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My Tattoo Is Peeling, Is That Normal?

Bay Ink Tattoo

April 27, 2024

My Tattoo Is Peeling, Is That Normal?

Does a peeling tattoo have you spiraling into a panic? Take a deep breath—peeling is normal in the healing process. Here, we’ll cover why tattoos peel in the first place and what you can do to promote a speedy recovery time.

Why Tattoos Peel

Similar to how your skin reacts to a bad sunburn, your skin goes through a renewal phase after getting freshly inked. It’s your body’s way of shedding those dead skin cells and replacing them with new, healthy ones.

It’s normal for tattoos to peel during the healing process, and letting nature take its course is essential! Don’t pick, scratch, or do anything else that can disrupt peeling skin, as that can damage the appearance of your tattoo and even lead to scarring.

When does a tattoo start peeling? While the exact timeline varies based on everyone’s healing process, it generally starts around the three- to six-day mark.

How long does it take for tattoos to heal? Again, it depends! The peeling stage itself typically lasts about a week. However, depending on your artwork, the total healing timeline is longer, ranging from a few weeks to a few months.

The Dos and Don’ts of a Peeling Tattoo


  • Follow aftercare instructions: No one knows your tattoo like the artist who helped bring your vision to life! That makes it especially important to follow their aftercare instructions. Doing so promotes proper healing and protects your tattoo’s vibrancy.
  • Practice self-care: While it’s always a good idea to eat nutritiously and stay hydrated, doing so while healing from a tattoo is essential. Your body needs healthy fuel to recover fully. Practice self-care, ensuring you drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Stay patient: Peeling and healing takes time as this is an open wound. Resist the urge to interrupt the healing process by focusing on the result: a lifelong, vibrant work of art.


  • Ignore signs of complications: Peeling and itching skin is normal, but pain, intense swelling, and oozing pus are not. While some discomfort is expected after getting a tattoo, don’t ignore signs of infection or complications. Consult your artist or a healthcare professional immediately if you’re experiencing any concerning symptoms.
  • Expose your ink to the sun: The sun’s ultraviolet rays can fade and damage your tattoo, especially while healing. Wear layers to shield new tattoos from the sun and follow your artist’s recommendations when it comes to applying sunscreen.
  • Drown your art in moisturizer: While keeping your tattoo hydrated is crucial, it’s possible to overdo it and interrupt the healing process. Again, following your artist’s guidelines for proper moisturization is best.

Turn to Bay Ink Tattoo for All Your Body Art Needs

Whether you have questions about what to do when your tattoo is peeling, want to explore the latest design trends, or are ready for your next masterpiece, Bay Ink Tattoo is here to help. Drop by any of our three Southern California locations or use our online form to book body art, whether a tattoo or a piercing!

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