Tattoos serve as a stunning and individualistic means of self-expression, seamlessly blending into your identity as a captivating narrative imprinted on your skin.

Nevertheless, akin to treasured belongings, tattoos require attentive maintenance to preserve their vividness. The regrettable truth is that, as time passes, all tattoos will gradually lose their lustre.

Nonetheless, by dedicating yourself to diligent aftercare and adopting certain lifestyle adjustments, you can ensure that your body art remains vibrant and striking for a longer period of time.

After all, the ink is permanent, so why not make your dedication to taking care of it permanent too?

Why is My Tattoo Fading?

@thecolorbright

What do you need to know about tattoo fading? Tattoos are a great way to express yourself, but many worry how they are going to look like as they age. Here’s everything you need to know about tattoo ageing and fading. And check this to learn how to keep tattoos looking bold and bright! #staycolorbright #thecolorbright #tattoos #tattooed #tattoo #oldtattoos #fadedtattoos #colortattoos #tattoocream #vegantattoos

♬ original sound – The Color Bright

Tattoos fade over time due to a combination of natural bodily processes and external factors. Here’s a breakdown of the main culprits:

  • Natural breakdown by immune system: Your body’s white blood cells, called macrophages, are responsible for engulfing foreign particles. Over time, these macrophages can break down some of the tattoo ink, causing the tattoo to lose some colour intensity.
  • Sun exposure: Tattoos can fade quickly due to the harsh effects of the sun’s UV rays, which break down ink particles, particularly affecting brighter colours.
  • Improper aftercare: During the initial healing period, if one neglects to adhere to the appropriate aftercare instructions, it can have an impact on the ink’s ability to settle into the skin effectively. Consequently, this may result in uneven fading or blurred lines.
  • Friction: Continuous rubbing from clothes or contact with adjacent body parts may lead to irritation in the tattooed area, potentially resulting in the breakdown or dispersion of the ink.
  • Skin ageing: As skin ages, it naturally loses elasticity and collagen. This can cause the tattooed area to stretch or wrinkle, making the tattoo appear faded.
  • Quality of ink and tattooing: Using lower-quality inks or having a tattoo done by an inexperienced artist can contribute to faster fading. Higher quality inks and proper tattooing techniques ensure the ink is deposited at the right depth for better longevity.

Related read: Temporary Tattoos Are The New Trend To Elevate Your Hair Game – Here’s How To Nail It!

Do Tattoos on Certain Body Parts Age Better Than on Others?

@e.oyq

Replying to @L I always forget to moisturize!! That’s why it looks so dry 🙃 #fyp #stickandpoke #handpoke #stickandpoketattoo #sgtiktok

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The answer is: yes! The placement of a tattoo holds great importance in determining its ageing and fading process, apart from its visual appeal.

This is precisely why your tattoo artist might advise or propose alternative placements for certain tattoos, as they understand the impact it can have.

Areas that are prone to fading include high-friction zones — spots that experience constant rubbing from clothing or movement — since friction irritates the skin and can break down or disperse ink particles.

The hands, feet, elbows, knees, armpits, and inner arms are particularly susceptible to fading.

Dr Dendy Engelman, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City, shared with Byrdie that areas with high levels of friction (namely the hands and feet) tend to regenerate more quickly which means that finger and toe tattoos are more likely to fade.

how to prevent tattoos from fading

Credit: Depositphotos

In addition, regions with delicate skin may not age as gracefully. This encompasses the feet, hands, and inner forearms, where tattoos may fade or blur more rapidly due to the skin shedding or renewing over time.

According to dermatologist Edgar Fincher on Allure, certain body parts are more prone to age-related changes like loss of elasticity, sagging, or stretching. The same theory applies to tattoos on those body parts.

“Shoulders and ankles have tight skin, and the skin does not sag and become as loose over time, unlike the upper arm or abdomen,” Edgar said.

