Although healing time can vary widely between different people and different tattoos, here is a general guideline of what to expect. Remember that all info is approximate:
- The tattoo is considered “fresh” and vulnerable to infection for about the first three days. During this time period the skin in the area of the tattoo is open and without protection. Your tattoo may be sore and slightly swollen and red during this time. It may also be slightly weepy. It is especially important during this time period to keep your tattoo as clean and dry as possible and avoid any activities that may cause it to come in contact with unclean surfaces. For instance, if you have a recent lower arm tattoo, you have a free get-out-of-doing-the-dishes pass for a few days. While some weeping of the tattoo is normal, especially for the first day, if it continues or the tattoo becomes abnormally red or warm to the touch, please contact us promptly.
- Between days 3-7, your tattoo should look about the same as it did fresh, although it may start to appear gradually drier and duller. Swelling, redness and sensitivity should decrease dramatically during this time period.
- Somewhere between days 7-14 your tattoo will start to peel. Pieces of dry, dead skin saturated in tattoo ink will come off the tattoo, and it will look pretty ugly for a while. This is normal. Just continue to care for the tattoo as usual and after about 2-4 days the peeling should stop. This is also just about the time when the tattoo will often become very itchy. While this is an unpleasant side effect of your skin growing back, it is also completely normal and you should do your best to ignore it. Scratching or picking at the tattoo will damage it so do your best to resist.
- Days 14 – 30. After peeling, your tattoo will look fairly healed. At this point as long as the tattoo is peeled and scab free you can step washing down from twice to once a day, although you should continue with sparing moisturizer application for the remainder of the month.
- Day 30: Congratulations, your tattoo should be pretty well healed at this point. Since the tattoo should be fairly settled now would be a great time to check out your tattoo and see if everything healed the way you wanted it to. If the tattoo was damaged during the healing process or something didn’t turn out quite the way you thought make sure to contact us to schedule a touch up on the piece. Touch ups are free within the first two months (unless you willfully or egregiously damaged the tattoo during the healing process or want to add something that wasn’t in the original design) so make sure to contact us with any concerns.