It takes 2-3 weeks for a tattoo to heal completely. During that time, your skin does a lot of things to heal your tattoo — here’s what to expect and what not to expect.

  • Day 1: Taut, bright and fresh

  • Days 2-6: Oozy

  • Days 7-14: Scabby and flaking

  • Days 15-30: Fresh and clean but dulled art

A tattoo usually takes about 1-2 weeks to look fully healed, but takes another few weeks to be truly healed at all layers of the skin. The healing timeline can depend on the type of ink you get, the style, and the size. Different parts of your body have slightly different sensitivities and types of skin, which will affect how well they absorb the ink and how quickly they heal. Completely healing all the layers of broken skin can actually take up to 4 months, even though your tattoo will appear healed before that point. The healing process varies depending on a person’s immune system, ability to fight infections, and aftercare treatment, especially cleaning and sun protection.