How long does a tattoo take to heal?

Are you considering having a tattoo but are unsure how long it will take to heal? This guide is just for you! It covers all the dos and don'ts of tattoo aftercare, suggests how long it will take to heal, and even gives you an alternative!

Blog author
Ink Public Team
August 15 2021

Whether you already got a tattoo of your own or planning to get one, a question of how long does a tattoo takes to heal probably crossed your mind more than once. And the answer to that is more complicated than it appears. However, generally speaking, it often takes 2-3 weeks for a tattoo to heal, but a bit longer for all skin layers to heal. For a more precise answer, you might need to look into what kind of tattoo you plan on getting, the aftercare that your tattoo artists suggested, and how you take care of your tattoo.

tattoo heal lady



General aftercare of tattoos


After getting a tattoo, the tattoo artists usually offer tattoo style-specific aftercare treatment. This is because different styles of tattooing require different ways of care. For example, you might get particular advice when you got a Black and Grey tattoo and other advice for a coloured tattoo. However, there are still general aftercare tips that most likely will be mentioned in your personalised aftercare regime. How well you follow the instructions, the better and quicker your tattoo will heal.


Before you walk out of the tattoo studio,  your tattoo will be wrapped. Now there are different schools of thought on how long you should keep your tattoo covered, so your best bet is to listen to what your tattoo artist instructed. The usual timeframe can last from two hours to keeping it overnight. After you take off the wrapping, cleaning the tattoo is the next step. Most often, the artists will recommend washing your brand new tattoo with lukewarm water and mild soap. Throughout the healing process, do not forget to moisturise your tattoo. Your tattoo artist will most likely specify how and what kind of lotion to use. A general tip is not to over-apply it - keep to it to a thin layer!


Common aftercare mistakes


Throughout the healing process, tattoos scab. You mustn’t pick it or touch them extensively. If you touch the tattoo, you might damage the skin, causing scarring. Moreover, when picking scabs, you might damage the tattoo, and pick scabs might mess with the ink under your skin. The best bet for not ruining tattoos is minimising touch as much as possible. When it comes to sun protection, consider sunscreen or covering your tattoo. If you choose the latter one, avoid tight coverings, as they provide friction. On top of avoiding the sun as much as possible, you should avoid submerging your tattoo in still water. This means no baths or any swimming, but don’t worry - showers are a-okay!


Following your tattooists aftercare instructions and avoiding general mistakes will lead you to have a smooth healing process and healing the tattoo as quickly as possible!


Hand poke tattoos - a game-changer?


Last but not least, there are hand-poked tattoos. They usually take hours longer to complete, and not many tattoo artists can do them. If you wish to get one, depending on your location, you should consider going to another city to find someone who has mastered them. There is a plus side to them. They are said to be healing much faster than your regular machine-done tattoos. Additionally, there is way less itching and scabbing in the healing process, making the aftercare easier and much better to deal with. And if you’re worried about not enduring that many hours under the needle, some people say that their experience has been therapeutic, and some say it was even spiritual and relaxing. If you choose to get a hand-poked tattoo, stay strong during the tattooing. The aftermath will be worth it!


tattoo hand poke male

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