How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

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Having a tattoo idea and following through with it is no easy decision. It’s not something to be taken lightly! Not only do you have to think about the design and what it will look like, but you also have to think about the healing process. Tattoos take time to heal properly, and there are a few things you need to know to make sure your new ink looks its best. This article will discuss everything you need to know about tattoo healing!

How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

It takes approximately two to four weeks for a tattoo to heal. The first week is when the tattoo is healing the most, and it will continue to heal for the next few weeks.

However, it is important to note that every person heals differently. Some people may heal faster than others, and others may experience more discomfort. It is important to listen to your body and take care of your tattoo according to your healing process.

Step-by-step tattoo healing stages

There are four main stages of tattoo healing, and the care you need to take for your tattoo will differ slightly depending on your stage.

First 7 – 10 days

The first stage of getting a tattoo lasts around ten days. Your new tattoo will have a bandage for the first few hours, becoming an open wound. You might see changes such as redness, inflammation, or burning near your tattoo. This is all normal! After a few days, your tattoo will start to peel and scab. It is important not to pick at the scabs, as this can cause your tattoo to fade or become infected. You should also avoid soaking your tattoo in water, which can lead to infection.

10 – 15 days

The skin may feel itchy and flake during this stage, but don’t worry—it’s a natural response, and the tattoo will remain even if some of the ink appears to come off. Try not to scratch or pick at any scabs that form. Moisturizing the area with a lotion recommended by a tattoo artist or doctor can help alleviate itching sensations.

15 – 30 days

If your tattoo begins to feel dry or itchy, this is normal and should pass. If the itchiness persists or the tattoo becomes red, this could be a sign of infection. Your tattoo may also appear less vibrant than expected at first, but this is because a layer of dry skin has formed over it. This will eventually exfoliate itself and reveal the vivid colors of your tattoo underneath. Resist the urge to pick or scratch at the dried skin, which could cause scarring.

After the first month

Following aftercare instructions, your tattoo should no longer be itchy or red. It may look healed, but it’s important to continue with care. Long-term care for a tattoo includes staying hydrated and keeping the tattoo clean. You should also wear SPF or sun-protective clothing when possible. Tattoos can fade in the sun, so taking care of them is important!

Tattoo aftercare instructions

Now that you know about tattoo healing, it’s time to learn how to take care of your new tattoo! Aftercare is essential to keeping your tattoo looking its best. Here are some general aftercare instructions:

Keep the tattoo clean: Gently wash your tattoo with soap and water a few times a day. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard, as this can irritate the skin.

Apply lotion: After washing your tattoo, apply a thin layer of lotion to keep it hydrated. Avoid using lotions with fragrances, as these can irritate the skin.

Avoid sun exposure: Tattoos can fade in the sun, so it’s important to protect them when you’re outdoors. Wear SPF or clothing that covers your tattoo when possible.

Don’t pick or scratch: Itching and flaking are normal during the healing process, but resist the urge to pick or scratch at your tattoo. This can cause scarring or infection.

If you follow these instructions, your tattoo should heal within a few weeks! Remember to listen to your body and take care of your tattoo according to your healing process.

Factors that can affect the healing process

There are a few factors that can affect the healing process of your tattoo, such as:

– Your immune system: It may take longer for your tattoo to heal if you have a weakened immune system.

– The location of the tattoo: Tattoos on certain body parts, such as the hands or feet, may take longer to heal.

– The depth of the tattoo: Deeper tattoos may take longer to heal.

– The size of the tattoo: Larger tattoos may take longer to heal.

– The tattoo’s color: Darker colors may take longer to heal.

– Your age: Younger people tend to heal faster than older people.

– Your lifestyle: If you smoke or drink alcohol, it may take longer for your tattoo to heal.

Do color or black-and-white tattoos heal faster?

Gray and black tattoos are known to heal faster since tattoo artists use a less intense technique when compared to coloring. Often, black and gray Ink has little-to-no irritation or skin damage because artists will include some blank space or light shading.

Colored tattoos naturally take longer to heal because the artist can’t stop to take breaks as they would with a black and white tattoo. The skin surrounding colored tattoos is also more susceptible to needle damage since more pressure must be applied.

In short, the traditional tattooing process is intensive, irritating the skin more and causing more skin trauma than necessary. Not to mention that colored tattoo inks also contain tiny amounts of metal, which the human body finds hard to accept. Ultimately, all that leads to a longer period of scabbing and healing.

In conclusion, black and gray tattoos will result in less skin damage and irritation, therefore, heals quicker than colored tattoos.

