Getting a tattoo can be a big decision, especially if you’ve never felt the needle on your skin before. Naturally, you may be curious about the entire situation, and this is completely normal. It’s not uncommon for people to wonder how the tattoo will look on their skin or the healing process after getting inked for the first time. While we won’t be telling you about the best type of tattoo to get in this post, we’ll walk you through how long it will take for your tattoo to heal, and tips to speed up this process. This should give you a good idea of how long it will take for the art on your skin to shine after you’ve been inked.
What are the Stages of Tattoo Healing?
The weeks after you leave the tattoo parlour are extremely important. So, you need to make sure that you are carefully paying attention to your body. In any case, if you are looking for a definitive answer for how long it will take for your tattoo to heal completely, we can’t give you one. This is because your healing process will depend on many factors, such as where the tattoo is located. While it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to two months, there are four main stages that you should always be on the lookout for.
Week One: The Open Wound
From the moment that you leave the tattoo parlor, your body begins its healing process. Although the ink does a great job in hiding it, your tattoo is actually an open wound that needs closing. So, just like with any other injury you may have had, you may feel a stinging sensation. This is completely normal and should subsidize within a week. Still, because this is an open wound, you need to take all the necessary precautions that you would normally take when you have been injured. To help reduce your chances of infection, your tattoo artist will also cover your skin in a thin layer of ointment and plastic wrapping.
Week Two: Itching and Peeling
During this stage, the stinging and burning feeling is normally replaced with an itching sensation. Again, this is completely normal so don’t fret about it. This means that the old layer of skin has now turned into scabs that are flaking off. As tempting as it may be, try your hardest to resist scratching at your skin to peel off the flakes. Some great lotions can also help keep your skin moisturized and reduce the feeling of itchiness, so be sure to ask your tattoo artist about this.
Week Three and Four: Drying Out
Thankfully, at this stage, the itching should be done and any layer of dry skin that normally covers the tattoo will continue to fall off. You may notice that your tattoo looks duller than before. If this happens, don’t worry about this, once all the scabs fall off it will look livelier than ever.
Week Five and Six: Complete Healing
You will know that you have reached this stage when all the dry skin has fallen off, and the colors of your tattoo appear more vibrant and bubblier. This will mean that your body has completely healed itself and you should no longer fear infection anymore. However, we still advise that you continue to take care of your skin after your tattoo has completely healed.
How to Speed Up Your Tattoo Healing Process?
Although the stages that we have listed in this post are the main steps to complete healing, there are other ways that you can speed up your tattoo healing process. By following these simple tips and tricks, the tattoo you have should heal up much faster:
- You should use lukewarm water to clean the affected area. The main reason for this is that hot water can cause the pores to open up again, which will increase your risk of infection.
- Before removing the plastic wrap, you must make sure your hands are clean. This means that you must wash thoroughly with soap and water.
- We’ve found that wet tattoos generally don’t heal quickly. So, you should avoid steeping your tattoo in any body of water while it heals. Sadly, this means that bathtubs and pools are off-limits.
- When you begin to notice the dry skin or flakes on your skin, do not scratch or peel at them as any dirt under your nails can transfer bacteria to your skin.
- We’ve also found that too much heat is bad for the tattoo healing process. So, make sure you limit your tattoo’s exposure to the sun. If you do find that you are in a hot climate or have to remain outside while your tattoo heals, then you should ask the people at your parlor for tattoo-specific sunscreen.