A Quick Note On The Stages And Aftercare Of Tattoo Healing Process

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You have got yourself inked, and now you are dying to show your new tattoo to one and all. Well, this might not be a piece of good news for you – but – the tattoo healing process can start from 24 hours after being inked to a handful of days.

During this period, your tattoo will be bandaged. You must remove it to clean the area with lukewarm water and fragrance-free soap. Is that all? What next? How to rush up the healing process? This article will give you an insight into the same. Scroll down –

What are the stages in the tattoo healing process?

In this segment, you will get clarity about – the stages in which a tattoo heals in detail –

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Image Credit: POPSUGAR

Day 1 – It is a fresh inflamed wound

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Image Credit: Healthline

Clearly, the inked area is inflamed, and for the first 48-72 hours, you might notice some oozing liquid. Though the area has been bandaged, however, redness and pain remain. You might feel a burning sensation as well. There’s no need to worry. This is the body reacting to the deep wound your body has received.

Most tattoo artists suggest keeping your tattoo covered for up to 1-2 hours after the inking. However, most suggest keeping it covered for 24 hours on the first day. Wear loose clothes so that the tattoo is in no way restricted.

Day 2/3 – It is in the recovery process

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Image Credit: www.self.com

When you remove the tattoo cover, you will see automatically scabbing has started to form. Also, your tattoo will have a dull shade. This is one of the key features that will ensure your tattoo healing process is on track.

However, you must note that the inked area will still have some swelling and oozing – and when you wash your tattoo, it will release some ink.

Since your skin imprint is recovering, you will have to wash it with warm water and fragrance-free anti-bacterial soap. Pat it dry slowly (use a paper towel) and use a fragrance-free medically-tested skin moisturizer. Let it dry naturally.

Week 1 – The healing process has started

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Image Credit: Hush Anesthetics

Normally, the basic healing process starts from the second to maximum third day – when into the first week, your tattoo has started healing (over the skin).

Some of the key features of this healing process are – itching and flaky skin.

Also, you can revert to your normal schedule regarding the tattoo. But keep moisturizing it, and do not pick on the itchy skin since that would delay the healing process.

Week 2 to 3 – The internal healing progresses

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Image Credit: Tattoofilter

It is only when you are in the second to the third week that the internal tattoo healing process starts. The scab that had previously formed over your skin comes off, and a new skin is developed. Continue with your schedule, and keep hydrating the tattoo.

Week 4 – It is still halfway through

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Image Credit: Mad Rabbit Tattoo

Amongst all the above-mentioned periods, this is the most crucial one. If your tattoo is healing normally, you will see the scab wearing off and the skin returning to normal. It is only that the deeper layers of the skin remain to be healed.

However, if you still find redness on your skin, albeit some fluid oozing out – that’s troubling since the chances are high your skin has not healed. In case of any of the conditions mentioned above, immediately connect with a skin specialist. Chances are high that your tattoo is infected.

Months 3 – 6 – The tattoo healing process is complete

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Image Credit: Reddit

It has been over 3 months since you have inked your skin, and it is now touching 6 months. If all goes well – your tattoo healing process is complete, and you can resume your general activities, such as swimming or even a usual sauna session. There will be no itching, and unlike the initial cloudy appearance of the tattoo in the first few days – now your tattoo will be vibrant and vivid.

You will no longer need to hydrate the tattoo, but when you step out into the sun – you will have to wear sunscreen with high SPF content.

What is the normal time taken for healing?

For starters, you will have to understand that – when speaking of the ‘normal time’ required for a tattoo healing – it is taken to be 2-4 weeks. However, this differs from person to person, and for some, it could take up to 6 weeks and even up to 4 months (if it is a multiple-shaded and layered tattoo).

What is crucial to note is that however long the tattoo healing process may take, as long as the area is not infected or you do not develop any fever or chills, your body art is in the healing process.

What factors determine the tattoo healing process?

