Do tattoos peel? It’s a common question with a simple answer: yes, they do. Over time, the top layer of skin will naturally shed, taking the tattoo with it. This is why it’s important to keep your tattoo moisturized, as it will help to keep the skin healthy and prevent peeling. Check out for more information!

Why Do Tattoos Peel?

The last thing you want to see after getting new tattoos is the ink appearing to peel off your skin.

Peeling during the initial phases of healing, however, is typical. Your body uses peeling to get rid of damaged, dry skin cells when your skin heals after having a tattoo, which causes a wound in your skin.

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On the other hand, if you have significant peeling after a tattoo, it may indicate something entirely else, particularly if you experience inflammation or an infection.

Are you wondering if the peeling of your tattoo is “normal”? Continue reading to find out what happens naturally while a tattoo heals and when skin peeling can indicate an issue.

Why Do Tattoos Peel

What Occurs After Getting A Tattoo

The discomfort and waiting period that accompany obtaining a tattoo is just the beginning. Your skin now has a wound that has to heal for your tattoo to appear as intended by your tattoo artist.

The healing process might take many weeks to complete.

Needles penetrate the upper and middle layers of your skin during the tattooing procedure. The epidermis and dermis, respectively, are referred to as these.

You’ll probably see exfoliation in action as the dead skin cells peel off as your skin cells perform their repairing task so that new ones may be revitalized.

However, a fresh tattoo wound is more susceptible to infection and other problems within the first two weeks without the proper aftercare methods.

It’s crucial to heed your tattoo artist’s advice and report any unexpected symptoms.

When Do Tattoos Start Peeling

Peeling from a tattoo occurs so quickly that you can practically see it start. You might think your new tattoo appears a little “dull” when you first discover it. This is not a sign that anything is wrong; instead, it shows that your ink is mending correctly.

The dead skin cells gathered on top of your tattoo create that dreary layer (or the same ones that are getting ready to peel away from the fresh layers of skin underneath).

By the end of the first week, you may also anticipate being able to see the peeling on a fresh tattoo visibly. Peeling may occur later; however, as every person’s body heals differently, this is not always bad.

However, if it occurs earlier, you might want to see your tattoo artist since little pieces of ink may be removed, ruining the appearance of the tattoo.

When Do Tattoos Start Peeling

What Happens If My Tattoo Doesn’t Peel?

It’s equally natural for them to peel as it is for them not to peel. Because every person’s skin heals differently, you can see tattoos peeling later or not at all. In actuality, oilier skin may peel less than dry or average skin.

Whether or not your skin peels may also depend on how the tattoo was applied. A shorter depth of needle penetration or the artist’s employment of more delicate lines may result in less or no peeling.

Your choice of tattoo design, such as conventional tattooing or cosmetic tattooings like eyebrow microblading or permanent makeup, will also have an impact.

According to Otsuji, cosmetic tattoos often don’t harm the skin as much as traditional body tattoos do.

Other Negative Effects of Tattoos

You won’t simply experience peeling if your tattoo is healing correctly. After receiving the tattoo, you should anticipate some redness around the placement site for about a day, as well as a bit of irritation and minor inflammation brought on by the skin damage from the tattoo needles.

Keep a watch on it if one or both of these symptoms spreads beyond the tattoo’s placement location because it might indicate incorrect healing.

A sudden rash or broad areas of redness, which may be signs of an allergic reaction to the tattoo pigments, are additional side effects that may require attention throughout the healing process.

Another indication that something may be amiss, such as inflammation or an infection, is extreme itching. If anything itches, try not to scratch it because doing so could aggravate the situation.

Peeling signifies a healthy tattoo, but excessive peeling could indicate the reverse. It could be a sign of an allergic response, the start of an infection, or aggravated skin issues if you see it with excessive swelling or redness.

To prevent further harm to your tattoo and your health, get emergency medical attention if you experience any of these unusual adverse effects.

How Long Does A Tattoo Itch And Peel?

Each tattoo will peel for a different time, depending on the situation. The majority of tattoos, however, will continue to peel for around a week.

Tattoos on more heavily used skin (such as the wrists and elbows) would probably take a little longer to peel fully, but tattoos on more supple and soft areas may be finished peeling in a matter of days.

