Do All New Tattoos Peel?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Yes, all tattoos peel. This is due to the outside layer of the skin dying off from the needle penetrating it. While some will peel more than others, you can aid this process by moisturizing and taking good care of your tattoo.

We know this sight makes every inked newbie go crazy and to start wondering if this is supposed to happen. But what else is there to know?

When Does a New Tattoo Start Peeling?

Any newly tattooed skin will go through several healing phases and will start to peel by the end of the first week. But, for some people, they may notice some flaking by the end of the third day.

The peeling phase is entirely normal. Although the peeling varies slightly from one person to another, it’s bound to happen due to the damage done to the skin in the newly inked area.

Why Is My Tattoo Peeling Off?

In the process of getting your skin inked, needles will penetrate the upper and middle layers of the skin, also known as epidermis and dermis. Your skin will be punctured almost 10,000 times a minute, which is very close to getting a painful minor surgery.

You may start noticing the first peeling by the end of the first week, but you needn’t worry! Peeling is your skin’s response to defend itself from any possible infection. Since your skin got heavily punctured, it got exposed to foreign organisms present in the air. Your body had to create a barrier over the open area. 

Tattoos can peel a lot while being washed, but this is completely normal.

Some people may experience peeling by the second day; others won’t peel until a week or later. This may be explained by the fact that not every skin has the same response when it comes to accepting a new tattoo.

Should I Peel My Tattoo?

When your skin starts to form peels, your tattoo won’t look its best. It will look cracked and will feel dry and itchy. But remember, this isn’t your tattoo’s final form!

With proper aftercare, your tattoo will look healthy and ravishing within 2 to 6 weeks.

Consequently, we advise you not to pick and pull on them, as it’s the worst thing you can do to freshly-inked skin.

By picking and pulling, you increase the chance of unsettled ink being taken off, thus creating empty patches within your new tattoo. Scratching your tattoo, as your skin is still prone to infection, can expose your skin to bacteria, so always refrain from it.

Is My Tattoo Going to Be Okay?

Yes, your tattoo will be completely fine! Your skin will peel off naturally, and your tattoo will rise with vibrant and vivid inking.

We all have to go through this phase. For some people, it may happen so fast that they don’t even get to notice it. For others, more dedication is needed to an aftercare routine to make sure the peeling process stays healthy.

Does My Tattoo Need Special Care?

Taking care of a tattoo can be summarized in two actions, moisturizing and cleaning, as it’s essential to use an appropriate moisturizing lotion or ointment. 

Moisturizing the freshly-inked area will ensure that the tattoo comes out fresh and ravishing since it will soak the flakes in lotion, which will make the natural peeling faster, thus speeding up the healing process. 

This tattoo could definitely do with some added moisturizer

It’s also crucial to clean your tattoo daily. Cleaning your tattoo doesn’t include taking off the peeled skeel, but it’s more about getting rid of dirt and oils that might block pores. These pores are responsible for the repair process that your skin has to go through.

The aftercare process plays an important role in soothing the inked area and helping your skin heal faster and better.


Getting tattoo-peels for the first time can cause some panic and fear. But you needn’t worry since it’s a natural phase of the healing process. Make sure to follow a rigorous aftercare method for at least a few weeks — healing takes time, so be patient.

If you notice abnormal symptoms such as redness, swelling, or bleeding after a month of getting the tattoo, we advise you to go to a medical professional.

Finally, don’t worry if you see very little peeling, or no peeling at all, as this is also common and not a cause for concern.

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