tattoo take to heal

Officially Inked: How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo to Heal?

How Long Do Tattoos Take to Heal?

After getting a tattoo, the visible part of the skin usually heals after two to three weeks. It can take up to six months for the skin beneath a tattoo to heal, even if it looks and feels healed.

The skin around larger tattoos may take longer to recover if you pick at the scabs, don’t moisturise, skip SPF, and use lotions containing alcohol.

Tattoo Healing Stages

There are four distinct stages of tattoo healing, and the way you care for your tattoo will change slightly depending on which stage it is in.

Days 1 to 6: Inflammation

The first stage usually lasts from day 1 until day 6. A bandage will be applied to your new tattoo for the first few hours, after which it will be considered an open wound. You may notice redness, oozing, slight inflammation, swelling, or a burning sensation as your body responds to injury.

Days 7 to 14: Visible Recovery

During this stage, you may experience itching and flaking. Nothing to worry about if your skin flakes – it’s a natural response, and the ink will remain intact.

Avoid scratching or picking at scabs. Itching around tattoos may be eased with the use of a moisturiser recommended by a tattoo artist or doctor.

Days 15 to 21: Invisible Recovery

The tattoo may begin to dry out, and the itching should subside. Nevertheless, if it doesn’t go away and the redness persists, it could indicate that the tattoo is infected. A layer of dry skin over your tattoo makes it appear less vibrant than expected.

It will naturally exfoliate, revealing the vivid tattoo underneath. Don’t pick at or scratch yourself, as this can lead to scarring.

Days 22 and so on: Fully Recovered

The itching and redness should have subsided by this point, and your tattoo may look healed, but you should continue to follow aftercare instructions. Staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and keeping the tattoo clean are all essential to long-term tattoo care.

How to reduce your tattoo healing time

It’s normal to want your tattoo to heal quickly, but it may take time and care, like any wound. You can speed up the healing process by doing some things.

Cover tattoo with clothing

Your tattoo can fade when exposed to sunlight, and fresh tattoos are more susceptible. Cover the tattoo with loose clothing like long sleeves or pants when you are out in the sun. Sunscreen should not be applied until the tattoo has fully healed.

Don’t re-bandage after you take off the initial dressing

As soon as you remove the original bandage, your tattoo should breathe, so it’s best not to cover it with plastic or surgical wrap after you remove the initial bandage. The extra moisture and lack of oxygen may cause scabbing and slow healing if it’s wrapped.

Clean daily

You should clean your tattoo twice to three times a day with lukewarm – not hot – and sterile waterTrusted Source.

Clean your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before you begin. Afterwards, spray water on the tattoo with fragrance-free and alcohol-free soap, and let it air dry or gently dry it with a clean paper towel.

Tattoo Healing and Aftercare Tips

Tatto take to heal

Apply ointment

You should avoid heavy products like Vaseline for your tattoo to heal properly unless your artist specifically recommends it.

You will likely be advised to use products with vitamins A and D during the first few days. Once you’ve finished applying your aftercare moisturiser, you can switch to a lighter, fragrance-free moisturiser or coconut oil.

Don’t scratch or pick

Scabs are a natural part of the healing process, but picking or scratching at them can delay healing and cause scarring.

Avoid scented products

If your tattoo is located in an area where scented lotions and soaps are inappropriate, you may even want to switch to unscented shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Tattoo ink can be affected by fragrances in products.

Don’t get it too wet

The tattoo can get wet in a shower but don’t submerge or soak it in the shower or bath, and never swim for two weeks after getting it.

Signs your tattoo isn’t healing properly

It’s important to know the signs that your tattoo isn’t healing properly or has become infected. There are several symptoms of improper healing, including:

Chills or fever. If you have a fever, you should see a doctor immediately to determine if your tattoo is infected.

An extended period of redness.

If your tattoo doesn’t heal well after a few days, the redness is a sign that your tattoo is not healing properly.

Fluid oozed from the wound.

A tattoo that still leaks fluid or pus after two or three days may be infected. Consult your doctor.

Puffed-up, swollen skin.

The surrounding skin should not be puffy after getting a tattoo. It is normal for the tattoo to be raised for a few days. You may have an allergy to ink if you experience this.

Severe itching or hives.

There is also a possibility that itchy tattoos are a sign that you are allergic to the ink. An allergic reaction can occur as soon as the tattoo is applied or even several years later.


Tattoos scab over because they are wounds, but properly healed tattoos shouldn’t scar. The signs of scarring include raised, puffy skin, redness that does not fade, distorted colours within the tattoo and pitted skin.


A new tattoo usually appears healed within two to three weeks after it is applied. The healing process, however, can take upwards of six months. The aftercare, including daily cleaning, ointment, and moisturiser, should be continued for at least this long to prevent infection.

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When should you moisturise a tattoo?

Moisturising a tattoo is crucial for a healthy and long-lasting tattoo. Many factors contribute to the health of your tattoo, and moisturising is one of them. You should moisturise your new tattoo after the first time you wash your new tattoo with soap and water. And when the skin around the tattoo becomes dry or there’s a lot of sweating.

What does a tattoo look like after it’s healed?

A tattoo will take on a new look after it has healed. After the ink dries and the skin has had time to heal, the tattoo will appear more vibrant and less faded than before.

Why is my tattoo fading after three days?

Tattoos fade quickly because they are made of pigments made from organic materials such as minerals and plants. These organic materials have an upper limit for how long they can last on the skin before they start to degrade. When you get a tattoo, the ink that gets into your skin will eventually break down and fade over time.