How Long Does it Take For a Tattoo to Heal: Body art or tattoos are trendy nowadays. Not just among youngsters but people in the age group. The swirls of colourful lines drawn together to form any specific pattern or design or inscription is called a tattoo. The tattoo can be a specific design or pattern; it can also be abstract or simple lines or curves; it can be inscriptions too.
So in simple words, any design, inscription or pattern can be a piece of art. The artist puts his or her creativity as input and creates a masterpiece as an output. The artist is the person who uses his or her creative point of view and presents the masterpiece in front of the world. Artists can be painters, sketch artists, tattoo artists etc. Tattoo is a part of ancient art and has been part of our culture for a long time. Like our evolution, tattoo art has also evolved for betterment.
There was a time when tattoos were considered taboo. The tattooed person was judged as a bad person. Since the last decade, this mentality has changed. People understood that a tattoo could not be the criteria for the character analysis of the person. A tattoo is not associated with bad characters or behaviour, but it is a piece of art. And everybody should respect the art and the artist.
A tattoo is a piece of art, an outcome of the creativity of the artist, projected on the skin. Here, skin the canvas where the tattoo artist showcases his or her creativity. Tattoos are art where ink or pigment or dye is injected into the skin in order to create the desired pattern or design. The upper layer of the skin is penetrated with the sharp instrument that is specifically designed to serve this purpose ( called a tattoo machine pen ), and the ink or pigment is filled.
The tattoo, which is designed by injecting the ink or dye in the skin, is called a permanent tattoo. A permanent tattoo remains on the skin for life long. They might partially fade away with time but do not fade away completely. The tattoo needs to be touched up from time to time too. Many people are not ready for lifelong commitment; hence they opt for temporary tattoos. Temporary tattoos are made on the uppermost layer of the skin.
They are not made by penetrating the skin. Hence, they fade away after a particular timespan. Usually, it stays for 2 to 3 weeks. Compared to permanent tattoos, temporary tattoos are less painful, or we can say not at all painful and do not require commitment.
Back in time, tattoo artists were not recognised or appreciated for their efforts or skills. But the tattoo art has revolutionised in the last decade and immersed itself as a mainstream profession. The artists are getting the deserved praise for their talent. The talented artists are getting the opportunity to turn their skills or talent into a full-time job or career. The craze of tattoos or body art among people has completely changed the course of tattoo artists as they get the opportunity to show their talent or skill while the customers get the satisfaction of the desired outcome that comes in the form of a pattern or design imprinted on his or her body. Hence, it is a win-win contest. Both customers and artists get satisfaction as per their desire. The artist provides the service that is asked or requested by the customers in order to satisfy his or her wish with the help of a unique point of view.
As the name suggests, it remains on the skin for a lifetime. A permanent tattoo is made by penetrating the upper layer of skin, and ink or pigment is filled. Hence, it is a painful process as the upper layer of the skin is ruptured. Care is required after the tattoo is made. It is not only a piece of art, but it is also a medical procedure as it affects the physiology of the person’s body. There are high chances of getting infection or scars if the aftercare is not taken properly.
How Long Does it Take For a Tattoo to Heal?
Tattoo healing is a time-consuming process. Hence to simplify it, let’s divide it into five stages. Each of the five stages is important for the proper healing of the skin. And each stage needs specific care, too, according to healing speed. The five stages of healing are as follows :
- First day
- 1 week
- 2-3 week
- Last stage
The first day is crucial from a medical point of view and an artistic point of view. As on the first day, the tattoo is said to be an open wound. There is a high risk of getting an infection at this point in time. So once the tattoo is imprinted on the skin, the tattoo artist covers it with a bandage in order to protect it from the bacteria that can cause irritation. The bandage must be removed after the time that the artist prescribes. Usually, it is a few hours ( 2 or 3 hours ) before the bandage should be removed. Along with bacterial attacks, bandages also prevent the tattooed skin from coming in contact with our clothes or rubbing against the cloth material, which eventually leads to irritation or burning sensation. The bandage also plays the role of the absorber. The bandage absorbs the excess ink or other fluid that oozes out of the skin. Once the bandage is removed after the time specified by the artist, you have to wash the tattooed skin. Firstly, wash your hands clean in order to prevent any infection on the tattooed skin, which is sensitive at this point of time. Then wash the tattooed skin with lukewarm water and dilute soap or liquid which does not contain alcohol or other acidic ingredients. It is advisable to use alkaline-based soap or other products. Do not apply too much pressure on the area and wash it gently. Use a clean cloth or towel to dry the tattooed skin. Note not to rub the towel or cloth on the skin. Just gently dry the area with soft dabbing. Once the tattooed skin is dried, apply moisturiser or lotion that does not contain alcohol or fragrance ingredients lightly on the tattooed area as well as the area around it. It is important to ensure that the tattooed area is moisturised for not bettering the healing of the skin and preventing uneasiness or irritation. There is no need to cover the tattooed area again.
