What does a healed tattoo look like?

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We’re all used to seeing pictures online of crisp, fresh tattoo lines and saturated colour pieces. Video reveals of new tattoos are all the rage these days, but it might make you wonder what those pieces will look like once they’re healed. 

If you’re new to tattoos you might not have experienced the change from brand new to healed before, but we’re here to enlighten you.

My new knee tattoo looks a lot brighter and bolder than my older pieces

Colours won't look as bright

Unfortunately, in most cases the intensely saturated colour you see when you first get a tattoo, won’t actually be the finished result. The ink will usually end up looking a tiny bit darker and less vibrant once healed. Of course, a lot of this will be down to the quality of ink used, and the technique of the artist. Tattoo ink actually sits a few layers down into your skin, and so once the tattoo settles in and your dermis heals over it, the ink will look slightly dulled down. 

The above also goes for your black ink. Black in the early stages of healing can sometimes have a milky cast over it, as your skin settles down, it will become darker again. But ink will never look quite as bold and dark as when it is fresh, and over years black ink may start to fade a bit and appear more grey. There are steps you can take to prevent this from happening prematurely, such as taking care of your skin with exfoliation and moisturisers, and most crucially by wearing a high SPF on your tattoos whenever they are exposed. But it’s impossible to avoid your tattoos aging entirely, and eventually they will fade a little. 

Lines may appear thicker over time

Linework, especially the finer kind, may over time begin to blur and spread slightly. This is unavoidable really, and lines will never look as crisp as they did when they were brand new after a few years. Again, SPF is key here. Protecting your tattoos from UV damage is the best thing you can do to prevent lines from blurring too much prematurely. 


Your tattoos will still look great 

It’s important not to have unrealistic expectations. Your fresh tattoo won’t look the same once healed, but there are steps you can take to maintain them and keep them looking as fresh as possible. Read our ultimate tattoo care guide here, and follow these key steps to keep your ink looking great year after year.