Signs of a Healing Tattoo | How Long for a Tattoo to Heal


Hey, guys and welcome to the site. So today, I am going to be doing the very much long awaited; how long for a tattoo to heal or the signs of a healing tattoo. I know you guys really wanted to know what the signs of healing tattoo are. For those of you who have never done a tattoo before and this is all sort of new to you; I am here to tell you from my own personal experiences what the common signs for a healing tattoo are.


Many of you should know that I am not a professional tattoo artist. You should always seek the advice of a professional if you are having any specific problem with your tattoo. So basically, what I would be covering in this article is, what is going to be happening after you get the tattoo, the signs of healing later on throughout the process and also things to look out for in case of an infection and things not to do.

How Long for a Tattoo to Heal

So let’s go ahead and get started on. I’ve been getting tattoos for exactly 3 years now on November 16th it would have been 3 years. SO, I kind of know how long for a tattoo to heal. I have experienced a lot of healing times with all of my tattoos. Some of them are quite big, and some of them are quite small. So I’ve experienced all sorts of different things but usually in general how long for a tattoo to heal can range from 2 to 8 weeks depending on the size and location. So if you have a very big tattoo it can take longer to heal but if you have like a little tiny small tattoo it will not take that long.

Usually right after you get the tattoo,  your skin starts to heal the area and where ever you get the tattoo your skin will start to feel very raw, very bruise and just kind of rough. It is also going to be sore and tender. It is very normal so if you are someone who has just got your first tattoo you and you’re wondering why you are a little bit sore & tender nothing to really worry about because that is something that’s very common with tattoos and healing of tattoos as well.

Healing Tattoos can Be Messy

Another thing with the healing tattoos is sometimes there can be a little bit of blood present especially if your tattoo artists isn’t that experienced or for some reason you are just a bleeder. There can be a little bit of blood involved just make sure it’s not excessively bleeding. Excessive bleeding is not really a good thing but a little bit of blood is normal. If it is starting to bleed a lot you can simply just take a Kleenex and simply dab the blood off the tattoo. You don’t need to necessarily clean or sterilize it or anything like that, but a little bit of blood is normal as well.


Another first initial sign of healing is swelling. That is a definite sign, I remember when I got my foot tattoo, and I think it was that night I even posted a picture of it on my social media & you too can see it to the left of the paragraph. My foot got very swollen, and it was like twice that size of this.


The number one thing I recommend is icing it. Either take a bag of veggies from your freezer and just plop on the tattoo or a pilot a cold compress to the tattoo that can also help. But you’re really just kind of let it take its course, you can’t make the swelling go away, right away. You just have to ice it and because your body is going into shock when you getting a tattoo I mean the needle is going in and out of your skin at million miles an hour so if there is going to be swelling your skin’s going to be very shocked.

So those are usually the first initial signs of a healing tattoo. Another question I normally get is that I just got a tattoo yesterday, and I went to blot it and some ink came out is that normal? Yes that is normal, that can mean one of two things. one, your skin is just swelling, and it’s pushing some of the ink out of your skin or number 2 you’re using too much ointment on the tattoo. When you are healing a tattoo you do not want to suffocate it with ointment and the one that I mean I use right had to use is A & D ointment. You can get it from pretty much anywhere at Walgreens CVS in my area or mainly any drug store where you may live. So that is what I use on my tattoos, and when you are using too much of it you’re suffocating the tattoo which causes the ink to drop out of it. So, you only need just a thin layer of the ointment or whichever you’re using.

Ink Coming out

If you’re noticing a lot of ink bleeding from your fresh tattoo, you are using too much ointment or that’s just what sometimes happens with tattoos. Usually with every tattoo I get there always is a little bit of ink bleeding because for some reason with my skin. I don’t know what it is, but I have a very sensitive skin type, and my skin doesn’t necessarily appreciate tattoos. So usually when I get a tattoo it’s going to need at least 2 touch ups because my skin just doesn’t like to accept the ink.

You could also be that way too. Your skin could just be very very sensitive but as time passes with the tattoo your going to notice a few other different things with the healing process. All the first one is that you will notice as time goes on the tenderness and the swelling of the tattoo will go down and then you will start to get into the peeling itching dry stage. When you get the tattoo & the ink is being put into your skin you’re going to be losing that top layer of skin. So, when you got a tattoo when you look at it that’s not necessarily what your tattoo looks like because after peeling, it will finally reveal what the tattoo actually looks like. On your skin which is usually when you can determine whether or not you need to touch up or not. So, when you notice it start to peel, it’s going to look kind of like sunburn. If you’ve ever been really badly sunburned before you’re going to see you start to like peel, all that happens with tattoos.

The Don’t s

Number one thing, do not pick at it, don’t pull at it do not pull layers of skin off the tattoo. Just leave it alone and let it peel. It’s supposed to be peeled. Peeling is very normal, usually the entire tattoo will peel depending on how big it is and things like that. It may be peeling in very large pieces or very small pieces, but regardless it’s going to peel and don’t pick at it.

Another thing is as it’s peeling it will start to become very dry at this point you will only need to use the ointment when it is very dry. Throughout the whole healing process you don’t want to overdo it with the ointment. Another thing is you will start to notice as some itching went along with the peeling as well. Again its normal and the number one thing you always want is you always want to scratch out if it’s itchy because tattoos become very itchy when they are healing. I’m personally very calm, and this drives me absolutely nuts.

Sensitive Skin

Itchy tattoos are awful, but yes it is very normal with tattoos. So pretty much all you got to do if you have an itchy tattoo just take two fingers & tap over the itchy spot. You don’t want to scratch at it because you can be scratching away at peeled skin that could pull some of the ink out. So, just lightly tap & it’ll go away with time” Don’t” ever scratching your itchy tattoos.