Tattoos can occasionally peel twice. Typically, this results in a very intense peeling phase, followed by highly mild peeling that can occasionally be hardly perceptible.

Just keep your skin well-moisturized and know that this is natural and nothing to be concerned about.

How Long Does A Tattoo Itch And Peel

Tips For Aftercare

Here is some advice on tattoo aftercare to maintain healthy skin and a tattoo’s best appearance:

Use a water-based moisturizer

It hydrates the region if the skin around the tattoo and adjacent areas feel dry. Please stay away from petroleum-based items since they could make the ink fade.

Sunlight contains UV rays, which can cause tattoos to fade.

Therefore, protect the tattoo from the sun. People exposed to the sun should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect their tattoos. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and don’t forget to do it 15 minutes before going outside.

Avoid tanning beds

Both sunlamps and tanning beds raise the risk of skin cancer and can cause tattoos to fade. Some people can discover that the tattooed skin reacts painfully to this UV radiation.

Avoid moles

If someone is thinking about getting a tattoo, they should pick a spot on their body where there are no moles. Tattoos may conceal early skin cancer signs. People should know that success rates are higher when doctors treat skin cancer in its early stages.

Cleaning the tattoo

It’s vital to wash the tattoo regularly using a mild, antibacterial, fragrance-free soap. Before using a cream, the skin should also be carefully patted dry with a paper towel.

Consult a dermatologist if the skin responds or changes to get guidance on how to prevent issues. The skin may respond soon after getting a tattoo or years afterward. The problem can be identified and treated by a dermatologist.

Cleaning the tattoo

DO When Taking Care of a Peeling Tattoo

DO – Dress comfortably

Tight clothes could irritate and strain your tattoo, perhaps prematurely removing the skin. Ideally, you should put on loose, comfy clothing for the duration of the tattoo peeling procedure—the less your tattoo is in contact with, the better.

DO – Give your body the space and time it needs to recover on its own

Even though you might be eager to show off your new tattoo, it usually won’t look attractive until it has healed. It’ll probably appear flaky, dry, and spotty for a few weeks. Remember that your skin has been damaged and will require time to recover.

Give your body time to heal and be nice to it. Additionally, carefully following your tattoo aftercare instructions will hasten the healing process.

DO – Keep the tattooed area tidy

Cleaning your tattoo is an essential step in the recovery process. If you’re using the wet healing approach to repair your tattoo, you must clean it with a mild soap before and after each new bandage application.

Any debris, plasma, blood, or oil obstructing your skin pores may be removed from the tattoo by regularly cleaning the region. Make sure your tattoo is clean and has airflow to encourage quicker, healthier skin growth.

Also, ensure you use brand-new towels and linens and wear clean clothing.

DO When Taking Care of a Peeling Tattoo

DO – Continue to moisturize your tattoo

Using an aftercare product after removing your initial bandage and washing the tattoo will help stop itching. Avoid using petroleum-based products because they are prone to block pores. Choose an aftercare treatment like Sanibalm that is light and delicate and was created especially for tattoos.

Apply the product directly to the tattoo if you intend to use a second bandage. Keep the area dry since a damp region will prevent the bandage’s adhesive from sticking properly.

DON’Ts When Taking Care of a Peeling Tattoo

DON’T – pull or pick at the flakes or scabs.

DO NOT help remove the barely-there dead skin by picking it off, no matter how tempting it may seem. Your scabs are most likely still linked to healthy skin, so removing them too soon runs the risk of causing the area to reopen and hemorrhage.

If this occurs, the ink from the skin may be disturbed, altering the tattoo’s pattern.

Avoid rubbing, scratching, or itching your peeling tattoo.

Although you might believe your hands are clean, germs love to hide under fingernails. Scratching or rubbing might spread bacteria from your nails to an open wound, increasing the risk of infection. Itching can also cause scabs to peel or flake off, destroying your tattoo pattern prematurely.

DON’T – Spend much time submerging your tattoo in water.

Whether wearing a tattoo bandage like Saniderm or not, you should avoid immersing your tattoo in liquid for at least a few weeks. With your Saniderm bandage on, a regular shower is OK, but immersing it can degrade the adhesive.

