Welcome to the world of tattoos! If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, one of your most important questions is: how long does a tattoo take to peel?
The answer depends on several factors including the type of ink used and where on your body it’s located. There are also certain steps you can take to ensure your tattoo heals properly and looks its best.
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about how long a tattoo takes to peel and offer useful tips for taking care of your new ink.
What Is Tattoo Peeling?
Tattoo peeling is a natural part of the healing process. As your body heals from the tattooing procedure, it may cause some areas of your skin to peel away. This could leave behind flakes and scabs that should eventually flake off to reveal your beautiful new ink. 
However, it’s important to note that not all tattoos will peel. Some may fade more quickly, while others may take a little bit longer to settle in.
When Does Tattoo Peeling Start And How Long Does It Last?
It’s important to remember that while it may look gross, this is a natural part of the healing process. Your tattoo artist should have given you aftercare instructions on how to best care for your tattoo during this time. Following these instructions can help speed up the healing process and ensure your skin is properly cared for as it peels. 
Is peeling normal?
Yes, it is normal! Peeling is an important step in the tattoo healing process. As the skin heals from receiving a tattoo, it will naturally shed its outer layers to reveal new skin underneath. This shedding of the outer layer typically happens between days three and five after your tattoo appointment.
You may notice some itching during this process, which is normal. The best way to deal with itching is to avoid scratching it and apply a thin layer of moisturizer or ointment instead.
If you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pus-filled bumps, fever, or intense pain around your tattoo area, contact your doctor immediately. These are not normal signs of a healing tattoo and require medical attention. 
Can peeling damage a tattoo?What if it is not peeling?
Peeling is a normal part of the tattoo healing process, and it usually means that your skin is repairing itself and your tattoo is getting ready to settle into its home. However, if too much peeling occurs or if the peeling becomes painful, then this could mean that your tattoo has become infected. In that case, you should contact a professional to get it checked out.
If your tattoo is not peeling, don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean that the healing process has gone wrong. It could just be that your body isn’t producing enough natural oils to allow for proper exfoliation of the top layer of skin. In that case, you should gently exfoliate with a soft brush or cloth to help it peel. Additionally, you may want to consider using a moisturizer made specifically for tattoos since this can also aid in the peeling process. 
Tattoo healing process
The tattoo healing process is a critical part of the entire tattoo experience.
The scabbing phase occurs immediately after the tattoo is completed when the ink starts to dry and form a protective layer over the skin. This typically lasts for about 7-14 days, depending on your individual healing process. During this time, it’s important not to pick at or scratch the scabs. 
What To Do When Your Tattoo Is Peeling?
Allow Your Skin To Peel Off Naturally
When your tattoo is peeling, the first thing you should do is allow it to peel off naturally. Do not try to remove any of the peeling skin yourself as this can cause irritation and damage the healing process. Your body is doing its job by shedding dead skin cells so let it take its course without interference. 
Moisturize Your Skin
It is important to moisturize your skin during the peeling process. This will help keep it hydrated and prevent any further irritation or infection. Using a light, non-scented lotion can provide relief from any itching or discomfort you may experience. Make sure that whatever product you use does not contain alcohol as this can dry out your skin and delay the healing process. 
Clean Your Tattoo Gently
When your tattoo is peeling, it’s important to keep it clean. Gently wash the area with warm water and mild soap at least twice a day. Do not scrub or pick at the area as this can irritate the skin and delay healing. Rinse the area thoroughly afterward and pat dry with a soft towel. 
What Are The Do’s And Don’ts While Caring For A Peeling Tattoo
Do: Wear Loose Clothing
While your tattoo is peeling, it’s important to wear loose clothing that won’t rub against the area and cause further irritation. This will help keep the skin moisturized and allow it to heal properly without any discomfort. 
Do: Keep Your Tattoo Clean
It’s essential to keep the area clean while your tattoo is peeling. Gently wash it with mild soap and warm water several times a day, or as recommended by your artist. Pat the area dry with a clean towel afterward. Avoid scratching or picking at the peeling skin, since this can cause infection or slow down healing. 
