Afraid Your Tattoo Will Fade Over Time – Here’s What to Know


Whether you’re an ink virgin or have a half dozen pieces on your body, chances are that you’ve wondered what factors contribute to tattoos blurring or fading over time. Your trusted Buffalo Tattoo shop will cover the role that ink plays in the longevity of a tattoo and whether the color has something to do about it. Then we’ll talk about the parts of the body where tattoos tend to fade, whether or not you can fix a blurry tattoo, and perhaps most importantly, what you can do to help prevent tattoo fading. Let’s get started!

Does Ink Quality Matter and Does It Impact Fading?

You might not know about it, but the ink quality and the metal that a tattoo artist uses contribute to how a tattoo would heal. When you get tattooed, the needle penetrates your skin down to its second layer, known as the dermis. That’s where the ink is deposited, but it also reaches the bloodstream. As the body’s natural reaction is to fight anything foreign that gets inside it, the white blood cells start to attack the ink as soon as it gets into the bloodstream. This is the reason that by the time the tattoo is finished and also after it heals, it has already lost some of the ink.

Higher quality ink heals faster and retains color better. Lower quality ink products contain more chemicals and less of the pigment, so the body actually fades it faster. You might be tempted to get a tattoo from someone that charges cheaper rates, but be sure to remember that in this industry, price more often than not reflects quality. The explanation behind the cheap price is probably that they’re not using high-quality ink.

Does Color Affect Fading?

The short answer is yes. Vibrant tattoos in bright colors might look awesome at first, but they’re actually the quickest to fade. On the other hand, darker and deeper shades are more fade-resistant, though as mentioned, all tattoos may fade a little over time.

Can Blurry Tattoo Still Be Fixed?

Well, the good news is there are two ways you can “fix” a tattoo that is blurry. Your first option is to simply do a cover-up. The second is to ask the artist to redo the linework with higher-quality ink. That’s the only option you have, short of having it removed completely. While most artists can redo the lines, there may be instances when a cover-up is a more logical approach, depending on how bad the tattoo has faded.

Are Some Parts of the Body More Prone to Fading Than Others?

Yes! The areas that are more prone to fading are:

  • The palms of your hands
  • Your fingers and toes
  • The inside of your mouth

Generally, these are the parts where tattoos fade faster, perhaps because these are parts that are often used and frequently washed even during the healing process. But again, every person is different, so if one’s finger tattoos fade in a few months it doesn’t necessarily mean yours will, too.

How to Care for Your Tattoo to Prevent Fading

As mentioned, how you take care of your tattoo affects the way it heals and ultimately how it will look long-term. Here are some tips on how to care for your tattoo right after you get one:

1.   Keep the tattoo wrapped for about two to three hours after it’s done. As your skin secretes enzymes and white blood cells, you’re going to need to keep that moisture on your skin

2.   Remove the wrap after two to three hours and allow the tattoo to air dry. As much as possible, prevent any kind of friction on the tattooed area for a few days.

3.   Apply a very thin layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline twice a day but don’t do it excessively as that could prolong the healing.

4.   When the skin starts to peel, use non-scented lotion instead. It might take a week before this starts and a few days for the scabbing to stop.

5.   NEVER pick at your tattoo as this will remove ink from it.

6.   Do not swim or take long baths while your tattoo is still healing.

7.   Avoid direct sunlight and generously apply sunscreen.


Tattoos fade over time, but knowing what factors contribute to it and what you can do to prevent or delay fading can surely help. Of course, going to a reputable tattoo shop that uses high-quality metal and ink matters a lot, too. Lucky Deville Tattoo Co. is where you can find some of the best, award-winning tattoo artists in Western New York. Whether you need a tattoo touch-up for your old or faded tattoo, or you want a one-of-a-kind piece, our team can surely deliver what you want. Visit our shop today and discuss your ideas with our artists! We welcome walk-in clients every day!