How Should You Take Care Of A Peeling Tattoo?

How Should You Take Care Of A Peeling Tattoo

Peeling is a normal thing with a newly etched tattoo. However, it can be pretty daunting if you don’t take good care of your tattoo at this stage. If you’re a peeling tattoo, then this post is for you.
We are going to discuss the procedure to take care of a peeling tattoo.

So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  • What is a peeling tattoo?
  • What is the normal duration of tattoo peeling?
  • Ways To Take Care Of A Peeling Tattoo
  • THE DO’s
  • Keep the tattooed area clean.
  • Keep your tattoo moisturized.
  • Let the peel fall off naturally.
  • Use good quality moisturizing lotions.
  • THE DONT’s
  • Don’t bother too much.
  • Don’t rush the process.
  • Don’t rub your peeling tattoo.
  • Don’t shave or wax your tattooed skin.
  • Don’t bathe for long or let your skin sweat
  • Don’t worry about tattoo discoloration during tattoo healing.
  • Don’t overdo anything.
  • Don’t go out in the sun.
  • The Bottom Line
  • Peeling Tattoo FAQs
  • Q.1. Why does tattoo peeling happen?
  • Q.2. Can the process of peeling damage a tattoo?
  • Q.3. What shall I do if my tattoo doesn’t’ peel?

Before we talk about the aftercare of a peeling tattoo, let’s first understand what a peeling tattoo exactly is.

What is a peeling tattoo?

Tattoo peeling is the process of regenerating your epidermis (the skin’s outermost layer). After you get a tattoo, your skin’s top and middle layers are peeled away, causing a shock factor within your skin cells. The peeling process usually begins 5-6 days after the tattoo is etched. Tattoo peeling is a part of the tattoo healing process – so you need not to worry too much.

The healing process begins almost immediately after penetration. Following that, you may experience some swelling for the first few days as your skin cells regenerate. By the end of the first week, your new skin cells will have pushed their way to the top outer layer of your skin, causing your old dead skin cells to peel off.

What is the normal duration of tattoo peeling?

Well, the process varies from person to person. Usually, for a tiny tattoo, the peeling process takes around a week. And if your tattoo is large in size, you can expect two to three weeks of peeling tattoo.

Usually, the duration of tattoo peeling is determined by tattoo size, shape, placement, amount of ink, and color.

Sometimes a tattoo starts to peel off within five to six days, while in other cases, it takes more time, like a week or two, to peel.

It doesn’t matter much because each body responds differently, so you cannot just compare your tattoo peeling with your friends.

The best thing one can do while having a peeling tattoo is to have a lot of patience. Some people lose hope the moment they see their tattoo peeling. This is not what you should be doing.

Here is what you should do when your tattoo starts to peel off.

Ways To Take Care Of A Peeling Tattoo

⇒ THE DO’s

1. Keep the tattooed area clean.

The most important thing you should do to take care of your peeling tattoo is to keep the tattooed area clean. Keeping it clean will quicken the process of healing. For that, all you need to do is to wash the tattooed area with mild and antibacterial soap. Make sure you do not rub your tattooed area. Wash, clean, and rinse the area gently – because applying force can cause the peeling tattoo to scab off. Once you’re done with cleaning, gently pat it dry. Consider using a paper towel.

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Pro Tip 1: Wash your tattoo at least twice a day.

2. Keep your tattoo moisturized.

After cleaning your tattoo comes the moisturizing of it. Do not ever underestimate the power of miniaturization while your tattoo peels. Moisturizing a peeling tattoo will not only speed up the healing process by supplying it with vitamins and minerals, but it will also nourish your skin and alleviate the itchy, uncomfortable feeling you get when your skin peels. Moreover, keeping your tattoo moisturized will make your tattoo appear vibrant and snappy.

Pro tip 2: Make sure you moisturize your tattoo after each wash.

