What To Do When Tattoo Peels: Useful Tips from a Professional

Even the best tattoo can be damaged if aftercare is poor and improper. This article will show you what to do if your tattoo is peeling and how to keep it in its original form.

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So, finally, you have made a tattoo that you have long dreamed of. That's great! However, improper aftercare during the tattoo peeling can cause scarring, result in a poor looking tattoo, or even worse things such as a staphylococcal infection. The tattoo can be spoiled if you don't take care of it properly. So how to deal with the tattoo peeling and maintain it colourful and vibrant?

Each artist has its own version of the instructions for caring for the tattoo. The first recommendation is to listen to the advice of your tattoo artist. If you choose a good artist, he or she will give detailed instructions and you should take care of the tattoo, strictly following them. Think of your tattoo as a product that is under warranty – if it is not properly cared, this may invalidate the warranty. You must keep the tattoo bandage in place for two to twenty-four hours. Make sure the bandage is covered with a good, thick layer. It is needed to protect your tattoo from airborne bacteria that can penetrate damaged skin. Wet the bandage with warm water, it is not necessary but recommended if it sticks to the skin.

General recommendations for tattoo care in the first days after application:

  • Remove the film after 6-12 hours (this is individual, you must adhere to the tattoo artist's recommendations);
  • Wash your tattoo twice a day with liquid soap at least in the first two weeks. After washing, moisten your skin with a cotton swab and let it dry completely. Then, apply a non-greasy moisturizing cream or alcohol-free lotion and cover with a film again. Repeat the whole procedure 2-3 times a day for the first three days.
  • You can't go in for sports on the first day after application, but sometimes longer - if the tattoo is placed so that it constantly rubs on clothes and/or it can be profusely filled with sweat.
  • Make sure that the clothes do not injure or rub the skin, while it should cover the tattoo from the sun and dust. It is also important to note that tight clothes worn in the first 2-3 weeks can make your tattoo paler. So, make sure your clothes are loose.
  • Do not take a bath or shower for a long time. Under the influence of moisture, the skin wrinkles, which can ruin the pattern. The maximum time in the water is 10 minutes.
  • Chlorinated water in the pool and salt water in the sea can damage the pattern.
  • The skin condition improves if the correct water balance is kept in the body. Therefore, drink at least 2 liters of water per day. Follow always this useful recommendation.
  • If there is an unpleasant smell from the tattoo, purulent discharge, then you need to urgently consult a doctor.

Do's and Don'ts

During the tattoo healing (including when the tattoo peels), you should carefully follow the rules for caring for it. Otherwise, you can slow the healing process or even worsen your condition.
Remember the given important recommendations when your tattoo is peeling:
  • Don't tear off or pull off the peeling skin. If you do not heed this advice, you will do the worst of what you can do while the tattoo heals. Sometimes it just seems to you that the skin is peeling and ready to come off but it may still contact with living cells. In this case, you risk tearing it together with a part of the ink, which means that the tattoo will be heterogeneous in color. The conclusion is as follows: let everything run its natural course, do not interfere in the process.
  • Don't scratch the tattoo when itching. Yes, it's not easy, but otherwise you risk damaging the tattoo area. In addition, your nails provide the "shelter" for thousands of germs, which means that by scratching your damaged skin, you can cause an infection.
  • Moisturize your tattoo. Use pharmacy lotions and ointments for this, containing a maximum of useful substances that help restore the lipid barrier (and therefore the protective functions) of the skin. In addition, with the help of moisturizing, you will give the tattoo a more decent look and get rid of itching. You should anoint your tattoo as often as possible.
  • Keep your tattoo clean. To do this, you can use a special soap. A clean tattoo always heals more easily, stops peeling faster, and usually does not bring any trouble.
  • Be patient and wait until your tattoo heals completely. There is no other way to get a spectacular tattoo - large or small, black and white, or color! Any permanent pattern on the skin provokes its peeling. Live with it and get ready to be patient just a little.
Is it Normal for a Tattoo to Peel?
Peeling and flaking of a tattoo is a perfectly normal and natural process. During the procedure of applying the ink, the needles of the tattoo-machine penetrate the skin about 1000 times every minute. And, as a result, the entire area of the skin where the tattoo is located becomes an open wound.
healing tattoo
The body of any person has the property of self-healing, that is, an open wound is covered with a protective layer of rough skin. A healthy layer of skin will be restored under this layer. When the skin reaches its normal state, the protective layer will come off. A kind of flaking will begin. This is the reason why the tattoo is peeling.

For example, we can give as an example a well-known situation - falling on the knees, which resulted in bruises. The injured area is covered with a crust, but after some time it disappears. This situation is almost identical to that considered within this article.

