Inside: Do Tattoos Fade? { How + Why? }

Nothing is permanent, not even photographs, memories, the universe, or even your permanent tattoos. This may sound like a paradox since every time you talk about getting a tattoo, someone is bound to warn you ‘you’d be making a permanent change to your body.’

Yet, tattoos aren’t as permanent as you’d expect them to be.

If you’re planning on getting a tattoo, several questions may cloud your mind. “Do tattoos fade? Why & how does it happen? Are there any precautions I can take to make them more durable?” Read on to find out all of these answers.

Will your new tattoo fade on you? Here's how to prevent it.

Do Tattoos Fade?

Here’s a simple truth: every tattoo starts fading gradually as the years go by. It is a slow process, but it begins before you leave the tattoo parlor. As you get older, the changes in your body will also affect the appearance of your tattoo.

Why & How Does A Tattoo Fade?

In order to create a permanent mark on your body, the ink must be inserted underneath the skin’s surface. This means that the ink has to bypass the outer layer of the skin to penetrate below the skin’s surface.

Unfortunately, our bodies cannot understand that this ink is being deposited on purpose. Instead, they confuse the ink with a foreign substance that is attacking the body. Hence, the immune immediately starts taking action to either kill it or remove it from the body.

The good thing is that the ink can be extremely tough and resilient. Therefore, it wouldn’t just exit the body on the first attack from the immune system or even months to come. In fact, you wouldn’t notice any difference in your tattoo for a long time.

But as the years go by, the white blood cells constantly attack the foreign substances without getting tired. As a result, the ink starts breaking into smaller pieces until it can be entirely removed from the body. During the initial stage, the fading is barely visible.

However, a couple of years later, you’d start noticing signs of fading. It is a natural process, and there isn’t much you can do about it.

Why Tattoos Fade?

Other Reasons Tattoos May Fade Over the Year

In addition to our natural immune system, certain other factors can accelerate the fading of the tattoo over the years. Following are some of the most common reasons this happens.

·       Exposure to Sun

If you tend to spend a lot of time in the sun, it is recommended to get a tattoo on an area that your clothes would cover. This is because sun exposure can significantly speed up the fading process. However, if your tattoo will be exposed to the sun, make sure to wear good sunscreen every time you go outside.

·       Different Body Parts

Another vital thing to remember when getting a tattoo is that the ink fades faster on some body parts than the others. The skin regeneration process is faster on the hands, fingers, elbows, feet, and knees than it will on other body areas. Hence, tattoos in these areas will fade away faster than the rest of the body.

·       Excessive Weight Gain or Loss

If you drew a picture on a stretchy fabric and then stretched the fabric to its full limit, the image wouldn’t look quite the same, right? The same thing happens to tattoos if you gain or lose a lot of weight. As the skin stretches, the ink molecules start breaking, making it appear as though your tattoo is fading.

Similarly, if you lose too much weight, it can give the tattoo a squashed look. Either way, it doesn’t look as good as it did initially. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent you from facing this issue and improve the quality of your life in the long run.

·       Poor Skincare

When you get a tattoo from a goof tattoo artist, they provide you with a list of dos and don’ts during the healing period of the tattoo. This includes keeping the area clean at all times and applying an adequate amount of moisturizer. However, once the healing period is over, most people stop paying attention to the tattoo.

This can cause the skin under and around the tattoo to become dry and flakey, which can increase the efficiency of the white blood cells. Avoid this issue by maintaining good skincare habits even after the tattoo area is completely healed.

Reasons That Tattoos Fade

Do Tattoos Fade? Fastest Fading Tattoo Locations

There are several different spots on your body that will fade faster than others. Like do finger tattoos or lip tattoos fade faster than others? The short answer is yes.

Here is a list of the top 6 spots that fade quicker than others.

  1. Hand palms are the quickest fading tattoo location, because it is the most rubbed and used part of your body.
  2. Fingers come in next for a similar reason.
  3. Then the bottoms of your feet because they rub as we walk everyday.
  4. Elbows, mostly because we bang them and bend them so often.
  5. Lips – All that kissing & eating, plus using straws makes this much worse.
  6. Upper Inside of Arm, mostly caused by the friction of movement.

What are The Tattoos that fade fast

In theory, a tattoo does leave a permanent mark on your body. However, the mark may not maintain its original look over the years. That being said, if you follow the precautions mentioned above, you can maintain your tattoo for a long time; until those stubborn white blood cells finish their job.

Even then, the process would take at least a few decades, so you don’t need to worry about it yet.

