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When Are Tattoos Fully Healed: The 5 Step Guide

When Are Tattoos Fully Healed: The 5 Step Guide

When Are Tattoos Fully Healed: The 5 Step Guide

You recently got a new tattoo. It looks awesome and you want to go to the beach to show it off. You put on your bathing suit and jump in the car. You catch a glimpse of your new tattoo in the rearview mirror when you are backing out. Then, you think to yourself ….

“Is my tattoo fully healed?” 

“Is it safe for my tattoo, and more importantly myself to have it out in the sun, submerged in the water, or being rubbed with sand?”

“How can I tell for sure that my tattoo is fully healed?”

It’s a fair question. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want to risk damaging your new tattoo, and more importantly your health. It may be difficult to say with certainty if your tattoo is fully healed or not.

That is why we put this guide together. The 5 steps in this guide will help you determine whether your tattoo needs more time, or if your new tattoo is fully healed. 


Step 1: How does your tattoo feel?

The first step in figuring out if your tattoo is fully healed, is to judge how it feels. It seems like a fairly obvious question, but it is neglected quite often when trying to determine if your tattoo is healed. So ask yourself:

Do you still feel any pain where you were tattooed?

Does the tattoo still itch?

Does the tattoo feel very raised when you rub your hand over it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then chances are your new tattoo is still healing. Give it a couple more days to recover and you should be good to go.


Step 2: How does your tattoo look?

Next, let’s see what your tattoo looks like. Again, this seems like a fairly obvious step, and again, it is quite often overlooked. Take a good look at your new tattoo and ask yourself:

Is there any open wound on the tattoo?

Is there any scabbing on the tattoo?

Is the tattoo still flaking or peeling?

Is there noticeable redness on the tattoo?

Does it look ashy?

If your tattoo is still showing any of these symptoms, then it is still healing. All of this will go away when the tattoo is fully healed. With the exception of a very little lite dryness (dryness that is remedied with a light lotion). The tattoo should look just like any other part of your skin.

Tattoo that is still healing ( notice dryness and peeling, looks raised) 

Tattoo that is healing, unhealed tattoo

Fully healed Tattoo ( notice no dryness or peeling, flat not raised) 

Fully Healed Tattoo



Step 3: How long have you had the tattoo?

Did you get the tattoo yesterday? Then your tattoo is probably not healed unless you are Wolverine.

The average time it takes for a tattoo to heal is anywhere between 2-6 weeks. With the average time being about 4 weeks. 

If your tattoo looks and feels healed before 2 weeks, then wait until you reach the 2 week mark just to be sure.

If your tattoo looks and feels not healed after 6 weeks, then don’t do anything until you have seen a medical professional to confirm there are no underlying problems.

As I stated above, the average time is about 4 weeks. By then your tattoo should look and feel fully healed, and you will be good to go.


Step 4: What are you planning to do?

Are you planning to go out in the sun, or jump in a pool, or are you planning to get more tattoo work done? The extremity of that activity is going to determine if the tattoo is healed enough.

The recommendation for resuming normal activities is 2 weeks. However, that does not mean it is fully healed. This is just a general safety guideline. As stated above the average time to fully heal the tattoo is 2-6 weeks with 4 being the average.

If you are getting tattooed again, you should probably wait about 4 weeks. That is why we only schedule any tattoo touch ups at 4 weeks after the initial tattoo. That way the tattoo is fully healed and ready for the trauma of a new tattoo.

Whatever you are planning to do, think about how intense the activity is going to be on your new tattoo. If it is going to negligible, then closer to the 2 week mark. If it is going to be intense, then you are looking at about 4-6 weeks until the tattoo is healed enough.


Step 5: Do YOU think the tattoo is fully healed?

This is the most underrated, yet most important question. How do you feel about it, do you think your tattoo is fully healed?

Is your gut telling that something isn’t right? Or, do you feel like your new tattoo is good to go?

If you have a lingering feeling in your mind that it is not, give it another week or so to heal. I’m sure you will feel much better about your decision if you are worried.

On the other hand, if it feels fully healed, looks fully healed, and you have had the tattoo for over 4 weeks, then you are good to go.


If your tattoo is still healing make sure to check out our Definitive Tattoo Aftercare Guide by clicking here. And, if your tattoo is healed and you are ready for a new one, then call (562) 446-3656, Book Your Tattoo Now by clicking here, or just come on down.

See you soon!

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