How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal?

Tattoos are not only decorative symbols on the body but also personal art pieces, a fusion of uniqueness and the wearer’s personality. Those who prioritize the aesthetics and longevity of tattoos often inquire,”How Long For Tattoo To Heal?” The healing time for a tattoo depends on various factors, including the size of the tattoo, its location on the body, and how well you care for it. If you want to delve deeper into this topic, let’s explore it together!

How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal?

The healing process of a tattoo is not just a matter of a few weeks; it is an extended journey. On average, a tattoo takes about two to four weeks to reach the scar healing stage, and that doesn’t even factor in the time it takes to keep a tattoo covered.However, for the skin underneath the tattoo to fully recover, it requires an even longer timeframe, typically ranging from three to six months. This duration not only depends on how the skin reacts specifically but also correlates with the size and color of the tattoo, as well as the type of ink used.

Tattoo Healing Stages: Day by day

Stages 1: Inflammation and Oozing (Days 1-3)

 Upon experiencing the trauma of the tattooing process, your body initiates a response by directing blood flow to the tattooed region, resulting in redness and swelling. This immune response serves to kickstart the healing process. You might also sense warmth or soreness in the tattooed area, accompanied by the emergence of blood, clear fluid (plasma), or ink. Even after three days, the tattoo could exhibit redness, oozing, and swelling. While these signs of healing typically persist for about a week, any lingering redness and swelling should subside within two weeks.

Stage 2: Itching  (Days 4-14)

It is common for healing wounds to induce itchiness, and tattoos follow a similar pattern. The itching phase typically occurs during the initial two weeks of the tattoo healing process, coinciding with the skin starting to flake as it undergoes recovery. As advised by the American Academy of Dermatology in their guide on unexpected skin reactions and how to address them, it is crucial not to scratch your tattoo. Itching, accompanied by hives or a rash, indicates an allergic reaction rather than a normal healing process. Following appropriate tattoo aftercare practices, the itching sensation usually diminishes after two weeks.

Stage 3: Peeling (Days 15-30)

Around the fifth day, you might observe the formation of scabs and the onset of flaky skin as part of the tattoo healing process. Particularly with larger tattoos, the flaky skin will gradually shed as the tattoo heals, and scabs may form and eventually peel off. Although this might be concerning, it’s essential to understand that it’s not the actual tattoo detaching but rather the shedding of skin. The peeling is an indicator that your tattoo is in the healing phase. Allow your skin to naturally slough off, resisting the temptation to pick at any scabs or dry skin. Tattoo peeling and scabbing typically persist for two to three weeks.

Stage 4: Skin Remodeling (3-6 months)

Within two weeks to a month, your tattoo should exhibit signs of healing, with no redness, itching, or flakiness. Despite the external appearance of healing, the skin beneath the tattooed surface, known as the dermis, is still undergoing recovery. In the process of skin remodeling, the dermis actively generates new skin cells to facilitate the healing and fortification of the previously wounded skin.

How To Clean A Tattoo

Basically, Tattoos are open wounds on the skin. Therefore, proper tattoo hygiene is crucial to reduce the risk of infection and aid in the quick healing of the tattoo. Here are the proper steps for tattoo hygiene:

Thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial soap to ensure cleanliness.

  • Take a piece of gauze dampened with warm water.
  • Gently wipe the tattooed area, being cautious to avoid excessive rubbing.
  • Rinse the tattoo with warm water to remove any residue.
  • Pat the tattoo dry using a clean paper towel, ensuring a gentle touch to promote healing.
  • After cleaning your tattoo, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment.
  • Use an ointment that has been prescribed by a doctor or recommended by a professional tattoo artist.
  • Avoid ointments that contain alcohol or fragrance, as these can potentially irritate your skin.
  • This step helps protect your fresh tattoo and supports the healing process.

Signs Your Tattoo Isn’t Healing Properly

Below are some signs indicating that a tattoo may be infected or not healing properly. Swelling, redness, heat, and pain: These are the most common signs of an infection.

Pus drainage: Another sign of infection is the presence of pus. If you observe any pus coming from your tattoo, consult a doctor promptly.

Premature peeling: Peeling is a normal part of the wound healing process. However, if the peeling occurs too early, your tattoo may become blurry or faded.

Color changes: If the color of your tattoo changes, it could be a sign of infection or improper healing. 

Changes in the skin around the tattoo: If the skin around your tattoo becomes swollen, red, painful, or itchy, it may be a sign of infection or inadequate healing.

How To Make A Tattoo Heal Faster

For optimal healing, protect your new tattoo from the sun and keep it covered with clothing for the first two weeks. Once healed, remember to apply sunscreen regularly to maintain its vibrancy and prevent fading.. To maintain the softness and smoothness of the tattoo, it is advisable to apply a fragrance-free, non-greasy moisturizer to the tattooed area twice a day. Avoid shaving or scratching the tattoo and refrain from wearing tight clothing or jewelry that may damage the tattoo. These are some insights we can share to help you preserve your tattoo’s quality and appearance.

When to contact with doctor

While tattooing is generally a safe procedure, there are situations in which you should consult a doctor to care for a healing tattoo. Some signs that indicate you should seek medical attention include signs of infection, such as oozing discharge, redness, swelling, and increasing pain, as well as symptoms like fever and chills. If you experience any of these signs, contact a doctor or dermatologist immediately. They can assess the situation and provide treatment to prevent it from escalating to a dangerous level that could pose harm to your health.


To fully appreciate the beauty of your tattoo, a professional and meticulous approach during the tattooing process is essential. Equally indispensable is the post-care routine after getting inked. Dedicate time and effort to nurture your tattoo, ensuring it heals seamlessly and retains its aesthetic appeal. For a quicker and enduring healing process, adhere strictly to the care instructions provided by your tattoo artist. Following these guidelines not only accelerates the healing of your tattoo but also contributes to its longevity over time.


  1. Can you shower with a new tattoo?

Yes, you can shower with a new tattoo, but it’s crucial to follow proper care instructions to ensure the healing process goes smoothly. 

  1. Why Does My Tattoo Itch?

One of the main reasons your tattoo itches is the healing process. Itching is often a sign of the regeneration of new skin cells. Additionally, factors such as dry skin, the peeling process, or external irritation can also contribute to the itching sensation. Maintaining moisture and avoiding scratching is crucial to ensure a smooth healing process and prevent infections.

  1. Do tattoos stretch when you gain muscle?

Yes, when you gain muscle, the skin may undergo stretching to accommodate the new muscle mass. However, the skin’s elasticity and the extent of the tattoo’s stretching depend on various factors, including age, genetics, and skincare practices. In many cases, tattoos can maintain their shape well, but maintaining a stable weight and proper skin care can help minimize the risk of tattoo distortion.

  1. Do tattoos hurt worse on fat or muscle?

No, the perception of pain during a tattoo varies among individuals and is influenced by factors such as pain tolerance, location, and the artist’s technique. Generally, areas with less muscle and more proximity to bone, like the ribs or ankles, may be perceived as more painful. However, pain is subjective, and the thickness of fat or muscle alone does not determine the level of discomfort. 

  1. Do tattoos blur over time?

Yes, the fading of tattoos over time is an inevitable reality in the process of skin renewal. Various factors contribute to the clarity and brightness of a tattoo. The natural aging of the skin, environmental influences such as UV rays from sunlight exposure, as well as the quality of ink, and the tattoo artist’s technique, all play roles in the gradual fading of tattoos over time.