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Tattoo Ageing: Best Types And Tips To Prevent Fading

Published February 1, 2024
By Celebrity Ink

Tattoos aren’t just art; they’re stories, symbols of who we are and markers of our journey through life. However, as the years pass, these vivid emblems can fade, blur and morph, losing the sharpness and vibrancy they once boasted. The life of a tattoo is influenced by various factors, including the type of ink used, the location of the tattoo on the body, sun exposure and the intricacies of the design.

This article discusses what happens to tattoos as we age, factors that encourage tattoo ageing, tattoo styles that age best, and the best tips to prevent tattoo fading.

Whether you’re contemplating getting your first tattoo or looking to preserve your existing ones, our expert insights and practical advice will help your tattoos stay as timeless as the stories they tell.

What Happens To Tattoos As They Age?

As tattoos age, several changes can occur due to a combination of factors, such as the quality of the ink, the tattoo artist’s expertise, the location on the body and the natural skin ageing process. Here are some common effects you can expect to see when a tattoo starts to age:


One of the most noticeable changes when a tattoo ages is that it tends to fade. This results from the breakdown of ink pigments beneath the skin, which can be accelerated by exposure to sunlight and the body’s natural metabolic processes.


Tattoos may also experience spreading or blowout, where the ink spreads beyond the original lines, making the tattoo appear less defined and blurry. This can be due to the ink migrating in the skin over time or the initial placement of the ink being too shallow or too deep.

Changes in colour

Certain colours may fade or change hue over time more than others. For example, black ink tends to hold up better for longer periods. On the other hand, lighter colours, like yellow, pink, and white, might fade faster. This is due to the fact that different pigments have different levels of resistance to breaking down.

Changes in the skin

As skin ages, it loses elasticity and may become more wrinkled or saggy. These natural changes in the skin texture and firmness can alter the appearance of a tattoo, making it look stretched or distorted depending on its location on the body.

Factors That May Encourage Tattoo Ageing

Now that we’ve covered what happens to your tattoos as they age, what are the factors that may encourage tattoo ageing?

High sun exposure

It’s a given that tattoos fade over time. However, fading and ageing can be accelerated through high sun exposure. There are two types of UV (ultraviolet) radiation emitted by the sun: UVA and UVB, and both have an impact on tattoo ageing.

UVB rays target the skin’s surface layer, leading to the familiar and often painful sunburns many of us have experienced. Frequent exposure to UVB rays, along with the resulting sunburns, can cause tattoos to fade and deteriorate over time.

UVA rays pose their own threat to tattoos by reaching the deeper layers of the skin, contributing to long-term effects such as premature ageing, wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.

Tattoo artist’s expertise

When it comes to getting a tattoo, your tattoo artist’s expertise is important for all steps of the tattoo process. In regards to tattoo ageing, the risk of being in the hands of an amateur tattoo artist is that they could misplace the needle and spread the tattoo ink into the wrong layers of your skin. Another factor to watch out for is the type of ink your tattoo artist uses, as bad-quality ink can be a leading factor for premature tattoo ageing.

Exfoliating or over-cleansing your skin

It’s important to keep your tattoo clean, especially at the beginning of the healing process, to ward off infections. However, once your tattoo is fully healed, scrubbing and exfoliating it too much is a sure way to speed up the ageing process. If you over-cleanse your tattoo, you are removing the protective layer of skin too much, which can lead to irritation, and irritation can lead to more damaging effects.

The Tattoo Styles That Age The Best

Some tattoo styles tend to age better than others, retaining their clarity, colour and definition over time. The longevity of the tattoo’s appearance can depend on factors such as colour contrast, design complexity and the amount of detail. Here are the tattoo styles that are known for ageing well:

  • Blackwork: The high contrast and simplicity of the designs mean that even as the tattoo ages, the striking visual impact remains.
  • Black and grey: The lack of colour minimises fading, and the detail shading can age gracefully, often looking more refined as the skin changes.
  • Tribal: The simplicity and deep black ink in these tattoos maintain their visibility and integrity.
  • Dotwork: The technique offers a unique texture that can maintain its distinctiveness even as the skin changes.
  • Classic Americana: The strong outlines and solid colour fill help these tattoos maintain their appearance over time.

Tips To Prevent Tattoo Fading

So, what are some of the ways you can prevent tattoo fading?

Choose an experienced artist

Whether you’re getting your first tattoo or adding to your existing collection, choosing an experienced tattoo artist is an important step in the prevention of tattoo fading. The best way to find a tattoo artist you can trust? Research! Find their social media accounts to see the type of work they’ve done and also read their reviews to see what their previous clients have said about their work.

Think about your tattoo design and placement

If you’re considering getting a tattoo but are worried about tattoo ageing, it’s best to avoid small designs as they are more likely to look deformed and blurry over time than bigger designs. It’s also important to take tattoo placement into account. Avoid getting a tattoo in areas with high levels of exposure and contact with other things, such as your hands, feet, neck, elbows and face.

Follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions

Everyone who has ever gotten a tattoo knows that the aftercare within the first few weeks is essential. But did you know that it takes six months for your tattoo to fully heal? That means six months of following a care routine. Keeping your skin nourished throughout those first six months is essential to achieving the best and brightest result. This also includes protecting your tattoo from the sun.

Book a Consult With Celebrity Ink

While it’s no secret that our tattoos age just as we do, there are a few things we can do to prolong the life of them.

Are you thinking about getting your first tattoo or adding to your growing collection? Look no further than Celebrity Ink. We specialise in a range of tattoo styles, such as Classic Americana, Tribal, and Dotwork, which are great choices if you’re looking to get a tattoo that won’t age easily.

Book a consultation at your nearest Celebrity Ink studio to get the journey towards your new tattoo started!

Get your next tattoo at Celebrity Ink

The team at Celebrity Ink can provide you with not only a tattoo that tells your story but also detailed aftercare information that goes beyond the question of how long does a tattoo take to heal.

Our team sets standards in tattoo design while working alongside you to bring your vision to life. Whether you’re seeking traditional tattoos, realistic designs, mandalas, or any other, we have artists specialising in a range of tattoo styles that can provide you with the tattoo you have envisioned.

Book a consultation to discuss your tattoo design, get in contact with the crew at Celebrity Ink, and we will lock you in for your next ink session.
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