How Can You Make Your Tattoo Heal Quicker? Hacks To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time

A tattoo is an open wound. It undergoes different stages before healing completely.

Written by Gayatri Sarin

On Oct 8, 2023 – 9 minutes read

Hacks To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time

After getting your body inked, you are probably excited to show off your tattoo. But you have to wait for the tattoo to heal, which requires the utmost care and dedication in the next several weeks. Generally, the healing process goes through four stages, with the time frame varying based on the tattoo’s size and position on your body and your habits. You can get your tattoo ready in no time by following the trusted hacks to reduce tattoo healing time.

Hacks To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time: Fast-Track Tattoo Healing

However, before anything else, hit mute on your internal panic button to stop getting worried and hassled around the aftercare of your tattoo (1). The healing process is also dependent on the professionalism of your tattoo artist. Ensure that the artist uses clean and sterilized tools in a proper environment. If the tattoo-making process is accurate, with an experienced professional using clean and disinfected tools, your tattoo tends to heal quickly and properly. 

why is my tattoo burning after 3 days

Tattoo Healing Stages – Day By Day

Tattoo healing occurs in various stages. Each day, you can see noticeable differences in your tattoo’s condition and appearance. Here’s a day-by-day account of how your tattoo will heal:

Day 1-2

Your tattoo artist will cover your tattoo with a bandage or plastic wrap and suggest a duration for which you should leave the covering. Generally, the recommended time is a few hours to overnight. You will see the tattooed area oozing plasma, ink, and excess fluids during this time. 

Day 2-3

Gently clean the tattoo after removing the bandage or wrap. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap. There might be a bit of swelling and redness. The tattoo may also appear slightly raised. Use a paper towel or clean cloth to pat it dry. Don’t panic if some ink comes off during the initial cleaning. Apply a thin layer of the tattoo ointment or lotion prescribed by the tattoo artist. 

Day 4-7

You will see the tattoo scabbing and peeling. This is normal. Clean the tattoo regularly and apply the ointment. Keep the area moisturized. Do not scratch, pick, or peel off scabs, as it can lead to loss of color or cause scarring. 

Hacks To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time - Day 4-7

Day 8-14

Scabs will start falling off, showing the healed tattoo underneath. Swelling and redness will also reduce, with the tattoo looking less shiny and more settled. Keep practicing the aftercare routine and moisturizing the skin to avoid excessive dryness. 

Day 15 Onwards

At this stage, your tattoo will look quite healed. There may be a bit of flakiness, dullness, or minor dryness. Instead of the recommended ointment or lotion, you can start using a fragrance-free moisturizer. But you must still stay away from the sun and avoid soaking in water for long, such as swimming or long baths. 

Remember to be patient and gentle with your tattoo for proper healing. If you don’t pay attention to the aftercare, your tattoo may lose its integrity and vibrancy over time. 

How To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time?

When you get a tattoo, the skin’s outer layer (the part visible to you) takes 2 to 4 weeks to heal. While you may begin to slacken on the aftercare after this time, know that the skin below the tattoo requires as long as six months to heal. 

The skin surrounding larger tattoos requires more time to recover. Moreover, habits like forgoing sunscreen, avoiding moisturizing, picking at the scabs, or using a scented or alcohol-based lotion can delay the healing process. 

Please remember the tattoo is like a wound and requires time and care before healing completely. If you want your tattoo to heal properly and quickly, here are the hacks to reduce tattoo healing time. 

Top 10 Hacks To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time

1. Keep The Tattoo Covered

You’ll have the tattoo covered in a plastic wrap or bandage when you leave the tattoo center. This covering protects it from bacteria, airborne particles, and germs. It also prevents excess ink and oozing plasma from getting on your body and clothes. Keep the bandage on for about 8 to 10 hours. Some tattoo artists recommend you to leave it covered overnight. 

2. Clean With Lukewarm water

It is vital to keep your tattoo clean during the healing process. Use lukewarm water and a mild soap to clean the area. Hot water can burn your skin and hurt your tattoo. So, keep in mind that the water should be tepid. Use a soft fabric or a paper towel to pat dry. 

Top 10 Hacks To Reduce Tattoo Healing Time

3. Use Antibacterial Soap To Clean Your Tattoo

One of the best hacks to reduce tattoo healing time is using antibacterial soaps for cleaning the tattoo. The ingredients of other soaps can damage and irritate your skin. Furthermore, try to have a fragrance-free soap. Artificial fragrances can lead to itching and rashes. Alcohol-based products also harm open wounds and dry out the tattoo, making it prone to poor healing and damage. 

4. Avoid Bathing In A Tub

While bath soaks help to relax your muscles after a long day, tattoos don’t like them. Scabs can become soft and spongy due to excessive moisture. But, for quicker healing, you want the scabs to stay on until they flake off naturally. 

5. Don’t Scratch It

It is common for your tattooed skin to feel itchy because itchiness is a sign of healing. It indicates that the scabs are almost ready to fall off. However, don’t scratch or peel the tattoo at this stage. Allow it to heal naturally. Trying to rush into the process will do more harm than good. 

