Why is my tattoo peeling? Having a tattoo is something you may have been looking forward to for quite some time, but then there comes the realization that it’s not all fun and games. And when your tattoo starts peeling, it can be even more frustrating. But this is simply because you did not follow the necessary steps to take care of your tattoo. And if you are wondering why my tattoo is peeling, keep reading to find out more.
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1) You used common shampoo or soap on your new tattoo
This might seem insane, but the truth is that people often do this while their tattoo is still healing. And while you may not see any issues at first, the skin will eventually start peeling off. And the next thing you know is that it looks even worse than before. So, to prevent this from happening, understand what your tattoo artist told you about caring for your new tattoo.
2) Your tattoo was not pre-treated before being placed under the needle
Another common mistake that many people make when getting a tattoo is not pre-treating the skin beforehand. And if you think this can’t be anything to worry about, think again. Because your artist will have to spend extra time on you by placing your tattoo multiple times to look nice and clean from an aesthetic point of view.
3) Your tattoo was started on wet skin
While some think that getting a tattoo on wet skin can be a good thing, this is not the case. Because you will find it to be challenging during the healing process because of all the moisture. And even though you might make a mistake and get a tattoo on wet skin, never try to dry it up with anything else but a clean towel.
4) You let your tattoo air dry after washing or swimming
When you go for a swim or wash up immediately after getting your new tattoo, with your tattoo healing, unfortunately, this could lead to some serious problems down the road. Because if the area does not properly dry out, there is an increased chance that infection will develop, eventually leading to further complications such as peeling and fading.
5) Your face tattoo started peeling or fading
If you recently got a facial tattoo, you probably know that this is one of the most challenging places to get inked. And unfortunately, what many people do not realize is that there are certain skin conditions where tattoos don’t look good. So while you might have your heart set on getting ink done on your upper lip, think again. Because unless the proper steps are taken beforehand, it will start peeling off eventually.
So now that you know why my tattoo is peeling, reconsider your options if you are planning to take care of it properly.
1. Do not apply any ointments, lotions, or oils – This will only weaken the tattoo and cause it to peel off prematurely. You should avoid putting anything on your new tattoo at all until it is fully healed. Additionally, keep in mind that depending on what kind of ink was used for your procedure, your skin can react differently – particularly if you have a history of allergies – so always let your doctor know about this beforehand.
2. Gently wash with lukewarm water – Never use a loofah or a brush when cleaning your tattoo because the bristles from these items are way too harsh for this sensitive region. Instead, take a soft cloth and hold it under cold water before lightly dabbing it over the tattoo to remove any dirt or debris. When finished, make sure to thoroughly rinse your skin and pat dry with a clean towel. If you notice that water seeped into the tattoo, then allow it to air-dry out of direct sunlight for at least an hour or two before applying any lotion.
3. Keep it moisturized – The most significant mistake people often make when caring for their new tattoo is not keeping their hands off of it. However, this is one area where you really shouldn’t touch because your oils will only serve to weaken the tattoo faster than if you didn’t rub it at all. So, if you do notice that your skin has started peeling off prematurely, there is a chance that you didn’t keep it moisturized enough – and this is something you’ll want to correct quickly.
4. Avoid intense sun exposure – Sunlight can be highly damaging to tattoos, so many people try to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible during the first year of their new ink. So, if you have plans to go out in the sun for an extended period, make sure your tattoo is fully healed first, or opt for a sunscreen with less than 30 SPF. Any lotion with sunscreen in it will protect your tattoo from harmful UV rays, so using one might not be such a bad idea after all.
5. Don’t scrub your tattoo with a loofah or brush – For men, they often feel as if a loofah or a brush might be the best way to clean a new tattoo, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. All you need is some lukewarm water and gentle soap (preferably fragrance-free) to cleanse your skin correctly. Then after rinsing off, make sure you dry it using only paper towels – never use fabric because this will lead to excess shedding.
6. Use hot & cold compresses for faster healing. If you notice that your tattoo is peeling, then there’s no reason to panic because this isn’t something that automatically means your ink was done incorrectly or poorly. However, it occasionally happens due to extra stress on the area – and by applying a hot and cold compress, you can help speed up the healing process. Just be sure not to use them together or because this could do more harm than good, but alternate every few hours for faster results.
7. Give it time – All tattoos require some time to heal, whether they’re small or large. So, suppose your tattoo is starting to peel. In that case, that means it’s still trying to deal with everything internally and externally, so give it enough time to recover correctly before reapplying lotion. Depending on the ink used, how deep the color penetrated, and other factors like your skin type, your tattoo should stop peeling within 1-2 weeks as long as you follow these tips.
8. Don’t pick at the dead skin – If your tattoo is peeling, it means that it’s dead skin cells trying to come off. But even though you might be tempted to tug on them, avoid doing so because not only can it cause infection, but it could result in scarring down the line. Be patient and give your tattoo time to heal correctly, which shouldn’t take more than two weeks.
