Tattoo Healing Stages: Everything You Need to Know

Like me, pop culture has familiarized you with both tattooing and the final product, but not so much with what happens in between. Naturally, there are questions about this in-between stage: How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? What is the pain associated with the healing process? Do tattoos heal properly if they show any of these signs? It is perfectly normal to have questions like these.

Tattoo Healing Stages

We have observed three broad stages of healing in a normal healing tattoo.

Days 1 to 3: Inflammation

For the first 48 to 72 hours after a tattoo, the area will be red, swollen, and tender. There may also be some bleeding and/or ink oozing during this time.

Days: 4 to 14: Visible Recovery

As the skin heals, it peels, flakes, scabs, and itches, similar to how the body responds to a sunburn. In this case, you are experiencing a normal, healthy recovery process. Scratching, rubbing, picking at scabs, and physically removing peeling skin should be avoided. The injury might worsen if these things are done, and the recovery process might take longer.

Days 14 to 30: Invisible Recovery

Typically, the visible signs noted above resolve by the third week following the procedure, however, the tattoo may remain dull and dark for approximately one month following the tattooing procedure. One month after the tattoo was applied, it may have acquired its permanent vibrant color. Until the tattoo is fully healed, the skin beneath the tattoo will remodel for three to six months.

Tattoos: How Long Do They Take to Heal?

Tattoos take approximately one month to take on their permanent form in a young, healthy individual, although as mentioned above, tattoos are considered fully healed around three months after tattooing. The healing process is influenced by a number of factors, however. The healing time of tattoos with saturated color areas may be slightly longer. According to Makharita, saturated pigment requires more needle pricks to deposit ink than finer tattoos. A larger inflammation response could result, potentially requiring more time for recovery.


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