3. Let the peel fall off naturally.

Undeniably, a peeling tattoo doesn’t appear good. But it doesn’t mean that you will start peeling skin to get rid of the flakes coming off. No, this is the worst thing you should be doing to a peeling tattoo.

The best is to allow the peel to fall off the skin naturally. Yeah, it’s similar to any wound. Don’t worry about all the flakes coming off your skin. They will all fall off in due course. As said earlier, its part of the process; just let it happen naturally.

4. Use good quality moisturizing lotions.

You have spent a lot of money on your tattoo, so make sure you spend money on good-quality moisturizing lotions as well. Your tattoo is going to stay on your body for the rest of your life. So, it becomes crucial to take very good care of your tattoo . And spending on good aftercare products is a part good care regime. Invest your money on mild, chemical-free lotions and soaps so as to have a healthy and vibrant tattoo.


Now that you’ve grasped the DO’s, it’s time to consider the DONT’s. When it comes to the aftercare of a peeling tattoo, remember that DONT’s are just as important as DO’s. As a result, don’t take them lightly.

1. Don’t bother too much.

The first and most important thing you should not be doing if you have a peeling tattoo is bother about it. Understand that tattoo peeling is a natural part of the process, so there’s no point in getting worked up over a peeling tattoo.

Instead, follow the advice of your tattoo artist in the event of tattoo peeling. Yes, almost all professional tattoo artists will advise you on tattoo peeling and what steps to take if you have a peeling tattoo.

2. Don’t rush the process.

Pricking, peeling, or flaking skin is a psychological disorder. We’ve all had the urge to prick our wounds while they’re still peeling. However, if you want your tattoo to heal faster, you must avoid doing so.

Peeling your healing tattoo will make it look unsightly, which is the last thing you want after going through so much pain.

Pulling on your peeling skin may cause unsettled ink to pop out, resulting in scarring, patchiness, and, in some cases, tattoo distortion. Allow the peel to naturally fall off. It will take time, which is fine. Allow your tattoo to heal at its own pace; don’t rush it.

3. Don’t rub your peeling tattoo.

Rubbing your tattoo may cause the skin to fall off that was not ready to fall off. Rubbing pulls up the scab layer of your skin, ultimately affecting your tattoo adversely. Hence, it is important to avoid rubbing your tattoo after cleaning or rinsing it. Instead of using a rough bath towel to dry your skin, use a paper towel and pat dry your skin gently.

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4. Don’t shave or wax your tattooed skin.

This goes without saying. If you have got your tattoo etched on areas where you need to shave or wax it, then avoid shaving or waxing for a few days. Let your tattoo heal first. There is no point in applying a razor or hot wax on your newly-etched wound (Yes, your tattoo is merely a wound; therefore, treat it as you would a wound.)

Using a razor or hot wax on a healing tattoo can cause an irreparable loss to your skin. This is the last thing that you would want to have!

5. Don’t bathe for long or let your skin sweat

Both, bathing for too long in water and letting your skin sweat can affect your tattoo adversely. So, it is recommended to avoid water sports, swimming, exercising, etc., for a few days after you get a tattoo. Too much sweating can seep into your tattoo and pull out ink from a tattoo that is still healing, making it look ugly. While too much water can cause infection to your tattoo.

Pro Tip 1: If you sweat a lot, make sure you don’t indulge in activities that can cause you to sweat. Moreover, it’s good to rinse off and change your clothes immediately. Also, keep your daily showers to less than 10 minutes for the first two weeks of tattooing.

6. Don’t worry about tattoo discoloration during tattoo healing.

Throughout the peeling process, especially as it nears completion, you may notice that the tattoo color looks different than when you left the shop. Don’t be concerned – this is very much normal, trust that it will be okay soon.

It’s simple because of the dead layer of skin on your tattoo; it may appear dull and cloudy. But in a month or two, it will return to normal once the skin has healed completely. All you have to do is be patient with the process, as it takes time for that new skin to regenerate. Give your tattoo time to heal at its own pace!

