You always dreads that moment when your tattoo goes from the new, vibrant, and fresh tattoo into the peeling stage in which it will adjust to its healed color. There is no stopping this and it is all part of the tattoo healing process however it does raise the question.
Do All Tattoos Peel?
When I got my first tattoo it was on my chest and it was a mixture of red, black, and grey. In fact, I liked the skin tear look and I got my birth countries flag imprinted underneath my skin to appear as though it had been torn.
I really didn’t know what to expect after getting my tattoo, I was ill-informed and ill-prepared for the act and in the midst of doing my tattoo aftercare my tattoo began to peel and I had no idea if this was normal or not! (Give me a break, I was 18 and new)
At the time I was taking an EMT basic course because I intended on pursuing a career as a paramedic, I remember sheepishly approaching an older guy who was covered in tattoos and asking him if the peeling that was going on on my chest was normal.
He didn’t blink an eye when he told me it was completely normal and that it was important to keep the area moisturized with a good unscented tattoo lotion.
He was right, it was completely normal and my tattoo did end up healing quite well for my first time and that was because I took the tattoo healing process seriously. But I always did wonder, do all tattoos peel?
And the answer was yes all tattoos do peel, some heal more drastically than others (when it comes to scabbing/flaking) but the biology behind the tattoo healing process is where a better understanding can come from. Here is a brief overview of what happens
- After getting a tattoo your body is leaking blood and plasma due to the needle piercing your skin many times over.
- Swelling will occur as your body responds to the trauma incurred as the tattoo was applied.
- Your body forms a mesh of platelets to prevent loss of bodily fluids from the tattoo being applied.
- For about a week or two the body will repair the skin that was tattooed.
- After about a week or two you will notice your tattoo beginning to peel and flake
- Do Not – Pick, Itch, Scratch, or Bite the area as the tattoo is flaking/peeling.
- Once the tattoo has healed the scabs and flakes of skin will fall away revealing the healed finished product.
I think the biggest thing that this comes down to is understanding that you must take care of the peeling area by not touching it or interfering with how your body is healing the tattoo. Once again, when you do pick or itch at the area you put yourself at risk for damaging your new tattoo.
A personal observation – I have noticed when getting my tattoos is that the colored tattoos tend to go through a longer and more intense peeling stage than the black and gray tattoos.
Have you noticed anything similar? If so comment below and let me know what you think!