Note: Avoid the products that are petroleum-based, like Vaseline petroleum jelly.
Like the first day, first is also crucial, and necessary precautions must be taken to ensure the safety and speedy healing of the tattooed skin. During this time, you might notice scabs on the surface of the skin. And the formation of scabs is totally normal. Scabs are observed when our skin is wounded. The protective layer is formed on the skin in order to prevent bacterial infection, which is called scabs. As mentioned earlier, the tattoo is also an open wound. Hence, it is a common phenomenon of the healing of the skin. The tattoo might appear dull during this time, but you have nothing to worry about. All you have to do is wash the tattoo thrice a day. As mentioned above, apply moisturiser or ointment to keep the skin moisturised. Do not let the skin dry as it might cause itching, so keep the tattooed skin as well as surrounding skin moisturised. During washing, you might notice the ink leaking too. But it is totally fine. It is the extra ink that oozes out of the skin. You will also notice redness around the tattoo. But it will soon start to fade away. The scabs that appear are not as thick as we get during cuts or another injury, but they will be noticeable.
Note: Do not pick the scabs as they might leave a scar.
2nd and 3rd week
During this period of time, the scabs will start to harden and will flack off naturally. Do not pick the scabs; let them fall naturally. During this process, the skin seems itchier. But do not rub the tattooed skin or the surrounding skin harshly. Instead, gently dab it with a clean towel. The care that must be taken is again the washing of the tattoo and applying moisturiser. Now you should wash the tattooed skin or surrounding skin at least twice a day ( in the morning and before going to bed ). The moisturiser will provide you relief from itching. It will not provide 100 per cent relief but partial relief. And as the saying goes, it’s better to have something than nothing. The washing will keep the tattoo from any potential infection, and the moisturiser will prevent the skin from drying and provide partial relief from itching. Apply moisturiser 4 to 5 times a day in order to keep the skin and to surround moisturised. Also, avoid wearing clothes that are too tight around the tattoo area as it might prevent the skin from getting sufficient ventilation and cause damage or scar to the area. The redness will soon begin to subside.
Note: Let the scabs flake off naturally.
4th and 5th week
During this stage, most of the scabs would have naturally flaked off, and the actual appearance of the tattoo would surface on the skin. You will even feel relief from the itching too. At this stage, I still have to wash the tattoo at least once a day and keep moisturising the skin from time to time. Do not let the skin dry. Now, the uppermost layer of the skin is completely healed. Yet, the care must be taken as the other layers of the skin under the upper layer are yet to be healed. It might seem like the tattoo is completely healed, but it is not. The other layers are yet to be healed. The majority of the people make the mistake of thinking that the tattoo is healing and stop taking the necessary precautions. But you have to keep in mind that it takes more time to heal all the layers of the skin. The upper layer is only healed right now. But the other layers are yet to be healed. Hence, it is advisable to wash the tattoo at least once a day and apply alcohol-free and fragrance-free moisturiser four to five times a day with proper time interval.
Note: Only the uppermost layer of the skin is healed; other layers are yet to be healed. So, keep up with the aftercare.
Last stage :
After six months almost all the layers of the skin are healed completely and the actual appearance of the tattoo that the artist promises can be witnessed. By this time, the itching is gone completely for good, and your skin seems normal. It is advisable to apply moisturiser for at least six months. Now there is no risk of infection as the skin is completely healed, and the actual appearance that the artist promised is clearly visible. Yet you can apply moisturiser in order to keep your skin hydrated as we apply moisturiser or lotion on the other parts of the skin.
What is aftercare in the proccess of Tattoo Healing?
The tattoo might seem cool and fancy, but it comes with the responsibility of each one. As we have mentioned earlier, when the tattoo is made on the skin, the upper layer of the skin is ruptured. Hence, it is necessary to take care of the area of the skin where the tattoo is made. Due to the penetration of the needle on the skin, it takes time in healing that area of the body.
Aftercare is the measure that we take in order to avoid any unwanted infections or scars. To be more specific, the skin is injured during tattooing. Hence in order to prevent any sort of after-effects or side-effects, one needs to take necessary precautions. Aftercare is not very tough, and it can be done at home. Usually, the instructions of the after-care are provided by the tattoo artist himself or herself.
