Many tattoo clients are unaware that their new tattoo may need touching up after their initial artwork is completed.
Even if you use a very reputable artist and take care of your tattoo, you may need a touch up at some point during the life of the tattoo.
Here are a few reasons a tattoo may need to be touched up: The colors look washed-out or patchy. The lines appear cloudy or dull. The shading looks uneven.
Why do tattoos need to be touched up?
Tattoos need to be touched up for a variety of different reasons. As previously mentioned, it is important to watch out for: washed-out or patchy coloring, cloudy lines, and uneven shading.
Even when using the best tattoo artist, there are reasons why you may need a touch up within a few months of getting the original artwork completed. As your tattoo heals, the skin’s healing process may leave a few imperfections behind. Most of the time, this is not your fault or your tattoo artist’s fault.
It is important to take care of your tattoo as it is healing. You will be given tattoo aftercare instructions by your artist. You must follow these instructions closely, to minimize the chance of infection and tattoo flaws. If you do not follow these directions, your artist may not guarantee his or her work.
Sun exposure also leads to tattoo fading. For the life of the tattoo, make sure to always use sunscreen or wear clothing over your artwork when out in the sun.
Even if you follow all directions, your tattoo heals perfectly, and you avoid the sun, you could still eventually need a touch up. Over the years, tattoos will become less vivacious. Skin changes, and the ink will start to fade. This is normal. Your artist should be able to touch up your old tattoo, making it look as vibrant as before.
How many years after a tattoo does it need to get touched up?
The number of years a tattoo has before needing to be retouched can vary greatly between clients.
For tattoos that have imperfections after healing, the recommended touch-up time is generally 1-12 months after the original artwork is completed.
If the tattoo healed properly and has been taken care of, it may be a few years before the piece needs touching up. It is a good idea to have your artist inspect your tattoo a couple of years after getting the initial tattoo. They have a trained eye and will be able to easily spot blemishes that should be fixed.
If it has been decades since receiving your tattoo, you most likely need a touch up. Be sure to see your artist for a consultation.
How do you know if a new tattoo needs to be touched up?
Many tattoo clients do not realize that a new tattoo may need a touch up after healing is completed. Sometimes, due to certain factors, your newly healed tattoo may look patchy or dull in certain areas. It is not uncommon for it to appear vibrant in one spot and cloudy in another. (This can be due to how your tattoo scabbed when healing.)
You can help reduce the chance of this happening to you by following all after-care instructions and by choosing a trustworthy tattoo artist.
Even if you don’t see any imperfections, it is important to have your artist look at your tattoo after healing is completed. He or she may be able to see small flaws that you have not noticed. Your artist will be able to determine if you need additional work or not.
Can you touch up a tattoo the next day?
If your tattoo needs touch up work, it is very important to wait until after the first tattoo is completely healed. Your artist cannot touch up a brand-new tattoo, as it is basically an open wound.
How long should you wait, then? Normal healing time for most tattoos is two to four weeks, but this can vary for each individual. Your artist will be able to determine if the healing process is complete by looking at your tattoo.
Ideally, if a touch up is needed, it is best to get it done 1-6 months after receiving the first tattoo. It can be retouched up to 12 months after, but many artists recommend doing it within the first 6 months. Ultimately, it is important to check with your artist and see what his or her recommendation is.
Do touch ups heal quicker than the original?
The healing time for a touch up is usually the same as for the original tattoo: around two to four weeks. Your skin is still receiving ink via needle, so it needs the same amount of time to complete the healing process.
Some tattoo clients may feel that their tattoo touch up healed faster, but this is generally because a smaller amount of skin was tattooed than before. (Most of the time, the touch up is done only on certain parts of the tattoo, not the whole thing.)
If you receive a tattoo touch up, it is important to follow the same aftercare instructions that you did with your first tattoo. Proper healing is just as vital the second time around.
Are touch ups more painful?
Most tattoo clients feel that the pain from a touch up tattoo is like the pain from the initial tattoo. The tattoo process is the same, so pain levels for most people are often similar.
However, there are mixed opinions on this.
Some clients feel that their touch up hurt more than their first tattoo. This could be due to personal changes in pain tolerance or for other reasons.
It is also important to note that, according to many tattoo artists, tattoos notoriously hurt worse on certain areas of the body than in others. Clients often report these areas to be among the most painful: ribcage, bends of knees and elbows, stomach, hips, top of the foot, and the insides of the thighs. Getting a tattoo or a touch up in these areas could lead to additional pain.
On the other end of the pain scale, some tattoo clients have reported feeling less pain with their touch up than with their first piece. This could be because they knew what to expect and were not as sensitive or nervous the second time around.
Ultimately, pain is subjective and will be different for each individual: Your experience will be unique to you.
How much do touch ups cost?
The price of tattoo touch ups varies, depending on the artist and the area of the country that you are in.
Most of the time, reputable tattoo artists guarantee their work. This means that if your tattoo needs a touch up within a few months of receiving it, they will often complete the touch up free of charge. These touch ups are usually free only if you have followed all recommended aftercare instructions.
If it is obvious that you have grossly neglected your new tattoo, your artist may have to charge you for the touch up. Additionally, if you decide to use a different artist for your touch up than you used for your first tattoo, you will be charged for the work.
If many years have passed since receiving your first tattoo, you will probably have to pay for your touch up. There is no way to guess what the price of the touch up will be. It could be under $50 if you are having a small tattoo touched up. On the other hand, it could be a few hundred dollars or more if the tattoo is large and needs a lot of work.
To get a better idea of how much your touch up will cost, it is best to see your tattoo artist for a consultation. After viewing your tattoo and speaking with you, they will be able to give you a more reliable estimate.
Should you tip when getting a touch up?
When receiving any kind of a service from an individual, it is a good idea to tip. Although tipping is not mandatory, it really shows your tattoo artist that you appreciate the time and effort spent on your touch up.
There is not a set amount to tip. Tipping around 15% is standard for many industries, so this is a good starting point. If you really feel that your artist went above and beyond when completing your touch up, tipping 20-30% is not unreasonable.
Ultimately, it is your decision on whether to tip and how much to tip. Although not necessary, it is highly recommended.