How to Keep a Tattoo from Fading

You’re about to make an investment in body art and self-expression. You want to ensure that your tattoo looks as good years from now as it does from the moment you walk out of the studio. While fading with time is inevitable, there are steps you can take to mitigate the loss of tone and color. Below is a succinct look at how to keep your tattoo looking beautiful for decades to come.

Everything You Need to Know to Minimize Tattoo Fading Through The Years

Be Aware of Placements Most Vulnerable to Fading

It’s important to understand on which parts of the body a tattoo is most vulnerable. Typical fading occurs because of excess friction (how often a tattoo comes into contact with other surfaces) and exposure to sunlight. Logically, the most susceptible parts of the body include the following:

– Hands

– Arms (namely forearms and elbows)

– Feet

– Face and neck

By no means does this vulnerability mean you must skip placement on the above parts of the body. You will just need to afford them extra special care. Keep reading.

Choose a High Quality Studio

Tattoos that fade prematurely are often the result of shoddy work. Be sure to choose a premium tattoo studio with professional and talented tattooists that have been carefully vetted for health & safety, skill, talent, and creativity. Don’t know which criteria to use when doing your homework? We’ve got you covered. Please reference the guides below:

– How to Choose a Tattoo Studio

– What to Look for in a Tattoo Artist

By carefully selecting where and with whom to get your tattoo, you will have taken the first step in fading prevention.

Meet and Exceed Aftercare Instructions 

Aftercare during the healing process is directly instrumental in mitigating the risk of early onset fading. Your tattooist will provide explicit instructions for how to care for your tattoo. Depending upon the size, color, and level of detail, the healing process can run anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. Most people follow their aftercare instructions for a few short weeks, but take the foot off the gas as the months progress. Don’t let that happen. Due diligence during the healing phase will go a very long way in maintaining the color (as applicable) and depth of tone for your new tattoo.

Longterm Skincare Best Practices

Aftercare duties include cleaning, moisturizing, and limiting exposure to the sun and other elements (saltwater, etc.). While following these to the tee (as per above) will get your tattoo off to a great start, there is work to do as far as longterm care is concerned. Please heed the following:


If you don’t already do so, adopt a daily skincare routine that ensures the tattooed area of your body is moisturized at all times, preferably using chemical-free organic lotions that have proven to protect the skin from irritations. If you moisturized in the morning, then took a dip in the pool , moisturize again when you get out. You get the idea. Of course, minimizing exposure to the sun is also essential. When you can’t cover-up, lather up in organic sunblock that offers 50+ UV protection.


It’s not just what you put on your skin, but what you put in your body too. Just like your internal  organs, your skin demands constant hydration. Get your nutritionist recommended minimum of 8-glasses of water per day. In addition, foods and supplements play a key role in maintaining skin heart (which over time can impact fading). The antioxidants found in dark berries (blueberries, acai berries, goji berries, etc.) along with carotenoid-rich foods and betacarotene supplements all promote melanin production. When consumed consistently, the nutrients will help keep your body art looking dark, colorful (as applicable), and healthy for decades.


Ready to move forward with your new tattoo? Do you live within, or are planning to visit the BC Lower Mainland? Give your tattoo the best shot at a long life by scheduling a consultation at Sleight of Hand Tattoo in downtown Vancouver.

Written By:

Sleight of Hand

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