What to Expect When Your Tattoo Is Healing – Part 2

What to Expect When Your Tattoo Is Healing – Part 2

Now, remember that some people heal faster than others. What is true for you might not be true for your best friend. Even if you got tattoos around the same time, the process might differ depending on genetics, lifestyle, and – what you are eating. Here we try to continue to provide you with a more or less a general timeline. 

During the first week

black & grey realism
By Ceco from Vivid Ink Sutton

After your tattoo begins to dry out on the third or fourth day (given that you are not still wearing an adhesive medical-grade bandage where everything underneath sort of takes care of itself up until day seven), the itching usually commences.

We are all different when it comes to our tolerance of this particular discomfort, but we covered a couple of ways in which you can ease the malaise without scratching in our post from last week. 

When the skin begins to dry out, the area of the tattoo may also feel tight, as if it is pulling a little. Your skin might also still feel a little warm to the touch. This is perfectly normal, but the swelling should begin to subside by now. 

Absolutely no scratching, picking or peeling

About one week after having it done, your tattoo will most likely begin to flake and peel, which is an entirely normal part of the process. There is no actual ink coming off. It is just part of the epidermis, the top layer of your skin, kind of like a snake shedding. However, it is really important that you let this happen naturally. No matter how tempting it may be, do not pick at it or try to peel it off. Picking or scratching any scabs that may form could potentially change the appearance of the tattoo or cause scarring.

This process will continue through the second week of getting your new body art. After about 14 days, however, the flakiness should subside. And, thankfully, so should the itch. Meanwhile, your tattoo is still settling. This might mean that it may look a little dull and lacklustre for a while. Do not become disheartened or fall out of love with it. Give it some time to get cosy, and vibrancy should return. 

flower and linework tattoo
By Ruthy at the Wolverhampton studio

What tattoos take longer?

Naturally, larger tattoos will take longer to heal as there is a greater area that needs to recuperate. Healing timelines also depends on the location on the body. Areas that bend and flex a lot, such as, say, the wrist, ankle, or right above the knee, will take longer to heal as the surface keeps getting manipulated. 

Colour tattoos also generally take longer to heal. This is because of the contents of the ink. Red ink especially seems to increase healing time substantially. Do  also remember that while a tattoo will be healed on the siurface within two to four weeks, the actual, deeper process will take anything up to six months. 

Be patient for a couple of weeks

David Bowie portrait tattoo
Done by Cleyton at Vivid Ink Birmingham

While your tattoo is healing, do not submerge it into the water, do not work out to the point of breaking a sweat, stay away from the gym with tons of bacteria mingling about, no saunas, and definitely no sunbathing! You did not sit through all of that just to have to go get a touch up within a few months, right?

Plus, your immune system will likely be a little weakened as it has just dealt with foreign ink invaders. Rest, relax, replenish and restore. Eat good quality food and consider supplementing with Vitamin C. And you, and your new tattoo will be right as rain. 

Ps – Even the best intentions to keep a new tattoo out of harm’s ways sometimes fall short. If anything ever feels off to you about your new tattoo, please contact your studio or artist immediately. 


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