How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal? 2024

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How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal

Once you are done with getting the Tattoo now, you probably want to show it off; however, it takes longer than you think to heel. A tattoo’s healing process is divided into four-stage, and the time span it takes to recover fully depends upon your tattoo size, where the Tattoo is, and your habits. Every person has different skin types, habits so the tattoo healing time varies from person to person. However, in this article, we will go through the various stages of the tattoo healing process, how long does a Tattoo takes to heal, and the sign which shows that your Tattoo is not healing properly.

How Long Does it Take to Heal?

Once you get the Tattoo, the outer skin layer usually takes 2-3 weeks to heal properly and keeps the Tattoo as clean as possible to fasten the recovery process. Unfortunately, most people make this mistake which worsens the tattoo condition. Normally it takes six months for the skin to heal properly, and if you do some disturbance, the process will take even longer.

Of course, the larger tattoos indeed take a longer time to recover. Also, it depends upon certain factors like not forgetting about SPF, using alcohol-containing lotion, picking at the scabs, and not moisturizing skin. Also check Best Tattoo Ointment.

Healing stages of Tattoo

In general, the tattoo healing process is divided into four stages. However, if you do the tattoo care properly and follow our guide, I assure you that your Tattoo will heal faster.

First week

The first week is crucial for every Tattoo, and the stage lasts from day 1 to about day 6. In the first few hours, the Tattoo will be a bandage, and after, it is considered an open wound. After that, you will feel like the body responds to the wound and notice the redness, swelling, burning, oozing, or inflammation.

Second Week

In the second, there is the possibility that you may face flaking or itching. If you feel any of them, don’t get panic flaking, and itching is the natural response from your skin. Even sometimes, it will feel like the skin is coming off because of the intact ink.

Tip: To deal with the flaking or itching while keeping the Tattoo in the same shape. Try to avoid scratching as much as you can. However, you can ask your doctor or artist to recommend a moisturizer. So that the skin will stay hydrated and itching will be gone.

Third and Fourth Week

The Tattoo will begin to dry out in the third and fourth weeks, and itchiness will pass. If itchiness doesn’t occur or redness is persistent, it is an indication that your Tattoo is infected too. Try to consult the doctor. On the other hand, if it appears like the Tattoo is less vibrant, then it means your skin has formed a dry layer over it. The skin will naturally exfoliate, and vivid tattoos will reveal after some time.

2-6 Months

The redness and itching should have gone at this stage, and your Tattoo will look completely healed. However, it is better to continue the aftercare of the Tattoo. The aftercare includes keeping your skin hydrated, wearing sun-protective clothing, and keeping the Tattoo as clean as possible. We also have information about Best Lotion to Keep your Tattoo From Fading.

Is it possible to reduce the healing time of tattoos?

Of course, it is possible to reduce the healing time of tattoos. But the problem is that everyone wants tattoos to heal quickly. But they are not ready to do the aftercare of the Tattoo. So here are some things and guidelines through which you can speed up the healing process of your Tattoo.

Avoid Sun Contact

In the initial state of your Tattoo, try to avoid the sunlight as much as you can because it may fail down to your fresh tattoo and skin problems. You can cover your skin by wearing loose clothes, long sleeves, and pants when you are going out. Do not apply any sunscreen until the Tattoo is completely healed.

Don’t re-bandage a Tattoo again and again

Once you remove the original bandages or re-bandage the Tattoo, the Tattoo also needs to breathe. Usually, the artist covers a new tattoo with plastic, or surgical wrap is best not to cover the Tattoo. If you do, again and again, the bandaging of the Tattoo will cause a lack of oxygen and moisturizing, which can further lead to slow healing.

Regularly clean the Tattoo

Most professional tattoo artists recommend using lukewarm water. A lukewarm water is normal, but it’s not too hot and cold. In case you use hot water, it will open the pores, damage the skin, and cause the ink to draw from the wound. Therefore, clean your Tattoo at least two to three times with sterile water. Also check the Best Tattoo Balm.


