Going for a tattoo? Perhaps, you have got the tattoo already.
Let’s make an assumption: You have been told that your tattoo will go through a healing process. But you have been wondering about how long it will take because you just can’t wait to flaunt your tattoo.
How Long does it Take for a Tattoo to Heal?
Within 4 to 6 weeks, the visible part – outer skin – of your tattoo should heal. On the other hand, the deeper and invisible part of your skin’s tattoo is more likely to take a couple of months. Know that there is no absolute period for this tattoo healing. Among other things, the style/design, procedure used by your tattoo artist, and proper hygiene/aftercare effort are some of the factors that influence how long your tattoo healing will take.
Every tattoo healing is a process, don’t forget that. This process divides into stages.
The Process Before a Tattoo is Fully Healed
1. Day 1 – 6
This is the first week of your tattoo healing. What you will experience are oozing and redness.
The tattoo artist, when done with your skin, will wrap it in a bandage. Will you carry the bandage forever? No, you will be given instructions on when to remove it. Probably within a few hours or days.
As soon as you remove the bandage, you will notice fluid discharge as well as some redness around your tattoo skin. Those are normal and you shouldn’t worry. Within a week, it’d all be reduced.
If the discharge and redness persist, we recommend that you notify your tattoo artist and your medical doctor.
2. Day 7 – 14
At this stage, you must have been noticing scabs forming on your tattoo skin. This will be followed by itching. Yes, itching is normal and you should prepare your mind towards it.
Now, our concern is your level of tolerance. When this itching starts, you may be tempted to want to scratch your scabs. Don’t do that. It’s important that the scabs fall off by themselves if you want to have a good healing process and tattoo experience.
To make the itching bearable, you should gently and moderately apply your moisturizer to your tattoo skin. Your tattoo artist will have the best recommendation on the type of moisturizer you should use. Ask them.
At the same time, you can reduce the itching by gently pressing ice blocks wrapped in clean washcloth over the area. Do so gently!
Sometimes, due to an allergic reaction, your body may release histamine that will cause the itching to become unbearable. What should I do if the itching becomes unbearable? You can always use over-the-counter antihistamines to treat it. But make sure you consult your medical doctor before you do this.
3. Day 15 – 30
Your tattoo skin is a wound. And the scabbing is a natural body response to shedding wounded skin and letting a fresher one out.
So, within the 3 and 4 weeks, your scabs will start to fall off. What you may also call peeling.
Now, here’s a warning: Don’t interfere! It’s only the scabs that are falling off, not your tattoo. But if you decide to start peeling off your scabs, you might end up digging too deep and running your tattoo ink in the process. In fact, doing so is more likely to cause injury and prolong your tattoo healing process.
4. Months 2 to 6
This stage covers aftercare. Like we have said earlier, your tattoo’s skin outer part will take between 4 to 6 weeks to heal. But the deeper layers, depending on certain factors, may take several months.
So, your aftercare shouldn’t end with the healing of your outer skin. You must follow your aftercare procedures for as long as it’s required.
It’s not going to be easy; but it will definitely going to be worth it.
6 Tips on Things You Should Do During Your Tattoo Healing
There are aftercare procedures that you need to follow to ensure that your tattoo heals properly. Your tattoo artist will definitely provide you with a manual or guide on what you must do after getting your tattoo.
What are these tattoo healing guides? They are considered below:
1. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Infections grow where proper hygiene is lacking. Your first dedication is to keep yourself as well as your environment clean.
After having your tattoo, you will be invested in cleaning your tattoo and moisturizing it. Do the following:
- Wash your hands clean using lukewarm water and antibacterial soap before touching your tattoo.
- Don’t let anyone touch your tattoo.
- Use a clean soft washcloth or paper towel to clean your tattoo.
- Keep your environment clean.
- Eat well.
- Drink adequate water to stay hydrated.
- Avoid blood thinners, e.g. alcohol.
2. Regularly Wash your Tattoo
Wash your tattoo regularly – 2 – 3 times daily. Use lukewarm water and antibacterial soap to wash your tattoo skin. But don’t submerge in water. During your tattoo healing, stay away from hot tubs, pool, and the ocean. These places could be logged with germs. Take it or leave it, you don’t want to have an infected tattoo.
And don’t use sponge.
After washing, dry it gently with a clean soft washcloth or paper towel. And apply your aftercare lotion moderately.
3. Don’t Pick Scabs
Scabs could look irritating to you. But don’t forget that they won’t be there forever. Give it time and they will start falling off themselves.
Don’t interfere with this normal process.
4. Protect Your Tattoo from the Sun
Even after your tattoo has completed the healing process, always protect it from the sun. Direct sunlight is not good for your tattoo. It is more likely to cause tattoo fading. Avoid sun burning. If you need to go out, wear free clothing over the area or use recommended sunscreen.
5. Avoid the Gym and other Stressful Physical Activities
Having a normal tattoo healing process requires some sacrifices. If you can’t do without working out, then having a tattoo isn’t for you. This is because you need to keep away from the gym and some other stress physical activities while your tattoo heals.
The forced movement of your muscle and your skin can lead to tattoo cracking and irritation. Tattoo cracking may cause delayed healing tattoo healing.
6. Be Attentive to your Tattoo Artist/Medical Doctor
Before and after having your tattoo, there are no better instructors to trust than your tattoo artist and medical doctor.
Don’t fashion your tattoo aftercare after what your friend or anyone at that did during their tattoo healing process. Don’t depend on what you read on the internet.
Get the best guide from your tattoo artist. And be in constant communication during your tattoo’s healing process.
Frequently Asked Questions about Tattoo Healing
Re-bandaging your tattoo does not enable fast healing. What your tattoo needs most for proper healing is natural oxygen. Besides, once you have removed the bandage used by your tattoo artist, you should never wrap your tattoo in bandage again.
Sunscreen isn’t advisable during your tattoo healing. This is because a typical sunscreen contains chemicals that your tattoo skin may react negatively to.
But once your tattoo is completely healed, you can use tattoo sunscreen. By the way, make sure it’s as recommended by your tattoo artist.
Avoid the temptation to scratch your tattoo when it itches. And when it becomes unbearable, you should talk to your tattoo artist or medical doctor.
Tattoo healing takes time and patience. It’s important to let it heal naturally. Some of the things you can do to speed up your tattoo healing are: wash regularly, let it breathe, apply ointment moderately, don’t submerge in water, don’t pick scabs, protect it from the sun and follow your tattoo artist’s advice.
If you have any question about tattoo healing which we haven’t answered, send us a message now.
Beyond having your tattoo, the healing process makes a lot of difference in your eventual tattoo experience.
Your tattoo healing will go through four stages. The outer part of your tattoo skin will heal within 4 to 6 weeks. But it doesn’t stop there. Effective tattoo healing runs deeper, like up to 2 – 6 months. It is at this stage that you must duly observe aftercare procedures. Do all you can to protect your tattoo from getting infected.
Factually, apart from your tattoo’s aftercare, there are other factors that determine how long your tattoo healing will take. As mentioned earlier, they are style/design and your artist’s procedure.
When you take your time to enable a good tattoo healing process, you will have a great body art to boast of. Yes, tattooing is an art.