What is the difference between Fresh Tattoo vs. Healed Tattoo?

Fresh vs. Healed Tattoos: a more in-depth look into their differences, similarities, pros & cons, FAQs, and aftercare.
Fresh vs. Healed Tattoo: Differences, Similarities, Pros & Cons

Tattoo fresh vs. healed difference can be explained as a fresh tattoo is the one that is still under a healing process and will turn into a healed tattoo after proper healing. You will be dealing with swelling, redness, and itching in case of a fresh tattoo. However, the healed tattoo will look vibrant with even skin.

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Considering fresh vs. healed tattoo definition for clarity

Defining Fresh Tattoo

A sensitive, red, and shining tattoo is a fresh tattoo. It may swell and have scabs.

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Defining Healed Tattoo

When there are no scabs on the skin, the texture of the skin under the tattoo matches with the surface of the skin, and the tattoo starts to appear vibrant, it is a healed tattoo.

What are the similarities between a fresh and a healed tattoo?

  • Both the fresh and the healed tattoo present the same tattoo design.
  • They are a part of your personality.
  • The color used in tattoo making appears the same in both the fresh and the healed tattoo.

Analyzing the difference between fresh vs. healed tattoos

BasisFresh TattooHealed Tattoo
RednessIt shows redness over your skin.It doesn’t cause any redness to your skin.
WoundIt is a sign of a fresh wound.It is not a wound at all.
Skin sensitivityYour skin is sensitive when your tattoo is fresh.You won’t have any skin sensitivity with a healed tattoo.0
ItchingYou might experience a lot of itching with a fresh tattoo.There won’t be any itching problems.
SwellingYour skin might look swollen due to your tattoo being fresh.No signs of swelling can be seen once your tattoo has healed.
CareYou need to provide extreme care to your fresh tattoo for it to heal properly.A healed tattoo becomes a part of your skin and doesn’t require any special care.
InfectionThere is always a fear of catching an infection with a fresh tattoo.Once your tattoo is healed, it won’t become a reason for any infection.
Fresh vs. healed watercolor tattooA fresh tattoo doesn’t have shine.  A healed tattoo shines brightly.
Touch-upA fresh tattoo doesn’t require any touch-ups since you are yet to see the result.As soon as your tattoo is healed, you will see the final look of your tattoo. If you are not satisfied with it, a touch-up can be taken to improve the whole look.
FadingA fresh tattoo cannot fade away with time. It can only lead to improper healing.A healed tattoo fades away with time and might require further touch-ups for maintaining its charm.

How can I know that my tattoo has healed?

You will know that your tattoo is healed when you see no scabbing and flaking on the skin. A new layer of the epidermis will form, and your tattoo will start shining. 

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How to remove a fresh tattoo?

You can remove a fresh tattoo by getting the ink to run out through sunlight or freshwater or take the help of these home remedies:

  • Applying alcohol or Neosporin over it.
  • Rubbing the area with table salt for half an hour.
  • Applying a mixture of lemon juice and salt.
  • Covering the tattoo with yogurt all over.

All these remedies will lighten the fresh tattoo and remove it over time. Alternatively, you can also consult a dermatologist for removing a fresh tattoo.

Do tattoos lighten as they heal?

Yes, the tattoos lighten as they heal. The healing process includes the peeling of the top layer of the epidermis. This process will take away some ink too. Your tattoo artist will always give you a darker tattoo than your desire so that it heals to a perfect shade. 

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Can you put vaseline on a fresh tattoo?

Putting vaseline on a fresh tattoo is not advisable. It is recommended to stay away from petroleum jelly during the healing process.

Can a tattoo heal in a week?

No, a tattoo heals in 4 to 6 weeks unless you don’t have any medical condition affecting the area. 

How to sleep with a fresh tattoo?

Sleeping on the initial nights of getting inked might be tricky, and you need to consider these tips:

  1. You must take at least an eight-hour deep sleep to fasten the process of healing.
  2. While sleeping, covers the tattooed area with the adhesive wrap for at least the first three days.
  3. When your tattoo artist advises you to wash the wrap after reaching home, rewrap it again after showering or before sleeping.
  4. Rotate your bed sheets often to prevent any contact with dust and germs.
  5. Try not putting pressure on the tattooed area; choose the right position.

Why is my tattoo healing badly?

It is utterly crucial to follow the aftercare instructions in the healing phase for a fresh tattoo. Once it stops paining, many people stop taking care seriously. This might be a reason for your tattoo healing badly.

How to clean a fresh tattoo?

Clean your fresh tattoo after you reach home from the tattooist. It will remove the remaining fluid and blood from the area, if any.

Use an antibacterial fragrance-free soap and warm water. Let it dry completely either naturally or using a blow dryer on a cool setting. Apply the moisturizing ointment at last.

What to put on a fresh tattoo?

Use an antibacterial ointment to keep a fresh tattoo moisturized and prevent it from any bacterial infection.

How to take care of a fresh tattoo?

  • Remove the bandage after 24 hours.
  • Wash the tattooed area gently with antibacterial soap and water.
  • Dry it properly.
  • Apply an antibacterial ointment twice a day.
  • Keep it clean by following the steps repeatedly.

The Bottom Line

A fresh tattoo requires your constant attention for turning into a beautifully healed tattoo. The redness, swelling, and other skin problems associated with the fresh tattoo need to be addressed carefully to prevent any infection. Once your tattoo is healed, you can treat it normally the way you treat your rest of the skin.

Comparison Chart

Fresh vs. Healed Tattoos: a more in-depth look into their differences, similarities, pros & cons, FAQs, and aftercare.

Comparison Video


Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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