Tattoo Fading: The Causes & How to Prevent It

We’ve all probably seen tattoos that seem to have not aged well whether it be due to the quality of the application tattoo (i.e. stick-and-poke) or other factors. When you get a new tattoo the last thing you want is for your tattoo to fade, or even worse, turn a less than attractive hue. Thankfully, due to the quality of modern inks and application techniques, many tattoos will look good for years to come if not for your entire lifetime. However, there is still care that must be taken to keep your tattoo from fading.

Today on the Envision Tattoo Shop blog, we are going to talk about the main causes of fading and how to prevent them. Be sure to visit our website to check the latest work from our artists and to book a consultation or your next session today!

What Causes Tattoos to Fade?

It is natural for your tattoo to fade a little over time and some tattoos, depending on placement, style, or other factors may need a touchup every once in a while. Here five of the main reasons why tattoos fade:

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How to Keep My Tattoo From Fading

If you want your tattoo to look good for years to come follow these steps:

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Take Time For Proper Aftercare

How you care for your tattoo from the beginning will affect how it looks for years to come. Be sure to follow all aftercare instructions given to you by your tattoo artist. These will include:

  • Keep your tattoo clean

  • Wash it with antibacterial soap or tattoo soap

  • Moisturize with suggested products

  • Do not pick or scratch your tattoo

Learn more about proper aftercare here.


Wear Sunscreen

Because the ink in our tattoos naturally breaks down when exposed to the sun, it’s essential to wear sunscreen on your tattoos to protect them. During the sunniest days of the month, make it part of your daily routine to apply sunscreen to your tattoo and reapply as needed. Spray tan fans will be excited to know that a spray tan can provide an extra layer of protection when soaking up some sun. However, you still need to wear sunscreen.


Moisturize Frequently

Tattoos need to be moisturized frequently to look their best. Apply lotion after your shower and as needed to keep them looking good. Keeping your skin healthy will help your tattoo look good, too. Many professional spray tanning solutions have moisturizing qualities — another benefit for those who like to look sunkissed.


Avoid Tight Clothes

We aren’t telling you to change your wardrobe, but it's important to understand the effects of extra tight clothing on your tattoos. Due to the excessive rubbing, your tattoo can fade more than it would otherwise. This is one of the reasons why foot tattoos tend to fade more quickly: socks and shoes can create excessive friction and cause your tattoo to fade.


Have Balanced Lifestyle

A balanced lifestyle can help your tattoo not to fade in a couple of ways. Taking care of your skin through healthy eating and hydration will naturally help to take care of your tattoo. Do this by drinking your daily needed intake of water and eating healthy. Having a balanced lifestyle may also help you to avoid weight gain which can also affect the overall appearance of your tattoo. When we gain weight, our skin stretches and this stretching can cause the inks in our tattoos to break down over time.


Exfoliate With Care

Exfoliating is an effective way to care for your skin. However, you must wait to use any exfoliating products until your tattoo is completely healed. It is also recommended that you avoid harsh chemicals to protect the integrity of your tattoo. If you have questions about how to care for your skin and your tattoo, ask your tattoo artist! They would be happy to discuss any type of product and the effects they may have on your tattoo.

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Get Touch-Ups When Needed

Though most tattoos shouldn’t need a touchup for a while, depending on the placement of the tattoo, regular touch ups may be needed. The areas most prone to needing more touch ups include the hands and fingers as well as toes and feet. The reason these areas may need more touch ups is due to the reduced amount of circulation that most people experience in their extremities, as well as that our hands tend to be washed regularly and exposed to the elements more so than other parts of our body. Feet tattoos sometimes fall victim to excessive friction due to shoes which can in time put extra wear on your tattoo. Talk to your tattoo artist about properly caring for your tattoo.


Invest in a High-Quality Tattoo

Having a tattoo that lasts starts with investing in a high-quality tattoo. Professional tattoo artists use professional inks which are more concentrated than stick-and-poke tattoos, and they use techniques that allow the ink to penetrate deeper and so creates a longer lasting tattoo that has vibrant colors and clean, crisp lines for years to come.

To get the tattoo that you have been dreaming of that will last a lifetime, check out Fayetteville’s award-winning tattoo shop Envision Tattoo Shop. We offer high-quality, fully custom tattoos by professional artists who are passionate about the art of tattooing. Learn more about us, view our gallery of work, and book a consultation!