How long do tattoos last?

Even though tattoos are almost synonymous with longevity, reality is a bit more complicated. In this guide, find out what influences the tattoo to stay so long.

Blog author
Ink Public Team
September 13 2021

Tattoos are almost synonymous with longevity. When you get that tattoo, that’s it. It will stay forever. Of course, unless you choose to get laser treatment and possibly remove the tattoo. But if you don’t, there is a high chance that you’re wondering how long your tattoo will last and how well. To answer these questions, we have to look at a few different things.




A huge part of how well your tattoo lasts depends on where you placed it. No matter how good the wrist tattoo compliments your hand, it is likely that it will fade. It is probable that tattoos done on the skin, which is being used quite often, will disappear very quickly. Body parts like that include palms or knees. To avoid this, you can choose to place tattoos on flatter, less abused areas of the body like the flat of the forearm, shoulders, back, or thighs. Although another point to consider is how well the areas will do as the skin ages or weight changes. With age, some areas may become a bit saggier, shifting the design. The same goes for weight gain or loss - there will most likely be a difference in your tattoo with significant enough weight change. The tattooed skin may become more stretched or saggy, consequently altering the design. 


tattoo city man


Sunshine UV rays


It is incredible what good aftercare can do for a tattoo. So much so that how well you take care of your tattoo will translate into how long does it stay vibrant and bold. The best way to do so is to take into consideration how the sun damages our skin. To avoid sun damage, your best bet would be to either cover your tattooed area. However, in hot places, this can be a bit difficult. Whenever you’re on the beach, or just enjoying the sun, do not forget the sunscreen! Apply it on the needed areas, and reapply it depending on how long you are in the sun and the SPF of the sunscreen. On top of taking care of your skin in the sun, there is more that you can do for your tattoo longevity. Keeping yourself and your skin moisturised is as vital as saving your skin from UV rays. Hydrated skin is more likely to retain its elasticity throughout, meaning that your tattoo will not be altered due to sagging skin. Additionally to drinking water, do not forget to moisturise your skin by applying lotion.


tattoo old man head tattoo


Design & Colourwork


How well your tattoo stands the test of time depends a lot on how it was made. Meaning what kind of ink was used, what style the tattoo is, and how well the artist took into account colour fading. With time all colours tend to fade when it comes to tattoos. Generally speaking, anything lighter than black will likely fade away, or leave some traces of it. Also, carbon-based colours tend to stick around longer than powder-based. The fading, of course, highly depends on your immune system and other factors. This point leads to taking into account what kind of style is the tattoo. Styles with bold lines, like traditional, neo-traditional, or blackwork, stick around more, since even if the colour fades, you will likely see what kind of tattoo it was purely from the bold black outline (this doesn’t apply to blackwork tattoos). Consequently, styles like watercolour, fine line, or any tattoos that feature great detail in condensed space will most likely fade with time or blend. However, a good artist can consider the fading process and either guide you towards a more reliable and bold design or adjust the current one. The best way to tell if a tattooist can do so is to look at their portfolio and look for pictures of already healed previous work. So when you get tattooed by the artist, your tattoo is ensured when it fades, it will still look good with time.

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