How long does a tattoo take to heal?

….. I was asked this on Twitter recently and you can’t answer that question in 140 characters! It’s just not that easily answered but it’s a great question – it depends on these factors:

Where on the body your new ink is.
Clothes can rub on the new tattoo – different fabrics will be more harsh than others – denims, tight clothes, leggings – leggings have rubbery elastic through them, that can really irritate a new tattoo and prolong the healing process – it’s a really good idea to wear loose cotton clothing.  Rubbing in general will irritate the new tattoo -cover it during your working day if necessary – making sure you uncover and wash it as soon as you are home again (so it can breathe) and reapply TINKture.

Is your new tattoo colour or black & grey?
Colour tattoos can take longer – this is because of what is in the ink – there are metals in coloured ink and these can be hard for the body to accept. Sometimes the body will reject the colour all together and push it out – this is a painful process too. Other times the body just takes time to accept the new colours (red is the hardest to heal).  The area can become quite tender to touch, can feel a little hot and swollen.  This is another reason why a specifically made tattoo aftercare product must be used. For example, TINKture contains anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, analgesic & antiseptic/antimicrobial/antibacterial properties that will help to relieve symptoms experienced by reaction to ink colours. Black & grey tattoos ‘should’ be relatively easy to heal.

Are you well?
Having a tattoo is quite a process for the body to deal with – especially if the piece is larger and/or you are getting tattooed regularly (every 2-4 weeks) over a period of time. The process of getting new ink causes pain and stress, the body reacts to that by pumping adrenalin through you – fight or flight kicks in – and this is all to help cope with the pain.  You may have experienced feeling really exhausted after your session, even feel like you are getting a cold or flu, your glands may swell in your neck / under your arms. This is your body dealing with the process.  If you are unwell, your immunity levels are lower than normal, your body will be trying to get you better from that and now you’ve added another complication of pumping foreign matter into you – your body will be going wwaaahhhhhhhhh! If this is happening your tattoo is going to take longer to heal.

If you have an ongoing health condition – accept that healing a tattoo may take longer than someone who is healthy.  I highly recommend you spend a week or two before your appointment building your immunity.  It can make a huge difference (I’m speaking from experience).  This is the product I use 1-2 weeks before an inking session if I’ve been sick or am having sittings close together – Le’Esscience Chill out & Boost.  I have recently recommended this to a lovely lady who experiences reactions to tattoo inks – when she uses this daily a week or two before her tattoo session, the reaction symptoms don’t happen!

First sitting, subsequent sittings, touch-ups.
First sitting tattoos will probably take the longest to heal – all going well, and depending on the above factors (oh and if you are using TINKture, as directed) your new ink should be healed between 7-14 days.  The skin could still be a little sensitive to touch in some areas – complete cell regeneration can take from 3-6 months, TINKture has properties that assist cell regeneration so its ideal to keep using once a day for as long as you feel necessary.

Subsequent sittings can take just as long if your sitting is a lengthy one and in a new area (but the same tattoo) – if it’s just to complete some colours or add shading, the healing stage should be a little quicker – touch ups usually heal even quicker (7 days). Again, this is if you are using TINKture as directed.

Reaction to ink colours / pigment rejection.
Certain colours are harder to heal than others (red is the hardest), some people’s bodies accept ink colours better than others but if you do experience a reaction to an ink colour(s) or pigment rejection, expect the tattoo to take up to a week longer to heal.  TINKture has antihistamine properties that will help to relieve symptoms so keep using it!  It can also be helpful to take an antihistamine tablet daily for a few days.  This will help relieve the itching that can be apparent.  Reaction to ink colours usually show by a specific colour healing harder (than the rest of the colours on your tattoo), it could be more raised, more tender to touch, be more red around it – you may also get little red itchy spots around the tattoo, sometimes through it too – I reiterate, keep using TINKture and use TINKture on those spots too.

Sometimes you may need a touch up from your tattoo artist if you do experience this

So in a nutshell, and if you are using TINKture (as directed), all going well, your new tattoo should be well enough healed in 10-14 days.  It is safe to use TINKture daily for as long as you need.

Now this post is certainly not meant to put you off being inked! It’s more so you can prepare yourself, but it also reconfirms why a specific product is essential to assist in healing your new tattoo.

TINKture is absolutely unique in the fact that when it was developed, all these factors written above, were taken into account – there is even an ingredient in TINKture that helps to balance the central nervous system!

Cara’s beautiful tattoo by Pepe of Bohemian Tattoos – Cara used TINKture, as directed, and this wonderful piece of body art was healed by day 10 – a marvelous result!