@dermdudeofficial

HINT: use SPF 👏🏼 year-round! 👏🏼 Even in the colder months 👊🏻🤷🏻‍♀️ #dermdudeofficial #tattoo #tattootiktok #fyp #andGO #xyzbca #tattootips #spf #usespf #fadingtattoo #tattoofading #solution #inked

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The level of sun exposure plays a key role in determining which body parts are less suitable for tattoos too. Dermatologist Naissan O. Wesley expressed that areas with higher UV light exposure tend to have lower collagen density and more uneven pigmentation due to photo ageing.

This can lead to tattoos appearing faded, discoloured, and less firm over time. Sun-exposed areas would include areas like the chest, shoulders, upper back, and forearms.

Furthermore, regions susceptible to fluctuations in weight, such as the abdomen or upper arms, may experience alterations in the tattoo due to the skin expanding or contracting.

Related read: These Temporary Tattoo Alternatives Will Make It Look Like You Got Inked for Real

Tattoo Placements That Would Age Well

how to prevent tattoos from fading

Credit: Depositphotos

If you’re looking to get inked or add a new masterpiece to your body, these are the body parts that you can consider that wouldn’t cause the tattoos to fade as much.

For long-lasting tattoos, consider body parts with minimal rubbing and exposure to the sun, such as the upper chest, shoulder blades, calves, and outer arms.

Meanwhile, areas like the back, upper thighs, and buttocks, which are usually covered by clothing, can help slow down fading.

Thicker skin areas like the outer bicep, calves, and forearms also tend to hold ink better.

Related read: 30 Best Female Celebrity Tattoos That We’re Totally Obsessed With

Ways to Prevent Fading Tattoos

how to prevent tattoos from fading

Credit: Depositphotos

Here are some key ways to prevent tattoo fading and keep your body art vibrant for years to come:

  1. Sun protection is paramount: Take care of your tattoo just like you would your skin — protect it from the sun by using water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Remember to reapply sunscreen frequently, particularly after swimming or sweating.
  2. Moisturise religiously: Well-moisturised skin is essential for maintaining the vibrancy of your tattoo! To ensure your tattooed area stays hydrated, make sure to apply a fragrance-free, water-based lotion every day. Remember to steer clear of petroleum-based products, as they can block pores and impede the healing process.
  3. Aftercare is crucial: It is crucial to adhere to the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist to ensure proper healing and minimise the risk of fading. This includes gentle cleansing and protecting the tattooed area during the healing process.
  4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Caring for your general well-being significantly contributes to the longevity of your tattoos. Hydrating with ample water, sticking to a nutritious diet, and ensuring sufficient rest all contribute to healthy skin, resulting in enhanced tattoo aesthetics. Smoking can also negatively impact tattoo vibrancy by reducing collagen production, so consider quitting.
  5. Choose your artist and ink wisely: Choosing a trustworthy tattoo artist who utilises top-notch inks is a wise investment in the durability of your tattoo. Each colour has its unique rate of natural fading, hence it is advisable to discuss with your artist the optimal choices for your preferred design.
  6. Minimise friction: Where possible, try to minimise friction on your tattoos by wearing looser clothing that doesn’t rub against them. Avoid activities that cause excessive rubbing on the tattooed area for extended periods.
  7. Go for touch-ups and maintenance sessions: Despite diligent care, a certain amount of fading is bound to occur as time passes. Keeping up with touch-ups from your artist can preserve the vibrancy of your tattoo. Keep in mind that taking good care of your tattoo can reduce the frequency of touch-ups needed.

Related read: Tattoo Prices in Malaysia and the Best Studios to Visit

6 Best Tattoo Aftercare Products

@artof_care

How to properly take care of your tattoo👆 #ArtofCare #TattooAftercare #NaturalHealing #MadeInTexas #tattoolove #tattoohealing

♬ original sound – Art of Care – Art of Care

Tattoo aftercare products are available at almost all tattoo shops, but here’s a list of the best ones you can buy for your tattoo maintenance routine!

Hustle Butter Deluxe Luxury Tattoo Care

prevent tattoo fading

Developed by Richie Bulldog in 2011, Hustle Butter is the go-to and original luxury product for tattoo aftercare, suitable for both new and older tattoos.

