Everything You Need to Know About Tattoo Touch Ups

For some people, tattoos don’t turn out the way they expect them to, and this causes a lot of disappointment. But the disappointment doesn’t have to last forever. The only way you can change up your tattoo if it didn’t turn out the way you desired or notice any changes in the color, features, or linework is by getting a tattoo touch up.

Tattoo touch-ups aren’t that a big deal; you can easily get them done by your preferred tattoo artist. Plus, they require less time than the time taken during the actual tattooing process. If you’re unhappy with the way your tattoo has turned out, don’t worry, as this article has got you covered. You will learn about the tattooing cover-up procedure and other decisions and workings involved in the process over here.

What Is a Tattoo Touch-Up?

Tattoo touch-ups are basically the Photoshop to your hazy picture. You may often find your tattoo not to be the way you wanted it and will notice some extra patches of colors, uneven shading, or uneven lines.

The first time you notice this, you might go into a state of panic as tattoos are permanent. But you should not stress out, as you can easily edit your tattoo with the help of cover-ups. No matter what changes you want, you can get it done through the process of tattoo cover-up.

Many people confuse tattoo cover-ups with tattoo removal. Tattoo removal is a completely different process that may include excessive use of machinery. Tattoo cover-ups are simple, and the tattoo artist carries it out on your original tattoo.

Tattoo touch-ups make your tattoo look as new as ever, depending on the changes you want. In some cases, if the tattoo wearer is disappointed with their entire tattoo, then they may opt for a whole new tattoo. This involves the tattoo artist outlining a new tattoo on the existing one.

How Do You Know if You Need a Tattoo Touch Up?

There are different time periods for everyone when they realize they need a tattoo touch up. You may notice you need one instantly after you get your tattoo or a few days after the healing process. There are a few factors that tell you that you need a tattoo touch up. These include dullness, faded color, patches, and uneven shading and lines.

There may be other issues as well; for example, you may notice a mistake in spelling if you include words in your tattoo, or objects or shapes may not be of the right design.

Factors such as dullness and color patches may come up after the healing process, and one of the main reasons for this is because you didn’t follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions.

Another reason could be due to too much sun exposure. The UV lights from the sun can harmfully damage the outlook of your tattoo if you immediately start getting out too much once you’ve got your tattoo. However, it’s not necessary that you won’t need a tattoo touch-up even if you follow the aftercare instructions religiously.

Tattoos gradually start to fade over time; your skin goes through many changes as you start aging. This will definitely call for a touch-up if you want your tattoo to remain well-maintained. It would be best if you’re vocal about your tattoo with your tattoo artists. Even if you notice the slightest issue or difference in your original tattoo, you must ask your tattoo artist to do something about it immediately.

What Happens if You Touch up a Tattoo Too Soon?

The moment you notice something fishy in your tattoo, you will obviously want to get it fixed instantly, but that doesn’t happen. If you force your tattoo artist to cover up your tattoo the exact moment you got it, you’re asking for a lot of trouble.

The best time to get your tattoo touched up is after it’s through with the healing process. The tattoo healing process usually lasts for 3-5 weeks, but this varies from person to person. Once you and your tattoo artist can tell if your tattoo has properly healed, then you can carry on with the touch-up process.

Getting a tattoo touch up before the healing process is complete will cause many issues as the area where you’ve got your tattoo is already in a wounded and sensitive state. Covering it right after that could lead to many complications and worsen the outlook of your tattoo. Many tattoo artists advise their clients to get cover-ups 1-6 months after getting your tattoo. It’s best if you don’t wait too long as more defects could arise in your tattoo, making the process a bit lengthier.

Can An Artist That Didn’t Do The Original Work Do The Touch-Up?

Yes, you don’t necessarily have to go to the same tattoo artists who did your original tattoo for the cover-up. However, there are a few things you must consider when choosing an artist for your cover-up. Some people are a bit hesitant to go to a new tattoo artist as they don’t want to show disrespect to the tattoo artist who originally made the tattoo.

A new tattoo artist will be more than willing to do a cover-up on your original tattoo. The only thing you will need to do is book an appointment beforehand, as sometimes it can take a lot of time to get an appointment, especially if you’re going to a popular tattoo artist.

There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to go to your original tattoo artist. One could be that you want to avoid the same mistake your tattoo artists made earlier, which led you to get a cover-up in the first place. The second could be that you’re not comfortable e with the way they carried out the process, including poor hygienic procedures and conditions.

