How Often Do Tattoos Need to be Touched up? Do All Tattoos Need a Touchup?

You have landed to know one of the most important topics in tattoos. Welcome to the club; you are amongst thousands looking for the right time for a tattoo retouch and how often. We have all the information you are looking for in tattoo retouches.

Tattoo retouches hold great importance as you spent a lot of money on that dream design on your body. The tattoo ink needs to stay vibrant, look fresh, and well-designed always.

Retouches are better than going for tattoo removal on fading. Replacing an existing tattoo with a new design will cost you more than the retouch.

The process of tattoo retouch is simple and takes less time; thus, you don’t have to worry or be disappointed with the tattoo fading.

Let’s begin with everything that you would like to know related to tattoo retouches. We bet you will be able to see your dream tattoo in the same quality always.

Importance of Tattoo Touchups

In most cases, many original tattoos need to be retouched. They say that tattoos are permanent, however; as time flies some changes happen in the tattoo.

Factors like aging, working out, etc., may stretch or loosen the skin affecting the quality of the tattoo too. In many similar cases, the importance of tattoo retouches cannot be ignored.

Detailing is important no matter how old the tattoo is. Thus, touchups play a vital role in the life of tattoo lovers. Touchups are time-saving and require fewer efforts than going for a completely new tattoo.

It is because the process of retouch is different. Your tattoo artist adds small details to add beauty and quality to your tattoo. They just fix the problem with your tattoo.

Do all tattoos need a touchup?

Not all tattoos need a retouch. It all depends on your skin’s healing process. Some people consider the aftercare so sincerely that they never need a retouch.

Although tattoo touchups are a common thing and most people go for it, but if your ink and artist are good enough, you may not have to go for one.

Let’s understand some more scenarios that decide whether the particular tattoo needs a retouch or not at all:

Tattoos on some parts of the body may need frequent retouches and tattoos on certain parts may not need retouches at all.

For instance, tattoos on hands, elbows, wrists, and feet are exposed more and thus are prone to fade soon. It is because these parts are constantly moving.

To add more, the rubbing of clothing is more common in these areas. These parts are also exposed to the sun and water more often.

Thus, touchup sessions are required for these areas compared to other parts of the body.

5 Effective ways to Prevent Tattoo Touchups

There are ways you can prevent tattoo touch-ups. A good aftercare structure for the tattoo involves the following:

1. Protecting your tattoo from sun rays

Direct sun exposure will make your tattoo fade sooner than you expected.

Applying a good heat protectant or sunscreen will help your tattoo to look fresh and stay longer with minimal retouch sessions. Check online for some good options on sunscreen for tattoo protection.

2. Wearing comfortable clothing

Tight clothing can run off the ink and also stick to the ink. This will not be good for your tattoo. Moreover, the scabs will be difficult and painful to peel off.

It is what your tattoo artist will also suggest to you. Loose clothes allow your skin as well as a tattoo to breathe with comfort.

3. Maintaining good hygiene and cleaning of tattoos

Make a habit of washing your tattoo with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Avoid wiping the tattoo or rubbing the tattoo with a towel.

This will smudge the ink and make it look watered. Good hygiene is also recommended as the body sweat will smudge or fade the tattoo.

4. Limit swimming and other types of water contact

Heavy water exercises such as swimming, river rafting, steam baths, hot tubs, and hot showers are not good for tattoos. You must strictly avoid swimming until your tattoo heals or for 2 to 3 weeks.

5. Apply the right type of tattoo protectants

Ask your tattoo artist to recommend you some good tattoo ointment as per your tattoo ink and tattoo type. Tattoos on healing can lead to dryness, peeling, and scabbing.

Thus, applying a natural or safe moisturizer helps to keep the tattoo safe and healthy. It will also stretch the period of retouch.

How do I know if my tattoo needs a touchup?

Other than the above-mentioned scenarios, some more ways confirm that it is time for tattoo retouch. Before you read these ways, you must wait until your tattoo is completely healed before you go for a retouch.

If you are unable to decide when to see your artist for a retouch, the below factors will help you understand:

  • Check if your tattoo is completely healed
  • Is it giving an itching feeling?
  • Does it look faded?
  • Does your tattoo look washed out?
  • Is the tattoo exposed too much in the sun or water?
  • Do you see any missing colors, ink, or gaps in your tattoo?
  • Does your tattoo look stretched?
  • You failed to take good care of your tattoo
  • When the tattoo has flaws
  • The ink has faded over time
  • The tattoo has turned not as expected
  • An error has been made by tattoo artist on the design
  • The tattoo looks ugly with time
  • Imperfection in tattoos
  • Filling up the visible gaps

If you are confident to take care of your tattoo; it won’t need a touch-up. You must choose a reputed tattoo artist who believes in neat tattoo work and doesn’t need a retouch.

You can also consult your tattoo artist to know if it is time to retouch your existing tattoo. Until he or she feels it is time, it would be best to wait.

How often do tattoos need to be touched up?

Tattoo artists will invite you for retouch in 1 to 6 months after your first tattoo. That gives you the best results. Some even recommend doing it in 12 months.

Your tattoo artist is the best person to answer this question for you. They know their art and skill well, thus they will be able to tell you when it is time for a retouch.

Seeking guidance from a tattoo artist on retouches is essential as the healing time for the retouch and the original tattoo are almost the same. The process of healing is similar too.

It will usually take 2 to 4 weeks to heal tattoo retouch. Thus, you need to be confident of the frequency and the right time to go for a retouch.

To understand it better, remember the below:

  • Small tattoos – Need retouch after 4 weeks
  • Large or extended tattoos – Need retouch in 6 to 12 months

What happens if you touch up a tattoo too soon?

Going for a tattoo touchup until it is completely healed will make it worse. It can also lead to serious skin infections and may even lead to bleeding.

A tattoo is like a fresh wound on your skin. It needs to be healed completely until you go for a retouch or touchup. Your professional tattoo artist will also advise you of the same. The waiting period to be on the safer side is technically 6 months.

Let your skin recover from the bleeding, swelling, and wound. Any imperfections that you notice will be clearer once the tattoo is completely healed or settled.

Only then you would need to book an appointment with your tattoo artist for a retouch. Remember, touchups are equally painful similar to original tattoos. Some have complained of more painful touchups than the original.

What happens if you don’t touch up a tattoo too often?

Not going for tattoo touchups at the right time will make your tattoo look dull, faded, and bad. Even if you take the most precautions or aftercare, many factors will put down the quality of your tattoo.

For instance, sweating, exposure to the sun, aging, etc., are some common scenarios that you cannot ignore for long.

Take care of the tattoo is essential so that your need to go for a lesser number of retouch sessions.

However, the aftercare would not eradicate the need for retouches. You may have to go for few sessions in the future at some point in time.

Can faded tattoos go for a touchup?

Technically, people go for touchups of faded tattoos only. These touchup sessions bring back the lost life of your tattoo.

That faded tattoo once again starts looking fresh and as good as new. In most cases, touchup requests are received for older tattoos.

Just like painting colors, tattoos get old too. Thus, your tattoo artist will suggest you go for a retouch.

Faded tattoos may not need a complete touchup. There may be few areas where the ink has gone lighter.

It usually happens in the outlines or the fine lines of the tattoos. You may show your tattoo to your artist and check his/her opinion for the same.

Final Words:

Even if you know more answers related to tattoo retouch, it would be wise to take a second opinion with your tattoo artist. Be honest to them about your tattoo waiting period if you are changing the tattoo artist.

It will help them to finalize the sessions for you. Get all your doubts cleared before you begin with the retouch as even retouches are not an easy piece of cake to deal with.