Before cleaning the Tattoo, make sure that all your hands are properly cleaned with an antibacterial soap. Otherwise, it will disturb your healing process. Ensure that the water used to flash over the Tattoo is fragrance-free and alcohol-free; once the cleaning process is done, gently dry the Tattoo with a soft towel.

Use moisturizers and ointments

For the fastest healing of your new Tattoo, let it breathe and apply light products such as vaseline or any other required by the artist.

The tattoo artist recommended using petroleum jelly, lanolin, Vitamin D, and vitamin A in the first week. Then, you can use the light ointment, moisturizer, and even coconut oil in the second week.

Avoid Scratching and itching

Never ever try to scratch your Tattoo at the scabbing stage, although scabbing is a healthy activity. Doing it too much will damage the skin. If you want to fast and the Tattoo’s healing process doesn’t scratch, it will affect tattoo integrity and result in scrying.

Use Alcohol-free and fragrance-free

If your Tattoo is fresh, then try to avoid alcohol and scented products on your skin. Also, it varies from the tattoo location tube products. I would suggest you use fragrance-free shampoo, Body wash, and hair conditioner. This is because the fragrance product may cause a reaction when it contacts the tattoo ink.

Avoid Tattoo Getting Wet

One of the most common mistakes people make is that they use hot water on the Tattoo, slowing down the healing process. To avoid any inconvenience, clean the Tattoo with a small amount of sterile water and avoid getting in the shower or bath and we also have guide of How Long do Glitter Tattoos Last on the skin?.

Don’t get it wet

Aside from the small amount of sterile water used to clean the Tattoo, avoid getting the Tattoo wet in the shower or bath, and definitely don’t swim for the first two weeks.

Tips To Heal Tattoos Faster

Following are some tips suggested by an expert to fasten the healing of tattoos:

  • Protection of the tattoo from intense ultraviolet rays and direct sunlight 
  • Use prescribed sun cream on your skin if you have to go out in intense sunlight with a healing tattoo. 
  • Avoid getting a tattoo on infected, inflammation, or unregulated skin; it might cause more adverse effects on that region.
  • Cleanse and dry the healing tattoo with prescribed products 
  • Use the water-based product for healing tattoos, and avoid using petroleum-based products.
  • Use proper aftercare products and ointments that are suitable to your skin type and suggested by your professional tattoo artist.

Factors Affecting Tattoo Healing Time

The healing time of the tattoo usually depends upon various factors, and each tattoo on every person takes a different time to heal completely. We already have discussed the tattoo healing phases, but “how long does a tattoo take to heal” is still unanswered here. There are a lot of factors that are directly or indirectly affecting the tattoo healing time. It would help if you understood these with great attention as they will help you provide better aftercare and protection to the tattooed skin. 

These are a few characteristics that affect the healing span of a tattoo:

Color Of The Tattoo:

It is generally a noticed pattern among tattoo artists that simpler black tattoos usually take less time to heal than colored tattoos. The main reason for differences in the healing time of tattoos mainly depends upon the usage of coloring inks and the diversity of tattooing design. The use of color tattoo inks in a tattoo is proportionate to the time needed for healing. Similarly, your tattoo will heal much quicker if the design is simpler and minimalistic. It usually takes 3 to 7 weeks for a colored tattoo to heal properly, while black and simple tattoos heal within a three weeks timespan. 

Tattoo Allocation:

Tattoo allocation is generally abbreviated as tattoo location on the body, and it plays a huge role in the healing time of a tattoo. If the tattoo is located on a body part with optimum blood flow and lesser sensitivity nerves, it will heal more quickly. On the other hand, many sensitive body regions take longer to heal any wound, including tattoos. So, choose a body region with more muscles and less sensitivity if you want your tattoo to heal more quickly. Similarly, if you have selected a body region with slower healing, be prepared to have delayed healing of your tattoo. 