© Copyright Le’Esscience Limited.
All Rights Reserved.
Company Registered in New Zealand.

The recipe and ingredients of TINKture Tattoo Aftercare are a ‘Trade Secret’ and are protected as such under strict secrecy guidelines .  TINKture is made from high grade 100% pure essential oils & carrier oils.
TINKture is the product of Clinical Aromatologist and business woman Gillian Parkinson of Le’Esscience Limited.  Gillian has a practice in Roxburgh, Central Otago, New Zealand where she sees clients on a consultation basis and prepares 100% natural essential oil complimentary health products using pure high quality essential oils, and carrier oils.  Le’Esscience Limited was formed in 2009.

67 Comments Add yours

  1. kane weatherall says:

    the nappy cream can cause all sorts of skin problems .when using on the legs it will make you itch and cause a nasy rash and big spots.its ment for a childs bum and thats it .and it also can take the colour out of the tattoo

    1. says:

      Hi there,

      I had a tat almost 2 months ago, my artist said i should apply vaseline, but got n rash and after 3 days applied bum cream the tattoo healed nicely, but I have these big spots around my tat where the rash was, jus wanted to find out will these big spots go away or can I use sumthing for these spots to go away. Any help would be appreciated,

      1. Le'Esscience says:

        Hello Kane, it sounds as though you’ve had an allergic reaction of some sort – can I please suggest you buy an antihistamine cream and use that on the rash. Vaseline is terrible for healing as it is a barrier and blocks pores – not good advice to give you!!

  2. Mili says:

    I just got my first tattoo, its pretty big, covering my whole calf and some of my thigh. The healing process seemed to be going well, i was feeling in some places. But in the last couple of days the tattoo has become very dry and does not feel like part of my skin, like if one layer of skin needs to come off, but its not really peeling anymore.
    My ink is black and red and i have had it for 10 days.
    Im very worried that it will not heal and that it will feel like a “second skin forever”

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hello Milli

      What aftercare are you using and how often? As long as your tattoo isn’t ‘sore to touch’ it doesn’t sound as though any bad is going on – without seeing a picture of it too, it’s hard to tell where it’s at. Remember your new ink is a wound so it will go through the stages of healing and part of that is peeling, dryness and feeling tender. Aftercare is very important which is why I was asking what you are using? If you are using TINKture, apply little and often, carry the bottle around with you and as soon as you feel discomfort or it feels dry, add another thin layer – it’s just SO good at aiding and speeding the healing process. Thank you for contacting me Milli, feel free to get back to me if you need to. Kindest

  3. Lisa says:

    I did my tattoo over 2 weeks ago and now the red part looks terrible. It is two different colors and yesterday it was painful to touch. I went to my doctor and he told me it was not infected. But it does not look good. It has scabs and it’s raised. Am I being to worried or is it the normal process.

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hello Lisa, it sounds as though you are having a reaction to the red ink – this can be quite common. What are you currently using on it as aftercare? There are a few options you can do to lesson the symptoms and help the healing process – you can take antihistamines (get a pack from your pharmacy, a brand that provides 24 hours relief and take 1 a day for the next 3-4 days. You can bathe the area in warm water and pure lavender essential oil (1 cup to 6 drops, do this about 3-5x a day) Lavender is antiseptic, antibacterial but also cell regenerating so will help assist the healing process. If you are unable to get TINKture in a hurry (ie: overseas otherwise I can get a bottle to you overnight if in NZ), you could get 10mls of extra virgin olive oil & add 6 drops of Lavender and apply that 4-5x a day (a thin layer).

      Try not to worry, it will come right but will just take longer but also, you may need a touch up if your body rejects bits of the red and pushes it out. I hope this is helpful Lisa, let me know if you have any further questions. Kindest Gillian

  4. Amy says:

    Hi, I got a wrist tattoo 16 days ago, its an outline, no color filled. It didn’t really changed much during the two weeks, still feels like there’s an extra layer on top of the skin thats tattooed, maybe its scab? I’m not sure, its very thin. Its also very dark, i’m expecting the color to fade actually. does this sound like its still healing? I feel like the top layer should come off or something, but its just not changing at all….

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hello Amy, was the tattoo quite painful to have done? I’m wondering if its a bit of scar tissue – does it feel like a bit of a ridge? Certain areas of the body are harder to get ink in so sometimes the artist has to go a bit deeper – it can cause scarring (not putting down your artist AT all, it just happens sometimes, especially on areas of the skin where it’s thinner).

