Is it Time to Touch Up My Tattoo?

John Dietrich

Tattoos are permanent, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need upkeep. In fact, most tattoo designs will require a touch up at some point. There are a number of things that can fade your ink, like sun exposure or water, and it’s important to be conscious of these factors. We answer all of your questions about tattoo touch ups, and give you instructions on the best ways to keep your tattoo designs in great condition.

Why Do Tattoos Need Touch Ups?

Tattoos need touch ups for a variety of reasons. Often, it’s just too much time spent in the sun, leaving you with tanned skin and a faded tattoo. Other times, it’s spending too much time submerged in water. Many people find it tempting to pick at their scabs after getting inked. This can disrupt the ink, meaning you’ll need to get a touch up pretty soon afterward. Basically, anything that draws ink particles away from the dermis layer of your skin can prompt the need for a touch up.

How Much Do Touch Ups Cost?

The good news is that your own tattoo artist usually guarantees his work, meaning that you can get a touch up for free, if you take proper care of your tattoo in the meantime.

How Will I Know When I Need A Touch Up?

Typically, tattoo clients wait for 6 months to get a touch up after getting their tattoo. How long you should wait for a touch up ultimately depends on the size of your tattoo, the level of detail in the tattoo design, as well as how fast your skin heals.

Alternatively, you can check whether you need a touch up simply by eyeballing your tattoo design. Does it look watered down or faded? Are there lacking patches of color where there should be some? If so, call your tattoo artist up again, and go in for a touch up.

What If I Can’t See That My Tattoo Needs A Touch Up?

As a general rule, you should let your artist gauge whether your tattoo needs a touch up or when it might need one. In many cases, you can’t tell whether you need one just by the way the ink looks. That’s why you have your artist, who is an expert in these kinds of observations and can make the best recommendations. It’s a good idea to visit your artist a couple of weeks after getting your tattoo done, just to have them look it over and assess whether any extra work needs to be done. They might tell you to come back in two months or four months to have an extra touch up done.

How Can I Avoid Getting a Touch Up?

It’s a good idea to get at least one touch up around 6 months after having your tattoo done, but there are certain safety measures you can take to ensure that your design stays intact. First, it’s important to practice sun safety, making sure to stay out of the sun for prolonged periods and to wear high SPF sunscreen when you can. It’s also important to avoid swimming in any bodies of water soon after getting your tattoo; not only is this dangerous for your own health, but it can leach a lot of the ink out of your skin. You might also feel the urge to scratch or pick at the scabs that form after getting inked. Don’t do this. Picking at the healing skin can also remove the ink, leaving your design blurred and uneven.

How Long Will My Touch Up Take?

The time that a touch up takes is extremely variable, and it all depends on the size, color or black and grey, detail, and placement of your design. Some might take 5 minutes, whereas others could take several hours.

While one touch up is par for the course, there are many ways you can be proactive in keeping your ink in its best condition. Remember that a touch up 6 months after getting your tattoo done will help, but it’s also important to keep your skin moisturized and protected from the sun and water. If you know of any other useful tips for keeping your tattoos looking fresh, let us know about them in the comment section below!

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