Another thing with healing tattoos that happens to me that I wanted to cover here in case someone out there is struggling with the same issue. If your tattoo is healing and you’re getting through that drying & peeling phase of a tattoo on and you start to get little tiny break outs or tiny little red. If that happens to you don’t freak out necessarily, it’s something that happens with me personally because like I said I have sensitive skin, and I haven’t figured out yet but I am not sure I could be allergic to the black ink or I could be allergic to A and D ointment. Every time I get a solid black tattoo I get little tiny break outs like this one are here it is going away, it is under control.

That can mean an allergic reaction to either the ink or the ointment & there’s really nothing you can’t really tell beforehand. If you’re allergic to it, the only way to tell is after you get the tattoo. This has happened twice once with my stomach tattoos, and it happened with this one behind my ear. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just keep it really clean keep an eye on it. If it does start to become out of hand and get a little too big or too red or you break out really bad and then it would be time to see your tattoo artist or maybe even a doctor.

It’s Okay to Do It in More Than One Sessions?

Just another thing to try to keep in mind in case that does happen to you it also happened to my sister when she got her red piece, her little leopard spot. She also broke out at the bottom so, it’s just something that happened. It does go away. Another thing I wanted to kind of put in here is if you’re getting a very large tattoo, some tattoo artists like to do them in sessions. For instance, when I got this done, I originally just had this top tiger done and I wanted to add to it so, what we did was he basically did the outline then I went back and did the shading in some color and I went back again to finish up the color. We did it in quite a few sessions.

Some tattoo artists like to do tattoos in  sessions because most people when they get a tattoo their skin starts to swell when it gets to the point where it gets really big and puffy. There comes a point where their skin will no longer take ink anymore because it is so swollen which is why they sometimes have to get so many touch ups and also why I do it in so many sessions.

If you’re the same way your tattoo artist might also do tattoo in session. So, just keep that in mind and if you are getting a tattoo done in different sessions be sure that the first one is healed enough so you can do the second one. So always make sure taking very good care of it in between each session.

Some more tips I have for you before we get into signs of an infected tattoo is always make sure you go to a professional. Don’t get your tattoo done in a basement by 14-year-old friend or anything like that. Don’t tattoo yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. Tattooing is a very in depth intricate process, you got to be very careful to make sure things are sterilize using the right equipment, the right needles, making sure the machine is of the right power. You just have to be really careful if you’re going to someone who isn’t a professional.  They could literally be just cutting your skin up.

Follow all the directions for healing time & depending on what your artist tells you to make sure you follow those step by step. If you ever have any questions always don’t be afraid to go and ask your tattoo artist as well. Two main things I used to take care of my tattoos are; number one ointment, it may just look like this. I get that little packet from actual tattoo artists, and it works great. I wouldn’t recommend using A & D on color tattoos. I would use something like tattoo goo on color tattoos cause I have noticed that sometimes A & D fade color but for all black tattoo I just use the A and D ointment.

Another thing is an antibacterial soap because you are going to want to wash your tattoo while it’s healing as well to get all the gooey peeling skin off in the shower. I either use a tiny little bit of my  “proven”   lotion soap, or you can use an unscented antibacterial soap. You don’t need anything with scent or anything like that because you don’t want to burn your tattoo.

Is Infected Tattoo even real?

Now, I want to talk to you guys about signs of infected tattoo. So, you’re probably wondering “oh my God does that happen too”? Absolutely a skin infection is something that can very much happen with the tattoo especially if the tattoo artist is not using clean equipment. And if they don’t wear gloves on. If you have any sort of a skin condition like psoriasis sometimes infections can be caused from getting tattoos as well.

Your skin starts look really flaky that can mean that your tattoo artists went a little too hard that can sometimes lead to infection. So, make sure if you really have a crusty scaly flaky skin do keep a close eye on it. Another thing you want to look out for is, if you have a really bad scaly flaky skin & is oozing/pushing from your tattoos; remember it should never do that when it’s healing that is definitely not a sign of healing that is very much a possible sign of infection.

I know some people who have got tattoos while taking certain medications that caused their tattoos to puss but other than that no it should be never puss/ooze never a good sign. Another sign would be like really big bubbles on the tattoo just full of like a liquid or puss, not a good sign that could very well mean infection.

If you have a really bad fever that could also mean your body is fighting off infection. Another thing is extreme pain, yes when you get a tattoo it does hurt and yes when its healing it can be little bit tender but if it’s healing and you are in just insane amounts of pain. You don’t even know what to do with yourself anymore, that is when you should probably go back and see your artist.

Always Be Smart About It

Some of my tattoos were done in the kitchen by my boyfriend but my boyfriend did learn to tattoo. So, if you live with the tattoo artist that’s fine, he can tattoo you in the kitchen. But if you’re hanging out & drink with your friends and someone says, “Look I just tied this guitar string up to a motor who wants a tattoo”, don’t do that. Be smart about it. It’s your body. You’re putting ink into your body, you just want to be really smart about it. Don’t be the other way around.

Final Reminder

So, yeah those are just some signs of infection to look out for. If you do notice a little bit of those signs then definitely start to keep an eye on it. Keep a cold compress on it, wash it really well with antibacterial soap in cold water, those are just some tips that I have for you as well. Just don’t ignore the possible signs of infection always go and get checked by a Professional. Just because you got a tattoo yesterday and its tender don’t freak out immediately that you got an infection. And again remember how long for a tattoo to heal depends on where you got it.


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