Do tattoos fade after they peel?
Many people have been wondering if their tattoos will fade now that they have started peeling? The simple answer? Yes! Your tattoo will still fade after it starts to peel.
Hair, skin, and tattoos are made up of the same essential thing: keratin. They all need vitamins and nutrients from your body to grow, heal and stay healthy. For example, Vitamin C is a necessary component for collagen – a key element in healthy skin development. It can also help prevent scarring.
Do you wash your tattoo when it’s peeling?
No, don’t wash it! Peeling means the tattoo is starting to heal. Avoid using any ointments or creams during this time because these products can seal in germs and cause a tattoo infection. Also, keep your tattoo out of the sun so it can continue to heal faster.
If you must clean your tattoo during this peeling phase, only use warm water and antibacterial soap (like Hibiclens) to remove excess skin oils or blood gently.
After about two weeks of letting your ink dry out by keeping the area away from moisture, you can start applying a thin layer of fragrance-free lotion like Lubriderm Lotion on the area. This helps hydrate the skin without trapping germs inside the scab.
If you follow these basic tattoo aftercare guidelines, your tattoo will heal beautifully in about a month or so!
Can I sleep on my tattoo when it’s peeling?
It’s usually best to avoid sleeping on your fresh tattoo. Getting some rest is essential for the body to heal itself, but it will be more comfortable without a bunch of bedding against your new ink! If you must sleep, use loose-fitting pajamas, so no fabric wrinkles are pressing on your tattoo.
It might also help if you keep something separating the area from the mattress, like a pillowcase or paper towel. I’ve heard of people using plastic wrap, cling film, or Saran bandage wrap before, which can be helpful because it doesn’t move around and holds in any ointment you put on the tattoo while giving it some breathing room underneath.
A very light ointment such as Aquaphor (which is petroleum-free) or even just water will also help keep the tattooed skin hydrated, which can help manage any itching.
Tattoo aftercare has a significant impact on how quickly your tattoo heals, and peeling is one of the concerns that many people have when getting a new piece done. If you are worried about your new ink peeling, consult with your artist beforehand to schedule an appointment for extra aftercare information.
Your tattoo artist should have given you some care sheet when you were in the studio, so check over this carefully to see if there’s anything else that may help prevent or limit peeling during your healing process.
You might want to take some reference photos, too, because chances are you will forget what it looked like when it’s healed. If there is a problem, you can go back to the tattoo shop for some advice or even speak to your artist directly if their number is on the sheet they supplied you with at your consultation.
What happens if you don’t moisturize the tattoo?
Your tattoo can dry out if you don’t moisturize it. If the area is not kept moist, it will start to peel and flake like a sunburn. The scab that forms in the healing process will crack, and your body will push ink out of the cracked areas.
Your tattoo may not have been moisturized enough initially, or it could lead to dry skin while you were healing it. We recommend that every other day, at the very least, your tattoo should be moisturized with a tattoo-specific moisturizer – even if it is oily when applied!
Remember this may need to be done up to twice daily until your skin adjusts and stops producing so much oil throughout the day… after which time it should only need doing once a day.
If you’re particularly concerned about having drier skin, we also suggest using an exfoliating body scrub (vitamin-enriched sugar or salt-based). This can help remove dead skin cells to help reveal your new fresh skin underneath and expose the ink to the air.
You may also want to check with your tattoo artist about their aftercare recommendations, as there is a lot of variation between artists.
Still, generally speaking, most will recommend washing (with unscented antibacterial or antimicrobial mild soap) and moisturizing every morning and night until the tattoo is fully healed. If you notice any particular areas becoming drier than others, we recommend applying an extra small amount of moisturizer there for a few days to help it stay moist.
Can I use Vaseline to moisturize my tattoo?
No, never use petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on a new tattoo. Petroleum jelly is frequently combined with lanolin, which is an oil derived from sheep’s wool. Products like Vaseline can create a barrier on the surface of your skin that prevents it from “breathing,” which is essentially what your tattoo needs to heal properly.
Petroleum jelly will soften and thin the outer layer of skin (epidermis); this could cause pigment loss if the area were hit during the healing process or provide for more absorption into surrounding tissue, causing ink loss & blowout.
How often should I moisturize my tattoo?
People are often very frustrated with the tattoo because it seems to peel, flake, or fade too quickly, or heal strangely or not at all. The truth is that most of the time, these issues are caused by improper aftercare on the tattoo owner. A new tattoo MUST be moisturized often and consistently for it to heal properly.
I know that everyone tells you to use lotion but did you ever stop to think that not all creams are created equal? There are many different lotions, some more suited for tattoos than others, depending on their ingredients.
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