Tattoo Healing Stages

A Complete Guide for Tattoo Healing Stages

Brand new tattoos usually undergo some healing process. The process is usually split up into three stages. The tattoo healing stages can even further be split into day-by-day stages.

The articles show some of the stages of the tattoo healing process and I hope it will shade more light about this exhilarating experience.

Our body just works like a machine and it has the ability to heal any type of open wound on the skin. The skin around the tattoo will be regenerate after some time and it will protect the body against bacteria.

Regeneration of the skin around the tattoo is what is termed as a healing process. The process usually undergoes some stages that are outlined in the post below.

How long do tattoos take to heal? Well, it usually depends on various factors but the research shows that it may take between 2 to 3 weeks.

Is my tattoo healing properly? This is the common type of question asked by new tattoo addicts. The healing stages of tattoo described in the post will help you know if your tattoo is healing properly.

Tattoo Healing Stages

The stages of the tattoo healing process include:

Stage One: Tattoo Oozing and Soreness

This is the initial stages of healing immediately you get out of the tattoo’ chair. The region where the tattoo ink was injected become a large open wound.

The blood clotting system begins immediately in order to clot and scab the area so as to stop any form of bleeding.

The tattoo artist is expected to clean the area using antibacterial soap and wrap it until you get home in order to protect the open wound from getting a bacterial infection.

There are different types of tattoo artists in town and each one of them has his or her own experience with the method of wrapping the tattoo. Some will recommend wrapping the tattoo for about 12 to 24 hours.

Try to remove the bandage carefully after time stipulates by the artist elapses. You will notice the skin around the tattoo weeping and oozing blood or ink. This is usually normal since the body is trying to rectify the area.

In the next day, use sensitive fragrance-free soap and warm water to wash the blood around the tattooed skin. Be extra careful by using your finger to clean the clean in a circular motion.

Note: You should never use a rough washcloth to clean the area since it may pull off the drying scab and this may delay the healing process.

In case the area tattooed is big, the region is going to be sore for the first several days and the feeling will be like that of either moderate or severe sunburn.

You will also experience mild flu for some couple of days and this is the reason why the tattooing process is an exhilarating experience. Such type of experience is common among people who have opted for a large tattoo.

However, all these happenings are considered to be normal since this is how the body immune system respond to traumas on the skin.

The skin around the tattoo will also feel warm when you touch. It is recommended to visit a dermatologist in case the feel of warmth stays for long since it can be a sign of bacterial infection.

The soreness will also make the tattooed region to be red in color especially the skin above and this will trigger oozing of blood from the top layer of the skin.

This is the reason why you need to pick an expert who is not rough and does not force the tattoo needle deep into the skin. The bruises will also cause swelling and tenderness around the tattoo area.

If the redness is getting worse day by day, it is recommended to consult your doctor since it can be a tattoo infection.

Clean the tattoo area for about 2-3 times a day in order to remove the blood and ink oozing out. Towards the end, you will notice your tattoo appearing dull and cloudy. The appealing appearance will commence step by step.

Tattoos around the shoulder or side are prone to irritation especially towards the end of this stage. This can result in a lot of discomforts while sleeping but you will be expected to resist any urge of irritation.

Sleeping with fresh tattoos can be difficult and sometimes worrying depending on their location. Fortunately, this will be subsidized after a couple of days and you will return to your normal sleeping style.

Stage Two: Tattoo Itchy and Flaking

This is the worse stage of the healing process due to the extreme itching experience. The first time I got a tattoo on my shoulder, I used to experience a certain form of itching that I was unable to resist.

Why all these dreadful itchings? I kept on calling my artists daily but he kept on telling to man up. Well, I learned that during this stage there is a lot of scabbing that takes place. The scabs are usually hard and the extra one is flaking.

The sensation of itching and flaking usually last for about one week. The skin around become very dry and flaky. This is the worse part I ever experience and for sure I hated the stage.

Therefore, flaking around tattoos is normal but there are some instances you will notice slight peeling of skin around the tattoo. The skin peeling process in most cases can pass without being noticed.

