How Long Does It Take To Heal A Tattoo And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 29th, 2023

Why should you invest your time reading this article? Tattoos are not just skin deep; they reach down to the various layers of your skin and take time to heal. Getting the ink is just half the battle; understanding the healing process is crucial for long-lasting and vibrant results. Let’s delve into why a tattoo takes time to heal and how you can take care of it.

What’s the Typical Healing Time for a Tattoo?

External skin layers2 weeks
Complete healing process6 months

Contrary to popular belief, a tattoo takes more than just a couple of weeks to heal fully. While the external layer might appear healed within 2 to 4 weeks, the underlying skin layers could take up to 6 months to fully mend.

shallow focus photo of person tattooing person's right arm

Factors such as the tattoo’s size, complexity, and location on your body play significant roles in determining the healing time. Moreover, aftercare practices and your body’s unique healing abilities also contribute to how quickly your tattoo will heal.

The Healing Process, Explained

Week One: The Critical Phase

Your tattoo will be wrapped for a few hours post-inking, resembling an open wound. You may notice redness, some oozing, mild swelling, or a burning sensation. These symptoms are your body’s natural response to the trauma it’s undergone.

Week Two: The Flaky Stage

Expect itching and flaking during this time. However, resist the urge to scratch or pick at scabs. Keeping the tattoo moisturized with a product recommended by your tattoo artist can help alleviate irritation.

Weeks Three and Four: The Drying Phase

If redness and irritation haven’t subsided by now, consider seeking medical advice. Your tattoo might appear less vibrant, but this is typically due to a layer of dry skin that will eventually peel away naturally.

Months 2 through 6: Long-Term Care

By now, the visual signs of healing should be evident. Still, long-term care like staying hydrated and using SPF is advised.

Factors Influencing Tattoo Healing

  • Body Placement: Tattoos on stable skin areas tend to heal faster than those on joints or areas that experience constant movement.
  • Personal Circumstances: Your occupation or daily activities may expose the tattoo to external factors like friction, potentially affecting healing time.
  • Quality of Aftercare: The diligence with which you follow aftercare recommendations will significantly impact how quickly your tattoo heals.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tattoo Healing


  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Don’t submerge the tattoo in water
  • Avoid scented lotions
  • No shaving around the tattooed area until fully healed


  • Hydrate with the appropriate cream
  • Protect your tattoo from sun exposure
  • Use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic soap for washing

How to Expedite Healing

To accelerate the healing process, adhere to the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist. From keeping the tattoo clean to avoiding submerging it in water, each step is crucial.

Identifying Tattoo Infections and Preventative Measures

Persistent redness, swelling, or foul odor are red flags for infection. If you experience these symptoms after the first week, consult a healthcare professional for treatment options.

Preventing infection starts with choosing a reputable tattoo parlor with strict hygiene practices. Post-tattoo, maintain cleanliness and adhere to the aftercare instructions to minimize infection risks.

Should You Get Another Tattoo During Healing?

While technically possible, getting a new tattoo during the healing process of another can complicate matters. Your body will have to work overtime to heal both, extending the overall healing duration for each tattoo.

In summary, tattoos are an investment—not just of money, but of time and care. With proper aftercare and a little patience, your ink can be a lifelong masterpiece.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!