How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Peel?

After a lot of consideration, you got the first tattoo of your life. Out of the blue, you realize your skin peels off after a few days. For sunburn or allergies, this sign indicates bad things. But in your case, it means the body is slowly recovering. How long does it take for a tattoo to peel? How to take care? Join us to find the useful information below. 

Why Does Your Tattoo Peel?

Take it easy! Peeling is just a normal response of your body. Even if you only have a small tattoo, the needle hurts the subcutaneous layer of your skin regardless. But undoubtedly, the immune system has always had a great defense – it produces certain substances to heal wounds on its own. In other words, scabs indicate wound healing and the formation of new healthier skin.

However, the recovery process takes place only once. It means an old tattoo peeling is abnormal. You need to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.

How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Peel?

It is not easy to give a perfect answer for all cases. Each body has its unique healing process. It depends on the three factors that we will cover below. Basically, your body has to go through the following stages:

The Process Of Peeling Tattoo

Stage 1: Open Wound

Tattooing means breaking the skin structure and forming an open wound. Immediately, the body kicks in its defenses and begins to heal.

Tattoo needle causes open wound

During this stage, burning or stinging is inevitable, but the degree of pain varies from person to person. You can understand that your body is patching up the gaps, which can take up to a week. It would help if you kept the wound clean to avoid infection.

Stage 2: Drying And Peeling

By the second week of the date of your tattoo, the wound is less swollen. Now, you receive a new unpleasant sensation – itching. Like other types of damage, it shows the regeneration of a new skin layer.

It is also the reason for the peeling. The wound gradually turns darker and scabs over. After 1-2 weeks, it falls off naturally. It is best when you limit scratching or arbitrarily touching this wound. 

Read more: How to stop tattoo itching

Stage 3: Healing

Congratulations! Your body has completed its healing process. You no longer feel any sensation around the tattooed area.

Your tattoo takes 2-4 weeks to heal

The old cuticle disappears and reveals the true color of the tattoo in the dermis. Now, you can finally enjoy the perfect work of art on your skin after days of waiting. 

Three Factors Affect The Peeling Tattoo

As mentioned above, the following factors determine the recovery time of your tattoo:

Tattoo Size

Large wounds always take longer to heal because skin cells have to work over a larger area. For large tattoos, it can take at least two weeks for the scabs to disappear completely. In contrast, the healing process only lasts about one week with small ones with less ink.

Tattoo Location

Areas of skin that are less protected and exposed to the outside environment often take longer to heal. Some typical parts include wrists, ankles, and elbows.

Besides, sensitive areas are more difficult to peel. As a result, it prolongs the time for the tattoo to show up fully. By comparison, soft areas like the back scab more quickly. 

Aftercare Process

Keep your tattoo clean and fresh
Keep your tattoo clean and fresh

What to do and not to do for a new tattoo? You need to pay a lot of attention to these things. 

The right aftercare tips promote faster recovery. Monitor your wound daily and take the appropriate routine to prevent infection. If you are still unsure how to take care of your brand-new tattoo, do not miss out on the next section.

How To Take Care The Peeling Tattoo

Good Things For Quick Healing

In essence, a new tattoo is an open wound. That’s why you need to keep it clean to prevent the risk of infection. It is also the key to a speedy recovery. 

You should wrap the damaged area with protective film on the first day (or as directed by the tattooist) and in the contaminated places. At night, gently wash the tattoo with an antibacterial, fragrance-free soap.

Utilizing an antibacterial soap to clean the tattoo

Then, allow the wound to dry completely by using paper towels. Sponges, loofahs, or bath towels are not a good choice because they can smudge your tattoo or affect the scab.

Besides, we highly recommend using moisturizing cream moderately, especially at stage 2 of the healing process. It calms the peeling tattoo and eases the itching sensation. Vitamins and minerals in the cream also help nourish the skin to become healthier.

Last but not least, you should let all the scabs fall off naturally. Any improper impact leads to bad consequences for your skin. If you are not too sure about what is prohibited, refer to the section below.

Things You MUST Not Do

Pick Your Tattoo

Peeling the scab off is helpful for sunburn, but not in this case. The scabs stick to the dermis even though it is about to fall off. You have to wait for the right moment when everything happens naturally.

Picking your tattoo only leads to the misalignment of the ink and skin damage. The worst-case scenario is you completely lose your tattoo and get an unwanted scar instead. We bet you all do not want to experience this, do you?  

Wax The Damaged Area

Using a razor and hot wax for the injured area is never a good idea. This action causes pain and even spreads bacteria. They damage the skin cells that your body is trying to heal.


Rub The Wound

It is recommended to use paper towels instead of bath towels because damaged skin is very weak and vulnerable. Roughness causes the scabs to peel off before their natural due time.

Bandage The Tattoo For A Long Time

Skin cells need to absorb oxygen to carry out the regeneration process. In contrast, a long-term bandage impedes this process. You should only do this tip in the first few days. After that, exposing your skin to fresh air is the best way for the healing process.

Make The Injured Area Moist

Water can penetrate the dermis and displace the tattoo ink. Humid environments are also favorable conditions for the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Keep the tattooed area dry to avoid infection. 

Exposure To Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight always has a bad cause on the skin, especially damaged skin. It causes a sudden change in skin cells. Blistering is the most typical effect. As a result, recovery may have to be restarted.

In Conclusion

We have just shown you the answer to How long does it take for a tattoo to peel? in this article. During your recovery, you need to be patient and follow the right routine. A new tattoo is always sensitive and requires more care than usual. If it has any unusual changes, contact your doctor immediately. 

We hope that the information above can help you to shorten the wait time for your tattoo.

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