      1. Amy says:

        No actually, not really. It feels raised, higher than the rest of the skin.

      2. Le'Esscience says:

        Are you able to email me a pic? I’ll be able to tell easier Thank you

  5. venu says:

    Hi.. I had got a wrist tattoo 4 days ago.. Its just an outline.. Can I fill it after two weeks.. It won’t be any problem right filling after 2 weeks

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      should be absolutely fine – some artists like to wait 3 weeks but if it’s on the outline, I’ve had two weeks between sittings fine – however, I was healing with TINKture which does aid and speed the healing process 😀

  6. Callum says:

    I had a tattoo 4 days ago and its nearly healed, the scabbing process has already begun and the tattoo bruising is down to basically nothing. Would it be okay to wear a long sleeve shirt to cover the tattoo for work?

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      It could be fine – if you find it irritates, cover with cling film while at work – when you get home, wash & reapply your tattoo aftercare.

  7. Dulce says:

    Hi ,
    I got a new tattoo just yesterday on the left side of my back , im putting A&D cause that’s what my tattoo artist recommended to use. So i was just wondering if i’d be able to wear cotton shirts to work cause i work in a daycare & of course i have to cover it up. Cotton clothing is all i got but will it ruin my tattoo & how long do i have to keep putting A&D on ??

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hi Dulce

      A&D is very thick isn’t it? I would suggest you put on a light layer of A&D and then cover with cling film while you are working otherwise your shirt will get stained but also the fabric will rub on the new tattoo and irritate it. When using TINKture, we suggest using for 14 days but A&D could be longer – say 3 weeks (TINKture is unique in that it actually aids and speeds the healing process). Make sure when you are home you uncover the area, wash and reapply the aftercare.

      1. Dulce says:

        Ok thanks so much !

  8. nick says:

    Hey, i got my first tattoo on my inner arm two days ago, do you have any idea how long this is going to take to heal? And what lotion can i apply when it starts to peel? At the moment I’m using A&D

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Thanks for your contact. The only tattoo aftercare I would recommend is TINKture as it actually aids and speeds the healing process, is 100% natural and made specifically for healing tattoos. We ship worldwide so maybe when you get your next one you’ll order a bottle from our website!

  9. Andrew says:

    I’ve been getting tattooed for some time now and just got a piece added to my arm about a month ago, all my work is black and grey however this new tattoo seems to have a reddish tint to it still and does not blend with my other b&g work. I do tend to take a long time to heal, and it is over 100 degrees where I live which I’ve been told can slow healing down a bit. Just wanted to know if anyone’s had this issue before.

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Sorry, have been away and just seen this. How is it now? What did you use to assist in the healing?

  10. anaiz says:

    Hello my bf got a tactoo black ink but around the tactoo is black kind of like the ink rubbed it’s been a couple of months and it still look the same what those this mean

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      It sounds as though the ink has “blown out” – hard to tell without seeing a picture. Best to go back to your tattoo artist and see if he can touch it up.

  11. Guy says:

    Hello, I’ve got two chest pieces one above each nipple. They are black and graywash, roughly 60 hours ago so 2 1/2 days ago. They are cover UPS and I know they are still kinda fresh. My question is are they still suppose to be red all the way around them? Burn when I wash with antibacterial soap? Burn for the first few minutes after applying triple antibiotic on them?

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hello Guy, yes they could still be red around them, kinda feel like sunburn? But what tattoo aftercare are you using though? The triple antibiotic could be too strong and burning the area though if it burns for the first few mins. Is this product made for healing tattoos? If not, it’s possibly not for this purpose – hard to know when I don’t know exactly what you are using.

  12. Emily Morgan says:

    Hello, I got a small cross tattoo about a week ago on my finger and I have noticed it’s beginning to crack. I’m worried ink has come out. I have been applying bepanthen 2-3 times a day and washing my hands to prevent infection. Could I be washing them to much?

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Bepanthan isn’t a good option for aftercare – unfortunately because in the past there was no other option for aftercare, it’s just become habit that that’s what recommended and it is known to draw ink out of tattoos. You just may need it to be touched up in a couple of weeks. It will be a great day when people use a product that is made specifically to assist healing tattoos and even better, it’s a natural product (like TINKture Tattoo Aftcare).

  13. Bridgette Lopez says:

    I had a small cross done on my arm 9 days ago and it was healing pretty well but my dog jumped on me a tore part of the scab off and now it look bad ive been using my treatment. Will it heal normaly or will it leave a scar?

