An Age-old question often asked by tattoo newbies is that how long does it take for a tattoo to heal completely? You will get different answers from different tattoo artists but one common factor would be how well you have taken care of it.
We have already shared our day to day guide of the tattoo healing process and if you have read it then you know it already that how important tattoo aftercare is.
Coming back to the question – Your tattoo will ‘appear’ healed by the third week. If you have taken good care of it (i.e. kept it clean and hydrated) then it will heal by the end of the second week.
But do not go by appearance.
This is just your outer skin that looks healed. In scientific terms, this is just your epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin) that heals within 2-3 weeks.
Your inner layer of skin (the dermis) is yet to heal completely. That is why tattoo artists often advised taking a break before getting another tattoo on your skin.
As your dermis is the true skin that holds multiple nerve endings so it is a wise choice to let it heal completely before going for another tattoo.
In terms of time, it will take anywhere between 3 to 6 months for your dermis to heal completely.
So if you want to play on the safe side then I would recommend you to not to get another tattoo (especially near the already tattooed skin) for 6 months at least.
Tattoo Healing Stages – How Long Does It take for a tattoo to Heal
If you have skin problems, irritations and weaker immune systems then you might want to consult a doctor before getting a tattoo. I would not advise you to let the tattoo machine puncture your skin while you already have considerable skin problems. A weaker immune system will slow down the tattoo healing process.
Now you know that a tattoo takes up to 6 months to heal completely so we will move over to another common question often asked by tattoo lovers.
What can I do to heal my tattoo faster?
A short answer would be a good tattoo aftercare. The more you take care of your tattoo the better (and quicker) it will heal.
People who take good care of their tattoos rarely face the problem of tattoo fading and skin infections. On the other hand, people who get their skin inked without knowing the ins and outs of tattooing often get skin infections.
Remember Knowledge is Power and you need to know everything about tattooing before getting your skin inked.
Tips to Speed up Tattoo Healing –
The most common problem you will face would be itching and tattoo scabbing.
You must know that it is normal for a tattoo to itch and scab. It is the test of your patience. If you want your tattoo to live forever then under no circumstances you should itch the skin.
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DO NOT PULL OFF THE SCABS. You will feel as if the devil himself is tempting you to pull off the peeling but if you do then not only you will ruin your tattoo but will also give an invitation to tattoo infection.
As I told you earlier that the dermis takes up to 3 months to heal completely; The ink is still settling in the second layer and your scab might form deep enough. So pulling off a scab will bring out the ink too from the inner layer of skin.
If you ever feel the temptation to itch then ask yourself one question – Do you want a beautiful tattoo on your skin that defines your personality or do you want an ugly wound on your skin that you will have to hide forever?
Good aftercare products are almost as important as choosing the right tattoo studio and the right tattoo artist.
A good aftercare lotion will not only improve the healing rate of your tattoo but it will also increase the life of your tattoo.
I often suggest my clients use lotions on their tattoos even after their tattoo has healed completely. Healing lotion such as Hustle butter keeps your tattoo moisturized and shiny.
A lot of people ignore this tip just to save a few bucks but there is a huge difference between a well-moisturized tattoo and a tattoo that was never moisturized.
Precautions to follow during tattoo healing –
A new tattoo is like a responsibility that you should take care of with discipline. Always consider your tattoo as an open wound which is an open invitation to external bacteria and viruses.
Here are a few things that should avoid a new tattoo –
This one might be hard for you but many artists often suggest not taking a bath for at least 2 3 weeks especially not in the public showers. If you a small tattoo on wrist or ankle then you might manage somehow but a large piece on chest or back would require good care.
It does not mean that you have to keep your tattoo away from water completely. In fact, you have to clean the plasma out of your new tattoo 2 -3 times a day with the help of lukewarm water. However, staying in water (bathtub or swimming pool) for too long would not only ruin tattoo but can also result in infection.
Always use a petroleum-free, alcohol-free, extra sensitive soap to clean your tattoo.
I have seen people taking challenges to go to swimming pools with a new tattoo. They are not daring but foolish people.
You might have heard the news about a man who died after he went to a public swimming pool with a brand new tattoo. This can suggest to you how dangerous swimming could be.
Many people argue that the iodine in the swimming pool kills the bacteria and therefore there is no chance of tattoo infection. However, you must know that the iodine itself can harm your new tattoo.
Avoid swimming (neither in the swimming pool nor in the sea) until your tattoo heals completely.
Avoid Going Out in Sun-
Even people without tattoos use sunscreen to protect their skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Avoid going out in the sun as much as possible with a fresh tattoo. This is because the ultraviolet rays will damage your tattoo (make it dull and faded).
Don’t be tough and think that you can handle sunburn on tattooed skin.
No, you don’t have to avoid sleeping. In fact, tattoo heals faster if you get a good sleep. However, you have to take care of your sleeping position. You do not want to push your tattooed skin all night against a mattress and thus ruin the tattoo.
If you have a tattoo on hand or legs then you can easily manage somehow but a tattoo on chest or back will require extra precaution while sleeping.
You can use pregnancy pillows that can help you to keep your tattoo intact while you get a good sleep. You might face questions with raised eyebrows about pregnancy pillows if you are single but if you are married then blame them on your wife.
Wear Loose Clothes –
This is another important tip that you should follow if you want your tattoo to heal faster.
If you are a blue-collar worker then it will get even harder for you to take care of your tattoo. This is because first of all you have to hide your tattoo most of the time and secondly the hidden tattoo will often be rubbed against your clothes thus getting damages.
Another problem would be that if your tattoo Is on the back and you have a sitting job then you will find it really hard to lean against a sofa or chair.
This where tattoo timing plays a vital role. People with jobs should get tattoos during the Christmas season. This is because you will get multiple holidays that give you more time to take care of your new tattoo.
Also, you can wear long jackets during the winter season thus protecting your tattoo in a stylish way.
Maintain a Good Diet –
Yes, Diet plays a vital role in tattoo healing. In fact, a tattooed person has to be more careful about his diet all his life. Green Leafy vegetables and multivitamins are a must for a tattooed person. So do include them in your diet.
Avoid Workout –
I know this one $ucks, especially if you are a gym freak. However, I would strictly avoid you to stay away from the gym with a new tattoo. This is because of two reasons – Firstly Your workout sweat will ruin the new tattoo (no matter on which body part).
Secondly, No matter how branded, hygienic and high class your gym is, it still has more bacteria and viruses than a toilet.
Did you ever think that you would be suggested to stop working out just for your own safety and good health?
Keep in Touch with your doctor –
Yes, this one is important too. You might not be able to differentiate between a normal tattoo itching and lethal tattoo infection. If it’s the second case then you can easily fight off the infection while it is still in an early stage.
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Keep in touch with your Tattoo artist as well –
While a doctor would take care of your skin, a tattoo artist would take care of your tattoo. A weekly visit to your artist would give you an idea about how your tattoo is healing. Also, the artist would tell you if the new piece needs a touch-up or if it will heal beautifully.
So one of our readers asked if small tattoos heal quicker than a large size tattoo?
The size of the tattoo does not speed up the tattoo healing rate. A small tattoo would take as much time as a large tattoo to heal completely. However, small tattoos are easier to manage therefore they are often suggested to newbies.
So these were our tips for tattoo healing. If you still have questions then feel free to contact us.