Why Is Your Tattoo Peeling?

The skin is a huge and very significant organ that is constantly renewed. Every day we lose thousands of epidermal cells without noticing it. However, a fresh tattoo that begins to peel allows us to see this process with our own eyes.

Even if the flakes of dead skin are not just white but colored, this does not mean that the tattoo will look faded, losing most of the ink used. The ink is introduced too deep and will not be able to peel off with the cells of the epidermis. Peeling will in no way damage your tattoo.

Visually, it may seem like ink is crawling out onto the surface - that often happens. Excess pigment content goes out of the skin and dead particles of the epidermis begin to come off. Thus, if the skin is peeling off your painted tattoo - this is not a reason for worries. The main thing is to fight the desire to scratch or pick away the crusts. Even if the tattoo is actively peeling, continue to gently rinse this area of the skin and moisturize. All the excess will come off by itself, shaved hair will grow and will add unpleasant itching and even irritation. You can relieve inconvenient symptoms by patting the flaking spot lightly.

When does the tattoo begin to peel?

It depends on the individual characteristics of a person. For someone, the skin starts peeling in a few days after a visit to the tattoo parlour, for someone - a week. It is determined only by genes. If you know that a new tattoo will inevitably peel off, you will be easy-going about this natural stage of healing. However, do not lean over backwards and constantly inspect your tattoo, waiting for the epidermis to begin to flake. Everything has its time, rely on your body. The tattoo will be peeling within about a week. In areas such as wrists and elbows, exfoliation of the epidermis lasts longer, and on softer parts of the body - less. A healed tattoo may begin to peel again. However, the second time, it does not look so disastrous and goes much faster.

How To Care For Your Skin After A Tattoo Application?

When, due to a tattoo, the skin is flaking and peeling much, you can alleviate the situation with antibacterial ointments. You can use them for the first few days and then switch to lotions, but without dyes and flavors. Your tattoo artist should recommend to you good anti-peeling remedies for your skin.

If your skin starts peeling on the tattoo, try to avoid direct sunlight in this area. When going to the beach, apply a high-quality sunscreen cream to the body. Exposure of a tattoo to direct sunlight is the main cause of fading of the tattoo, but after a few months, you can sunbathe.

As for lotions, they should be applied after washing. Qualitatively moisturized skin will not peel so much. If the moisturizers do not help when tattoo peels, and purulence or other strange discharge appears on the surface, it means that infection was probably introduced. Consult a doctor who will prescribe a suitable remedy.

Everyone who at least once resorted to the services of a tattoo artist noticed that the tattoo can peel during the healing process. Many (especially beginners) are worried about this and often ask the artist: "Is this normal?" First, calm down. Yes, that's really normal. If you are a man, then you will understand the analogy of a beard growing. At first, the hair on the chin looks heterogeneous and, in addition, everything itches terribly. However, over time, the beard grows, becomes soft, and the itching disappears. The same thing will happen with your tattoo, which peels and itches: just wait out the period of discomfort, helping yourself with special remedies. Even if your skin peels off with the ink, and the tattoo looks so unaesthetic that you are afraid to look at it, this is a good sign. This phenomenon is part of the natural healing process.

How Often Should You Wash A New Tattoo?

It is best to wash before you go to get a tattoo, so that later you can do without a shower and not wash for at least two days, or preferably three ones. The film, which is formed from ointment, can get wet, the water with infections will penetrate a fresh tattoo and the ichor will flow again. Therefore, tattoo artists advise doing so. If you have an urge to wash in a day and you are not afraid of getting a "prison tat" because of complications during the healing, then smear it thickly with ointment, cover with cling film, and wash in the shower with water as cold as possible. Then, get out of the shower, carefully remove the film and the excess ointment (without washing out the tattoo, but only wiping it).

If you start to wash on the third day, you can simply apply a thick layer of ointment on the tattoo. You can wash under a cool shower, but you should not wash the tattoo. The water should roll off out from there like from an oily surface.

Then, after the tattoo has healed, at first, it is recommended after washing to moisturize the tattoo with "baby cream". And do not rub your tattoo with a washcloth for the first two months.

If during healing or after, the itching, small pimples, redness, etc will appear in the tattoo area or nearby, this means that your body does not respond correctly to the pigment under the skin (a kind of allergy to tattoos).

The duration of healing depends on the characteristics of the body, type of skin, the place where the tattoo is made. Usually, complete healing takes 1 month, climatic conditions also play an important role. The main requirement to achieve a good result is to ensure proper care. To deal with the healing of your peeling tattoo in the best way, maintaining it colourful and vibrant, you should follow all the recommendations given in this article. The look of your tattoo depends on your care for it the most important first days and weeks!