But in case if the artist does not provide you with the necessary aftercare instructions, you can follow the safety measures that will be mentioned below. The skin takes time to heal itself. And it is a natural occurrence, similar to one when we get injured due to an accident or other reasons.
The skin heals itself as it is its natural tendency. But when a tattoo is designed on your skin, you have to take safety precautions to avoid unnecessary damage.
The healing of the skin when you get a tattoo is a time-consuming process. As mentioned earlier, when a tattoo is made on the skin, the uppermost layer of the skin ruptures and the ink is filled into the skin. Hence, few layers of the skin are damaged. So the most basic thing that comes after getting a tattoo is healing. As the skin is penetrating during the process of getting a tattoo, the skin is opened. Hence, there is a high risk of getting an infection or other unwanted damage.
The bacteria attack the open skin and can cause severe damage to that area. Hence, it is vital to take necessary precautions in order to recover completely without causing any adverse effect on the skin. Usually, it takes approximately six months to heal the area of the skin tattooed completely. Along with that, it also depends on the size of the tattoo too.
The tattoo covering large takes a long time in healing, while a tattoo covering a small area takes less. And it is advised to take proper care as per the artist’s instructions for at least six months to recover without unwanted damage properly.
As mentioned earlier, multiple layers of the skin are damaged during imprinting of the tattoo on the skin, and hence it takes a long time to heal completely. But the uppermost layer of the skin is healed within 3 to 4 weeks. At the same time, the skin under it takes a long time to heal.
Usually, it takes at least six months to heal the tattooed skin completely, so the aftercare instructions must be followed for that time. Healing time is not fixed, and it varies due to many factors. The factors that determine tattoo healing time are the size of the tattoo and the speed of healing. The size of the tattoo plays a great role in the healing time of the tattoo.
The more area covered, the more time it consumes. Hence, tattoo size is directly proportional to the healing time. And second is healing speed. The speed of healing varies from person to person. Some people have great healing capacity and will recover fast, while others heal at a moderate speed or low speed.
There is no specific reason for the difference in the speed of different people. But it is assumed that it is due to the different skin types.
Aftercare is vitally important when it comes to tattoos; it is not just a piece of art but also includes medical procedures. Like any open wound, a tattoo also requires necessary precautions in order to avoid any side effects. After-care instructions must be followed for at least six months in order to ensure proper and complete healing of the skin.
Aftercare instructions :
One should follow instructions to prevent any infection, inflammation, or scars that come under the term aftercare. As the name suggests, aftercare means the care one must take after the tattoo to avoid inflammation, infection, or scars. The actual look of the tattoo will be visible after the skin is completely healed. Usually, it does require too much special care.
All you have to do is keep the skin around the tattoo moisturised and not use products that might be harmful to the skin. During the process of healing, the skin is very sensitive. Hence it is very important to take necessary precautions in order to avoid any permanent damage to the body. It is suggested to avoid all the products that contain alcohol or any fragrant as the alcohol can damage this already sensitive skin.
The moisturisers or ointment you are using must be alcohol-free and fragrant free as there are high chances that it can cause irritation or inflammation on the skin area.
Do’s while Tattoo Healing :
The first six months are very crucial, and hence .”, proper care is a must. Things to do during the first six months of tattoo are as follows:
- Wash the tattoo daily
- Use dilute soap
- Moisturised the tattooed skin daily
- Use alcohol-free moisturiser or lotion
- Cover the tattooed skin with sleeves
- Wear cotton clothes
- Let the tattooed skin be unbandaged
- Apply sunscreen
Don’t While Tattoo Healing
During the first six months, one should avoid a few things that might cause serious damage. Hence, it should be avoided completely. The things that you have to keep in mind that must be avoided are as follows :
- Do not use alcohol-containing soap
- Do not use fragrant soap
- Do not use alcohol-containing lotion or moisturiser
- Do not use fragranced lotion or moisturiser
- Do not wear tight clothes around the tattooed skin
- Do not use petroleum products like Vaseline petroleum jelly.
- Do not make direct contact with the sun.
- Do not cover the tattoo with a bandage
- Do not scratch or pick the scabs
- Do not rub tattooed skin harshly
It is advisable to avoid tight clothes as they will cause friction and can cause rashes or inflammation. Hence, wear loose clothes which do make too much contact with the tattooed skin. Rubbing or scrubbing the tattooed skin can also cause irritation or redness.