In what cases do you need to contact a doctor?

After receiving a tattoo, most people experience some redness and swelling. If anybody experiences any of the following unusual symptoms:


It most likely becomes infected if the tattoo is reddish and unpleasant or has pus or ragged wounds. If a person has a fever or chills, they should immediately visit a doctor.

Allergic reaction

A tattoo might cause an allergic reaction, even years after the procedure. If a person’s tattooed skin becomes itchy, red, or swollen, or if there are scaly patches or lumps on it, they should see a doctor. If a person experience breathing difficulties, dizziness, or a rapid pulse resulting from a severe reaction in the form of hives, they should seek immediate medical treatment.

Reveal existing skin problems

Tattoos can irritate or exacerbate existing skin problems, such as psoriasis and eczema, whether on the tattooed region or elsewhere on the body. If people notice any flare-ups or changes in their skin, they should see a doctor.

Contacting a doctor is also recommended if the tattooed area:

– Is excessively red or swollen

– Begins to bleed

– Starts oozing pus

– Becomes hot to the touch

– Turns a different color from the rest of the skin

If you experience any of these symptoms, you must contact a doctor as soon as possible. Tattoo infections can be serious, so don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment if you think you might have one.

How do you know a tattoo is fully healed?

The tattoo healing process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the abovementioned factors. Here are a few signs to let you know that the tattoo has fully healed:

It doesn’t hurt anymore

That’s a good sign that the tattoo isn’t fully healed yet. After receiving a tattoo, you’ll probably feel sore and numb for the first two weeks. This is typical. If the discomfort persists beyond one month after getting tattooed, there’s a decent chance something more is wrong.

It has stopped peeling

If there are no symptoms of peeling, such as thin dead skin cells that resemble a sunburn, the tattooed region is most likely healed. Skin peeling or shedding is generally the final stage in the tattooing process.

It becomes clearer

When the scabs fall off the tattooed skin too soon, it will show you a cloudy skin surface, which is more visible in darker-colored tattoos like blue and black. In addition, it will be noticeably paler than the skin surrounding it, which signifies that the deeper layer of skin is still healing.

Please give it a week or two to continue healing. Once the cloudiness is gone, it’s a good sign that your tattoo is fully healed.

Enough time has passed away

The amount of time it takes for a tattoo to heal fully is usually the simplest way to tell. If it’s been 4-6 weeks, and you don’t have any medical conditions that could slow down healing or an allergic reaction from the tattoo, your tattoo should be completely healed.


How long does a tattoo take to heal before swimming?

If you go swimming immediately following your tattoo, it’s important to wait for the swelling to subside before doing so. It could take anywhere from two to four weeks for your tattoo to heal fully. If you have no other choice, then at least waterproof the tattoo.

What makes tattoos heal faster?

There’s no way to speed this up. The time it takes for the tattoo to heal on the surface is two weeks at the absolute most. However, the tattoo might take four to six months to fully and permanently recover.

Can a tattoo heal in 10 days?

A tattoo may appear to be healed within a few days. It’s critical, though, to keep up with aftercare: The healing process for a tattoo can take anywhere from six months to three years. We’ll go through the stages of a tattoo’s healing and the various types of tattoos that heal more slowly.

Is it better to let a dry tattoo heal?

Acceptable tattoo dry healing only occurs when you follow all other aftercare instruction details carefully. Otherwise, bad consequences like scabbing and scarring can happen to your tattoo.

Do black tattoos heal faster?

A colored tattoo can take 4 to 6 weeks to heal at least the surface skin, although the healing process is supposed to take 2/3 weeks. Black and gray tattoos heal considerably faster than colorful ones. The cause of this is that the skin is treated less aggressively.

Is Vaseline good for tattoos?

Vaseline isn’t the greatest option for tattoo aftercare. Petroleum jelly traps moisture and germs, which can lead to infections and scars if your tattoo doesn’t get enough air while healing. If your skin is dry, you may be able to use Vaseline on old tattoos.

Final Thoughts

Tattoos are a pretty big deal. They’re meant to be permanent, requiring some thought before you get one. But the decision to get a tattoo is ultimately up to you. And if you do decide to get one, it’s important to understand the healing process. Tattoos take at least two weeks to heal on the surface. However, it can take up to six months for the tattoo to heal fully. And even then, your tattoo might not be completely healed. So it’s important to be patient and follow all aftercare instructions.

Author: Alpi T.

Alpi T.
How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? 2

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