However, there are a few advantages to getting a cover-up from the same tattoo artist. If you go to the same tattoo artist, they usually will do a cover-up for free; hence you will save money. They are also aware of your tattoo design and are better aware of what changes or additions need to be made.

Do Touch-Ups Cost?

This may come as a surprise to you, but tattoo artists usually don’t charge for tattoo touch-ups and usually do it free of cost. However, this depends on many factors, such as the type of tattoo artist you’re going to and if you’re going to the same one who carried out your original tattoo.

If you’re going to a new tattoo artist, then they may or may not charge you for your cover-up. Even if they charge, it’s usually a very small percentage of what your original tattoo costs. However, if charging, the cost will depend on the size, designs, and problems that need fixing in your tattoo.

If your tattoo artist is sweet enough not to charge you for the cover-up, you should follow tattoo etiquettes, leaving them a small tip. While you’re not bound to leave a tip, it’s a good way to show appreciation for their work.

It’s best to check with the tattoo artist if they charge for touch-ups rather than getting embarrassed when they ask you to pay once you’re done with the cover-up. This will save a huge embarrassment. If you’re worried about the cost of your tattoo touch up, that is the last thing you should worry about, as the more important thing is if the cover-up is successful even though usually it is.

Do You Tip Your Artist for A Touch Up?

As mentioned earlier, there is no law that requires you to tip your tattoo artist for a touch-up; however, it’s basic tattoo etiquette to tip your artist after every tattoo appointment. Tattoo cover-ups are usually free of cost, especially if you’re getting it done by the same tattoo artist who carried out your original tattoo.

Getting one free of cost should give you more of a reason to tip your tattoo artist as this is a way of showing appreciation for their work. It is best to check beforehand with your artist, whether they charge or not. This way, you will be well prepared to have cash in hand, though it doesn’t cost as much as you originally paid for the tattoo. The standard tipping percentage for most businesses is 15%, so you could somehow start there if you’re able to tip this percentage.

What is The Healing Process of Tattoo Touch Ups Like?

The healing process of a touch up is somewhat similar to the healing process of your original tattoo. It takes almost two to four weeks till you’re through with the healing process. You will need to follow the same aftercare instructions, as, again, your skin gets exposed to needles. Also, it may go through a bit of trauma, but not as much as it did during the original tattoo.

The healing process again depends on how well you take care of your cover-up; even if you just get a tiny touch up, you must be extremely careful not to mess it up again. This involves regularly moisturizing your cover-up and keeping it away from direct sunlight exposure.

Are Tattoo Touch Ups Painful?

The pain felt during a tattoo touch-up process is quite subjective, varying from one person to another person. Tattoo touch-ups usually aren’t that painful as there is only a small part that tattoo artists usually fix. However, some people tend to experience more pain than they did the first time getting their tattoo.

A reason for this could be the placement you’re getting your touch-up on. Areas like the ribcage, ankle, foot, and hips are quite painful and sensitive, so doing a touch up again on it could make that area more sensitive, causing more pain.

Some people experience changes in their tolerance of pain; hence that could be another reason for experiencing more pain during the touch-up. A few people tend to get quite nervous during the touch up as they aren’t sure what to expect this time, and the stress usually leads to more pain.

How Many Years After Can You Get Your Tattoo Touched Up?

Tattoos usually tend to fade over time, and you will, at some point, start to spot blemishes that may ruin the outlook of your tattoo. There is no specific time you have till you can get your tattoo touched up. But within a few years, a maximum of two, you can get a tattoo touch up.

To know for sure if you need a tattoo touch-up or not, it’s best to go to your tattoo artist as they will check out your tattoo to see if it needs any instant re-touch-up. Tattoo artists usually have a good eye for tattoos; hence they will be quick at spotting any issues in the outlook of your tat.


Touch-ups may be the best option for your temporary tattoo healing, and usually, after a touch-up, your tattoo is in good shape. But there comes a time where tattoos start to age due to different changes in your skin.

Your tattoo will never be perfect, and if it is, then you’re in real luck. There is always a solution to everything, and we have one right here for your current, messed up tattoo.

All you need to do is get in touch with your tattoo artist and ask them if you can get a touch-up. Touch-ups are less stressful than actually getting the tattoo for the first time. With the help of the information given to you about tattoo touch-ups, you can now get your tattoo touched up with a peaceful mind and achieve the look you wanted.