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How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal?

Many people have tattoos as an extension of themselves; whether it be their favorite team, band logo, family name, or anything else they deem necessary – tattoos play an integral role in our identities and become part of who we are.

Tattoos should be treated as open wounds in their first week and will generate typical body responses, such as redness, oozing, and inflammation of the tattooed area. In addition, your new tattoo may begin flaking or itching over perfectly normal time.

1. The First Week

As your tattoo heals over the first week, you may experience a dull-looking skin surface and cloudiness around it. This is entirely normal as blood, plasma, lymphatic fluid, and ink begin to fill its wounds to help close them shut.

Your new tattoo may itch and flake as it dries; this is part of its natural healing process. However, picking at it may prolong this period and even lead to irreparable damage to the ink.

Your tattoo must be cleaned regularly with antibacterial soap and dried using a clean paper towel before applying a thin layer of an antibacterial ointment or tattoo balm twice daily to maintain health and hydration in its application area. Avoid direct sunlight, as this could harm its new form.

2. The Second Week

Within the second week, your tattoo should begin looking more healed on the outside, but it still needs time to repair its more profound layers of skin. Therefore, it must be cleaned three or four times each day using unscented soap and warm water.

By this stage, it may itch as scabs form on your skin. It is crucial not to pick at these scabs, as doing so could cause infection and ruin the final appearance of your tattoo.

Moisturizing with high-quality hydrating cream and drinking plenty of water are also crucial, and sweat may push out ink from underneath your skin and lead to infection. Bruising may occur, though it should subside over time as healing progresses – otherwise, contact your tattoo artist immediately for advice and consultation.

3. The Third Week

By this stage, scabs should have hardened, and itching should have lessened significantly. Over time, they will shed naturally; it is best not to pick at or peel away at them as this could cause infections and distort the appearance of your new tattoo.

Wash and moisturize the area 1-2 times each day, but beware of overusing lotion as this could suffocate scabs, prompting them to come off prematurely.

Avoid activities that might increase sweating or friction on the fresh wound, such as exercising, visiting a sauna, swimming, and sunbathing; this will hasten healing. Furthermore, getting another tattoo during this period could overwhelm your immune system and lead to infection.

4. The Fourth Week

Redness should have subsided at this stage, and the scabbing has hardened. While it will likely be uncomfortable and itchy, try not to pick or physically remove scabs as this could lead to infection and prolong healing processes.

Tattoos typically develop flaky and itchy areas during their healing phase, similar to sunburns. It is essential to regularly wash and moisturize with a fragrance-free moisturizer that won’t impede how the ink settles into your skin.

Avoid getting multiple tattoos within a short period, as this will force your body to heal both wounds simultaneously. Furthermore, working out or spending a lot of time outdoors may cause sweaty skin that pushes out excess ink or water through sweat ducts and glands.

5. The Fifth Week

At this stage, you must wash and moisturize your tattoo regularly, applying antibacterial ointment or tattoo balm as directed to keep it looking vibrant. Wear loose-fitting clothing during this period to reduce the risk of fabric pressing against it or pressing against any fresh ink that may appear.

Typically, this week, you will begin to observe the flaking and peeling of your fresh tattoo and potential scabs forming. While this is perfectly normal, picking at or scratching it may result in scarring, which impedes its healing process.

As part of your aftercare instructions, always avoid direct sunlight, which can damage both your skin and fresh ink. Don’t forget to always listen and follow instructions from your artist!

6. The Sixth Week

At this point, if you have taken all necessary precautions, your tattoo should have healed entirely on its surface. Although it will have its standard color and feel, please remember that the deeper layers of skin still need time to recover; healing time could vary between individuals.

As your skin sheds and regenerates, scabs may loosen, creating duller-looking tattoos. To maintain optimal results, picking at these scabs must be avoided as this could lead to infection or interfere with the ink underneath them.

Before the scabbing has finished, excessive sweating, swimming, saunas, and hot yoga should also be avoided to ensure an uninterrupted healing process. While waiting, applying a moisturizer several times each day is advisable as this will protect the new tattoo against its drying out process.

7. The Seventh Week

Most scabs should have dissipated at this stage, and any itching should have subsided; otherwise, it may indicate a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema requiring medical intervention.

Moisturizing tattoos twice daily is crucial. If your skin feels parched, use a light, fragrance-free lotion designed for tattoo aftercare to alleviate symptoms.

Tattoo healing can take time, so don’t add another wound before your current one has fully recovered. Doing so could overwhelm its natural healing processes and potentially cause infection. For any questions on the healing process or for assistance regarding treatment plans or cost concerns, reach out to your tattoo artist or physician, and they will be happy to assist! Good luck and best of luck with healing!

8. The Eighth Week

At this stage, the outermost layer of your tattoo should have healed over. While it may still cause itchy sensations or cause hives on its own if its itching worsens, it indicates something amiss with your body, and you should seek medical assistance immediately.

At this point, most scabs should have fallen away, leaving a duller skin tone than before – this is normal as your body exfoliates itself to reveal more pigment beneath its surface.

Wash with mild, fragrance-free soap and moisturize 1-2 times daily with Hustle Butter or Lubriderm to maintain skin hydration. When exposed to sunlight, wear sunscreen with high SPF to protect the newly inked area against sun damage! After 4-6 months have passed, your tattoo should have healed fully and fully flourished with vibrant color!

9. The Ninth Week

Once the outermost layer has healed, it’s essential to moisturize your tattoo. Make sure it stays hydrated by applying antibacterial ointment or tattoo balm 1-2 times each day; swimming and showering should resume, though prolonged sun exposure should be avoided and a specific tattoo-designed sunscreen applied (these tend to be more effective than regular sunscreens).

At this point, the itching should have subsided significantly; however, some scabs may still be falling off. Try not to scratch these; doing so could spread infection and worsen your condition.

Once your tattoo has fully healed, you can wear it with pride! However, you must follow an aftercare routine until all layers of skin have fully healed; this could take 3-6 months, depending on your body and any underlying health conditions. Good luck, and don’t forget to always listen to your artist!

10. The Tenth Week

As with any open wound, a new tattoo will often cause redness and oozing for at least the first week after application. People should avoid long periods of sun exposure, which may cause fading and excessive sweating, or submerging it underwater until fully healed.

If redness and itching persist for over a week, this could be a telltale sign of infection. When your skin peels or flakes without being scrubbed off manually, that indicates it has healed properly. A tattoo is an art form; therefore it should be given ample time and care for its artistry to bloom beautifully on your body. Adherence will ensure a perfect outcome of its design!


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