will seep a clear liquid called blood plasma during the initial healing phase. Generally, the more an area was worked with the machine, the more weeping you will see. It’s important to prevent this plasma from drying on the skin as it can contribute to scabbing. Scabs can cause discoloration, scarring, and even total ink loss. They’re also uncomfortable and take much longer to heal.

When Does A Tattoo Stop Itching

As your skin heals, your tattoo may itch. Thats a good sign, because it means your body is working to repair the skin. You should avoid scratching it in any case. A good tattoo healing cream that you apply thinly on the tattoo can provide some relief.

Also in this phase, you should make sure to keep your tattoo free from friction, as this could damage the scabbing and interfere with the healing process. Bathing should still be avoided as the scabs would soften and bacteria could penetrate the reopened wound.

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How Can I Speed Up My Tattoo Healing

There are some things you can do to speed up the healing process.

  • Cover tattoo with clothing. Sunlight can cause your tattoo to fade, and fresh tattoos are especially sensitive to the sun.
  • Dont re-bandage after you take off the initial dressing.
  • Clean daily.
  • Dont scratch or pick.
  • Avoid scented products.
  • How Long Do Tattoos Take To Heal

    How long does the tattoo 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. However, there are some factors that can influence healing time. For one, tattoos with more saturated color areas may take slightly longer to heal. Adam explains that saturated pigment requires more needle pricks to deposit ink than finer tattoos. This creates a larger inflammatory response which requires a longer recovery phase.

    For all things, wounds below the level of the heart heal slower. This means that an ankle tattoo will likely take longer to heal than a tattoo of the same size on the arm.

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    How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Healing Correctly

    It can take up to 12 weeks for a tattoo to heal, but it depends on the tattoo and where it is on your body. There are so many factors that can affect how long a tattoo takes to heal, such as how old you were when you got the tattoo, whether or not you have any allergic reaction or dry skin conditions, and if youve been following aftercare instructions from your artist.

    Theres no one definite answer because everyone tattoo heals differently! For some people, five days might be enough time for their tattoos to recover, while others need ten weeks or more. Generally speaking, though, all tattoos turn into an ugly scab with swelling and peeling before they begin healing properly.

    Most of us wait until our new ink looks less like bloody, infected tattoo scabs before we start showing it off to people. So just let your tattoo do its thing until youre ready to show it off!

    Stay Clear From Bodies Of Water

    Avoid bathing in any body of water for at least two weeks after finishing your tattoo. This means going on vacation and taking a dip in a lake, sea, ocean, pool, pond, or river is a definite no-no. Even having baths are not recommended and especially not saunas, hot tubs, or jacuzzis.

    Youre probably guessing by now that this is to prevent bacterias from infecting the area. Large bodies of water often have a lot of bacteria, so by not entering it, youre closing the doors to all those bacteria swimming around.

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    What’s The Best Way To Heal A New Tattoo

    It seems like everyone is an expert on healing tattoosjust ask, and they will tell you that they know the best, fastest, and the only way to do it.

    I’m no expert, but I have a few tattoos and nearly all have healed well – but not all! I’ve gotten quite good at taking care of them over time, through trial and error I’ve learned that the secret is to:

    • Pay attention to how your skin feels and looks.
    • Use good products.
    • Be prepared.

    Some will tell you to listen to your artist and do whatever they tell you, to the letter. This isn’t necessarily the best advice. I know because I’ve tried it a few times with poor results. Why? Everyone’s skin is different, every tattoo is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all aftercare sheet.

    Instead, you should listen to your skin and come up with a custom method that’s best for you. When you find a product your skin likes, stick with it! Learning how your skin heals best, then improving your personal technique is the secret to fast, safe healing for tattoos both big and small.

    In this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned about tattoo aftercare and show you my preferred method. Use it as a jumping off point to customise a method for you.

    Let’s begin!

    How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo to Heal?

    Your tattoo should be healed after about 23 weeks in terms of appearance. After 45 weeks, your skin should look smooth, and there should be no itching. It can take up to 34 months for all the layers of skin to heal.

    Stage Three: Days 15 To 30

    How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Heal? (2021 Guide ...

    The tattoo will appear fully healed, but it may still appear scaly, shiny, or cloudy for a few weeks. During this time, deep layers of skin are still recovering. This is not how your tattoo will look in the end.

    Maintain a good aftercare routine, continue to gently rub the tattoo cream on your skin and avoid direct exposure to the sun.

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    Does Tattoo Bubbling Go Away

    Yes, as the tattoo heals and settles into the skin, the colour particles will be less likely to flake off. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for a tattoo to heal completely.

    However, if you have particularly dry or sensitive skin it may take longer . Also, tattoos on areas with less blood supply, such as the spine or sides of feet, may take longer to heal.

    Stage 3 Third And Fourth Weeks: Tattoo Looks Dull Cloudy And Blurry

    The third stage, which lasts about two weeks, leads to your skin finally feeling more comfortable. The itching should almost completely abate, and any remaining scabs will fall off. Also, your tattoo should stop hurting. Even so, youll need to continue moisturizing your tattoo a few times a day.

    Dont be alarmed if your tattoo begins to look faded or blurry. A cloudy tattoo is a result of your skin creating a protective layer. which prevents sunlight from penetrating too deeply and fading the colors.

    Nevertheless, while your outer-most layer of skin is technically healed, learning to take care of a tattoo is a long-term responsibility.

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    How Can I Ensure That My Tattoo Is Healing Properly

    If you follow your tattoo artists recommendations and the advice we listed in this article, your tattoo will heal properly in no time. Follow their advice carefully, avoid doing things that can damage the tattoo, and make sure you keep a close eye on any potential skin changes that are out of the ordinary.

