How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo To Heal?

How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo To Heal?

Mar 14, 2022 | GR0

You just got your ink, and you’re dying to show it off. But how long does it take for a tattoo to heal, and when can you get back to your regular daily habits? We’ve got all the answers to your burning questions below.

What Should I Expect After I Get a Tattoo?

So, you just left the tattoo studio and got that ink you’ve been dreaming of. Felicidades! But now what? We’ll give it to you straight. Aftercare matters, and the more precisely you follow the procedures your artist told you to follow, the better the chances of your tattoo healing quickly. Here’s what to expect week by week.

Day One

You finally got the tattoo you’ve been waiting for! The artist probably gave you instructions on how to care for your new ink, and aftercare varies by person depending on the size and location of the tattoo. Follow steps two and three below, two to three times per day or as instructed by your artist. Keeping your tattoo clean is crucial to healing.

  • Remove - Your tattoo artist placed a bandage over the tattoo, and it is either plastic or a sterile, medical-grade dressing. A few hours after leaving the tattoo studio, wash your hands and carefully remove the bandage unless otherwise instructed by your artist. There’s no need to reapply the bandage unless you were told to do so, which isn’t common.

  • Special Tip: If the bandage sticks to the skin, do not force it to come off. Apply lukewarm, sterile water to the gauze to soften the area, then gently peel it away.

  • Cleanse - You’ll probably see some oozing of blood plasma, so don’t be taken off guard if you see some in the bandage. This clear-ish fluid and the small remnants of ink color may ooze for a day or so following the tattoo application (a little off-putting, yes, but not dangerous).

  • Don’t stress—your tattoo isn’t coming off. Simply clean the area with lukewarm water and a gentle, alcohol-free cleanser. Try our CBD foam soap for a soothing cleanse specifically designed for tattoos. You’re welcome.

  • Apply the desired amount onto the tattoo and softly massage it with clean (emphasis on clean) hands. Carefully wipe it away with a damp, lint-free towel and pat dry.

  • Moisturize - Keep the tattoo moisturized to soothe and prevent dryness and itching. Use a gentle yet soothing balm like our Sana Sana CBD healing balm. Apply a pearl-sized amount on the tattoo and carefully massage it into the skin using clean hands. The soothing formula will nourish your skin to support your body’s healing process. Always remember to apply moisturizer regularly, but not excessively.

Week One: Signs of Healing

The tattoo begins to look less red, feel less sore, and develop scabs. Good news! Your tattoo is healing nicely, it begins to scab over in places, and may peel or flake. The colors look cloudy and dull, but this is normal as the dead skin cells slough themselves away. Continue keeping your tattoo clean and moisturized, and remember that it may continue oozing bits of ink. Oozing ink just means that your skin is healing; it doesn’t mean your tattoo is losing its vibrancy.

Week Two: Healing Progresses

Scabs are hardened and may begin flaking. Keep those paws away from your new ink. Do not peel, pick, or remove scabs. Doing this may scar your skin, remove tattoo ink saturation, or cause infection. Continue cleansing the area with tattoo soap and applying moisturizer. Infections occur within the first few days to a week of receiving a tattoo, so keep a close eye on your skin. Excessive soreness, inflammation, lots of oozing (remember, a little oozing is usually OK), or redness may be a sign of infection.

Weeks Three & Four: Halfway to the Finish Line

Keep up the cleansing and moisturizing because it keeps your tattoo healthy and aids in healing. The scabbing and peeling are mostly gone now, with the outer layers mostly healed. The lower layers underneath the skin are still recovering and may take a few more months to regenerate fully.

Months Three to Six: Completely Healed

It takes a few months for your tattoo to completely heal all the way through. Your tattoo is bright, vibrant, and itching has subsided. Continue wearing sunscreen and applying HUSH healing balm to revitalize the skin and keep the colors worthy of a double-take.

What Factors Negatively Affect Tattoo Healing?

Skin trauma caused by an (amateur) artist's heavy hand is a common issue many people face. Make sure you spend time searching for an experienced tattoo artist who practices in a clean, professional, sterile environment (more on this later) that adheres to the state’s licensing laws and regulations as well. Here are a few additional factors that affect healing:

  1. Tattoo Tool and Ink - Allergies to ink occur in some people. Red ink especially may cause hypersensitivity and slower heal times.