There are chances you might not know that despite, having a basic timeline within which most of the tattoos heal, there are certain factors that determine this process. They are –

  • The size of the tattoo

The bigger the tattoo (as in, the wider the area) in size it will take longer to heal. In fact, even if the estimated time is 4-6 weeks, it may extend to 7 weeks. Your tattoo is safe if there is no other associated issue.

  • The style of the tattoo and its shade

A colored and intricate tattoo takes longer to heal vis-a-vis a simple black-grey tattoo. It is because the artist had to fill in colors and create time-consuming designs. Hence, the needle was in touch with your body for a more extended period. Hence, what could apparently be healed in 2-3 weeks, may take up to 4-6 weeks or more.

  • The location of the tattoo

If your tattoo is in a sensitive area of the body that has multiple nerve endings, the time will increase (since the damage to the skin is more). It was seen in such cases that the surface layer tattoo healing process lasted months.

How will you take care of tattooed skin?

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Image Credit: Cosmopolitan

As much as you may love your skin art, if not cared for properly, this could turn into an infection-ridden area. Here are some steps you must follow to care for your tattooed skin –

  •  Throughout the first week, you will have to use a breathable bandage. Normally, once the inking process is over, the artist ties a breathable bandage over the inked area. Keep it till 72 hours.
  • Once you open the initial bandage, you must wash the area with anti-bacterial soap and filtered/distilled water. Reapply a breathable bandage on the inked area. Follow this for one week.

How to reduce the tattoo healing time?


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Image Credit: Healthline

As mentioned before, every tattoo takes its own time to heal. However, here are some hacks that may promote faster healing. They are –

  • Always wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap and lukewarm water before touching the tattoo (touch it as less as possible)
  • Do not moisturize the fresh tattoo. Even refrain from scratching and peeling the tattoo. After a few days, use a medically-specified aftercare moisturizer on the tattoo.
  • After you have taken off the initial dressing, do not re-bandage the tattooed area. Once the preliminary bandage has been removed, you will have to ensure that the tattoo gets ample oxygen.
  • Another step that will boost the tattoo healing process is – applying topical ointments rich in vitamins A and D.

How do you know if there is an issue?

As mentioned above – the tattoo healing process takes approximately from 4-6 weeks to a couple of months (depending on the factors mentioned). But, there are chances that your body art has botched up and is not healing correctly. How do you confirm the same? Here are some tips and tricks –

  • Are you having constant fevers or chills?

It is very typical to have a fever – then and now. But, if you are constantly getting fever after tattooing and it is accompanied by chills – there are chances your the tattoo has been infected and needs immediate care.

  • Is your tattoo consistently red, or is it oozing out fluid?

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Image Credit: Removery

The redness remains from the time you have been inked, up to 3-4 days. But the pus stops coming out after 2 days (for most skin types if extra-sensitive skin is not mentioned). If your tattoo is oozing fluid even after 4 days, or the redness does not seem to go, the tattoo healing process is not moving ahead as planned.

  • How puffy is your inked area?

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Image Credit: Authority Tattoo

After the process, the area around which the tattoo is inked remains raised but not puffy. If yours is puffy, you must seek medical help.

  • Are you constantly itching that area?

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Image Credit: Sorry Mom Shop

You will also have to remember that – if you are constantly itching the area around your tattoo, then you are allergic to the concerned ink used. Consult a doctor immediately.

  • Is it becoming a scar?

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Image Credit: Saved Tattoo

You have to check if your tattoo is becoming dark in color. When your body print starts scarring, there are chances of infection.

Final thoughts

Assuming you have read this content well, you must have understood that the tattoo healing process is quite straightforward. The crucial factor is – you have to take excellent care of the inked area starting from the first 24 hours to a couple of weeks, and it could lead up to 6 months.

Also, by the time the inked area is completely healed, you might see that the tattoo has become darker in terms of shade. There is no need to worry since it is part of the healing process. In the meantime, consult your tattoo artist and take the necessary precautions. Pin this post and keep browsing for more!


  • Monalisa Mukherjee

    Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer, copywriter and editor with 4 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, The Rich Net Worth, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing press release, guest posts, articles on travel, entertainment, food recipes, celebs, lifestyle, tech, health, and fashion.

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