How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Start Fading & What To Do When That Happen

How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Start Fading & What To Do When That Happen

Tattoos are a way for people to express their unique personalities and style. There is nothing quite like choosing your own artistic design and color choices...

That said, many wonder if their beautiful tattoos will still look as good 10, 20 or 40 years from now. Some fear that their artistic body art will lose its vibrancy and crisp detailing over the course of time.

What exactly causes a tattoo to change and/or fade anyway? Are there steps that individuals can take to minimize these unwanted tattoo changes that include fading? The answers are a bit complex, but there are some fade prevention tactics that many top tattoo artists and dermatologists highly recommend.

Oracle Tattoo Gallery has gathered up the most recent evidence on the potential underlying causes of tattoo fading and gives valuable recommendations to keep your tattoos looking great moving through time.

Neglecting to Take Proper Initial Care of Tattoo – First 6 Months

The immediate aftercare instructions from your tattoo artist need to be followed to the letter. Failure to do this right can result in color leaking and fading. It can also cause the tattoo to appear dry and flaky. The first 6 months are considered the initial care time frame, as it will take this long for the tattoo to heal properly and completely.

Note: Only use the recommended tattoo after care products. Other products may be too drying to the skin and could cause the color to fade too quickly.

Exposure of Tattoo to Sunlight

Exposure to excess sunlight is one of the leading causes of premature tattoo fading. The harsh UV rays of sunlight will eventually break down the color molecules causing your beautiful tattoo to fade away in the exposed places. Protect your skin that has a tattoo from too much sunlight by wearing covering clothing, staying in the shade during the hottest part of the day and wearing sunscreen religiously when outdoors and when near a window like when riding in a car.

Continuous Friction & Rubbing in Tattoo Body Area

When a tattoo is placed on a body area that sees a lot of friction and rubbing from clothing and sweating, this can be a disaster for keeping a tattoo’s color and design lines crisp, sharply defined and vibrant. The best thing is to avoid getting a tattoo in these regions.

Placement of Tattoo

Placement of your tattoos plays a huge role in how much your tattoos will fade. Some body areas will be more prone to tattoo color fading than others.

Certain areas of the body get more exposure to sunlight as well. This, of course, is a huge culprit in early tattoo fading.


Try to avoid areas prone to sunlight exposure, excessive friction, sweating and exposure to other environmental toxins and weather conditions. These areas include the following:

  • Abdomen
  • Feet – Especially soles where skin is tougher, so ink does not penetrate deeply
  • Hands and Palms – Especially if working with caustic soaps or chemicals on a regular basis
  • Areas that tend to crease – Wrists for instance
  • Shoulder Blades – More prone to friction
  • Fingers
  • For Women – Underneath Breasts – Tends to sweat more
  • Also Armpits, Groin and Inner Thighs
  • Upper Arms – Skin here tends to stretch more leading to tattoo distortion and possible fading
How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Start Fading & What To Do When That Happen

Poor Overall Skin Care & Skin Health in General

Not taking good care of skin in general may lead to earlier tattoo fading. Moisturize often but do not overapply the lotions either.

Avoidance of Over Cleansing Tattoo Skin Area May Slow Fading

It is important not to over cleanse your skin where tattoos reside too roughly or too often. Neglecting this step can increase chances of tattoo fading and other distortion issues.


Smoking is very bad for the skin and health in general. Poor skin health equals a greater risk of fading tattoos before their expected time.

Rapid Changes in Body Weight in & Near Tattoo Placement Area

Any rapid shifting in body weight in and surrounding the tattoo placement can wreak havoc on vulnerable tattoos.

Some common weight gain/loss issues and causes include:

  • Pregnancy – Women who plan to have children should avoid getting tattoos on the abdomen and fleshy areas of the body like upper arms, buttocks and curve of hips. Also avoid tattoos on breast which change during pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause later in life.
  • Serious Bodybuilding – Men and women who plan to engage in serious bodybuilding should discuss tattoo placement with their tattoo artist beforehand.

Rapid Weight Gain and/or Weight Loss – Diets, Hormonal Changes & Other Reasons

If trying to lose weight by diet and/or exercise, it is best to lose the pounds slower and steadier to avoid tattoo fading and stretching of the skin there.

  • Poor Overall Diet – Eat a healthy and nutritious diet for better overall skin health. Drink plenty of water too for hydration.
  • Lack of Skin & Body Hydration – May cause tattoo fading and changes.
  • Using Tanning Beds – Avoid this practice to protect your tattoo.
  • Person’s Age & Age of Tattoo – All tattoos will eventually fade. A person’s age and the age of the tattoo matters with regards to tattoo fading over time.
  • The Type & Quality of Ink Used in the Tattoo – Always insist on top-quality ink. Some colors and ink brands fade more than others.
  • Degree of Tattoo Artist’s Quality of Work – Most top Philadelphia tattoo shops strongly urge people to choose an experienced tattoo artist known for their high quality of work and products used.
  • Whether You Diligently Use Sunscreen or Not – Wearing sunscreen is crucial for good tattoo longevity and healthy skin.

Tips for Slowing Down Tattoo Fading

Use the above recommendation and prevention tips to keep your tattoos looking sharp and gorgeous longer. Find more professional tattoo fading prevention tips by searching for local tattoo shops near me on the Internet and speaking with a professional tattoo artist before getting a tattoo.

Final Thoughts

When people do their due diligence, choose a respected professional tattoo artist known for excellent work and follow all tattoo fading prevention tips, their tattoos are far less likely to fade away swiftly. Schedule a tattoo consultation appointment soon by contacting Oracle Tattoo Gallery at 215-638-1601.

How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Start Fading & What To Do When That Happen