Most people getting a tattoo are aware of the fact that tattoos, despite being a permanent mark on our body, change over time. But how does this process work? And what can we do about it?

Before approaching this matters, it is important to understand the anatomy of tattoos. Our skin is composed of three different layers. The middle layer, called dermis, is where the ink is injected. If the needles don’t reach deep enough the ink will quickly fade, while if they penetrate too deep the ink will just spread under the dermis producing a blurred smudge. Considering that the thickness of the dermis is just one millimeter, it is easy to understand why choosing a professional and skilled tattoo artist is crucial if we want our tattoos to age well.

Ultraviolet radiation which deteriorates the ink pigments of a tattoo

Sunlight exposure

Even when the tattoo has been properly done, there are several factors we need to consider. Probably, the one we all have heard of is the sun. Its life imbuing light also carries ultraviolet radiation, which deteriorates the ink pigments of a tattoo. The reason why tattoos are permanent despite our skin’s regeneration is that these pigments are too big to be removed by our system. But once they are exposed to the sunlight, the UV radiation slowly breaks them down into smaller particles and the tattoo starts to fade. Needless to say, if tattooed skin gets sunburnt the dermis is likely to be damaged at some degree. Even when it’s not, it will be affected by the regeneration process that is triggered by the lesion. This is why we should try to keep them covered from sunlight or protect them with sun creams. For the best protection, it is always a good idea to acquire a sun cream specifically produced for tattoos.

Tattoo placement

The placement of a tattoo will also determine how quickly it will deteriorate over time. This is not only because of how this relates to sun exposure. Some parts of our body commonly rub against other body parts, while other parts of our body endure friction with external surfaces. This is why tattoos on hands, feet, knees, elbows or outer parts of limbs will fade quickly over time.


Another evident factor is the nature and quality of the ink itself

Tattoo ink quality

Another evident factor is the nature and quality of the ink itself. Bad quality ink, as well as ink that has been too diluted by un inexperienced tattooist, will deteriorate quickly over time. This is why we always should search for a professional tattoo studio working with the best quality supplies. It is also important to consider that light greys and colors tend to be affected by ageing earlier than other parts of the tattoo.

Design’s composition

The style and design of the tattoo can also be crucial regarding its longevity. Bold lines will definitely contribute to maintaining a defined image over time. Outlines and black shading can also be of help in this matter. As we said, colors don’t age well in a tattoo, so a watercolor tattoo is bound to deteriorate faster than an outlined design.
It is also important to consider that even in an ideal situation all tattoos will be weathered by the decades. In an effort to anticipate this, we should avoid designs including too intricate details or really small lettering, for they will become an unrecognisable smudge over time.


Once a tattoo has been finished, the healing process is still most important


Once a tattoo has been finished, the healing process is still most important. Since the ink is still settling in the skin, we have to take good care of our tattoos during their first two weeks. It is evident that we should keep it clean to avoid infection, but we should also keep it always moist using an specialize balm. This will not only provide the necessary nutrients for our skin to heal properly but also help our tissues to perform a more efficient breathing process. Furthermore, keeping the skin hydrated will protect it against the stress from stretching and rubbing.
After a few days, our tattoos begin to peel and become itchy. It is extremely important to fight the urge to scratch them or to pick and remove the crust. This could result in an minor injury that could lead to infection if unnoticed. It can also disturb the settling of then ink and deprive the skin from its natural protection.



After this long explanation, we can conclude that the most important piece of advice is to find a professional tattoo studio and an experienced artist. If you are coming to Hanoi and are planning to get a tattoo, we will be happy to welcome you in our tattoo studio. Then we will be able to advise you on the election and modification of the final design and remind you how to properly take care of your tattoos. Then, you just have to follow our recommendations for the aftercare process to enjoy a long-lasting good quality tattoo.