Do: Keep Your Tattoo Moist
Keeping your tattoo moisturized is an essential part of the healing process. Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic lotion or cream to keep the area hydrated and help reduce itching and flaking. Reapply whenever needed to ensure the skin remains soft and supple. 
Use water-based cream
Water-based creams are the best option for keeping your tattoo moisturized. Petroleum-based products and other heavy creams can block pores, preventing oxygen from reaching the skin and slowing down healing. If you’re unsure of what type of cream to use, consult with a professional or ask your artist for advice. 
Do: Avoid tanning beds
Both tanning beds and direct sunlight can cause further damage to the skin. Exposure to UV rays can lead to infection, irritation, and further discoloration of your tattoo. When outdoors, be sure to use a high-SPF sunscreen that is specifically designed for tattoos. 
Do: Protect the tattoo from the sun
Once your tattoo is fully healed, it’s important to protect it from the sun. Sun exposure can cause fading and discoloration of colors over time, so always remember to apply sunscreen when outdoors. Wearing light-colored clothing that covers the area can also help reduce the risk of sun damage. 
Do: Avoid moles
Moles, freckles, and scars are all vulnerable to damage during the healing process. If these areas come into contact with the tattoo while it’s peeling, they can become irritated or inflamed. Be sure to avoid them when applying lotion or any other product to the area. 
Do: Seek advice
If you’re unsure of anything while caring for your tattoo, it’s best to seek professional advice. Contact your artist and ask any questions related to the healing process. They will be able to provide better guidance and help ensure that your tattoo heals properly. 
Don’t: Pull Out Flakes
It’s normal for your tattoo to flake or peel during the healing process. However, it is important to avoid pulling out any flakes as this can cause irritation and lead to infection. Let the skin heal naturally and use a gentle moisturizer to help keep it hydrated. 
Don’t: Itch, Scratch, Or Rub The Peeling Tattoo
Itching, scratching, or rubbing the peeling area can cause further irritation and lead to infection. Avoid touching the area unless necessary and make sure your hands are clean before doing so. If itching persists, consult with a professional for advice on how to manage it. 
Don’t: Immerse The Tattoo In Water For A Long Time
Avoid exposing your tattoo to water for extended periods of time. This includes submerging it in the bath or swimming pool. Keep showers brief and avoid soaking the area for more than a few minutes. If you must go swimming, be sure to apply waterproof sunscreen beforehand and pat the skin dry afterward with a clean towel. 
Don’t: Direct Sunlight On The Tattoo
As mentioned earlier, direct sunlight can cause discoloration and fading of the tattoo. So always make sure to avoid exposing the area to direct sunlight for long periods of time. If you must go outside, be sure to apply high-SPF sunscreen specifically designed for tattoos and wear protective clothing that covers the area. 
Signs That A Tattoo Isn’t Healing Correctly
Tattoos take time to heal and normally peeling is a natural part of the healing process. However, if your tattoo isn’t healing correctly there are a few signs that you should look out for.
Another common sign of incorrect healing is a raised scab on the tattoo. This type of scab should never be picked or scratched off and could interfere with the healing process. Instead, try using a gentle moisturizer to help the area heal naturally.
If you experience any excessive itching or burning around the tattoo area, this could also be a sign that it isn’t healing correctly. Try to avoid rubbing or scratching the area as this can cause further damage and delay your tattoo’s healing time. 
When to Contact a Doctor?
Tattoos are a form of body art and can be a great way to express yourself, but sometimes they can cause issues. If you’ve just gotten a new tattoo and notice that it is developing any sort of rash or bumps, it is important to contact your doctor right away. This could be an allergic reaction to the ink, which could cause further irritation or even infection if not treated. Additionally, if you notice any signs of an infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or pus-like discharge coming from the tattoo site, you should contact your doctor immediately. 
