Guys get tattoos for many different reasons: self-expression, artistic purposes, and/or culture.
Whatever your reason for getting a tattoo, it’s safe to say that there’s some level of emotional attachment to your body art.
And because of this, it can be heartbreaking to discover that your beloved tattoo is starting to show signs of aging.
Once you understand why tattoos change over time, you can take steps to slow down tattoo aging and make an old tattoo look good again.
What Causes Tattoo Aging?
“But I thought they were permanent” is often the reaction of proud tattoo owners when their tats start to show signs of aging. Unfortunately, your body art isn’t always as permanent as it’s believed to be.
Although it won’t completely fade away, it will show obvious signs of aging which can ruin the aesthetic of the original design.
With the vibrancy, color, and overall coolness of your tattoo fading away, it’s important to know what exactly causes these aging effects.
7 of the possible causes of tattoo aging are:
Before you think about getting that nice tan for summer you should reconsider for the sake of your tats (amongst many other reasons).
Sunlight is the number one cause of tattoo aging because the sun’s UV rays have a harsh effect on your tattoos. The rays from the sun are absorbed by the skin which breaks down the pigment of your tattoo.
Too much sun exposure over a long period can have your tattoo looking like an ink blob.
Not only will your tattoo be affected, but your skin is most likely to suffer from an early onset of wrinkles and sagging from too much sun exposure.
That’s why it’s important that you consistently use an SPF as part of your tattoo care and overall skincare routine.
2. Poor aftercare
Unfortunately, aftercare is often neglected, especially by people who are a novice at getting tattoos.
Just as how you’ll need extensive aftercare after getting a piercing to keep bacteria at bay, you also need good aftercare after getting your tattoo.
Failure to follow proper aftercare will affect the healing process of your tattoo and this can deteriorate its longevity.
Follow your tattoo artist after-care guidelines meticulously to end up with a healthy and vibrant-looking tattoo.
3. Bad ink or technique
Many times, the reason for the sudden fading off of your tattoo has nothing to do with you, but rather it’s as a result of the artist.
The ink or the technique of your tattoo artist can greatly impact the quality of your tattoo.
A low-quality ink can contribute to faster deterioration of your tattoo as cheaper inks tend to age poorly. Even worse, they can be detrimental to your health as most of them might not be regulated.
Also, you should be looking out for who can bring your dream design to life. Your artist should be experienced enough to get the ink to the dermis (the middle layer of the skin), which is the ideal placement for your tattoo.
When the dermis is missed, it can have your tattoo looking like a blob on the hypodermis which further contributes to tattoo fading.
4. Tattoo location
You probably might have never considered it, but the location of your tattoo can also contribute to tattoo aging.
Areas of your body that are most susceptible to wrinkling or sagging as you get older can affect your ink as the tattoo can become distorted or lose its original outline.
Wrinkles and sagginess aren’t the only things you should look out for – weight gain or weight loss around your tatted-up area can also age your tattoo. Examples of such areas are your upper arms, stomach, or legs.
5. Ink color
Most people like their tattoos to be vibrant and colorful. But unfortunately, vibrant colors such as red are more likely to fade as time goes by leaving your tattoo looking dull.
Darker colors like black and grayscale last a whole lot longer than colored tattoos. The colors most likely to fade are white-hued colors, which can fade almost immediately.
6. Tattoo detail
The more detailed the tattoo, the worse it can age. Details such as shading to add more depth and ultra thin lines are all likely to fade faster than if you had chosen bold lines and larger designs.
Tattoos aside, your lifestyle plays a role in how your entire body will age.
If you live an unhealthy lifestyle like engaging in smoking or eating junk food, your skin is most likely to sag and wrinkle which can affect the integrity of your tattoo.
If you work a job that is mainly outdoors you must use UV protection. As mentioned above, too much sun exposure without sun protection can make your tattoos fade.
And of course, don’t forget to stay hydrated and active to keep your body in shape.
How to Slow Down Tattoo Aging
Here are 3 ways for you to slow down tattoo aging:
1. Protect your tattoo from the sun
To prevent your ink from fading into oblivion, you should always put on an SPF 15 or above.
And while the desire to flaunt your skin ink might be great, you should still endeavor to wear protective clothing.
2. Stay hydrated
To maintain the collagen and elastin in your skin, you need to drink water. These proteins are important because they contribute to the structure of your skin.
Without proper hydration and healthy collagen and elastic, your skin can start to sag and wrinkle, which increases the rate of tattoo aging.
3. Avoid excess weight gain or weight loss
Rapid weight gain or loss can stretch out your skin, which will definitely affect the integrity of your tattoos.
It’s important to note here that bulking doesn’t count as weight gain because you’re building muscle. This can make your tattoo pop even more!
How to Make An Old Tattoo Look Good Again
Since environmental, lifestyle, and other factors are responsible for your tattoo aging, it’s safe to say that most of the time, it’s not your fault.
That being said, it’s still within your power to make your tattoo look good as new.
Here are 4 tips and tricks to making your old tattoo look good again:
1. Exfoliate skin
What exfoliating does is strip off dead skin cells to reveal your clear, glowing skin underneath.
You might feel like you’re contributing to your tattoo fading, but since the tattoo lies on the dermis (which is below the epidermis) your tattoo will be fine.
Exfoliating can even revive the vibrancy and beauty of your old tattoo.
2. Use an oil-based moisturizer
Most over-the-counter moisturizers are water-based. While they can properly moisturize your skin, it’s nothing compared to the effects of an oil-based moisturizer.
Oil-based moisturizers last longer. Plus the oils with which they were made help to lock in moisture leaving you with supple skin and helping you brighten your tattoo.
You should use a moisturizer made from natural oils such as Prime Cut grooming oil (which works like a tattoo shine oil), and avoid synthetic-based oils which can leave your skin feeling greasy instead of moisturized.
3. Get a touch-up
When your tattoo has reached the point that exfoliating and oil-based moisturizers aren’t doing the trick, then it’s time to visit a studio and get a touch-up.
But, not any studio will do. You need to visit a tattoo studio with a tattoo artist that specializes in tattoo rejuvenation and touch-ups.
You can even get your touch-up done for free if it’s from the original artist that tattooed you up the first time. But if it’s from a new artist, you’ll have to pay.
4. Cover up the old tattoo
Sometimes your fading tattoo can pose as a blessing in disguise. You can get your tattoo artist to cover up your old tattoo and get a new one.
That’s right, that drunken dare you took can easily be covered up and replaced with something less embarrassing.
To get a cover-up tattoo, all you need to do is to get an idea and have the tattoo artist work his/her magic.
Some tattoo artists are so talented that they can completely merge the old tattoo with the new one. That’s why you must get a professional and experienced tattoo artist for the job.
Taking care of your tattoo will ensure that it looks good for years to come. Keeping your skin properly moisturized is one of the most essential steps for both old and new tattoos.
That’s why Prime Cut Grooming Oil is a must-have in your tattoo care arsenal. This multi-purpose oil deeply hydrates and nourishes your skin.
Apply a few drops to the skin after a shower to lock in moisture and make your tattoo glow. The formula is lightweight, fast-absorbing, non-greasy and smells amazing to boot.