    Week 1 The Healing Signs

    What to Expect When Healing a Tattoo

    If youre doing the aftercare routine properly, during the first week you may notice some healing signs itching, flaking, and scabs. This is a completely natural occurrence, however, you must refrain from touching and picking on the tattoo. If you do scratch and peel the tattoo, the healing process will only prolong and you may disrupt the ink completely.

    At this point, you dont need to wash the tattoo as often, but you will need to moisturize it, twice a day max .

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    Scabs And Skin Being Pulled Off Prematurely

    One of the most essential things to remember when your tattoo is healing is to NOT pick the scabs off, no matter how tempting. This also goes for pulling off pieces of peeling skin.

    Heavy scabs that are not yet ready to fall off are still forming deep enough into your skin to affect the layers in which the tattoo ink has been set, meaning that pulling a scab off prematurely can pull ink away from the area, potentially leaving pits and colorless spots in your skin.

    Pulling thick scabs away can delay healing times considerably, and will potentially cause your tattoo to require extra touchups from your artist if any color is lost.


    Although some scabbing is common on new tattoos, especially bigger and darker pieces, heavy scabbing covering large areas of a tattoo is not normal, and this could mean your artist may have been too rough, and/or went too deep with the needle. Go back and see your artist for advice if the scabbing is excessive.

    The same goes for peeling skin. This stage of healing can be very uncomfortable, with large areas of half-dead skin hanging from your tattooed area and varying bouts of itching .

    Read our great guide here on how to stop your tattoo itching.

    Just remember that this stage only normally lasts for several days, so try and see it out by letting the skin fall off naturally without pulling it off. Peeling skin off that isnt yet ready to fall off can pull ink from the skin just like scabbing can.

    Dont Worry!

    How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Peel

    It takes a tattoo 3 to 7 days to peel, and the peeling will last for 7 to 10 days. At the end of this time, your tattoo should stop peeling and will likely be completely healed.

    Peeling is normal and is how your body creates a new healthy skin layer. You may experience intense itching and dry flaky skin during the peeling process.

    Make sure to gently apply a moisturizing cream to relieve the itchiness, but absolutely do not peel off any scabs or flakes to avoid opening up wounds.

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    Aftercare For Your Tattoo

    So, how can you make sure that new tattoo is something you donât end up regretting? Follow these steps while your new tattoo heals.

  • Be sure your artist covers your new tattoo in a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage.
  • Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Gently wash the tattoo with antimicrobial soap and water and be sure to pat dry.
  • Apply a layer of antibacterial/Vaseline ointment twice a day, but donât put on another bandage.
  • Gently wash your tattoo area twice a day with soap and water and gently pat dry before reapplying the antibacterial/Vaseline ointment.
  • Keep applying a moisturizer or ointment after you clean it to keep it moist.
  • You should repeat this process for 2 to 4 weeks. Also try not to wear clothes that will stick to your tattoo, and avoid swimming and the sun for about 2 weeks. And take cool showers. Scalding hot water will not only hurt, but it can also fade the ink. Wear a physical blocker sunscreen with at least 7% zinc oxide sunscreen during the daylight hours and/or cover it up .

    If your tattoo scabs a bit or develops hard layers, donât worry. Itâs normal. But never pick, scratch, or peel it. You could get an infection or remove the color. If you think your tattoo is infected, or isnât healing properly, go see your doctor.

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    Overall you can expect your tattoo to take around 3 weeks to heal. Right after your tattoo is done, you will have to patiently wait for it to heal in a wrap for about 24 or 48 hours.

    After the wrap is removed the scabbing process starts. In about 2 3 weeks you can expect the scabs to be off and the tattoo will be fully healed.

    However, dont worry if it looks a bit shiny or waxy for a few more weeks. Thats a completely normal part of a healing its the new skin youre seeing.

    The tattoo healing process is not that scary after all. Just follow you tattoo artistss instructions and you will soon be able to enjoy your new tattoo design.

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    Touching Picking Scratching And Rubbing

    Source: Helder Mira via Flickr License: CC BY 2.0

    By the time you reach the end of your first week after getting a fresh tattoo is when youll see the most tattoo scabbing and peeling.

    Its imperative that during this part of the process, when your tattoo is looking and feeling its absolute worst, that you let the tattooed area heal without picking, poking, prodding or scratching at your skin.

    If you mess up during this phase of the process, you could pull out the ink and leave scars, tattoo discoloration, or also prompt infection.

    Use a soft towel, or clean paper towel, when youre cleaning it or patting it dry after contact with water. Be gentle to your healing ink always to get the best result.

    How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal

    While your tattoo will look completely healed in 3 weeks, the body and skin below the surface will continue to heal for up to 4 months. This will result in the complete healing of all layers of the tattooed skin. Until then, youll want to take extra good care and precautions around this area.

    However, healing times depend on a number of factors. Specifically, your health, age, lifestyle, and quality of aftercare can make your new tattoo heal faster or slower. This is why it is so important to look after and care for your skin.

    Another critical factor is the size of your tattoo and the amount of skin that needs to heal. While every tattoo goes through the same stages of recovery, small tattoo healing times are naturally shorter. You can expect a small tattoo to heal in 2 weeks.

    On the other hand, a big tattoo can take 3 to 4 weeks to heal, and a medium-sized tattoo may require the full 2 to 3 weeks. Just remember that this is relative.

    A full back tattoo and a full sleeve tattoo are both large pieces of ink, but naturally one covers much more skin than the the other. Similarly, ink on your hand versus wrist or inner forearm can differ in healing time because your hand is much more exposed and used, making it harder to protect.

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