How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo to Heal Completely?

How long does it take for a tattoo to heal

One of the greatest cosmetic passions of our times is to get a tattoo on our bodies. But, as much easy and fascinating as the decision seems, the outcome isn’t that easy. It takes much time to heal. So, as the vacation nears, the anxious question how long does it take for a tattoo to heal overwhelms our mind.

As we all know, slow but steady wins a race, so if you want to have a glowing, prominent and vibrant tattoo on your body, you need to wait till the tides turn and follow the below-listed steps.

Understanding tattooing and healing

When you do a permanent tattoo, you basically cut a wound in your body. So, a cut that deep needs much time to heal and won’t recover within a flash of your eyes.

The entire healing process spans across at least or above four specific stages. This will also vary according to your tattoo length, its location in your body, and how you deal with the tattoo.

All this adds to the long process of tattoo healing. Well, it’s not that scary. Take a chill pill and follow these steps to know how long it takes for a tattoo to heal.

How long does it take to heal?

You will have to devote at least two to three weeks for the external skin layer to heal. However, if you are in the mood to indulge in a rather deep and time-consuming healing process, then here is a fact for you, the layer of skin on the outer surface of your body takes nearly six months to heal completely.

Even if it seems surprising, normally, skin situated below your tattoo will take a little less time to heal than that surrounding the tattoo. If you get your mind over the edge and feel like applying any lotion with alcohol, or if you unconsciously start scratching there, you will harm yourself. Eventually, the tattoo will heal after a much longer time.

How long does it take for a tattoo to heal

Stages of healing a tattoo

Well, you cannot rush over healing the wound that the tattoo has caused. You must be patient and wait for it to heal completely after undergoing the following stages.

Generally, the entire healing procedure involves four general stages. The amount of time and care you devote to it would be highly dependent on which stage you are in of your healing. So, here is the solution to the problem as to how long does it take for a tattoo to heal.

Week 1

The first six days cover the initial stage of the entire healing procedure. In the first few hours, your tattoo artist will bandage your tattoo. Don’t worry; it’s not plain ink that the bandage will absorb.

After this, it will be an open injury like any other injury that your body suffers; it will react accordingly. You will find some redness, itching, burning sensation, or oozing with slight inflammation. Bear with those, and you will be on the first right track towards healing.

Often people ask how long does a thigh tattoo takes to heal. Well, that is an under-exposed area. So, you must be extra careful while dealing with that. Also, the skin type differs from sensitive to tight, so the pain and healing process changes accordingly.

Week 2

Flaking and itching is a prevalent symptom at this stage. But these are all part of a natural reaction to the wound, and you shouldn’t worry about this. At first, you might notice that the ink is fading a little, but it will be set alright after a few days. Give the tattoo some time to process and get itself acclimatized in your skin. However, it would help if you did not scratch mindlessly on the surface, which might cause considerable harm.

But if your tattoo artist recommends any specific moisturizer, then you can apply it. But remember that you will have to apply it around your tattoo and not on it. This will help to hydrate the skin there. Here you have the second stage of answering how long does it take for a tattoo to heal.

Week 3 and 4

The question of how long does it take for a tattoo to heal reaches its final stage of answer when your tattoo enters the third and fourth weeks of its healing procedure.

In this stage, normally, the tattoo dries out, and the itching doesn’t persist. It might look a bit faded, but that’s normal because you have grown a skin, a dry skin layer, over it. But if this is not the case, that might mean that your tattoo has got an infection. How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

2 to 6 months

The final step to how long it takes for a tattoo to heal is here. You need to continue your aftercare in this phase as well. However, all your irritations in the skin should not persist in this stage.

The tattoo will heal completely within this time frame. You need to include hydration, wearing clothing that protects you from sun rays, and cleaning in your list of long-time care for the tattoo.

So, if you follow these steps, nothing should go out of your hand, and then only you can gift yourself and your body the beautiful tattoo that your mind desires.

If your tattoo is large, then the healing time will be long. But the question as to how long does it take for a small tattoo to heal is a less scary answer. If your tattoo is small, then the time consumed in the healing process will also not be as much as large tattoos.

How long does it take for a tattoo to peel?

Well, you should not get scared if your tattoo peels. The skin formed over your tattoo as a part of a normal healing procedure would only be so if some dried skins on the tattoo get peeled off.

The needles used to create the tattoo usually go beyond the epidermis to the dermis. For that, the skin cells get damaged, creating several minute wounds.

So, even if your tattoo usually heals within the stipulated time of two weeks, the deeper skin healing takes longer. In the process, it might happen, and quite normally, that peeling takes place after some days post-tattooing.

However, you should keep in mind that if your tattoo experiences excessive peeling, you should see a doctor because that signals an infection.

In fact, many seem to have a question about whether excessive peeling harms the tattoo or not. Well, peeling is quite natural. But, if excess peeling is occurring, then obviously, the tattoo will be damaged. But leave the peeling to its natural flow and don’t create any hindrance. Your tattoo will heal on its own.

Otherwise, you might end up ruining the beautiful appearance of your tattoo.

Having said that, you must also know that some tattoos might not even peel, even that is not abnormal. It varies from the skin of one person to another and the body pacing techniques of them. So, just because your friend’s tattoo peeled a lot does not necessarily mean yours will undergo a similar procedure and vice versa.

