How Long do Tattoos Take to Heal?
How long does a tattoo heal for? Tattoo heal time varies dramatically from person to person, with tons of things factoring into the matter. Many sites will tell you one to two weeks, but in actuality, it takes anywhere from two to six weeks for the first two stages of healing to end. After that, it takes even longer for your skin to fully recover from the ordeal! Each stage of healing coincides with how you need to treat and wash your tattoo, so learning the exact healing time proves important for your personal health. So, how long do tattoos take to heal? Let’s go over that in detail!
Average Healing Time for Tattoos
Before you ask yourself how long does it take for a tattoo to heal, consider the size of the tattoo. Unfortunately, skin regenerates much more slowly for large tattoos, leading to recovery time lasting six weeks or more. On the other hand, small tattoos heal as quickly as a bad scrape or cut. Small outline tattoos take only two weeks for the first two stages, while medium tattoos take a month on average. Add a couple weeks if your artist used pigments in the same session to color your tattoo, since that affects more skin than a black outline, regardless of your tattoo size. We go into greater depth in our tattoo healing process article.
Poor nutrition and excessive consumption of alcohol slow down your recovery time considerably. Rest easy, though—most recreational ‘activities’ play no part in your healing. Make sure to stay out of the sun, which damages your unprotected ink. Dirty environments like swimming pools, lakes, rivers, ponds, the ocean, or…gym equipment, believe it or not, increase your risk of infection. Keep your hands washed, your sheets clean, and only use clean paper towels to dry your tattoo. Our complete guide on how to care for a tattoo tells you about all the warning signs of a healing tattoo and how to avoid them.
How Do You Know When a Tattoo is Healed?
Okay, we know the average time. But how long does it take tattoos to heal, specifically speaking? Watching the signs and symptoms tells you specifically. If you need to make plans, use the averages above—but if you want to know when to adjust your healing routine, then these instructions help you recognize the different phases of tattoo healing. When your tattoo stops oozing plasma, blood, and extra ink, then it finished stage one of healing. At this point, you still need to use your tattoo-safe soaps (more info on those here) until the itching starts. Honestly, no need to stop there, but adding too much product to your skin may dry it out.
At the point your itching sets in, tattoo-safe moisturizer provides essential vitamins and relief from your newfound torment. This stage lasts for the duration of what many people consider the healing time of your tattoo. At InkDoneRight, we include a third stage of healing, but more on that later. Your second stage completes when the itching stops, the scabs , nd dry skin peel away, and the skin feels normal when you touch it. Remember not to preemptively peel your skin off, or you risk pulling up some of your new skin and need start all over in that area. Not to mention that ink could come off with it!
How Long Does it Take for a Tattoo to Heal?
Some of you may express doubt about the condition of your tattoo, especially if you received a black or grayscale tattoo. Your black tattoo healing and turning gray seems crazy. Why did it lighten up? Why would a healing tattoo look faded? In reality, a third stage of tattoo healing occurs when your tattoo stops peeling. During this third stage, it remains sensitive to sunlight, despite its normal texture. Scar tissue over your tattoo creates the lighter color and apparent ‘fading.’ This scar tissue takes at least six months to heal, depending on your nutrition. Find more info on that here.
It all boils down to how well you care for your body and tattoo. Your body demands nutrition and time to rest after an extensive wound like a tattoo. Sit back, relax, and let your immune system work. In the meantime, feel free to show off its progress to all your buddies as the tattoo heals and blooms!