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Time Between Tattoos: How Long Should a Tattoo Heal?

Getting a tattoo is exciting. From the thrill of finding an artist whose work you love, to choosing the perfect location and design, to the endorphin rush of actually sitting through your session, the process can be addictive. You might even want to do it all over again immediately. But there are a couple of good reasons to wait between tattoos. What are these reasons, and how long before you can book that next session?
 

Healing and Recovery

You should fully heal any current tattoos you have before getting a new one. A tattoo requires inflicting thousands of tiny puncture wounds on your skin and introducing a foreign substance into the body. As soon as this starts, the immune system will work overtime to repair tissue damage and prevent infection. It’s critical to give your body all the time it needs to do this job, both for your health and because a well-healed tattoo will hold its color and clarity better and for longer than a poorly healed tattoo. If your body is healing multiple areas at once, it will be less efficient in healing any individual area.
 

So How Long Does it Take a Tattoo to Heal? Illustration of clock to indicate healing time for tattoos

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question. While the average healing time for a tattoo is about 3–6 weeks, each person’s experience will depend on factors such as size and location of the tattoo, their individual skin quality and immune strength, and even factors such as climate and lifestyle.

Although every person’s healing will look different, good tattoo aftercare will ensure that you heal as quickly and fully as possible. Keeping up with your prescribed aftercare routine will reduce the risk of infection, maintain the color and clarity of your tattoo, and get you back in the market for a new one as soon as possible. Throughout the tattoo healing process, make sure you’re using only the best artist-approved tattoo aftercare products.
 

What About Touch-Ups? Can You Tattoo Over a Fresh Tattoo?

Your new tattoo might need a touch-up, but you will only know after it has fully healed. Don’t panic about your design if you see some inked skin falling away during healing — it is normal for the outer layers to flake off at this time. However, if you notice patchy color, fading, or blurriness in your tattoo after it has fully healed, you can consult your artist about a touch-up.
 

Immune System Strength Illustration of barbell with weight plates to indicate immune system strength

You should not get a new tattoo if you’re sick or if your immune system is otherwise compromised. As outlined above, a tattoo subjects the body to physical trauma and immune system pressure. If your immune system is already weakened, a new tattoo could result in complications for both your health and the ultimate appearance of that tattoo.

Good things come to those who wait, so before you book your next tattoo session, make sure your body is ready for your new ink.