7. Don’t overdo anything.

Some people tend to avoid doing what they’re told to do when they get a new tattoo. On the other hand, there are some who love to overdo things. See, both not doing and overdoing is really a bad habit. When you get a new tattoo, moderate aftercare is required, which your artist will let you know. All you have to do is to follow his instructions.

When we say overdoing, it includes over-cleaning your tattoo, over-moisturizing your tattoo, and so on. Don’t do this! You’re not any good to your tattoo by overdoing everything. Just behave normally. Take your tattoo as any other wound. Do as your tattoo artist has asked you to do! Talk to your artist or dermatologist in case of any issue, such as infection, pain, too much itchiness, etc. They can give you better advice to tackle the problem.

8. Don’t go out in the sun.

The best thing you could do to your healing tattoo is – protect it from harsh UV rays. Of course, most people aren’t in a position to do so. In this case, use sunscreen and a clean cloth to cover your tattooed skin.

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Understand that the peeling process is a very delicate time for your tattoo. It is the time when your old dead skin is preparing to leave, and new skin is about to come. Exposure to sunlight during the healing process can hamper the whole thing, affecting the healing and newly etched tattoo as well. In fact, the UV rays can cause your newly tattooed skin to get blistered, leading to infection.

Hence, it is recommended to avoid the sun for the first two weeks after getting a tattoo. And if you have to out, make sure to wear good-quality sunscreen lotion (at least 50+ SPF) and cover it with a cloth. Even if your tattoo has healed completely, avoid exposing it to the sun’s rays and wear sunscreen.

The Bottom Line

So, these are the DO’s and DON’T’s that each person with a peeling tattoo must follow. Know that poking and prodding a peeling tattoo can cause irreparable damage. So, it’s good to have patience while your tattoo goes through healing. Follow your tattoo artist’s instructions.

Follow the aftercare regime, but let the skin heal on its own time.

Now, it’s time for FAQs

Peeling Tattoo FAQs

Q.1. Why does tattoo peeling happen?

Peeling is a normal process; it occurs whenever a tattoo starts to heal. When tattoo needles penetrate the epidermis, thousands of small wounds are formed due to this process, causing skin cells to be damaged.

Once the process of tattooing is done, the tattoo starts to heal. And peeling is typical once the healing process begins because the skin begins to regenerate itself.

The process of skin regeneration involves the removal of dead and damaged skin cells from the skin, making a place for the new skin to appear in place of dead skin.

Q.2. Can the process of peeling damage a tattoo?

Understand that tattoo peeling is a natural part of the healing process. Usually, peeling doesn’t damage or harm a tattoo. It’s just like the healing of any other wound. However, if the peeling is excessive, it can cause tattoo damage. It is good to talk to your tattoo artist or your dermatologist for advice in such a situation.

However, if you follow aftercare instructions and allow your skin to peel away naturally, your tattoo won’t be affected. This implies that following an aftercare regime is very important; it promotes the healing of your tattoo. Avoiding doing so can result in patchy areas and detract from the overall appearance of the tattoo.

Moreover, scratching or picking your peeling tattoo also increases the risk of infection because it is an open wound. This can ruin the tattoo and lead to irreparable complications.

Q.3. What shall I do if my tattoo doesn’t’ peel?

The quick answer to it is – DO NOTHING!

There is nothing to worry about if your tattoo doesn’t peel! Know that every skin type is different, and hence, everyone’s healing processes are different. Usually, a tattoo starts to peel within 5-6 days after the process. In some cases, peeling may occur later or not at all for some people.

Moreover, the size, shape, and color of a tattoo also affect the extent of peeling. Whatever be the case, avoid picking or poking your tattoo; exfoliating, scratching, or picking the tattoo can cause pain, damage the tattoo, and result in infections or scarring.

Thanks for reading the post!