Do tattoos age or not? When the tattoo is fresh out of the healing process, it takes on a simply incredible appearance and that’s why we call it ART. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this look isn’t forever. Over time, tattoo ink can fade or lose definition. Many people end up being afraid of getting a tattoo when they are faced with this reality, but rest assured, the truth is that there are certain precautions that can ensure that your tattoo remains beautiful and looks new for many years. Read on below and you’ll understand this whole story.
If the skin cells are renewed, why doesn’t the tattoo disappear?
Tattoos remain on the body due to the fact that they are made in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, which does not undergo renewal. While the epidermis, the outermost layer, is constantly renewed, the dermis is not. Tattoo needles penetrate approximately 2 millimeters into the dermis, where drops of ink are injected, ensuring the tattoo’s permanence. Unlike a pen scratch, which only affects the epidermis and disappears with soap and water, tattoos resist.
However, if poorly executed, they can become blurred over time, either due to failure in the needle’s penetration into the dermis or the use of low quality inks. The reaction of the skin’s defense cells can also contribute to the loss of definition in the designs, as they try to isolate the pigments as a defensive response.
But even if the tattoo remains, if you want to keep its colors vibrant for a long time, you need to understand how to care for it correctly.
Tattoo location can help in the fight against time
As we age, changes in the body occur more gradually compared to changes resulting from weight gain. However, it is advisable to choose body areas that are less susceptible to significant changes over time. Locations such as the back, arms, lap and legs tend to maintain relative stability, preserving the integrity of the tattoos.
Avoiding the ankle is a wise precaution, as healing in this region can be challenging. The dermatologist warns of the potential impact on changes in venous return, which can complicate the healing process. This same principle extends to hypertensive patients, discouraging the practice of tattooing on the legs due to possible interference with circulatory processes.
Additionally, individuals prone to keloids, a condition in which scars become raised, should undergo prior testing before opting for tattoos. This preventive measure aims to avoid complications arising from the body’s hyperactive response to skin damage.
Do tattoos age? Just take care of it correctly
There’s not much of a secret, following some care before and after the tattoo, you’ll ensure that it stays beautiful for much longer. Check out some tips:
Care before getting a tattoo
Before getting a tattoo, it is important to take some precautions to ensure that the procedure is safe and that the tattoo looks its best.
Choose a good tattoo artist
The first step is to choose a good tattoo artist. Look for a professional with experience and who uses disposable or autoclaved materials.
Search the design
After choosing the tattoo artist, it’s time to research the design. See if the tattoo artist has photos of previous work and make sure the design is to your liking.
Moisturize your skin
In the days before the tattoo, it is important to hydrate your skin so that it is more resistant to the procedure. Use a fragrance-free moisturizing cream or lotion.
Avoid sun exposure
It is also important to avoid exposure to the sun in the days leading up to the tattoo. Ultraviolet rays can sensitize the skin and increase the risk of infection.
Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen
Aspirin and ibuprofen are anti-inflammatories that can increase bleeding during tattooing. Avoid taking these medications in the days leading up to the procedure.
Don’t drink alcohol
Alcohol can also increase bleeding and make it difficult for the tattoo to heal. Avoid drinking alcohol in the 24 hours before getting tattooed.
Care after getting a tattoo
After getting a tattoo, it’s important to take some care to ensure it heals well and lasts for many years.
Clean your skin
Wash the tattoo with mild soap and water twice a day. It is also important to apply a chlorhexidine-based antiseptic.
Avoid sun exposure
Avoid sun exposure for the first 30 days after getting tattooed. Ultraviolet rays can fade the color of the tattoo and impair healing.
Don’t scratch the tattoo
Scratching the tattoo can cause infections and impair healing. If the tattoo is itchy, apply a healing ointment or anti-itch cream.
See a doctor if there are signs of infection
If the tattoo has redness, pain, oozing or swelling, see a doctor immediately. These symptoms may be indicative of an infection.
By following these precautions, you can ensure that your tattoo looks its best and lasts for years to come.
Do colors make a difference?
Tattoo colors are made from pigments that are inserted into the skin using a needle. These pigments are composed of molecules that can be more or less resistant to breakage.
The most common colors for tattoos are black, red, blue, green and yellow. Black is the most resistant pigment to breakage, which is why black tattoos last the longest.
Lighter colors, such as red, blue, green and yellow, are made from pigments that are more prone to breakage. This occurs because the molecules of these colors are smaller and more fragile.
In addition to color, other factors can also contribute to tattoos fading, such as:
- Sun exposure: The sun’s ultraviolet rays can break down the pigment molecules in tattoos, causing them to fade.
- Friction: Friction, such as that caused by clothing or accessories, can also contribute to tattoos fading.
- Age: Over time, the skin tends to dry out and lose elasticity. This can make the tattoo more susceptible to fading.
To help extend the life of a colored tattoo, it is important to take some precautions, such as:
- Avoid sun exposure: Protect the tattoo with a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even when it’s cloudy.
- Avoid friction: Avoid wearing clothing or accessories that could cause friction on the tattoo.
- Moisturize your skin: Moisturize your skin regularly with a fragrance-free moisturizing cream or lotion.
If you want to see more details about colors, we have a publication explaining everything about colored and black and white tattoos.
If the tattoo is already fading, you can do a touch-up to restore the color. Retouching can be done by the same tattoo artist who did the original tattoo.
You can always renew or cover your tattoo
If you’ve read this far and are worried that your tattoo is already old or faded, there’s no need to despair! It’s normal for tattoos to fade over time, but that doesn’t mean they’re lost.
There are two options for renewing a faded tattoo:
- Renewal: This is the process of adding ink to the existing tattoo to restore its color and clarity. This can be done by the same tattoo artist who did the original tattoo.
- Cover-up: It is the process of making a new tattoo over the existing tattoo. This can be a good option if you don’t like the design of your existing tattoo or if it is very faded.
In both cases, professionals are prepared for this event and will always be able to help. They will be able to evaluate your tattoo and recommend the best procedure for your case.
Also, remember all the tips I gave here and take good care of them so you don’t need to renew or cover again, ok?
Tattoos are an art form that can last a lifetime. They can tell a story, represent a feeling or simply be a beautiful work of art.
Over time, tattoos can fade or change shape. This is normal as skin changes with age. However, this does not mean that tattoos lose their meaning or beauty.
If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, know that it will be a record of your life. It will accompany you for many years and will remind you of who you are and what you have been through.