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hey Bridgette

      It could if it was deep enough – you may just need a touch up. I’m not sure what you are using, TINKture is brilliant with scarring if you need some – we ship worldwide.


  14. Rochelle says:

    Hi there… I’ve just had a tattoo touched up – it’s a silhouette and completely black, I’ve just checked it & it appears that the colour has ‘dropped’ again… Is this normal, and will I have to perhaps have to go back for another re-touch? Tx

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hey Rochelle

      Where is it on your body? I’ll be able to give you more help if you tell me that 😀

      Thank you


      1. Rochelle says:

        Hi there, It’s on my back…..

  15. Danielle says:

    Hi.. I just recently got a tattoo and I am still in the healing process of it, I got a tribal piece which is all black, but I have a couple white spots that appear on the tattoo, is that normal or should I be concerned? I have other tattoos and I never experience white spots.

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Its hard to make a call on this when I can’t see a pic of it – is it raised or itchy?

      1. Danielle says:

        Hi.. No it has not raised nor is it itchy, and this is day 13

  16. William D says:

    Hi i got my first tattoo 2 months ago. Its a black color tattoo. I have been taking good care of it and expect it to be healed by now but the tattoo still looks raised under direct light and also i can see little dark spots around the tattoo and there is one spot i can feel bumpy when i run finger on it. Im really worried that my artist might run needle way too deep or overworked on my skin. I heard this may result scarring. I been depressed i cant sleep or eat because of this problem. I will send u pictures. Please tell me your opinions thank u …William D

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      It’s not uncommon to have skin overworked unfortunately-sometimes touching it up can help to smooth out bumps…. I would need to see pictures to make an accurate diagnosis though.

  17. fabs says:

    Good day
    I made my first butterfly tattoo 7 days ago that is coloured In with red ink and it looks very raw where it was coloured in. Should I be worried and what can I used.

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      It sounds as you are having an allergic reaction to the red ink! Get some TINKture – we ship worldwide – it will aid and speed the healing process and help with the allergic reaction you are experiencing.

  18. jenny says:

    Hello! I got my first tattoo 3 weeks ago and has been healing well! However, there are small black ink dots around some of the tattoo, Im wondering if these will come off? They don’t hurt or anything

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hi Jenny, it’s really hard to tell without seeing it – they aren’t wee dots which are part of the tattoo?

  19. jenny says:

    can i send a pic?

  20. I got a tattoo done on my arm 2 days back. But some part of the original design is missed out. Can I get it altered now only…. Or will shall I get it done after it heals…..? Please anyone reply

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      I have responded to your FB message by suggesting you visit artist immediately to show them what requires touching up and book an appt for 14-21 days time to have the work done.

  21. Mike says:

    Hey! I got An all black tattoo about 5 months ago and it healed fine except some parts healed a lighter black than others. So 3 months after I got it I went to go get those lighter spots touched up in hopes the tattoo would look one solid color of black. It’s been 2 months now and it’s still wrinkly and when you hold it in a certain lighting the spots are a completely different shade of black. I can send a picture as well. Feedback would be appreciated! Thanks

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      A picture would be handy thank you!

      1. Mike says:

        I just emailed you (:

  22. Amy says:

    I’ve been getting tattoos, both black and white and colour, for a good few years now. I’ve used Bepanthen on every single one and they’ve turned-out perfect, no colour fading or anything. But I got a tattoo a few days ago on my forearm and its so so sore. Its raised, red, very tender. Normally I’m a quick healer and I’ve never had any problems with any of my other tattoos on my arms. Its a Unilow (not 100% on how it’s spelled) with a music note at the top of it. Nothing flash but by good Jesus it hurts like hell. Any advice?

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hi Amy, is it coloured at all or just black?

      1. Amy says:

        Just black. There’s no shading either. It’s just line work.

  23. Le'Esscience says:

    If it’s inflamed as well as sore to touch, I would go to a pharmacy and buy and antiseptic cream, it sounds as though it could be infected or your body is struggling accepting the ink.

  24. Staci Dance says:

    How soon after getting a tattoo are you able to go swimming in a pool or ocean? My husband just surprised me with a trip to the Islands which would be exactly 3 weeks I had my tattoo what do you recommend I do?

    1. Le'Esscience says:

      Hello Staci, hopefully you will use a specific product to aid the healing of your new tattoo – if you do and it heals easy, 2-3 weeks is a good time period. It will also depend on how big the tattoo is too – the larger the tattoo the more time it will need for healing. I ship TINKture worldwide if you would like to use a premium product that aids and speeds the healing of new ink – it’s available here: Thank you for the contact! Kindest Gillian

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