Its natural, vegan ingredients, including shea and mango butter, help heal and rejuvenate tattoos while preventing fading.

Trusted by artists worldwide, it doesn’t remove stencils or clog tubes, making the tattooing process smoother.

Hustle Butter Deluxe Luxury Tattoo Care (28g) retails for RM62 at Lazada. A 140g tub is also available for RM100 at My Tattoo Supply and for RM110 at Ink Tattoo Supply.

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm

prevent tattoo fading

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm is a natural, petroleum and lanolin-free balm enriched with over 60% olive oil and lavender oil — perfect for all stages of tattoo care.

Its premium olive oil formula mimics the skin’s natural oils, promoting healing and protection while enhancing ink vibrancy!

Simply apply two to three times daily to healing or healed tattoos. Made in the USA, dermatologist-tested, and cruelty-free, it’s a reliable choice for tattoo aftercare.

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm (21g) retails for RM70 at Shopee. It’s also available for RM45 (85g – 113g) at My Tattoo Supply.

Urban Legend Skin Booster Ink

prevent tattoo fading

This product serves multiple purposes: skin mark recovery, burn treatment, tattoo aftercare, post-laser treatment, sunburn aftercare, and treatment for irritated skin (for individuals over 3 years old).

Formulated without allergens, parabens, or petrolatum, it is vegan-friendly and proudly made in Greece.

Registered with CPNP, its active ingredients include hyaluronic acid, B-glucan, aloe vera, calendula, and ginkgo biloba. Hence, offering comprehensive care for various skin concerns, including great aftercare properties for your inks.

Urban Legend Skin Booster Ink (20ml) retails for about RM31.40 (SGD 9) at Asia Tattoo Supply. There’s also a butter, antibacterial soap, and booster for colour available.

Balm Tattoo Original Balm

how to prevent tattoos from fading

Balm Tattoo’s specialised ointment is enriched with a potent blend of dexpanthenol (5%) and sepitonic M3, meticulously crafted to nurture and safeguard your tattooed skin.

This balm fosters skin regeneration, alleviates irritation, and preserves tattoo vibrancy — all thanks to its unique formulation.

Infused with essential minerals (zinc, copper, and magnesium) and organic anions, it facilitates optimal mineral absorption by the epidermis.

Ideal for dry, peeling, or sensitised skin due to environmental factors, it offers high tolerance, free radical protection, and infection prevention. The Balm Tattoo Original Balm is dermatologically tested, not tested on animals, and ensures safety and efficacy even on damaged skin.

Its non-staining formula creates a protective barrier, akin to a second skin, shielding against external contaminants.

Balm Tattoo Original Balm retails at RM59.90 (8g) and RM139.90 (30g) at Shopee.

Balm Tattoo Dragon’s Blood Butter

how to prevent tattoos from fading

This 100% vegan balm is free from petroleum derivatives and crafted with natural ingredients to enhance tattoo longevity and vibrancy.

Developed and endorsed by tattoo artists and skincare specialists, this balm helps close pores, prolong stencil longevity, and maintain colour contrast.

With its collagen-promoting antioxidants and skin-restorative properties, it’s the ideal choice for tattoo aftercare!

Balm Tattoo Dragon’s Blood Butter retails for RM49.90 (8g), RM129.90 (50ml), and RM229.90 (250ml) at Shopee.

Balea Tattoo Skin Care Ointment

how to prevent tattoos from fading

Designed for post-tattoo care, this German-made cream is enriched with moisturising 5% panthenol and birch bark extract to nourish while enhancing the skin’s elasticity.

It also features allantoin, bisabolol, almond oil, and shea butter, which all aids in skin regeneration and protection.

Plus, it’s certified by the Dermatology Institute and doesn’t have any fragrance which makes it compatible with sensitive skin.

Balea Tattoo Skin Care Ointment (50ml) retails for RM39.49 at Shopee.

Related read:16 Different Styles of Tattoos Other Than Minimalist to Help You Make Up Your Mind for Your Next Ink

Featured image credits: @alizzadanika/TikTok, @dermdudeofficial/TikTok, @imashleyhall/TikTok

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