Why Tattoo looks Dull/Faded While Healing [Should I Be Worried] 

Why Tattoo looks Dull/Faded While Healing [Should I Be Worried]

It’s good if your tattoo looks dull/ faded when healing.  But that’s probably not how you imagined it’ll look. Instead, you imagined a vibrant piece of art with proper pigmentation on your skin.  

You don’t need to bother about it because it’s all part of the healing process. And the good part is that it’s just for a while. After some time, the ideal image of the tattoo you imagined would be back. However, that requires some care and following some guidelines.

You’ll discover why your tattoo looks dull while healing and the tattoo healing process in this article. Further, you’ll learn about the unusual occasion of tattoos appearing faded even after recovery before we discuss some tips to care for your tattoo after drawing.

Let’s have a look.

Why Does My Tattoo Look Dull While Healing?

During healing, your tattoos appear dull because the skin surface covers the tattooed area with dead skin cells. These dead skin cells are a product of your skin’s reaction to the tattooing process. They were produced by the needle action on the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin.

Therefore, your skin exfoliates dead skin cells as it attempts to heal the tattooed spot. This process characterizes the healing process of your tattooed location.

So, your tattoo appears faded and dull during the healing process because there are dead skin cells on its surface. The dead skin cells appear translucent on the surface, hence the dull appearance.

Tattoo Healing Process

You encounter the following stages in the tattoo healing process:

1. Seeping Stage

The spot may discharge plasma and appear red immediately after removing the tattoo’s bandage straight from your tattoo parlor. This stage may last for up to a week.

seeping stage of tattoo healing

2. Itching Stage

You can experience itching for about 2-3 weeks after drawing the tattoo.

3. Peeling Stage

The damaged epidermis peels off without the tattoo after two weeks of the aftercare process.

What If My Tattoos Look Dull or Faded After Healing?

The outer layer of your skin should heal after about 2-3 weeks of drawing the tattoo. Nonetheless, research has it that it’ll take about six months for the underlying layer to heal.

Therefore, you should continue your aftercare process throughout this process. However, it is abnormal for your tattoo to still look dull/faded after healing. Some factors cause this condition, and they include the following:

1. Your Tattoo Artist Used Ink of Poor Quality

Drawing tattoos with low-quality ink makes the tattoo look faded even after the skin heals. It could also interfere with the healing process altogether, causing multiple irritations and skin reactions.

You’ll know your tattoo artists used poor-quality ink if the ink color changes over time. For instance, black ink of inferior quality might change to a green or blue color.

2. Shallow Needle Piercing

Your tattoos might look dull even after the healing process if the ink is not drilled deep enough into the underground layer of your skin. Shallow needle piercing might place the ink on the self-healing epidermal skin layer.

This layer is replaced every time the outermost part is traumatized. Therefore, if your tattoo artists didn’t drill the needles deep enough, you might lose the inks when new skin layers replace old ones.

3. Harsh Sunlight

Your tattoo could appear dull or faded because the sun has broken down the color pigments. Ultraviolet light can break down color pigments during the healing process. It is possible because a new layer of protective skin hasn’t yet covered the tattoo surface.

You should endeavor not to expose your tattoos to the sun directly before or even after it heals.

4. Infection

Catching an infection during the healing process can cause you to lose your tattoo ink, thus a dull appearance. Since the skin is open after tattooing, bacteria can easily make their way into the skin.

You lose your ink when the skin tries to fight this infection by draining the pus and germs in the area. The skin drains the tattoo ink along with these pathogens.

Tips for an Effective Tattoo Aftercare

Your tattoo aftercare refers to all activities related to nursing and caring for your tattoo during the healing process.

The following are some tips for an effective aftercare process:

1. Resist Itching the Area

It is advisable not to scratch the tattooed area to minimize the risks of infection. Your skin surface is still open due to the needle piercing during the tattooing process. If you scratch the spot, you’ll risk getting infectious germs into your skin through this opened area.

2. Cleanse Gently and Regularly

You should cleanse your tattoo intermittently with warm water and mild soaps with no fragrance. This regular cleaning will help you eliminate germs around the site, thus reducing your chances of catching an infection.

3. Avoid Skin Irritants

Ensure that common skin irritants like latex, fragrances, heat, etc., don’t touch the tattoo during and after the healing process. It is best to wear loose clothing to ensure this. It is advisable to keep the surface open and well-ventilated.

4. Moisturize Regularly

Moisturizing regularly helps to ensure that the tattoo surface doesn’t become too dry or too oily. It conceals any blemish that the tattoo might cause on the skin during that healing process. You can moisturize regularly by rubbing a suitable lotion or moisturizer on the surface at intervals.

tattoo healing

FAQs About Tattoo Healing

Ink enthusiasts are often curious about the following questions:

1. Why is My Tattoo Scabbing?

Your tattoo is scabbing to prevent pathogens from getting into your skin through the openings created by tattoo needles.

2. How Do I Know My Tattoo is Healing Properly?

You’ll know your tattoo is healing correctly if you experience inflammation on the tattoo. This inflammation will be characterized by swelling and redness, specifically on the spot and the surrounding region. You’ll also experience skin flaking and mild itchiness around your tattoo if it is healing correctly.  

3. Why is My Tattoo Not Peeling?

Your Tattoo is not peeling because your skin reacts differently to the process. It is not advisable to force the peeling process by trying to pick at your skin.


Your Tattoo looks dull or faded during the healing process because dead cells are on the surface.

Since the skin is trying to replace the dead cells with new ones, the old ones remain on your tattoo for a while before new cells return to them. A proper aftercare routine will help you remove the dead cells with time, and you can see your fiery tattoos.

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