6. Use Lotion Sparingly

After you’ve cleaned the tattoo, apply a thin layer of tattoo-appropriate lotion or ointment. Make sure it is an unscented, hypoallergenic lotion. Also, don’t drown the tattoo in ointment because that can create an overly moist environment. Create a hardly visible sheen with a thin coat three to five times a day to keep your skin quenched. 

7. Avoid Excessive Exercise And Sweating

Engaging in intense physical activities can cause you to sweat excessively. Sweat can irritate the tattoo and cause redness. Try to restrict these activities till your tattoo has healed fully. 

8. Protect From Sunlight

Sun is one of the biggest enemies of a healing tattoo. Another smart hack to reduce tattoo healing time is limiting sun exposure. Follow this practice for at least two weeks till the wound closes and new skin forms. Use sunscreen designed for tattoos before soaking in the sun. Make sure your tattoo is covered with sunscreen even after two weeks. 

9. Don’t Wear Tight Clothing

When you’re trying to heal a tattoo, tight clothing is the last thing you should pull out of your wardrobe. Tight clothing restricts airflow and causes friction. It also scrapes and dislodges scabs, interrupting the healing process. Pick loose-fitting clothes or leave the area exposed if possible. 

Symptoms Of A Tattoo Infection

A tattoo can cause minor inflammation. But if you don’t care for it properly, it is prone to infection. The condition, relatively rare but serious, can occur anytime during the tattoo healing process. (2)

The symptoms of a tattoo infection include a rash, excessive swelling, fever, and more. You must seek medical attention if you suspect a tattoo infection. Do watch out for the following signs and symptoms:

Symptoms Of A Tattoo Infection
  • Swelling: Having a swelling is normal initially. But if it increases, becomes severe, and is painful, making it uncomfortable for you, it can be the symptom of an infection. Don’t let the swelling worsen after the first few days. 
  • Excessive redness: A bit of redness in the initial days after getting a tattoo is normal. Do keep a check because if the redness is persistent and increases beyond the first few days, you may be having an infection. 
  • Heat: Another symptom of a tattoo infection is the temperature of the tattooed skin. It may feel warm to the touch for the first few days. But if the heat persists or increases after the initial healing period, please seek advice. 
  • Pain and tenderness: You will experience a little discomfort after getting a tattoo. Such pain is normal. But, if the pain increases to become severe and sharp, it is the symptom of an infection. 
  • Fever: A fever indicates an infection. Monitor your temperature, and if it exceeds 38°C or 101°F, in addition to other symptoms, you need medical attention immediately. 
  • Pus or discharge: If you see yellow or greenish pus or discharge oozing out of the tattooed area, know that you have an infection. Natural healing involves clear, minimal discharge. 
  • Chills and sweating: When you have a fever, you tend to experience chills and sweating. These symptoms indicate that your body is attempting to fight off an infection. 
  • Rash or hives: A rash or hives around the tattooed skin indicates that you have developed an allergy or infection. 
  • Persistent itching: Mild itching during the healing is normal. But if you have intense and unrelenting itching, along with other symptoms, it can be a sign of an infection.

Consult a healthcare professional if you experience any of these symptoms. You can reach out to a primary care physician or a dermatologist, depending on what symptoms you’re experiencing. Leaving a tattoo infection untreated can lead to more severe complications, like abscess formation or cellulitis.

You can treat a tattoo infection with oral antibiotics, topical ointments, or other medical treatments. 


1. Can a tattoo heal in two weeks?

Generally, the time taken by a tattoo to heal is 2 to 4 weeks. However, each person’s skin and healing process are different.

2. Does Vaseline heal tattoos faster?

Your tattoo artist will apply Vaseline on your tattoo immediately after inking it, but you might not want to use it again. It may trap moisture and increase risk of infection and prolong healing.

3. Can I use coconut oil on my new tattoo?

yes, coconut oil is safe to use on your new tattoo. It has anti-inflammatory benefits to calm damaged, irritated skin, similar to recently tattooed skin.  

4. Is aloe vera good for new tattoos?

Aloe vera is great for a new tattoo. It soothes, moisturizes, and nourishes the inked area.

5. Can I ice a new tattoo?

Yes. If you notice any swelling or redness on your tattoo after getting home, you should ice the area for around 20 minutes.


Caring for your new tattoo may feel stressful if it’s your first time, but don’t worry. The above hacks to reduce tattoo healing time can ensure that your new ink feels and looks perfect in no time. By being cautious about its aftercare, you can avoid fading, blurring, and infections. 

Make sure you clean the tattoo properly and apply the right lotion at appropriate times. Remember to use lukewarm water and avoid hot tubs and sauna baths. Don’t step out in the sun. If you really need to, always wear good sunscreen. Lastly, make sure you don’t scratch, prick, or peel your skin. 

  1. National Library of Medicine. (n.d). Aftercare Instructions in the Tattoo Community. [Online] Available at:
  2. FDA. (n.d). Tattoos & Permanent Makeup: Fact Sheet. [Online] Available at:

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Gayatri is a writer who specializes in hair care, styling tips, skincare routines and latest health trends. Her expertise comes from professional training, extensive research, and a continuous quest for the latest trends and innovations. I believe that beauty and well-being are interconnected, and I aim to provide readers with holistic advice

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