You’ve gotten a new tattoo, and now it is starting to peel. A peeling tattoo doesn’t feel or look good, but it is a normal part of the healing process.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to relieve the discomfort of a peeling tattoo and help it heal.
In this guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know on what to do when your tattoo peels.
When Does Peeling Begin?
Everyone’s body is unique. For some, peeling begins a mere two days after getting a tattoo. Others don’t start peeling until four days have passed. And yet other people don’t start peeling until a week after getting a tattoo.
Your skin sheds millions of cells everyday without you noticing it. When your tattoo begins to peel, you’ll notice it because the skin cells you shed come off in larger, colored chunks. The peeling process scares many people, but it’s important to remember that peeling is a normal part of the healing process.
You may believe that your tattoo is going to fade because you’re seeing colored chunks of skin come off of your body. However, your tattoo will remain in tact. When your tattoo peels, your epidermis, the top layer of your skin, is shedding. Because your tattoo ink is under your dermis, it remains protected.
It Looks and Feels Bad
When your tattoo is peeling, your cracked skin can look awful. Just remember that this is your body’s natural way of healing itself. Your peeling tattoo will feel like a bad sunburn; it will be dry and itchy.
Moisturizing is Essential
During the peeling process, it’s essential that you keep your tattoo moisturized. For the first three days after you get your tattoo, you should be washing, drying, and putting ointment on it regularly. On the fourth day, you can begin to use lotion to keep your tattoo moist.
Putting lotion on your tattoo regularly will help relieve the itchiness you feel as well as improve your tattoo’s appearance. Apply the lotion two to three times each day for the next 25 days.
When you apply lotion to your tattoo, apply a thin layer over your skin. Don’t put a thick coat of lotion on your tattoo. Doing so will clog your pores and cause other problems.
Dealing with Intense Itching
If you are experiencing intense itching, there are a few things you can do to relieve it. Try gently slapping your tattoo. It sounds quite silly, but it often works. You can also take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, to relieve the itching.
As a last resort, apply some hydrocortisone cream to your tattoo. Hydrocortisone shouldn’t be used frequently or on a long-term basis. Limit your use of it, only using it when the itchiness is unbearable. If your itchiness is mildly annoying, try one of the other suggestions mentioned above instead.
If Your Tattoo is Scabbing
A scabbing tattoo does not necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong. Some people’s tattoos will scab no matter what they do for aftercare.
If your tattoo is scabbing, keep the scabs moisturized, and don’t pick at them. Within two weeks, your scabs will begin to fall off by themselves. If you try to rush the process by picking at your scabs, it can affect your tattoo ink, leaving light spots on your tattoo where the scabs were. As tempting as it is to pick your scabs off, leave them alone.
After Your Tattoo is Done Peeling
When your tattoo is done peeling, you won’t have to worry about flakes of skin falling off your body anymore. Your tattoo will look shiny. However, this does not mean that the healing process is over. A tattoo takes at least six weeks to heal.
Keep applying lotion to your tattoo to keep it moisturized. If your skin feels tight, try applying cocoa butter to it.
It’s also important to realize that while your tattoo looks better, it still has no protection against UV rays. Always cover your tattoo when you go out into the sun. Exposing your tattoo to the sun will fade the ink. Light colors, such as yellow, white, orange, and pink will fade easily when you expose them to the sun. However, even dark colors, such as black, will fade if you stay out in the sun long enough without protection.
Applying sunscreen to your tattoo instead of covering it up won’t work. Your tattoo is still very sensitive to sunlight, and applying sunscreen simply isn’t enough to protect your ink during the healing process.
After you have gotten a tattoo, you want to protect your ink while it heals. A natural part of the healing process is peeling. While peeling may make your tattoo look and feel bad, it’s a normal part of the healing process. Following the aftercare instructions in this article will help you relieve the discomfort of your peeling tattoo and protect your ink.