5 Ways to Manage Tattoo Fading

This fading process never stops, so you should be prepared to get your tattoo touched up every few years.

The good news is that there are ways to slow down and manage the tattoo fading process. In this guide, we will examine different ways to prevent or deal with tattoo fading.

1.    Be Careful During the Initial Healing Process

A tattoo will be easier to maintain if it has healed properly. Your tattoo artist may have already explained the various healing stages and aftercare activities to you, so it is important to follow their instructions.

Some of these important aftercare tips include:

  • Not re-bandaging the tattoo once you have removed the initial bandage.
  • Washing the tattoo with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water after removing the bandage.
  • Not touching the scabs or dead skin around the tattoo region
  • Keeping the tattoo adequately moisturized with a thin layer of moisturizer
  • Avoiding baths, hot tubs, and swimming activities for four weeks

By following the above tips, you can ensure your tattoo heals properly and will remain more resilient to the tattoo fading process.

2.    Choose the Right Tattoo Placement

Tattoo placement is important to consider if your goal is to slow down the tattoo fading process. Friction is generally responsible for a lot of the fading that occurs. This includes friction from clothes and contact with surfaces. This is why a tattoo on your ankle could fade faster than a tattoo on your forearm if you wear socks frequently.

For this reason, you should think carefully about where you would like to get your tattoo. This placement will definitely impact the tattoo’s appearance over time, so be sure to choose wisely.

3.    Protect Your Tattoo from the Sun

The human body needs vitamin D from sunlight to stay healthy. However, sunlight is also detrimental to tattoos.

Allowing your tattoo to be exposed to direct sunlight regularly will speed up the tattoo fading process. This is because your tattoo ink is typically held in your skin’s dermis layer. The sun’s burning rays can’t penetrate this layer, but its UVA rays can still get through.

Such UVA rays can break down your tattoo ink and cause fading if the exposure occurs regularly and for long periods. For this reason, it is best to keep your tattoo covered when you go outside.

You can wear loose clothing to ensure your tattoo remains protected and that friction against it is minimized. If you don’t want to keep your tattoo covered up with an article of clothing, you should apply a layer of sunscreen to it before stepping outside. This won’t completely protect it from UVA rays, but it will reduce the impact they have on the tattoo ink.

4.    Stop Smoking

Some people might not be enthused to hear this, but smoking can impact the way your tattoo looks. This is because smoking reduces the amount of collagen your body produces. Said collagen is responsible for giving your skin its elasticity.

When your skin loses this elasticity, your tattoo ink may start to bleed out. As a result, your tattoo will be left with a duller and less vibrant appearance. So if you’re a heavy smoker who is concerned about tattoo fading, it is best to cut down on this habit or quit entirely.

5.    Get More Sleep

Another surprising factor that may speed up the tattoo fading process is lack of sleep. Sleep is an important activity that helps our body recharge in many ways. However, it also ensures healthy collagen production.

As mentioned above, this collagen production is necessary for skin elasticity, which prevents your tattoo ink from bleeding out. For this reason, you should ensure you get an adequate amount of rest each night if you want to avoid speeding up the tattoo fading process.

Nobody wants their tattoo to fade. However, this process is inevitable given tattoo ink’s properties. The above tips should help slow down the fading process, so be sure to follow them closely once you have gotten your new tattoo.

You should also remember that there is no shame in getting your tattoo touched up every few years. Many people do this to help their tattoos regain their original vibrant appearance, so you can contact your tattoo artist and get this done every five years or so.

Tattoo Inspiration Just for You

  • Embroidery Tattoos – If you love tattoos as well as embroidery, you are going to go wild for these embroidery tattoos! These designs are some of the coolest tattoo ideas around. They look like you have actual embroidery stitches in your skin! They do take some time for the tattoo artist to make them so detailed, but it’s worth every second! Don’t miss these awesome embroidery tattoo designs.
  • Beautiful Magnolia Flower Tattoo Ideas – Magnolia flower tattoos are downright gorgeous! Flowers symbolize many things in tattoos, and the Magnolia flower is no different. Magnolia’s represent your love of nature, persevering through hard times, and beauty. Magnolia tattoos look great in black, or they can have pops of color to make them stand out. Either way, they are elegant and are popular tattoo art. Take a look at these ideas, and you’ll see how stunning they are!
  • Prettiest Hummingbird Tattoo Ideas – A popular subject in the tattoo world is the Hummingbird. It is a thing of beauty that has unique shapes and amazing abilities. Capturing those qualities in a tattoo can be really rewarding. Have a look at our list of the Prettiest Hummingbird Tattoo Ideas.