Whatever the case, if your tattoo doesn’t peel away naturally, don’t scratch it and enable peeling manually. Scratching can actually be very painful and harmful to your body even.

How to heal a tattoo in a week?

Some of us are pretty impatient, and we try to skip some steps and get the desired results. These hacks are for us, and following these methods, you can heal your tattoo way more quickly than you imagine.

Step 1

The first method, rather an alert, is that you should never bandage the tattoo twice. Some things are better if not repeated. Tattoo bandaging comes under that. Let your tattoo get some air.

Step 2

Never use boiling or hot water over your tattoo for cleaning purposes. Heat the water to a lukewarm temperature and use that for cleaning. You must be very cautious and gentle with the tattoo to facilitate its fast healing.

Step 3

The selection of the right ointment is one of the most important steps to fast-track healing. This will prevent infection, further preventing the slowing down of the healing process.

Aquaphor or Bacitracin might also work initially. But, after that, you might also switch to other fragrance-free light materials like coconut oil. But, do remember to avoid using heavy products, for example, Vaseline. However, don’t spread too much ointment over your tattoo. Just coat your tattoo barely.

You might also shift to lotion from ointment but then use an odorless lotion. The smell comes from chemicals. The chemicals present in fragmented lotions might harm your tattoo. Also, you might have to use shampoos that are not fragranced if you decide to get your tattoo on the backside of your neck.

Step 4

Peeling will occur naturally, don’t hasten it manually. Let it heal in its own way.

Step 5

Don’t take a shower. If your tattoo gets wet, the ink might come off hampering the design. If you don’t want this, control your desire to take a bath for at least some weeks.

You might ask that how we can clean the tattoo if we are to avoid water. Use sterile water to clean your tattoo. Sterilization of water is done when you make it lukewarm.

Step 6

Clean the tattoo daily for at least 2-3 times per day, obviously using lukewarm water. Before doing that, clean your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap. Gradually, after that, splash water gently, then apply some odorless soap, then either allow the tattoo to get dried in air or soak it gently with any clean paper-made towel.

Step 7

Wearing sunscreens is a must after your tattoo is done. Zinc Oxide is a fairly good sunscreen and wipes a small amount of it on your tattoo, and the tattoo would not fade away easily, leaving the tattoo unhindered in its healing process.

Step 8

You might also use plain and simple light clothing to keep your tattoo away from sun rays. Initially, tattoos are way too much sense to sun rays. Also, sunscreens cannot be used unless your tattoo has healed fully. Till then use some light cloth. After your tattoo has healed, you might use any sunscreen.

How long does it take for a tattoo to heal

Signs of infected tattoo

As you have already guessed, the aftercare is a tedious process, and you must be patient throughout. If you fail to take certain measures, your tattoo might not take the desired healing route. How would you understand if that is the case?

Here are some symptoms of your tattoo not healing quite well:

  • If you have a fever after a tattoo in your body, it might be a symptom of infection. See a doctor without much delay. That will prevent you from any further damage to your body.
  • Tattoos normally accompany a bit of redness in the area as it is an open injury. But, if that doesn’t go away after some days, then that’s an abnormality. For that, you must consult a doctor right away.
  • After passing two to three days, if you notice oozing in your tattoo, that is also a sign of infection for which you need some medical help.
  • Puffy skin around your tattoo might also indicate infection. As the needle penetrates the skin, it is normal that the region will be swollen for a while. But if that persists after the stipulated permissible time, then see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • You might have an allergy to the ink used and hence can develop allergic reactions. This might take place immediately after you get your tattoo or after several years. But don’t take that lightly.

A tattoo that has healed in the right manner should not leave any scar. If that is the case, then beware and see a doctor. Scarring might even include distortion of colors of the tattoo. Whatever be the case, don’t neglect it.

Final thoughts

If you have done a tattoo on your body, caress it as a new entrant inside your body. If you give it good attention, it will not take much time to heal. Don’t relax your aftercare methods while continuing to flaunt your tattoo.

Frequently Ask Questions

Q1. How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? 

Ans. The healing process for a tattoo typically takes about 2 to 3 weeks. However, the exact duration can vary depending on factors such as tattoo size, location, and individual healing abilities.

Q2. What happens during the healing process?

Ans.  After getting a tattoo, your body initiates the healing process by forming a scab over the tattooed area. Over time, this scab will naturally fall off, revealing a new layer of healed skin. During this period, it is important to take proper care of your tattoo to promote optimal healing.

Q3.  How can I help my tattoo heal faster? 

Ans. To facilitate the healing process, follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions diligently. This usually involves keeping the tattoo clean, avoiding excessive moisture or soaking, refraining from picking at scabs, and applying recommended ointments or creams. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet, can contribute to faster healing.

Q4. Can the healing time vary based on tattoo placement? 

Ans. Yes, the healing time can be influenced by the placement of the tattoo. Areas with more friction, such as joints or areas that frequently come into contact with clothing, may take longer to heal compared to less active areas. Additionally, tattoos on the hands, feet, or fingers may require additional care and have a slightly longer healing time.

Q5. How will I know if my tattoo is fully healed? 

Ans. A fully healed tattoo will appear vibrant and settled into the skin. The scabs or flakes will have naturally sloughed off, and the skin texture will be smooth. There should be no lingering redness, swelling, or tenderness. Remember, each person’s healing process can be unique, so if you have any concerns, it’s always best to consult your tattoo artist or a medical professional.

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