Can Tattoos Fade Away? Causes & Tips To Make Tattoos Last

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Getting a tattoo isn’t an easy decision to make. Apart from the pain, you also have to think about the cost and how long it’ll last. Considering what you have to go through, you need to make sure that it’s going to be worth it. 

Tattoos may fade over time. Factors such as aging, ink quality, and even the skill of your tattoo artist can affect the longevity of your body art. Too much sun exposure can also make your tattoos fade faster.

If you’re planning on getting a new tattoo and want it to look striking for the years to come, read on.

Quick Navigation

What Causes Tattoo Fading?
How Quickly Do Tattoos Fade?
Tips to Make Sure Your Tattoos Last
What To Do If You Have A Faded Tattoo?
Conclusion

What Causes Tattoo Fading?

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As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons why tattoos fade over time. Here are some of them:

Aging

As you get older, your skin changes and deteriorates. In the process, your skin becomes less elastic, causing wrinkles to form. Your skin also stretches and sags and these changes affect how your tattoo will look over time.

Low-Quality Ink

Tattoos made using low-quality ink tend to fade faster. Why?

For one, the said type of ink usually has low pigmentation. It’s usually loaded with chemicals as well. Poor-quality tattoo inks are linked to skin infections and skin issues too. 

Poor Tattooing Skills

Tattoo ink that is not delivered at the right depth can cause it to fade faster. And yes, that’s regardless of whether high-quality ink was used. 

With that, it is advisable to get professional tattoos from reputable tattoo artists

Professional artists can properly deliver the ink because they are knowledgeable about the layers of the human skin. They know that tattoo ink should be embedded into the skin’s second layer, the dermis. 

There, ink particles are passed on to new cells, making the tattoo permanent and lasting.

Prolonged Sun Exposure

UV rays aren’t just bad for the skin but tattoos as well.

The sun’s UV rays penetrate the skin, destroying the pigments of your tattoo in the process. Too much sun exposure can leave your tattoo looking lighter, blurry, and smudged. 

Over-Exfoliation of the Skin

Exfoliating the skin is good because it removes oil, dirt, and dead skin. However, when done excessively, it can cause damages too.

Over-exfoliation removes the skin’s hydration layer, a protective barrier of the skin. This can lead to skin irritation and changes.

When the skin is irritated, it is wounded. When there’s an injury, an immune response is triggered and your body’s internal system will immediately work to heal the wounded skin. This scenario increases the skin’s renewal rate which can cause your tattoo to fade.

Poor Tattoo Aftercare

Once your new tattoo is done, it is a must to take care of it at the very start. You must have a proper aftercare routine for your tattoo to prevent infections or inflammations. You may ask your tattoo artist for tips on how to care for your tattoo at home. Avoid making your own aftercare routine. 

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A simple aftercare routine that you can do is to wash the area with warm water and antibacterial soap. Don’t forget to moisturize your tattoo twice a day and avoid wearing tight clothing. It’s also a must that you shield your tattoo from the harmful UV rays of the sun. 

How Quickly Do Tattoos Fade?

All tattoos will inevitably start fading over time. There are tattoos that will start fading in just a couple of years, while there are some that will start fading when you reach old age.

Aside from the common causes mentioned above, the location of your tattoo can also affect its longevity. 

You may want to avoid getting inked on these body parts:

  • Palms and fingers (hands are constantly used and experiencing high levels of friction)
  • Feet (feet are constantly used and produce sweat)
  • Mouth or lips (thin skin and constantly exposed to changing temperature and moisture)
  • Shoulder blades (experiences friction due to bag carrying)

The color of your tattoo is something you should consider as well. Bright or lighter colors tend to fade faster than dark colors such as black or grey. 

Tips to Make Sure Your Tattoos Last

All tattoos can fade but the rate of fading varies depending on how you take care of your tattoo. Below are some suggestions on how you can minimize your tattoo from fading.

Take Care of Your Tattoo

An aftercare routine for your tattoo is very important. Here is a suggested routine that you can do when you get home after getting a fresh tattoo:

  1. After your tattoo is completed, let the bandage stay on for at least a couple of hours.
  2. Once you have removed the bandage, wash your tattoo with clean, antibacterial, and unscented soap.
  3. Don’t wipe your tattoo with a fabric towel. Let it air dry for parts of the towel may get stuck to your tattoo or wound.
  4. Let your tattoo remain uncovered and avoid wearing tight clothes. Moisturize it with a cream, lotion, or moisturizer.

Importantly, avoid picking or peeling off the scabs of your skin or scratching your tattoo when it is still in the healing process. Doing this can ruin the detail of your tattoo.

But, avoid over-cleansing or over-caring for your skin because the process can remove its protective layer and cause skin irritation. It can also cause your tattoo to lose its shine and vividness.

Wear Sunscreen and Protective Clothing as Much as Possible

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In the first weeks of your tattoo’s healing process, avoid exposing it to sunlight. If exposure is hard to avoid, you must apply sunscreen over it. 

You may also want to avoid tanning beds if you have tattoos. Wear comfortable or loose clothing. Avoid wearing tight clothing because this can cause friction with your tattoo.

Stop Smoking!

Smoking can negatively impact your health and this is reflected in your skin. 

Smoking makes you look older even if you are still young. It decreases your body’s collagen production which makes your skin look plump and less elastic.

Stay Hydrated Always

If you are always hydrated and you eat healthily, you are taking care of your skin which houses your tattoo. Make sure to hydrate with water and not with alcoholic drinks.

Moisturize Your Skin with the Right Products

Part of your skincare routine is to moisturize your tattoo at least once or twice a day. Continue moisturizing your tattoo even if it has completely dried and healed. You may want to shop around for brands that continually develop and improve products.

What To Do If You Have A Faded Tattoo?

Touch-up is the solution!

If you notice that your tattoo is starting to fade, you may want to set an appointment with your tattoo artist for a touch-up. Older tattoos that have been exposed to the sun for quite some time may require a full revamp because more than one color has faded.

Conclusion

Tattoos will not stay vivid for life. Anyone with a tattoo will experience fading at some point. This, however, should not discourage you from getting inked. There are ways you can minimize the fading process of your tattoo. The best remedy to this fading problem is a healthy lifestyle.

If you take care of yourself by eating right, staying hydrated with water, being active, avoiding prolonged sun exposure, avoiding smoking, drinking, and other vices, you can have healthy skin for your tattoo. Your healthy lifestyle choice will be reflected in how your tattoo will look over the years.

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