How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal?

After getting a tattoo, you’ll probably be eager to know how long does a tattoo take to heal. A tattoo is a piece of art and a way to assert your personality. Caring for your tattoo is essential as certain activities can negatively affect recovery. In today’s post, I will reveal how long does it take a tattoo to heal. The healing process of tattoos takes place over four stages. However, the time required to heal the tattoo may vary depending on the size of the tattoo. Without wasting much time, let us now find out how long does a tattoo take to heal in detail.

How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal?

The outer layer of your skin can heal within 2 to 3 weeks after getting a tattoos the answer for  how long does a tattoo take to heal but it can be tricky. Mostly the process will take a couple of weeks but it can take over a month or even longer. The healing time will be the same when it comes to how long does a small tattoo take to heal. However, the skin around larger tattoos takes longer to recover.

Beginners often wonder how long does a tattoo take to heal with a second skin. Basically, the second skin protects your skin from friction. It acts as a protective barrier that prevents contamination. So, the healing process will take up to 4 weeks depending. Your artist will recommend you wear this for 3 to 4 days. Or else you can also leave a second skin on for as long as it feels comfortable to you.

Now, you must be thinking about how long does a tattoo take to heal fully. It can take up to 4 weeks for the skin to fully recover. However, completely healing all the layers of skin can take up to 4 to 6 months. 

Swimming with a new tattoo can expose your skin to harmful bacteria in the water. If you swim often, you must know how long does a tattoo take to heal before swimming. Giving time to heal your tattoo before swimming is very important for your health. It can take at least 2 to 4 weeks to fully heal a tattoo.

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Tattoo Healing Stages: Day by Day

Above, you got to know how long does it take a tattoo to fully heal. The stages of tattoo healing can be divided into four distinct stages in general. Let us first understand 1 week tattoo healing process day by day

  • Week 1

The first stage of healing starts from the day you get inked. For the first few hours/days, your new tattoo will be bandaged after which it will be considered an open wound. Slowly your body will respond to injury. At this stage, you will experience some redness, oozing, and slight inflammation in the tattoo area. 

You may also feel a little burning sensation and visible swelling in that area for a few days. By the end of the week, your tattoo will start scabbing. This indicates your skin is closing an open wound.

  • Week 2

In the second week, you can experience itching and flaking as the skin dries. This is because your epidermis is beginning to heal. Your white blood cells and plasma proteins create a layer over the open wound. You must try to avoid scratching or picking at scabs. This stage can last for 7 to 10 days indicating that your tattoo skin is starting to heal.

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  • Week 3 and 4

In the third to fourth week, your tattoo begins to dry out and the itchiness will stop. You won’t even notice redness or any inflammation around the tattoo. At this stage, your tattoo will appear less vibrant than expected. This is because a layer of dry skin has been formed over it. Do not worry, this will naturally exfoliate itself revealing the original tattoo. 

  • Month 2 to 6

At the last stage, you can assume that your tattoo is healed completely. You will get smoother skin and a vibrant tattoo at this stage. You won’t see any open sores or infections and the outer layer of the skin will appear healed. In fact, there won’t be any burning sensation, swelling, or itching. In this stage, you’ll notice that the scabs and dry skin have peeled off. 

Do And Don’ts After Tattoo

After knowing how long does a tattoo take to heal, there are certain things you have to consider. In this section, I’ve included a few aftercare tips recommended by tattoo experts.


You should keep the following tips in your mind after getting a new tattoo.

  1. Always cover your tattoo with clothing as sunlight can cause your tattoo to fade faster.
  2. Use lukewarm water and sterile water to clean your tattoo at least two to three times a day.
  3. Apply ointment regularly as your tattoo needs to heal.
  4. Always use fragrance-free and alcohol-free soap to clean the skin around the tattoo area.
  5. Avoid swimming for the first 2 weeks or avoid soaking it in the shower or bath.


Even if you are aware of how long does a tattoo take to heal, there are certain things you should avoid doing.

  1. Certain factors like picking at the scabs, not moisturizing, forgoing SPF, or using a lotion with alcohol may slow the healing process.
  2. Make sure you avoid picking or scratching the tattoo as it could cause scarring.
  3. Never apply sunscreen until your tattoo is fully healed.
  4. You should never use hot water, scented lotions, and soaps on the tattoo.

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How Should My Tattoo Feel After 3 Days?

During these first few days, it is normal for your tattoo to feel sore and tender. You may also see redness, swelling, and some mild bleeding. DAYS 3-14 (or until healed): After the first 2-3 days, your tattoo should begin to feel dry and tight.

When Can I Shower After A Tattoo?

You can shower 3-4 hours after getting a tattoo, if you have a Saniderm bandage on, however, if you have a plastic wrap wait 24 hours to unwrap your tattoo and shower. In either case, shower in cold or lukewarm water and avoid prolonged soaking or submerging your tattoo in water for 3-4 weeks.

How Long Should I Moisturize My Tattoo?

You should moisturize your clean tattoo 3 – 6 times per day, for roughly two weeks (though proper skincare is always important, and most tattoo enthusiasts moisturize their tattoos daily for life!). A white cream lotion or moisturizer, preferably unscented, should be used!

How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Blown Out?

If you’ve recently gotten a tattoo, but it appears blurry and smudged during and after the healing process, you may be experiencing tattoo blowout. “A blowout is when a tattoo expands below the skin layer when it hits fat [and] veins or when scarring occurs,” says Crys.

Should I Moisturize My Tattoo After 4 Days?

Yes! Moisturizing your tattoo regularly is extremely important. You should moisturize your clean tattoo 3 – 6 times per day, for roughly two weeks (though proper skincare is always important, and most tattoo enthusiasts moisturize their tattoos daily for life!).

Is Vaseline Good For Tattoo Healing?

Takeaway. Vaseline isn’t the best choice for tattoo aftercare. Petroleum jelly traps moisture and bacteria, which can lead to infections and scarring if your tattoo doesn’t get enough air while it’s healing. You may be able to use Vaseline on old tattoos if your skin is dry.

Can I Drink 2 Days After Getting A Tattoo?

Drunken behaviour could ruin your new tattoo
You need to be aware of keeping your tattoo clean and dry while it is fresh, so a night out might not be the best option. It’s generally recommended that you wait at least 48 hours after your new tattoo before you start drinking alcohol again.


In the above post, I’ve discussed how long does it take to heal a tattoo in detail. One of the most important parts you have to go through getting a tattoo is the healing process. A new, fresh tattoo can take around 2 to 3 weeks to heal. However, it can take up to 3 to 4 months for the skin to recover fully. Remember that the healing time depends on the type of ink you get, the style, and the size of your tattoo. Once you know how long does a tattoo take to heal, you can show it off and wear it with pride in no time!