Hence, avoid it completely for the first six months. Do not make direct contact with the sun. As you know that during this time, the skin is healing and hence, is very sensitive. So direct rays of the sun can cause damage and can also fade the tattoo. As in the initial stage, it is very sensitive.
Is your tattoo infected :
During the first six months, there is a high risk of getting an infection as the skin is an open wound, and bacteria can easily attack it. The tattooed skin is very sensitive at this point in time, and one should immediately contact the doctor or the respective tattoo artist when the signs of infection are visible. Hence, it is vitally important to look after tattoos during this period. How do you know that your tattoo is infected?
Well, there are several signs that show that the tattoo is infected. Signs like fever indicate that the tattoo is infected. And one should kindly concern the doctor or the tattoo artist for further treatment. Usually, the redness subsided after the first week, and if not, then it is a sign that the tattoo is infected. Another sign that indicates the infection is the leaking of fluid from the tattoo. Initially, oozing of the fluid from the tattoo is common, and you do not have to worry about it.
It is the excessive ink or pigment that oozes out and blood or other body fluid. If the fluid does not stop after a few days, then it is a sign of infection. Swollen skin is normal, but it can be serious if the surrounding skin becomes puffy. Puffiness of the surrounding skin indicates allergy towards the ink. When your skin is allergic to certain components that the ink contains, then the skin becomes puffy and immediate action is required.
Severe itching is also one of the signs of infection. Itching is common during the healing process, but if it becomes too severe, it is a sign of infection, and one must immediately consult his or her doctor. Hence, one must take necessary precautions in order to avoid the infection.
But if your tattoo got infected, then immediately contact your doctor or the tattoo artist for further instructions. As the saying goes, “ precautions are better than cure”. Hence, it is better to take necessary precautions in order to avoid infection or other skin damage.
The things to keep in mind before you go for imprinting the tattoo on your skin is as follows :
- Choose a tattoo artist with a good reputation.
- Tattoo artists must have licences.
- Tell the artist about your allergies beforehand.
- The artist must be experienced and must have good reviews.
- The customers must be satisfied with his or her work.
Frequently asked questions about Tattoo Healing:
Que: Can I use coconut oil instead of moisturiser?
Ans: Yes, you can use coconut oil instead of moisturiser as it contains all the necessary ingredients and can speed up the healing process. You can use any moisturiser that does not contain alcohol or fragrant. Usually, the artist gives you Brief instructions about dos and don’ts for the healing process. Follow the instructions in order to avoid any potential infection.
Que: What if my tattoo gets infected?
If you feel that the skin around your tattoo is infected, immediately contact the tattoo artist or the skin specialist doctor. Follow the instructions given by them in order to heal the infection. The infection is curable. The doctor or tattoo artist will have knowledge about how to treat the infection.
Que: Is it a sign of infection of the fluid oozing out of the tattoo?
Ans: Well, it depends on the time or stage at which the fluid is oozing out of the tattoo. If the fluid is oozing out of the tattoo on the initial stage, there is no need to worry. It is common and totally normal to leak extra ink or fluid from the tattoo during the first few days. But if the fluid continues to leak after the first week, it is a matter to worry about. It is a sign of infection if the liquid or fluid is oozing out of the skin after the first week. And you should immediately contact the doctor or tattoo artist for the same.
Conclusion about Tattoo Healing:
Tattoo art is quite popular not only among youngsters but among people of all age groups. Tattoos can be a simple piece of art or memory too. People inscribe important dates or names in order to show their gratitude as well as to pay tribute. The tattoo can be any swirl of lines or curves that means something or nothing at the same time. It can be a simple design or plain lines. Tattoo artists provide you with the necessary aftercare tips to prevent tattoos from infection and speed up the healing process.
The tattoo artist’s common tips instruct you to apply moisturiser or lotion that do not contain alcohol or fragrance ingredients. One must wash the tattoo with mild soap and should not rub the tattooed area harshly. It is advisable to dab the area gently. When the scabs begin to form, then do not scratch them or pick them. Let it naturally flack off on its own.
Picking the scabs forcefully can leave a permanent scar on the skin. Wear comfortable clothes that do not irritate the tattooed skin and also ensure to avoid being in direct contact with the sun. If you observe the above-mentioned signs of infection, kindly contact the doctor or the tattoo artist. Hence, all the necessary information about how to avoid the infection and speedy recovery of the tattoo is mentioned in this article.
Along with that, signs that indicate the infection are also included. With proper aftercare, one can avoid the infection and speed up the healing process.