The Science of Tattoo Healing

Stage 1 of Tattoo Healing
Stage 2 of Tattoo Healing

Stage 1


This is the part right after the tatto. It oozes, swells, and hurts. The scabs will begin forming.

During this stage

The skin acts as an open wound immediately getting a new tattoo. Its also needs protection from information and pain. The inflammation causes redness, swelling, warmth, and pain so taking care of inflammation really knockscout a lot of the unpleasant symptoms.

  • The first day or two are full of oozing and seeping before the swelling and scab formation begins. You'll be looking at an immune response in your skin because it knows you are extra vulnerable to infections of your skin and skin structure.
  • The skin should not be exposed to any amount of sunlight. The skin will be sensative to UV lightand any other irritants.

This stage ends

This stage ends once the tattoo becomes more of a scab over wound than an open wound.

At this stage, your tattoo is an open wound, with your skin more or less in crisis mode and an infection can completely ruin a tattoo that was destined for greatness.

Day 1-10

Stage 2


This is where the surface layer of the skin is healing itself under cover of scabs. Don't pick or disturb them; the body will do that when needed.

During this stage

During this stage, there will be a reduced immune response and the sensation of the scabs can fuel a deep itch. Despite the scab layer, the skin is still a healing wound underneath.

  • Continue to minimize sun exposure at this stage. The skin is still very vulberable to irritants and UV light.
  • Your Skin requires a lot of moisture, between the scabs and the healing layer. It will go a long, long way to alleviating the itch.
  • The skin needs: soothing, structural support, as well as protection from microbes.

This stage ends

This stage ends once all the scabes have fallen off and left behind a thin layer of fresh skin.

You'll be dealing with a little less inflammation. Thank Goodness. This stage is characterized by the formation and flaking off of scabs. It may be darker. Underneath, the skin is healing itself a surface lyer that will be capable of handling the elements as you finish healing.

Day 8-21

Stage 3


This is after the scabs have fallen off to reveal a new surface of skin. The length of this stage varies an individual's specific maintenance and personam health. This of this stage varies an individual's specific maintenance and personal health. This is because the skin is still healing under the surface.

During this stage

During this stage, the skin is still dealing with some inflammation and may be warm or feel sore. The skin is repairing all of its structure and begining of function normally again. The tattoo may appear cloudy or hazy. This is because the skin is still healing.

  • The tatto may now be exposed to incidental sunlight (but no tanning or subbathing!). It must though, be shielded with a sun protectant.
  • This stage requires a lot of moisture and rebuilding support. While no longer an open wound, infection must still be watched for. An infection in this stage can be just as devastating as the previous two.

This stage ends

This stage ends when the tatto is no longer cloudy or sore and the underlying skin has healed fully.

While the skin might look healed in the surface, larger pieces may take up to six months to heal during this stage. The tattoo should still be treated as a wound, as the skin repairs all of its structures disrupted by the tattoo process.

Day 21-180

Stage 4


During this stage

After the first 3 stages, the tattoo is healed and looking 100% during stage 4... as long as you can keep it that way!

Every day, the sun, wind and time will wear down your tattoo until it fades and fogs. While not an acute concern, infection risk is a long-term concern, and infection prophylaxis can save you a lifetime of a scar from the time you got MRSA.

  • Your skin still needs protection fro the sun and aggressive antiaging and pro-regenerative aid. UV rays WILL destroy ink pigment over long term if allowed.

The bottom Line

Much like the care given to a historical document or a priceless painting, you must make sure that the surface holding your tattoo's ink (your skin!) is kept in the great shape to protect it from aging and also from the sun.

The most important thing in this stage is preserving the skin the ink has sealed. Sublte tatto elements like smoke or gentle clouds can wind uo distorted, and looking like smears and smudges and colors that seem to run into each other. This is because as the skin turns over, the ink is shifted around and can slowly travel around riding the slow waves of growing and dying skin cells.