Have you ever asked yourself how long do tattoos take to heal? The answer varies from person to person, but there is a general guideline that you can follow. 

While the entire healing process can take several months, the initial healing usually takes a few weeks. During this time, it is essential that people follow the correct aftercare instructions and avoid or limit certain activities that could interfere with healing. In this article, we will discuss the tattoo healing process and the factors that can affect it.

Day 1

People usually leave the tattoo studio with the tattooed area bandaged or wrapped in plastic. The tattoo artist will indicate when to remove the bandage, usually one to two hours later. You might see clear fluid oozing from the tattoo mixed with the excess ink. This is normal. The skin may also be sore, slightly warm, and red.

It is important to clean your hands, wash the tattoo gently with fragrance-free soap and apply a water-based moisturizer. Some tattooists may also recommend bandaging the tattoo for the first night. This can prevent it from staining clothes or bed linen.

Week 1

After a few days, the tattoo should start to feel less painful and look less red. You may notice that your tattoo is duller than it was after you got it done. Don’t worry about this, it’s a sign that the tattoo is healing! 

Sometimes, as the skin heals, you may notice some scabbing. It is important not to scratch the scabs, as this can lead to scarring. At this stage, people may also start to feel itchy. If this is your case, don’t scratch it or you’ll slow the healing process down.

Scaling is also a normal part of the healing process, as the skin gets rid of damaged cells. This can start a few days after the tattoo when the skin exfoliates and new cells develop. You may even notice that the skin peels or flakes when you wash the tattoo. Be gentle, but keep on washing and moisturizing the tattoo once or twice a day. The first few days and weeks are when allergic reactions to the tattoo ink and potential infections are most likely to occur.

Week 2

The scabs are usually harder at this stage and can come off naturally. It is important not to pull off the scabs as this can disturb the underlying ink. Many tattoos may be close to being healed at this stage. 

You should notice a reduced amount of redness and itching. However, if the tattoo is still painful and swollen, this may indicate inflammation and infection. In this case, you should see a health care professional immediately.

Weeks 3 and 4

At this stage, most of the scabs and peeling skin should have disappeared. You should continue to moisturize the skin if it appears dry. 

The outer layers of the skin should have healed completely, as they regenerate the fastest. The lower layers of the skin may take several months to heal.

How long do tattoos take to heal

How long do tattoos take to heal if I take the right precautions?

Exposing your new tattoo to sunlight can cause discoloration, and ultraviolet (UV) light can cause scabs to form on the tattoo, which can interfere with healing. A tattoo is an open wound and is therefore vulnerable to infection. In general, until the wound is fully healed, tattoo artists recommend that people avoid sunbathing and other types of sun exposure for 1 to 3 weeks.

A key factor influencing the healing process is choosing a reputable tattoo studio that follows good aseptic techniques. Poor tattoo hygiene can cause infections that slow down the healing process and can lead to serious health problems. The skills of the tattoo artist also affect healing time, as rough or poor techniques can cause additional trauma to the skin.

Lastly, the size and location of the tattoo can have a big impact on the healing process. Tattoos near joints or areas of flexion will take longer to heal than those in areas that don’t move as much. Similarly, large tattoos will take longer to heal than small ones.

Contact One Day Studio for more information on how long do tattoos take to heal.