How to Prevent Tattoo Fading : The Most Effective Ways

Tattoos are permanent, but that does not mean that they will always look as good as new. The ink will naturally fade over time. But you can still do something to reduce the rate at which it is disappearing.

You will naturally want to have the tattoo colors maintain their vibrancy for as long as possible before you think of doing a retouch. The only people who want their ink to fade faster are those looking to get a cover-up tattoo.

How to Prevent Tattoo Fading

How to Prevent Tattoo Fading

The following three steps will ensure that your tattoo fades slowly.

Step 1: Pre-tattoo

Choosing the tattoo is the first step to ensuring long-lasting body art. The process is as follows;

Tattoo placement

Your tattoo’s location will determine how long it will last. A tat on the inside of your thighs, fingers, or toes will fade faster because these areas are prone to a lot of friction due to the parts’ continuous movements. If you draw a tat on a body part regularly covered by clothing, it will tend to fade faster due to the fabric of the cloth rubbing on it.

Places like shoulders and thighs tend to fade faster when you gain or lose weight frequently. Areas that can accommodate a lot of fat get larger when you gain weight distorting the tat’s look and make it fade faster. Getting the tat on the ankles or shin will ensure it lasts longer as less fat is deposited or lost in these areas during weight gain or loss.

Colors of the tattoo

Dark and grey colors hold their shade for longer. If you want a longer-lasting tat, you are better off going with these colors. Bright colors like pink, red or yellow tend to fade faster and require regular retouch to look good. However, do not compromise on the look of your tat to get one that fades slowly. You do not want a tat that looks awful and fades gradually.

Quality of the tattooist

Quality of the tattooistTattoos done by professional tattoo artists tend to last longer than those done by amateurs. This is because professional tattooists have done this longer, and hence their ink lines are thicker and bolder. Inexperienced tattooists are just starting and tend to draw thinner lines and use less ink.

An experienced professional tattooist will also use quality materials as they put your health and needs ahead of everything else to protect their high reputation. They will also tend to want you to refer your friends to them because of their work quality.

A professional tattooist also has the experience and will get ink to the dermis, thus ensuring a longer-lasting tattoo. An inexperienced tattooist might put the ink on the epidermis instead of the dermis. This will make your tattoo fade faster as the epidermis wears off with old cells taking with them the ink of your tat and new cells grow covering the remaining ink.

Quality of ink used

The ink the tattoo artist uses will determine how long the tat will last. A less quality tattoo not only fades faster but usually has toxic substances putting your health at risk. To prevent such an occurrence, you should carefully choose the tattoo shop where you get your tat. An established shop will use high-quality ink as their reputation rests in the tattoo they draw on you. They also tend to employ experienced tattoo artists who have done this for longer and will create atat that will last longer. The types of equipment used are also of the highest quality.

Step 2: During Tattoo Healing

Tattoo fading mostly occurs during the first few weeks of getting one as the ink is still fresh.  It is necessary to follow the right tattoo aftercare procedure to prevent the tattoo from significantly fading during the healing process.

Tattoo Aftercare Procedure

tattoo healingYou need to keep the new tattoo clean and moisturized. When cleaning, splash water on the area rather than placing the tattoo under running water as it washes away the unsettled ink and water molecules might get trapped in the wound leading to infection.

  • Clean the tattoo with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap soon after removing the bandage.
  • Avoid sunlight at all costs as the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun causes faster fading when the ink has not settled.
  • Do not remove scabs and flakes no matter how bad it looks as this not only leads to scarring but also fades ink faster.
  • In case of infection, seek medical attention immediately as this could cause scarring and permanent fading.

In case of noticeable fading during the healing process, you can talk to your tattoo artist to see if he offers retouches after healing. However, you should not be worried about a little fading taking place when healing as it is normal.

Step 3: After the Tattoo Heals

At this point, the tattoo only fades naturally, but there are still a few things you can do to reduce the rate at which it does.

Avoid Sunlight

Avoid SunlightSun is not friendly with tattoos.

UV rays from the sun break down the ink, leading to quick fading. Sun rays cause sunburn, which then causes the skin to wear off faster than usual.

You can use sunscreen to protect the tat as soon as it heals, and there is little chance of skin irritation. An SPF 30 sunscreen should be sufficient to cover the tat from UV rays’ effects and help it retain its brightness and vibrancy.

Do not wear tight clothing

During the healing process and even after, tight clothes cause friction between skin and fabric making the epidermis to wear off, leading to quick fading.

Keep the tattoo moisturized and clean

Even after the tattoo has healed, you need to keep it clean and moisturized to keep the colors looking bright. You can use lotion to keep it moisturized. Clean it with antibacterial soap to kill off any germs in the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do tattoos last before fading?

If the tattoo artist drew the tattoo well, it could last well more than ten years as long as you put effort into taking care of it. You should note that in as much as you have no control over aging, the same applies to the tat. You cannot stop the aging process; the best you can do is delay it.

Why do my tattoos keep fading?

The biggest threat to fading is skin regeneration. In as much as the sun plays a significant role in fading, skin rejuvenation causes fading. Once old skin dies, it carries with it a bit of the ink. As new skin grows, it covers the tattoo, and as the process continues, the more the tattoo fades.

Why is my tattoo fading after 3 days?

The tattoo does not look as vibrant as it did when getting it, but this does not mean it is fading. This is just part of the healing process, and the skin is absorbing the ink as it heals. The faded look will soon disappear once the wound heals, and it will recover the bright and vibrant look.


There is nothing as bad as a tattoo that has faded a few months after getting it. The tips above will help you keep your tattoo looking new and bright. The better you take care of your tat, the longer it will last. Bright colors might fade faster than dark-colored tattoos, but as long as the tattooist drew them correctly, they will never completely disappear, and you can always go for a retouch or get a cover-up tattoo.

Also read:

1. How To Get Tattoo Ink Out Of Clothes

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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