How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal? This is a popular question.
A tattoo is not just a way to assert your style but a procedure too. If it’s your first one, you may be wondering, how long does a tattoo take to heal? On average, a tattoo can take 2-3 weeks to heal. The actual time will depend on where the tattoo is located and how the inking process went. Since many factors can affect the process, the healing journey could take months.
What are the Stages of Tattoo Healing
The time you spend on a tattoo parlor is just a percentage of the healing process.
Week One: Open Wound
The first few hours, a tattoo is considered a wound, so it’s bandaged. You’ll notice some inflammation and redness as the body responds to the changes. Generally, your body will mobilize the first responders to injury. And you may feel a burning sensation as the body tries to sting things up. Your tattoo artist will explain how to clean the area.
Week Two: Itching and Peeling
The inflammation around the tattoo may subside. Then, the itching will substitute the burning sensation. You may also see flaking skin – don’t worry about it since the ink will remain intact. If possible, try to resist any itching. At this stage, the tattoo artists will recommend a moisturizer or lotion to keep the scabs at bay.
Week 3 and 4: Drying Phase
Once the topical healing is over, you’ll stop feeling the itchiness. The tattoo appears dull in color, and there’s a new skin layer after the scabs fall off. It would help if you resisted any urge to prick or scratch as this can cause scarring.
Week 5-6: Full healing
Now that the scabs have sloughed off, you’ll see a new skin on the tattoo. At this stage, the itchiness and burning sensation are gone. It would be best if you continued with the aftercare so that the skin should regain complete integrity. Long-term aftercare can include wearing sun-protective clothing and keeping the area hydrated.
How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal?
Can I Reduce the Healing Time of a Tattoo?
If you don’t follow the aftercare steps, the healing process can be slower. Some of the things recommended you can do to reduce the healing time are:
Don’t Re-Bandage after the Initial Dressing.
Covering the area can result in excess moisture, and this may cause slow healing and scabbing.
A tattoo artist will recommend using products with vitamins A and D, petroleum, and lanolin. After only a few days, you can switch to coconut oil and a fragrance-free aftercare moisturizer. Avoid heavy products like Vaseline unless your artist recommends otherwise.
Avoid Water and Scented Products
Your tattoo artist will advise that you avoid swimming or staying for too long in the bath. In addition to that, you should stay away from scented products (soaps and lotions). Sometimes, the fragrance may react with the ink on your tattoo. If you have to use them, wait until the end of the second week.
While scratching is a healthy part of the healing process, it can delay the healing. If you overdo it, this can result in scarring or interfere with the integrity of the tattoo.
What are the Signs your Tattoo is not Healing?
If your tattoo becomes infected, you may experience some chills. If you see some fluids after three days, then consult a doctor. Severe itching could also be a sign that your body is allergic to ink.