For someone who’s about to have a tattoo after months of waiting, you would be feeling excited and pumped up. However, if this is the first tattoo you’re about to have, there are many things that you might have to consider. The feeling can be overwhelming as there is a complete set of instructions that your tattoo artist would give, but the recovery process is more of what people are concerned about when getting inked. Even if your pain tolerance is above average, and you might want to flex that beautiful tattoo of yours, you would have to go through its recovery process first. Therefore, this article will discuss the possible stages of healing, how to prevent infection, and what factors come into play for that wound to become normal again.

Taking care of a new tattoo can be stressful, but there is no need to panic. As long as you stick to the hacks mentioned in this article, you will heal a lot better and thoroughly enjoy that feeling of being inked. It isn’t about just enduring the pain. Once you are tattooed, aftercare is vital to avoid fading and blurring. Hence, don’t slack off.

Recovery Stages Of A Tattoo 

Roughly speaking, it takes about three to four weeks for the outer skin to heal. Though this statistic might want you to slow down on the whole aftercare process, it can take about six months for the skin to recover fully.

Stage # 01:

The first stage after getting a tattoo is commonly known as an open wound. Immediately after the tattoo artist is done drawing your desired art piece, the body kicks off the healing process in full swing. The new tattoo would be covered for a few hours, and your body will be treating it as a wound.

Since your body will be busy patching your fresh wound, you may notice some redness, a sensation of inflammation and burning up, or swelling in the area where the tattoo has been drawn. One should know that this is because your body is working hard to avoid any additional problems such as an infection. This is why you should pay extra attention to that tattoo and treat it as a wound.

This stage of redness and inflammation will most likely last for a week and subside. However, if it doesn’t stop, you might want to check in with a professional or a doctor.

Stage # 02:

The second stage is when the inflammation and redness would have stopped, replaced by a constant itching urge. You would experience flaky skin, which is pretty normal and you shouldn’t worry about. A top layer would have formed, which means the old one would probably come off in the shape of scabs and flake off.

It may look as if the ink is coming off too with the skin, but don’t worry, as it will remain intact. The dryness of that area would make you want to scratch that wound. Nevertheless, you must try to resist the feeling of itchiness and not scratch or pick the scabs. If the itchiness gets beyond bearable, contact your tattoo artist. Your tattoo artist would recommend an alcohol-free moisturizer. They’ll recommend an alcohol-free moisturizer because using one would slow down the healing process.

Stage # 03:

The third stage appears around the 3rd or 4th-week mark. The tattoo might have dried off completely at this stage, and the feeling of itchiness would also fade away. If your tattoo still has the same redness and itchiness, then it could be a sign of an infection. If that’s the case, then you should seek a doctor’s help immediately. The tattoo may look a lot less colorful, but that doesn’t mean that the vibrancy has faded. This is because a dry layer has taken over your tattoo, which will eventually peel off on its own. Finally, somewhere around month two till month 6, your tattoo will completely heal, revealing a beautiful, vibrant tattoo that you had envisioned on your body. The itchiness and redness should be gone; all the dry skin and scabs should have flaked off, revealing the actual art. Nonetheless, it is advised to carry out your aftercare till the 6th-month mark.

Long term care routine should include steps such as staying hydrated, applying sunscreen, and keeping the tattoo moisturized, especially in dry weather.

Hacks To Reduce Your Healing Time

If you happen to fail to follow the aftercare steps, you’ll most likely be hit with an infection in the area where you have got your tattoo. Here are some ways through which you can prevent the arrival of infection and get to feel great about your tattoo. After the tattoo artist is done, they’ll apply a small layer of ointment and cover the tattoo with a plastic cover. The tattoo artist will also inform you when to take off the cover.

If you wish to take off that plastic cover, you should first wash your hands and clean the area with lukewarm water. When washing the tattooed area, use a mild, unscented soap. As mentioned before, use a moisturizer recommended by your tattoo artist. More tips include not exposing the tattooed area in the sun without applying any sunscreen, try not scratching the scabs as well, and drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Also, clean the area daily, and apply ointment since heavy creams like Vaseline wouldn’t let your tattoo breathe.


While getting a tattoo may seem like a cool idea, its aftercare is vital too. It would help if you also looked out for the symptoms of an infection. Your body will throw signs at you to indicate that the tattoo hasn’t healed properly. If you happen to have a fever accompanied by chills, it could be infected. You must see a doctor immediately. Other signs could be constant redness and inflammation that don’t subside. 

If the area hasn’t healed properly, either pus or fluid might be coming out. Get it checked if you have unbearable itchiness that isn’t going away even after using the recommended moisturizer or if the skin feels puffy or swollen. After the tattoo has been scabbed, it shouldn’t leave a scar, but if it has left a scar, then it means you’re probably infected.  Even though the upper skin would heal in 3 to 4 weeks after getting a tattoo, the entire healing process can take about six months to complete. Therefore, you should carry out the aftercare steps religiously to avoid complications. 

Remember, the tattoo artist has probably made these tattoos many times, and still, there is a reason why aftercare is essential. Once you see your pretty tattoo after the healing process, you’ll be overjoyed by how good it turned out.