White ink tattoo usually flakes and peel much lighter than dark and thick tattoos. However, you should never get scared or concern about it.

Flaking at this stage occurs due to dryness and the presence of dead skin around the tattoo. The flaking process is the reason behind this dreadful itching.

Therefore, always keep the skin around the tattoo moisturized in order to combat itching sensation. Never should you try to scratch the tattoo since it will ruin the appealing appearance after healing completely?

You can also read one of my article about how to relieve itching tattoo like a pro without ruining the appearance.

Use high-quality fragrance-free lotion to moisturize the region in order to get rid of itching for about 6-7 times in a day. This is typical to prevent the skin from becoming dry but stay hydrated.

Note: Make sure the tattoo is dry before applying the moisturizer. This is because the tattoo scab can soak and become gloopy. It will increase the chance of the tattoo scab to be pulled easily by the bedsheets while sleeping.

Towards the end of the stage, the skin around the tattoo will become flakier and sometimes you will be tempted to pull them. Do not pull the scabs at all. Peeling the scabs prematurely will temper with the healing process and this may also cause delay.

Stage Three: Tattoo Still Looking Dull and Cloudy

Patients pay! This is usually the final stage of the healing process of the tattoo. Almost all the light scabs and flaking skin fall off. However, a few heavy scabs will still be hanging around at this point of the healing stage.

Although the tattoo region will either be slightly sore or sensitive to touch, remember to apply moisturizer until the skin does not appear dry.

The tattoo will appear dull, cloudy and scaly throughout this final healing stage. At some point, it will appear slightly shiny or a little bit glossy.

The normal healing tattoo will appear fade at the end but this should never get into your nerves since it is normal.

The fading appearance is simply because there is still some dead skin layers in the tattoo. However, after some few months, these dead skins will disappear since it will flake off naturally.

The clarity and the appealing appearance of your brand new tattoo will begin to show out although it will be after some two to three months.

The black tattoos at this stage usually appear gray in color but the deep sharp amazing shapes will return to normal after sometimes.

This is the stage where you can check any problem on your tattoo like patchy spots, fading or any form of tattoo blowout that resulted during the tattoo procedure. You can contact your tattoo artist and plan for a touchup.

When is a Tattoo Fully Healed?

Well, the skin usually returns to normal appearance after 2 to 3 weeks but the deeper layers will still be repairing. Do not be scared since it will also go back to normal.

The outer layer of the skin usually heals faster than the deeper layer in order to seal the open wound completely. This is will inhibit invasion of bacteria causing infection from invading.

The deeper layers of the skin usually take about 3-4 months to heal and during this time the clarity of the tattoo begins to appear. The fully appearance and clarity occur after 3-4 months. During this time, any problem associated with a healing tattoo will have been cleared up.

Note: It is quite difficult to detect if a tattoo has healed completely since our body heals differently. There are various factors that determine the healing process like the immune system, size of the tattoo and the tattoo artists.

If about 6-7 months elapse after you had your last piece of the brand new tattoo, then you can boldly say that your tattoo has completely healed.


Ooh God, it is a nightmare to undergo all those experiences after undergoing ink session. However, the experience usually lasts for about 2-3 weeks. I hope the experience was not as bad as you thought.

Here is the summary of the key stages of healing tattoo process:

  • Day 1-2: It is associated with oozing. The leaking begins immediately after you are done with the tattooing process and it will last for a couple of days. You will be expected to put on baggy clothing in order to prevent any form of rubbing.
  • Day 3-6: The tattoo is very raw. You are likely to experience pain, swelling and scabbing. The scabs are usually an indication of proper healing since it prevents oozing of blood or lymphatic fluid.
  • Day 7-14: The skin around the tattoo begins to peel and flake. This will trigger irritation and most case tempting to scratch or pick the scabs. Just apply a good moisturizer and never try to pick the scabs.

Well, it is good to take care of your tattoo during these stages of healing and at the end, you will notice an amazing appearance of the tattoo ink. Congratulation for getting your first tattoo.