When the adhesive comes free, it can allow the wound site to be contaminated by water, soap, dirt, or germs. Again, allowing pollutants to enter the wound site increases your risk of getting an infection from a tattoo.


FAQs About Do Tattoos Peel Off When Healing

Is Tattoo Peeling After Three Days Typical?

Roman claims that the duration of a tattoo’s healing process depends on the degree of skin damage. Roman argues that a full-color tattoo will take longer to heal than something that would be a fine-line tattoo.

“You may see that the fine line tattoo begins to heal after a week. You should allow two to two and a half weeks for anything with significantly more ink deposited in the skin to recover.”

After two and a half weeks, if the peeling, flaking, or scabbing is still there, it’s a clear sign that something isn’t right, and you should speak with your tattoo artist.

Why Does My Tattoo Look Faded After Peeling?

You shouldn’t notice any fading if your tattoo is put correctly and the healing process continues without a hitch. Fine-line tattoos are an exception.

Roman notes that the nature of fine-line tattoos may require a touch-up (the majority of artists provide a free touch-up within a set period), but generally speaking, the more smoothly the healing process proceeds, the more probable the tattoo won’t fade.

When A Tattoo Starts To Peel, Do You Wash It?

Definitely! From the very first day, you should wash your tattoo twice daily—twice in the morning and once at night—with a fragrance-free cleanser and let it air dry. Just wait until it has completely healed before immersing it in water (such as a bath or pool).

As Roman says, excessive moisture on the tattoo will cause the pores to open and cause ink fallout and fading. It is absolutely a good idea to avoid saunas and exercise because perspiration can cause moisture to sit on the tattoo.

Should I Apply Cream To My Peeling Tattoo?

You should avoid lotions for the first two or three days after application, but after you notice any tightness, dryness, and peeling a few days later, you should start applying thin layers of lotion after washing it. But, this is crucial, don’t pick up any old lotion.

Roman advises sticking with a fragrance-free solution to prevent discomfort or a tattoo lotion like the Skin Dip Beauty Thirst Trap CBD Tattoo Balm, which uses CBD to reduce inflammation.

You could even completely prevent itching, peeling, or scabbing if you heed all of my instructions, keep it clean, and hydrate it with thin layers of moisturizer.

What Should You Avoid Doing Following A Tattoo?

Roman recommends seeing your tattoo as an open wound (because it kind of is). You must adhere to the recommended aftercare procedures since anything that may get into the tattoo could result in an infection and, at worst, a tattoo that doesn’t heal properly.

It’s crucial to keep your tattoo clean (this includes constantly changing your bedsheets), dry, and out of the sun as it heals to reduce the risk of sunburn. This is especially true during the first two days when the skin is highly broken down.

What Is The Wet Tattoo Healing Method?

A dermal tattoo bandage, such as Saniderm, is used in the wet tattoo healing technique. A tattoo bandage on top of a fresh tattoo shields it from outside elements, significantly reducing the risk of infection. Pet dander, dust, germs, dirt, and other environmental components are typical pollutants.

Additionally, it retains your body’s natural healing components at the location of the wound and stops them from becoming scabs. This creates an environment for your tattoo to heal that is clean, moist (or wet, thus the term “wet” healing), and nutrient-rich.

Additionally, tattoo bandages should not be confused with regular cling wrap. A thin plastic sheet called cling wrap is intended to keep oxygen out while retaining moisture.

Saniderm is a medical bandage made of polyurethane acrylic glue developed especially for healing tattoos. It is crucial for oxygen and water vapor to be able to enter and leave a wound while it heals.

Saniderm bandages are secure enough to prevent water and other impurities from getting into the bandage while still being permeable enough to let oxygen and water vapor pass through. Saniderm moisturizes the tattoo while sealing in your body’s natural healing fluids while preventing scabbing, peeling, and scarring.

Is Peeling A Sign Of Healing?

Peeling skin indicates that your skin is recovering from a trauma of some kind. Skin peeling is a result of sunburns, allergies, and skin conditions. Peeling skin can also be a side effect of cancer, acne, and aging treatments.


Your tattoo should be fully healed in weeks. You shouldn’t observe any peeling, swelling, or redness after this time. However, if the peeling or any other symptoms continue for more than a month or two, you should seek the counsel of a dermatologist. Restorbio hope you found this article useful, and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.