If your tattoo is inflamed and itchy, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction. This can happen when the body’s immune system has rejected the ink used in the tattoo. It is important to contact your doctor so they can prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and help with any pain or itching that you are experiencing. 
Excessive itching can be a sign of an infection. It is important to contact your doctor if you experience this, as the sooner it is treated the better. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or recommend topical creams to help with the itchiness. Additionally, they may advise that you avoid scratching or rubbing the area in order to prevent further irritation. 
If you notice any kind of discharge coming from the tattoo site, it is important to contact your doctor right away. This could be a sign of infection, and if not treated promptly, can lead to further complications. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or recommend topical creams in order to reduce inflammation and help with any pain or itching that you are experiencing. 
Tattoos can sometimes leave scarring, especially if the area has not properly healed. If you notice any signs of scarring or discoloration, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible and they may recommend products that can help reduce the appearance of scarring. 
Do you wash your tattoo when it’s peeling?
Yes, it is important to keep your tattoo clean and dry during the peeling process. You should gently wash your tattoo with mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water. After washing, apply a very thin layer of moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and protected. Avoid scrubbing or picking at it while it is peeling.
Should I put lotion on a peeling tattoo?
Yes, it is important to keep your tattoo moisturized during the peeling process. Using a thin layer of fragrance-free lotion will help protect and nourish your skin as it heals. Make sure to apply the lotion in small amounts and avoid rubbing it too hard into the skin.
What do you do when your tattoo is peeling?
The most important thing to do when your tattoo is peeling is to keep it clean and dry. Gently wash your tattoo with mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water, and apply a thin layer of moisturizer afterward. Avoid picking or scrubbing at the area while it is peeling, as this can cause irritation or damage to the tattoo. Additionally, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothing and keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Is the tattoo finished healed after it peels?
No, the tattoo is not finished healing after it peels. When your tattoo starts to peel, this usually means that the outer layer of skin has healed and shed off. However, the deeper layers of the skin may still be healing underneath. It is important to continue to keep your tattoo clean and moisturized in order to help ensure proper healing and prevent infection.
Will my tattoo be brighter after peeling?
In most cases, the color of your tattoo will remain the same after it peels. However, if you had a very dark or saturated tattoo before it peeled, you may notice that some of the colors have lightened slightly. This is normal and expected as part of the healing process.
How often should you moisturize a peeling tattoo?
What happens if you don’t moisturize a peeling tattoo?
If you don’t moisturize your peeling tattoo, it can become dry and cracked. This can lead to irritation and inflammation, as well as an increased risk of infection. Make sure to keep your tattoo clean and moisturized in order to help ensure proper healing and prevent infection.
When can I stop putting lotion on my tattoo?
Once the peeling has stopped and your tattoo is no longer tender to the touch, you can usually stop applying lotion. However, it is still important to keep your tattoo clean and hydrated for up to six weeks after receiving it. This will help ensure that your tattoo heals properly and that its colors remain vibrant.
Why does my tattoo look faded when peeling?
When your tattoo starts to peel, the outer layer of skin has healed and shed off. This can cause some of the colors in your tattoo to appear faded or washed out. However, once the peeling process is complete, you should begin to see the true colors of your tattoo again.
Useful Video: Tattoo Healing Process – Day By Day Tattoo Sleeve
Tattoos take several weeks to heal and can take even longer if they are not properly cared for. The peeling process, which is a sign that your tattoo is healing, usually begins after two or three days and lasts up to two weeks. After the peeling has stopped, it may be another few weeks before your skin has fully healed and the colors of your tattoo are as vibrant as they were when you first got it.
If you have any questions about how long a tattoo peel is, speak with your tattoo artist or doctor for individualized advice and tips on caring for your new artwork. Taking care of your tattoo during the peeling process is key to achieving beautiful results that will last a lifetime.
We hope this article has answered all of your questions about how long it takes for a tattoo to peel.