Flaky but Fabulous: The Lowdown on Tattoo Peeling!

Flaky but Fabulous The Lowdown on Tattoo Peeling!

Hey there fellas, so you've finally taken the plunge and gotten yourself a sick new tattoo, congratulations! But now you're noticing some pesky peeling and wondering what the heck is going on. Don't worry, it's not some strange skin disease or a sign that your tattoo artist was secretly a hack. In fact, peeling is a totally normal part of the tattoo healing process that you'll need to navigate in order to achieve that perfectly healed and badass-looking ink you've been dreaming of. So buckle up and get ready to learn everything you need to know about tattoo peeling, straight from us

What is Tattoo Peeling?

Tattoo peeling is a natural part of the tattoo healing process where the top layer of your skin starts to shed, similar to how a sunburn peels. After getting a tattoo, your skin undergoes a trauma as tiny needles penetrate the skin's surface and deposit ink into the dermis.

In response, your body's immune system kicks into gear, sending white blood cells to the area to heal the wound and protect against infection. This process can cause some initial swelling, redness, and tenderness, but eventually, a scab forms over the tattoo. As the tattoo continues to heal, the scab will begin to flake off, revealing a new layer of skin underneath that will eventually take on the final look of your tattoo.

Why is my Tattoo Peeling?

Ah, so you've noticed that your new ink is starting to peel like a snake shedding its skin? Don't panic, my friend, this is actually a sign that your tattoo is healing exactly as it should. You see, after getting a fresh tattoo, your skin undergoes a bit of a transformation. It's almost like it's going through its own rebellious teenage phase, where it tries to shed its old, damaged skin and emerge as a brand new, fresh layer.

This is all thanks to the trauma caused by the tattooing process, which sets off a chain reaction in your body's immune system. White blood cells rush to the scene to protect the wound, and this causes the initial swelling, redness, and tenderness that you may have experienced. Eventually, a scab forms over the tattoo, which can be annoying but is actually a sign that your body is working hard to heal the wound. And as the healing process continues, that scab will begin to peel away, revealing the vibrant new tattoo underneath. So don't fret, my dude, this peeling is just a natural part of the journey to getting a sick new piece of ink.

What to do when your Tattoo is Peeling?

Here are some quick and easy-to-remember tips for what to do when your tattoo is peeling:

  • Don't pick or scratch at your tattoo, as this can cause damage and increase your risk of infection.
  • Wash your tattoo gently with mild soap and lukewarm water, and pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, unscented lotion to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Avoid using any lotions or creams that contain fragrances or harsh chemicals.
  • Protect your tattoo from the sun and UV radiation by covering it with clothing or high SPF sunscreen.
  • Avoid swimming in pools or soaking in hot tubs until your tattoo is fully healed.
  • Be patient and give your body the time it needs to heal properly.

When does a Tattoo Start Peeling?

A tattoo usually starts peeling about 3 to 5 days after getting inked. This is because the healing process of a tattoo takes around 2-3 weeks. Initially, your tattoo will be red, swollen, and tender to touch, but this will gradually subside. After a few days, a thin layer of dry, flaky skin will start to form over the tattoo, which may be itchy and uncomfortable. This is a sign that your body is healing the wound caused by the tattooing process, and the top layer of your skin is starting to shed, revealing the fresh, vibrant tattoo underneath. It's important to take care of your tattoo during this peeling phase, as it's a crucial part of the healing process.

Take Away

Peeling is the healing, my dude! When your tattoo starts to flake like a croissant, don't panic, it's totally normal. Just keep it clean, moisturized, and protected from the sun and you'll be rocking that sick new ink in no time!


Q: Is it okay to touch a peeling tattoo?

A: It is best to avoid touching or scratching a peeling tattoo as it can cause damage and increase the risk of infection.

Q: How long does tattoo peeling last?

A: Tattoo peeling typically lasts for about a week or two, depending on the size and location of the tattoo. It is an essential part of the healing process, so it's important to be patient and not rush it.

Q: Is coconut oil good for tattoo aftercare?

A: While coconut oil is a popular natural moisturizer, it may not be the best choice for tattoo aftercare. Coconut oil can clog pores and cause irritation, which can lead to infection. It's best to use a fragrance-free, unscented lotion recommended by your tattoo artist for optimal healing.


Is Tattoo Peeling Normal in the Healing Process?, By Kristeen Cherney, on November 21, 2019

Tattoo Aftercare: What You Need to Know, By Stephanie Watson, on December 28, 2020

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