Tattoos over Time: What Happens After the Years Set In

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You’ve picked the perfect design for your tattoo. You’ve picked the perfect spot on your body for the artwork. You’ve visited your favorite tattoo artist. Hours later, with the buzz of the needle still ringing in your ears, you’ve got a tattoo. The colors are perfect, the lines are clean and clear, and you’re armed with care instructions for the healing process. A few years go by and you notice the colors aren’t as bright and the lines aren’t as clear. You followed the care instructions for the two to three weeks recommended for healing, so what happened? The answer is simple: your skin changed. Age, lifestyle and other bodily changes, and environmental factors have an impact on your skin and as your skin changes, so does your tattoo.


Your skin will lose some elasticity over time. As your skin becomes loose, the epidermis, where the ink of your tattoo is stored, can shift the lines of your tattoo little by little. The upper layer of your skin, the dermis, can become thinner and dryer as you age. This thinning and drying can change the appearance of your tattoo by dulling the colors. Your skin can also darken or lighten over time or develop age spots that can impact the appearance of your tattoo.

Lifestyle and Bodily Changes

Prolonged exposure to sunlight or tanning beds can fade the pigments in the ink used for your tattoo. Sunlight and tanning can also speed up the previously discussed age related changes. Habits, such as smoking, can increase wrinkles and dryness in skin which can cause changes in the appearance of your tattoo. Weight loss and gain can impact your skin. Gaining weight can stretch the layers of skin and change the appearance of body art. Rapidly losing weight or losing large amounts of weight can leave loose hanging skin in areas like the upper arms, thighs and hips, and abdomen. Women may want consider what a tattoo on their abdomen and chest will look like after pregnancy if they plan to have children.

Environmental Factors

Air pollution can cause you to loose key vitamins, C and E, which can speed up the aging process of your skin. Dust and dirt can also clog the pores in your skin can cause bumps and blemishes on your skin on top of your tattoos. Again, sun exposure can also accelerate the aging process and fade your tattoos. While you can’t stop the aging process, there are some simple steps you can take to help keep your tattoo looking good for years. Caring for your tattoo doesn’t stop once the tattoo is healed. Continue to use lotion and other moisturizers on your tattoo and the surrounding skin daily. Be sure to cover up your tattoo or use a higher SPF sunscreen to protect your body art from sunlight. Also, be sure to keep your skin clean to avoid dirt and oil build up. Finally, take a look lifestyle changes you can make to keep yourself healthy and your skin and tattoo looking great.

TCA Peel provides at-home skin treatment products including chemical peels, TCA peels for tattoo removal, acne solutions and more. For more information, find them on Facebook

Sarah Pinkerton

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