Will My Tattoo Fade And Lose Color After Peeling?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 28, 2020

When your tattoo peels, it shouldn’t fade or lose color significantly. A tattoo will normally start peeling in the first week of healing, usually 5-7 days in. However, for some, the peeling may start earlier, say 3 days after tattooing. 

A peeling tattoo is the body’s way of regenerating dead skin cells. A tattoo is basically a wound; therefore, the dead skin it produces will have to be replaced naturally. This is when peeling happens, but your color can still fade.

Why Do Tattoo Colors Fade?

Here are the main causes of why a tattoo can lose color and fade when it peels:

  • Ink Color
  • Ink Quality

The Color of The Ink

While it’s expected that most tattoos will fade over time, colored tattoos bear the brunt of this more heavily. Colors that are lighter and more vibrant will fade more significantly than darker colors.

These colors include:

  • Yellow
  • Hot pink
  • Light green
  • White

Colors that are more fade-resistant are deeper hues of red and black.

In the case of peeling, vibrant colors may not look as shiny as they did at first. This, however, is part of the healing process and may not necessarily be caused by the peeling.

Very colorful peeling

Ink Quality

If the ink is of a low quality, then you will notice that your tattoo will fade faster and more significantly. Low-quality ink will usually have more metals and chemicals in it, which can be absorbed by the body, and thus, distort the appearance of the ink under the skin.

Cheaper ink may not necessarily be low quality — it’s the ingredients that determine the quality of the ink. While it may be difficult for a rookie to determine the ink quality, you should always use a reputable tattoo shop. They’re bound to stay professional and use high-quality ink.

How to Care for Your Peeling Tattoo to Prevent Fading

When your tattoo starts peeling as is expected, you should take care of it as instructed by your tattoo artist. This will help it not to fade significantly once the peeling process is over.

While your tattoo may look a bit dull and cloudy during peeling, it’s usually not indicative of permanent fading. Once your skin grows back a new layer, it will be shiny once more; however, not as shiny as was initially.

Some of the most important pointers to follow are:

  • Follow aftercare instructions
  • Avoid pulling off loose skin
  • Let your tattoo breathe

Follow Your Aftercare Instructions

A professional tattoo artist should provide you with a routine to follow for your new tattoo. This routine usually includes how to clean your tattoo, what soaps to use and drying your tattoo.

More often than not, this routine is tailor-made for you depending on the kind of tattoo you have, it’s size, and the location. Ensure that you follow these to the letter. Some of the most common instructions to follow may include:

  • How to moisturize and clean your tattoo daily
  • What soap and temperature of water to use
  • How to dry your tattoo

Avoid Pulling off Loose Skin and Itching

As your tattoo peels, large flakes of skin may come off, too. Avoid pulling these off as you may pull off living skin that isn’t ready to be removed. Doing so could create wounds that may scar and affect the overall look of the tattoo once healed.

Additionally, if you scratch the tattoo, you may pull off more skin, leaving the tattoo looking patchy. Refrain from doing. Instead, moisturize the area with an appropriate tattoo healing lotion to prevent the itching, but only after cleaning the area.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing. Click here to buy from Amazon.

Itching and scratching if the tattoo hasn’t healed can also lead to an infection, which is most definitely something to avoid.

Let Your Tattoo Breathe

Don’t wear tight clothes over your peeling tattoo. Tight clothing will create friction on your tattoo, which may increase the peeling by pulling away more skin. Your tattoo also needs to breathe, and tight clothing won’t allow this.

It’s also advisable not to bandage your tattoo for long periods. In fact, you should remove the bandage from the tattoo shop as soon as possible. Again, the artist will give you a timeline for this, which is normally 24 hours.

In Conclusion

Your tattoo shouldn’t lose color and fade if it’s peeling. The only caveat that we apply here is that this will only happen if you allow your tattoo to heal without any interference. Be sure to go with a reputable parlor and a highly skilled artist to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Even so, remember that, after healing, your tattoo won’t look as vibrant as it did when you left the tattoo shop. But don’t despair; if you look after your new skin properly, the color should retain its punch for many years to come.