How Do I Keep My Tattoo(s) From Fading?

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As you grow older, your tattoos will start fading naturally. The reason for this lies in skin change and the loss of elasticity. This process is completely natural and expected, and everyone with tattoos needs to be aware of it right from the start.

However, if your tattoos start fading prematurely, then you’re doing something wrong.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some tips and tricks you can utilize to prevent premature tattoo fading. These tips will also help you keep your tattoos in excellent shape even when you’re older. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Tattoo Fading – Solutions For a Common Issue

1. Prevent Tattoo Fading Even Before You Get Inked

One of the main focuses in everyone’s mind before booking a tattoo appointment is the very tattoo design. And, sure, the design of the tattoo is of utmost importance. After all, this tattoo will stay on your body for the rest of your life; it better be good!

However, what people tend to simply glaze over is the fact that they often choose the absolute worst tattoo placement on the body. Did you know that certain body areas promote faster fading? Well, now you know!

For example, if you place your tattoo somewhere where it will constantly rub against clothes or other body parts, you can expect it to start fading in only a few years.

Some of the body areas that promote faster fading include;

  • The palms of your hands – these are constantly exposed to water, different textures, heat, cold, friction, sweat, etc. All of this affects the ink and promotes faster tattoo fading.
  • The shoulder blades – if wearing a bag or a backpack is something frequent in your life, then avoid getting a tattoo on the shoulder blades; the rubbing and sweating will mess up the tattoo for sure.
  • The inner thigh – thighs are popular tattoo locations, no doubt. But, they do constantly rub either against each other or against your jeans. See the pattern? The friction will mess up the tattoo, especially if it’s placed in the inner thigh.
  • The mouth – if you decide to get an inner lip tattoo, remember that the thinness of the skin and the constant exposure to moisture will promote faster tattoo fading as well.

So, what can you do? Well, simply avoid these high-friction locations and get a tattoo somewhere with the least sweat, friction, and rubbing. Do not go and get a tattoo on your feet, under the breast area, or your palms. Choose a smooth, dry spot where the clothes do not fit too tight and the friction is minimal.

2. Choose the Right Tattooist

Because getting a tattoo is a relatively expensive endeavor, a lot of people tend to look for ways to minimize the final cost. For some reason, everyone thinks that getting a ‘cheaper’ tattoo service will somehow be a good idea. Nope! If you’re paying cheap for a tattoo, then your tattoo will be cheap (and low quality).

When we say cheap and low quality, we think of this;

  • The tattoo artist won’t do a good job!
  • The tattoo artist may not be the most hygienic person out there; this can mess up the tattoo, cause an infection, which later makes it sheer or fading too quickly.
  • The tattoo artist may use poor-quality ink, which, of course, promotes faster fading on its own.

So, what can you do? Before you book an appointment, do your homework! Look for the best tattoo artists in your area, or ask around and see who has the best reputation. Do NOT hesitate to pay more for a tattoo, because the cost ensures in the majority of cases that the tattooist is using high-quality ink and knows what he or she is doing.

Note: If you come to a tattoo shop, and the tattoo artist is not wearing gloves or hasn’t sanitized the equipment and tools, leave! They will not only ruin your tattoo but also potentially put you and your health in danger. Such a working environment will definitely result in a tattoo infection.

3. Follow The Aftercare Routine (And Do It Properly!)

The moment you leave the tattoo shop with a new tattoo, you’re responsible for its aftercare. The tattoo artist has probably instructed you on what to do, but in case you’ve missed a few points, here’s what a proper aftercare routine comprises;

  • Only touch the tattoo with clean and washed hands!
  • Wash the tattoo with antibacterial soap!
  • Do not wash the tattoo immediately! It needs at least 24 hours to stop oozing and bleeding!
  • Apply antibiotic ointment or vaseline-free moisturizer (only twice a day maximum)!
  • Wait patiently for the tattoo to heal! Do not pick, peel, scratch, or touch the tattoo!
  • Wear loose clothes and do not engage in strenuous work or exercise!
  • Avoid swimming until the tattoo heals!

