How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo to Heal?

Although the healing process for a tattoo can take months, the initial healing typically takes a few weeks. Your recovery time may be impacted by the recommended tattoo care, which varies depending on the stage.

People must adhere to the proper aftercare guidelines during this time and refrain from activities that might jeopardize the recovery.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the stages of tattoo healing, and some advice on how to reduce healing time.

The Healing Stages of a Tattoo

Day 1

You will leave the tattoo parlor with the tattooed area wrapped in a plastic wrap. Remove it after 2-3 hours and don’t be scared if you notice excess ink and clear liquid oozing out. It’s very normal.

Wash your hands and then use a fragrance-free soap to gently wash your tattoo. Pat it dry it and rewrap it on the first night to avoid staining your sheets with the ink.

Week 1

Your tattoo should start to feel less irritated and red after a week. Don’t worry if your tattoo looks duller than it first; this is a sign that it is healing.

You may also notice some scabbing as the skin heals. It’s crucial to avoid picking at the scabs because doing so can leave scars.

Week 2

When washing the tattoo, you may notice peeling or flaking skin. Peeling is another typical sign of healing as the skin gets rid of damaged cells. It’s a normal reaction, and even though it appears that some of the ink is rubbing off, it won’t.

Avoid scratching it; rather moisturize it with a moisturizer your tattoo artist recommended you. Keeping it hydrated will definitely ease itching.

Weeks 3 and 4

At this point, the majority of the scabs and skin peeling should have disappeared. The itching may subside as your tattoo starts to dry out. If it doesn’t, and the redness continues, it might be a pre-infection tattoo sign.

It’s also possible that your tattoo doesn’t look as vibrant as you had hoped, but that’s only because a layer of dry skin has grown over it. This will self-exfoliate naturally, exposing the colorful tattoo.

Again, refrain from picking or scratching, which could leave scars.

Tips to Reduce Healing Time

The urge to want your tattoo to heal quickly is natural, but it takes time. However, you can take certain actions to hasten the healing process.

  • Protect it from sunlight.

Your tattoo may fade in the sun, and newly inked skin is particularly vulnerable to the sun’s fading effects. When you are outside in the sun, cover the tattoo with loose clothing such as long sleeves or pants.

  • Don’t cover it again.

Once you’ve removed the bandage or plastic wrap from your tattoo in its initial days, don’t wrap it again. Your tattoo needs additional moisture and some air to breathe. Otherwise, the healing will keep delaying and you don’t want that to happen. 

  • Clean it regularly

You should clean your tattoo at least twice or three times per day with lukewarm and sterile water and fragrance- and alcohol-free soap.

  • Avoid harsh chemicals

Your tattoo artist will probably suggest you not to use heavy products like Vaseline in the first few days. Use fragrance-free soaps or coconut oil or a lighter to keep it safe yet hydrated.

Bottom Line

It typically takes 2-4 weeks for a tattoo to heal. However, the recovery time may prolog until 2 to 6 months. Be patient and don’t worry if you notice dullness, itchiness or peeling. You must strictly adhere to the aftercare instructions during this time, and you’ll be fine.