  2. Size and Location of the tattoo - Areas of the body heal differently, especially places around the joints, or larger areas that remain underneath clothing most of the time.

  3. Artist Technique - Artists that are not as experienced as others may apply heavy pressure with their execution of the needle, causing excess trauma to the skin. Ouch!

What Factors Promote Faster Healing?

Seriously, who doesn’t want their tattoo to heal as quickly as possible? Here are some ways to promote faster healing for your new tattoo:

  1. Keep your hands clean at all times when handling your tattoo bandage, when cleaning your tattoo, and when applying moisturizers or sunscreen. We mean it.

  2. Clean your tattoo frequently with a gentle, alcohol-free cleanser and lukewarm water, but do not overwash the area. Ask your artist how many times per day they recommend you clean your tattoo. Most people clean their tattoos twice per day.

  3. Wear loose, breathable clothing over the tattoo.

  4. Do not submerge your new tattoo underwater. Do not take baths or go swimming and avoid hot tubs. Taking showers is okay (and encouraged, not for the tattoo but for your social life).

  5. Don’t peel, pick, or remove scabs or blisters. Doing so may introduce bacteria into the skin and cause infection.

  6. Boost your immune system by getting adequate sleep at night, drinking plenty of water, and eating a healthy diet.

  7. Don’t put moisturizer on a new-new tattoo. The skin is very raw and needs a day or two to recover before anything goes on the surface. After a day or two, you can start to apply a thin layer of moisturizer.

  8. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun. UV rays burn the skin, so wear sunscreen and cover the area with loose-fitting clothing.

What Are the Signs of an Infection?

Heaven forbid the dreaded infection begins to rear its ugly head, but it does sometimes occur. These are signs to look for that may lead you to a doctor's visit:

  • Pus

  • Redness or streaks

  • Swelling

  • Tenderness

  • Odor

  • Rash

  • Deep scabs

  • Fever

If your tattoo develops any of these above symptoms after four or so days of receiving your tattoo, see a healthcare provider to determine the next steps you need to take.

How Should I Choose a Tattoo Studio and Artist?

Aside from choosing your new tattoo design, choosing the place you get your tattoo, and the artist that administers it are two of the most important things to consider. A lot of people ask their friends or familia for a referral to the artist they prefer, but if you do not know anyone, here are a few tips:

  • Do Your Research - Aside from asking within your trusted circle, do a Google search for tattoo studios near you or even in your state. Search Instagram and other social media platforms, and take a look at ratings and reviews, along with pictures. Sometimes tattoo studios have their artist bios on their website, so take a sec and read those, too.

  • Visit the Shop - Take a drive over to the shop and check it out. Make sure the place looks safe and sanitary. Watch how the artist works, cleans, and interacts with their clients. Ask questions and take a good look around. Is there a lot of clutter, dirt, trash, or food containers? (Yes, some people really do just leave that shit lying around the shop). Hold tattoo shops to the highest standard when it comes to cleanliness. After all, they are the ones handling your sacred skin.

  • Trust Your Gut - Ask the artist questions about their cleaning habits and sanitation practices. Find out whether they use single ink needles, what their technique is, and how long they have been practicing. Above all else, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. There are plenty of tattoo shops around, so choose one that you are 100 percent comfortable with and one you trust.

To Sum It Up

Tattoos are pretty rad, so it is important you choose a tattoo shop and artist you trust to provide you with a clean and healthy service. It takes a couple of weeks for your tattoo to look and feel healed on the outside, but the inside layers of the skin may take months to fully recover. As long as you clean your tattoo, moisturize, and do not pick or peel the skin, your tattoo will heal well. Easy enough, you can get everything you need for your tattoo care from start to finish right ehre at HUSH. From the numbing gel that will help you sit like a champ for that rib tattoo, to the soothing CBD balm that can help you through the healing process, we’ve formulated products specifically meant to support your body art. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our shop, then start making plans for your next piece! Sources: Tattoo complications may warrant a trip to the doctor | American Academy of Dermatology Six Tips to Enhance Immunity | DNPAO | CDC Tattoos & Permanent Makeup: Fact Sheet | FDA

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