Tattoos naturally move through a cycle. When you first get inked, you probably love the design, colors, shading, and overall appearance. But as time progresses, you may start to notice that your tattoo isn’t as vibrant as it once was. It can be expensive to get touch-ups regularly, but how do you maintain your tattoo art for longer?
Before we give you the answer, let’s first take a look at how tattoos are created. This will give us some insight into why they fade in the first place.
How Tattoos are Created
Tattoos have been around for an estimated 12,000 years, although tattoo styles have evolved into modern art forms since the late 1800s. To create a permanent tattoo, artists inject ink under the epidermal layer of the skin with specially designed needles. Each needle puncture deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin.
In the hands of a skilled tattoo artist, good, indelible inks are used to create tattoos with long lives.
What Causes Tattoos to Fade?
When you paid for that stunning piece of flesh art, you probably expected that it would always look as bright and sharp as that first day.
Alas, that is not the case. Several factors contribute to fading in tattoos.
- Tattoo Location
- Body Changes
- Sun Exposure
- Tattoo Inks
Even in the most antiseptic conditions, when the tattoo artist uses needles that are ultra-sterilized, tattoos can still get infected. Often this occurs because bacteria get into the inks. It might also occur if you are allergic to the tattoo inks.
If you are getting a tattoo, learn to recognize the signs of an oncoming infection. The symptoms include an angry red rash in the area of the tattoo, swelling or inflammation around the tattoo, as well as pain, discharge, and skin abrasions that don’t go away after the initial healing process. Skin that doesn’t readily scab is also a sign of infection.
If you get an infection in the area of the tattoo, the lasting result will often be fading of the ink.
There is an art to caring for a fresh tattoo. During what tattoo artists call the "after stage" of your new tattoo, be careful not to pick at scabs or peeling skin. It takes two to three weeks for a tattoo to set. Take extra care of that area as the ink sets.
You may have thought those vibrant colors would last forever. After all, tattoos are forever, right? Well, that’s not entirely true. If you don’t take care of your tattoo, the colors will fade. This is particularly true of lighter colors. They fade faster than areas of darker hues. White inks are the worst faders while black and dark blues usually fade least. If your tattoo has significant amounts of highlighting, prepare for those areas to fade faster.
As they say in real estate: location, location, location. That’s true of tattoos, too. Some tattoos fade faster because of where they are located on your body. Where skin rubs against other body parts — like on your lips or in between your fingers or toes — tattoos will fade faster. Similarly, if your tattoo rubs against clothes or shoes, it will fade faster.
If you lose or gain significant amounts of weight, the skin around your tattoo will be affected, causing fading.
When it comes to tattoos, the sun is not your friend. Depending on where your tattoo is located and how much exposure to the sun’s light it gets, fading can result.
The quality of the ink used in your tattoo can also be a deciding factor in the amount of fading you can expect. If the ink is low quality or has been diluted, your tattoo will fade faster. To avoid this, investigate the level of experience of your tattoo artist and the quality and concentration of the ink being used.
How to Keep Tattoos From Fading
First, take care of your new tattoo. Things you can do include:
- Don’t pick at scabs or peeling skin.
- Avoid skin abrasions especially in areas like your ankle, knee, and elbow.
- Keep sleeves, socks, shoes, and other clothing from rubbing against a new tattoo.
When skin is recovering, be patient and gentle with it. Dehydration is a usual occurrence. Much like slicing fruit and sticking it in sunlight or in front of the air conditioner, skin gets parched. Remember, like the rest of your organs, your skin is over 70 percent water.
Homeopathic ointments act as ultra-moisturizers. They hydrate your skin from the outside, increasing the water content.
While you’re being kind to your skin from the outside, be sure to look after hydration from the inside. Eat hydrating, fatty foods like salmon and nuts full of fatty acids. Drink lots of water and get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Looking after your body will also look after those tattoos.
Protect your new tattoo from direct sunlight. The sun is one of the greatest causes of tattoo fading. Use the “barrier method” of sun protection:
- Cover up with sun protection products that contain zinc oxide.
- Paste it on so no direct sunlight gets on that tattoo.
- Find a barrier product like sunblock that covers your tattoo but is transparent.
Slather on protective material. Look for products that are ultra-rich moisturizers but also protect the ink in your tattoo from UV rays and keep it from fading.
How Can Homeopathic Remedies Help with Fading Tattoos?
An effective choice is a homeopathic cream. Homeopathic remedies are beneficial in wound healing and conditions affecting the skin - like a tattoo. They are homeopathic because they contain natural ingredients believed to heal and moisturize troubled skin.
Homeopathic salves specially designed to aid newly-tattooed skin contain ingredients with naturally effective healing properties. Many of these are used in Green Goo salves such as: olive oil, sunflower oil, plantain, chickweed, yarrow, sage, calendula, St. John's wort, comfrey leaf, gum benzoin, myrrh, aloe vera oil, chaparral, vitamin E oil, beeswax, lavender oil, and rosemary oil. These natural ingredients ease inflammation and abrasion, moisturize skin, and help keep colors brighter for longer.
Homeopathic salves like Green Goo Tattoo Care soothe irritations on new tattoo sites, easing inflammation resulting from freshly-inked tattoos.
In addition, homeopathic salves fight infections that can occur on freshly-inked skin. These ointments also arrest scabbing as well as fight fading.
Finally, moisturizing products keep the skin healthy and decrease the rate at which tattoos fade.