Why Does My Tattoo Look Wrinkly?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 6, 2020
    Last Updated: November 15, 2020

Sometimes, the only thing more uncomfortable than getting a tattoo is dealing with all of the aftercare. If the brand new tattoo you were so excited about just a couple of weeks ago now looks a little wrinkly, don’t panic. 

While your new tattoo’s wrinkles are nothing to worry about, having a consistent and straightforward aftercare regimen at this phase of the healing process is essential if you want your tattoo to be turning heads and earning compliments for years to come.


Why Is My Tattoo Wrinkly?

A new tattoo is essentially just a big wound. When the tattooing needle penetrates your skin thousands of times over a sitting, it causes enough trauma to prompt your body into shedding all of the damaged skin over the course of a week or two and replacing it with a brand new layer of regenerated tissue.

The new skin that’s grown in a rush will be quite non-uniform compared to the surrounding areas, as well as being quite soft and supple. It’s the makeup of this new skin that gives the area that wrinkly look. This is why tattoos tend to look rather smooth when they’re first made, before slowly peeling and looking more and more wrinkled as the healing process goes on.

How Long Will My Tattoo Look Wrinkly For?

Tattoos can take many forms as they heal. Some look wrinkly, while others look shiny, cloudy, dull or scaly. No matter what your tattoo looks like while it’s healing, it normally corrects itself over the course of a few weeks or months.

The best way to help your skin return to its normal self is by ensuring it’s well-nourished and hydrated. You can do this by applying a tattoo healing lotion to the area at least twice a day, or whenever the area is feeling flaky or dry.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly 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.

It’s important, however, not to apply too much lotion to the area at any one time, as this can suffocate the tattoo and delay healing.

This is FAR too much lotion and some should be blotted off with a paper towel.

If you’re worried about your tattoo looking wrinkly while it’s healing, it’s best to give it at least two months to sort itself out – this is normally enough time for the new skin to settle and fit into its surroundings.

Look After That Wrinkled Skin

A wrinkled tattoo is just a tattoo in the earliest stages of the healing process. This is where the right aftercare regimen counts. The right aftercare regimen will mean the difference between a vibrant piece of body art or a faded piece of gibberish that could either be a head of lettuce or a portrait of your daughter, depending on the light and the angle.

While you’re getting used to your new tattoo, it’s essential to know what habits to avoid for a little while. For the first 3-4 weeks after you get your tattoo: 

Wrinkling is completely normal and will disappear with time; don’t worry.

When In Doubt, Consult Your Tattoo Artist For Guidance

You should take everything you’ve just read as general best practices only. 

When it comes to the best aftercare regimen for your tattoo, listen to what your tattoo artist has to say and follow their instructions to the letter. This especially applies to those of you who have chosen to get larger and more elaborate tattoos. 

Avoid strenuous exercise and direct sunlight, stick to showers and don’t submerge your tattoo in water under any circumstances. Once you’re out in the world showing off your new tattoo, it’s up to you to treat it properly and consistently. 

Following these easy tips will help you keep your new body art looking its best for years to come.