You need to be aware that a fresh tattoo is an open wound basically, So, for the tattoo to look good and start fading only when you reach your 60s, it needs to heal properly!

If you notice that your tattoo is not healing, or that it is becoming red, swollen, and painful, talk to your tattooist or a medical professional immediately. If it’s an infection, the sooner you treat it, the less damage will your tattoo endure.

4. Wear Sunscreen

Sun is not your tattoo’s friend, no matter how much you like sunbathing or summer. So, what you’ll need to do after you get a tattoo is wear sunscreen. So, instead of the sun, sunscreen or SPF will become your new bestie. And, this doesn’t only apply to summer; you’ll be wearing sunscreen during spring, autumn, or winter, in regards to where your tattoo is located.

Sunscreen will prevent your tattoo from UV exposure, which can, if exposed, compromise your tattoo’s design and saturation. If you expose your tattoo to UV sunlight without any appropriate protection, the tattooed skin will experience damage, and in turn, make your tattoo fade prematurely.

The best sunscreen you can wear is the one with a minimum of SPF 30. If you want to protect your tattoo, you can go for a sunscreen with SPF 50+. This sunscreen will protect the tattoo from UV regardless of your skin type, skin tone, etc.

5. Take Care Of Your Health

  • Stay Hydrated – Staying hydrated will affect your skin, make it moisturized and elastic. So, by drinking water your body will stay healthy from the inside out, keeping your skin glowing and moisturized. Indirectly, proper water intake will keep your tattoo(s) vivid and saturated for a longer period of your life.
  • Stop SmokingSmoking is hell for your skin. The nicotine makes the skin dry and appears much older and more damaged than it is. IT enables the skin to lose its natural moisture and plumpness, which directly affects your tattoos. Because smoking makes the skin lose elasticity, the tattoo(s) will start fading and losing the original vividness and appearance.
  • Stop Drinking – just like smoking, alcohol has its way of ruining your metabolism and skin. It lowers your immune system and makes the body feel ‘sick’. So, if you want to stay healthy, and your skin to remain glowy and elastic, then either cut down or stop drinking.
  • Stay Active – By staying active you will ensure your muscles and skin stay tight. Because of this, the skin will also remain firm and tight, and the tattoos won’t stretch, lose shape and start fading prematurely. Not to mention that regular activity is generally good for your health, so it’s a win-win situation.

Also Read: What Should You Not Do Before Getting A Tattoo?

6. Other Things You Can Do

  • Make sure to keep your tattoo moisturized even after it’s completely healed.
  • Try to wear loose clothes (or loose clothing items for the area where the tattoo is placed), to prevent it from getting friction and rubbing.
  • Try to maintain your weight by staying active and eating healthy; by maintaining weight, you’ll ensure the tattoo doesn’t stretch and lose saturation.
  • Try not to over-cleanse the skin, especially where the tattoo is placed. Over-cleansing will damage the skin and potentially damage the tattoo in the long run.
  • Try not to get tattoos with exceptionally intricate designs and details; these are more prone to fading than simpler tattoos.

Final Thoughts

Tattoo fading is a completely normal and expected process. No one is resistant to their tattoos fading. However, premature tattoo fading can be a big deal, especially if the tattoo is placed somewhere visible or has a special meaning. And, tattoo touch-ups are a solution, but they can be quite expensive.

So, make sure to take care of your tattoo properly. Also, be ready to stay committed to the aftercare long after the tattoo has healed. Wearing sunscreen is a must as well!

For more information about your tattoo and the issue of fading, make sure to talk to your tattoo artist to see what other interesting preventive measures they recommend. Consult with other people in the tattoo community as well, and check out our other articles where we talk about tattoo fading in detail.

Also Read: 

Do Tattoos Fade Over Time (And How Can You Fight Tattoo Fading?)

What Happens To Your Tattoo As You Get Older?

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