Time Size:

Now, it is easy to understand that the size of a tattoo is significant in determining the healing time of the tattoo. The bigger the tattoo’s size, the more prolonged it will take for it to regenerate and for your skin to be regular. Moreover, the complexity and diversity of tattoo design also come into play here. If the design is large yet minimalistic, it might heal faster than a small but complex tattoo. So cinder the size and complexity of the tattoo design to have an idea of how long a tattoo takes to heal. 

Usage Of Aftercare:

You are using aftercare products important for faster and healthier tattoo healing. It will take more time than expected if you are not utilizing aftercare products on your healing tattoo. Some people have more sensitive and allergic skin than others; such people should consult their tattoo artist to use the aftercare products which are more suitable for them. Aftercare products ensure proper moisturization, cleansing, and a healthy outlook of the tattooed skin and decrease healing time. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the expected time frame for the healing of the tattoo?

It usually takes 40 days for a healing tattoo with average complexity to heal on a normal skin type. However, once the symptoms of redness, scar, irritation, and swelling are reduced or demolished on the skin, you can presume that the tattoo is healed completely. 

Which guidelines should be followed in the healing of tattoos?

There are numerous guidelines you should observe while the tattoo is healing. First, it would help if you used gentle and smooth aftercare on the tattooed region during healing. Most tattooing experts advise keeping the tattooed skin cleansed and moisturized with prescribed products. 

Is there a way to enhance the healing of tattoos?

The most important thing to enhance the healing of a tattoo is to follow the tattoo artist’s advice. If you follow the guidelines given to you by your professional tattooing expert, you will surely have a beautiful and healthy-looking tattoo. In addition, maintain proper aftercare with a gentle approach and proper hygiene, and your tattoo will surely heal faster. 

Does extra moisturizing tattooed skin cause a bad effect on the healing tattoo?

Yes, extra moisturization of the tattooed skin is bad for healing. If you provide extra moisturization to the tattooed skin, the skin pores will fill out eventually, and it can cause infection. Furthermore, maintaining extra moisturization of the tattooed skin for a long time can direct infection, rash, and swelling. 

How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

A tattoo typically takes 2-3 weeks to heal fully.

What should I do to care for my tattoo?

You should keep the tattoo area clean and moisturized, use tattoo balm, avoid long exposure to direct sunlight, and keep the area covered for the first few days after getting the tattoo.

What should I avoid doing while my tattoo is healing?

You should avoid swimming, soaking in a hot tub, or other activities that may expose the tattoo to bacteria until it is completely healed.

Is there any risk of infection while my tattoo is healing?

The infection can occur during the healing process, so keeping the area clean and protected is important.

Can I go to the gym while my tattoo is healing?

It is best to avoid any strenuous activity while the tattoo is healing, including going to the gym.

What can I do to reduce pain while my tattoo is healing?

Using a cool compress or an over-the-counter pain reliever can help reduce pain and discomfort while your tattoo is healing.

How should I clean my tattoo?

You should clean your tattoo with mild soap and warm water. Avoid scrubbing too hard, and pat dry with a clean towel.

How often should I apply lotion to my tattoo?

You should apply lotion to your tattoo at least twice a day or as needed.

Can I go in the sun while my tattoo is healing?

It is best to avoid direct sunlight and tanning beds while your tattoo is healing. Once it is healed, use sunscreen to protect your tattoo from fading.


In this article, we discussed how long does a tattoo take to heal. The answer to this question is that it depends upon the person, their skin type, outside conditions, and usage of aftercare. If you follow each piece of advice properly, you will have a better-looking and fast-healing tattoo. While the tattoo is healing, ensure that every guideline you follow has a gentle and soothing effect on your tattoo. Intense and harsh chemicals with tiring physical activities can damage the healing tattoo. If you need more information regarding the healing of tattoos or see any sign of infection, make sure to contact your professional tattoo artist or medical doctor. Thanks for reading. 

Read More: How To Keep Tattoos From Fading

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