Faded Ink: Everything You Need to Know About Tattoo Touch-Ups

Some sleeve savants will liken tattoo touch-ups to art restoration. Much like a decades-old oil painting, tattoos fade with time or don’t always heal the way you want them. Even reputable studios and trained artists will come across their fair share of inked individuals seeking additional linework or shading. If you think your piece needs a little bit of extra love, here are a few things you need to know.

What is a Tattoo Touch-Up?

From the vibrancy of its colors to the boldness of its lines, the details are what separate high-quality tattoos from your run-of-the-mill corner shop piece. After healing, a low-grade tattoo can appear patchy, dull, or uneven.

Tattoos are permanent, but the disappointment that comes with a half-assed job shouldn’t have to be. Touch-ups can enhance small imperfections by incorporating bits of color and additional details.

Who Needs a Tattoo Touch-Up?

Anyone with a tattoo is a potential candidate for a touch-up. With that in mind, you can reduce the likelihood of needing one by following your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions to the letter. Avoid overexposure to the sun and keep your piece covered up outdoors.

Keep in mind that a tattoo will likely fade after peeling, though the effect is typically minimal. Avoid problems with the final product by looking up a reliable tattoo shop. Someone without adequate training will likely leave you with a piece you aren’t happy with.

How Much are Touch-Ups?

Many reputable artists will guarantee their work and throw in a touch-up free of charge. However, doing without proper aftercare can void your “warranty.” If you’re neglecting your tattoo against your artist’s recommendation, you’ll likely have to shoulder the price of a touch-up yourself.

How much it will set you back will depend on the size and complexity of your piece. Some artists will consider the amount of work that will go into giving your ink a makeover. However, a touch-up should be only a fraction of the price of your ink. Even free of charge, leave your artist a generous tip. No matter how small, your touch-up will still require equipment, ink, and time.

How to Care for a Tattoo That Needs Touching Up

Before deciding on a touch-up, wait for the healing process to come full circle. Never tattoo your skin when it is still recovering—not even a small area.

If you notice any imperfections shortly after peeling, contact your tattoo artist. Allow them to evaluate your tattoo. If it’s your first one, you may not spot the nuances an ink veteran can. A trained artist will notice any blemishes you may have overlooked.

Always book your touch-up session ahead of time, much like you would a regular tattoo. Despite the little amount of work that will go into it, your artist will still have to take time away from other clients.


Like people, no tattoo is perfect. Still, touching it up can make it look as good as new. Keep your piece in good shape by moisturizing the area and protecting it with generous amounts of sunblock. Book your touch-up or session at Lucky Deville Tattoo Co, your new favorite Buffalo tattoo shop. From piercing to pinprick, we bring your most innovative body art ideas to life.

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