Tattoo Peeling: What You Should Know

Last update:
* This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

As a tattoo enthusiast, you know that tattoo peeling can be alarming. After all, it’s not often that your skin sheds like a snake’s. But rest assured, it’s a completely normal part of the healing process.

tattoo peeling

Why Is My Tattoo Peeling?

When you get a tattoo, the top and middle layers of your skin are penetrated, which can cause some initial shock to your skin cells. The healing process begins right away as your body forms a mesh of platelets to prevent the loss of bodily fluids. Over the next week, your skin cells start to regenerate and grow, and eventually, the new skin cells push their way to the top layer of your skin, causing the old, dead skin cells to peel off.

How Long Will My Tattoo Peel For?

Well, that depends on the size and amount of ink in your tattoo. If it’s a smaller tattoo, you can expect the peeling to last about a week. But for larger tattoos with more ink, it might take up to two weeks for it to fully peel.

Don’t panic if your tattoo isn’t peeling after five days, or if it takes a bit longer to finish. Every tattoo and body is unique, so it’s normal for the peeling process to vary. Just remember to follow proper aftercare instructions and be patient!

tattoo peeling

Can I Wash My Tattoo When It’s Peeling?

One question we hear often is whether it’s okay to wash your tattoo while it’s peeling. When your tattoo is going through the peeling stage, it’s important to keep it clean. Many experts suggest that washing your tattoo during this time is essential for the healing process. This usually starts about 4-5 days after getting the tattoo, and you should use lukewarm water and mild soap to gently clean it. This will help prevent infection and promote proper healing. Click here to learn how to clean your tattoo properly in 6 steps.

washing a peeling tattoo

My Tattoo Is Peeling And The Ink Is Coming Off – Is This Normal?

It’s not uncommon for some ink to come off during the peeling stage of a tattoo, and it’s important to know that this is normal and part of the healing process.

As the skin peels, some of the ink may come off with it. This is because the ink is not just sitting on the surface of the skin, but it is actually embedded in the layers of skin. As the top layers of skin peel away, some of the ink may come off with it, but the majority of the ink should remain in the deeper layers of skin where it was originally placed.

However, if you notice a significant amount of ink coming off or if the tattoo looks patchy or faded, it’s best to consult with a professional tattoo artist or a dermatologist. They can assess the situation and determine if any touch-ups or additional care is needed.

Remember to follow proper aftercare instructions to ensure that your tattoo heals properly and to minimize the risk of losing any more ink. Keeping the tattoo moisturized and clean, avoiding picking or scratching at the peeling skin, and avoiding activities that may cause excessive sweating or rubbing on the tattoo can all help prevent further loss of ink.

Tattoo Peeling: Do’s and Don’ts

When your tattoo is peeling, it’s important to take care of it to ensure it heals properly. Here are some things you should do and don’t do:

– Keep your skin moisturized

Using a moisturizer can help speed up the healing process and prevent the uncomfortable feeling of itching. It will also help nourish your skin and make it look healthy.

moisturizing a peeling tattoo

– Keep your skin clean

It’s important to keep your tattooed area clean, but make sure to do it gently. Use an antibacterial soap to wash the area, then rinse gently. Pat the area dry with a paper towel, as rubbing may damage the peeling skin.

– Let the skin peel naturally

Don’t worry about the flakes of skin falling off – it’s all part of the healing process. Let it fall off naturally to avoid damaging the skin.

Here are some things you should avoid doing:

– Don’t use alcohol-based products

Avoid using alcohol-based products on your tattoo as they can dry out your skin and prolong the healing process. Instead, use a tattoo-specific moisturizer or ointment recommended by your tattoo artist.

– Don’t pick at the peeling skin

It may be tempting, but pulling at attached skin can damage your tattoo and lead to scarring or patchiness.

– Don’t shave or wax the tattooed area

Give your skin time to heal before using a razor blade or hot wax. This could seriously damage your skin and alter the look of your tattoo.

– Avoid rubbing your tattoo with a towel

Rubbing can pull up the scab layer of your skin, sending signals to your brain that the healing process needs to start all over again. Instead, use a soft paper towel to pat the area dry after cleaning.

– Don’t soak your tattoo in water or sweat excessively

Water and sweat can seep into your tattoo and pull out ink from a tattoo that is still healing. If you do sweat, rinse off and change clothes immediately after, and keep showers short. Click here to find out about working out after getting a tattoo.

– Don’t rebandage the tattoo

By the time your tattoo starts peeling off, you shouldn’t be wearing a bandage anymore. Allow your skin to heal and peel naturally in the fresh air.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, when you get a tattoo, your skin goes through a natural process of shedding old cells and growing new ones. Taking good care of your tattoo by washing it gently and keeping it moisturized is crucial to help it heal properly and reduce the chance of ink loss. While a little ink loss during the peeling stage is normal, if you notice a lot of ink coming off or if your tattoo looks patchy or faded, it’s best to consult a professional tattoo artist or dermatologist. To avoid damaging your tattoo and promote proper healing, be sure to follow the do’s and don’ts of tattoo peeling.


Do tattoos fade after they peel?

Yes, tattoos can appear more faded and duller after they peel, which typically happens two to four weeks after getting a new tattoo. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. It’s just part of the natural healing process, so don’t be alarmed if your new ink looks less vibrant during this time.

Why is my tattoo milky after peeling?

It’s normal for your tattoo to appear milky after it has peeled. When your tattoo scabs and peels, it’s essentially like having an open wound on your skin. As your body naturally sheds the damaged cells and restores the protective layer of skin, these cells may temporarily rest on the surface of your skin, causing a translucent and milky appearance. So don’t worry, this is just part of the natural healing process.

Related Articles:

top 3 best tattoo bandages

Best Tattoo Bandages for 2024

We’ve carefully tested the 3 best tattoo bandages in the market to save you the guesswork. See which ones made the cut and why they’re the top choices for your tattoo aftercare.

Tattoo Blowout: What Is It and What You Can Do About It

Discover the causes of tattoo blowout, learn how to identify it, and explore the available solutions to address this issue.

Itchy Tattoos: What to Do (and What Not to Do)

Learn why itchy tattoos happen, how to manage the discomfort, and how to make the tattoo healing process more comfortable.

Coconut Oil: The Natural Solution for Tattoo Aftercare

Learn about the benefits of using coconut oil on tattoos and how it can keep your tattooed skin looking vibrant and healthy.

Can You Prevent Tattoo Scarring? What You Need to Know

Learn about tattoo scarring, how to prevent it, and how to deal with it if it happens.

Protective Tattoo Film vs Cling Film: Which is the Best Option?

What’s the best way to protect your tattoos? Check out our guide to protective tattoo film, the innovative product that’s changing the way tattoos heal.

Leave a Comment