Updated: Apr 16
Tattoo 101: Why do tattoos blur and fade over time?
If it is your first tattoo or your thirteenth, have you ever wondered why tattoos tend to blur over time? Many people think that a tattoo blurring is because the ink is not placed deep enough into the skin, but that's not the case. The reason is that our skin is a living canvas. As we grow, our skin changes. The dermis, or middle layer of skin, is constantly regenerating itself. This process pushes the tattoo ink up from the dermis skin layer to the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin, causing tattoos to fade and blur.
There are three main layers of skin:
There are three main layers of the skin, the epidermis (the outer surface of the skin), the dermis (the middle layer of the skin), and the hypodermis (the deepest layer of the skin). We are chiefly concerned with the middle child of the skin, the dermis. When your tattoo artist inserts the tattoo ink into your skin, it needs to be applied to the dermis layer for the pigment to become trapped. This happens because the ink is the perfect size for the body/skin to accept it; it is not big enough to be ejected and not small enough for the body to absorb it.
About the dermis layer of the skin:
The dermis layer of the skin is also home to our hair follicles, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands. These all play a part in the tattoo fading process. The hair follicles can act like little sponges, absorbing the ink and causing tattoos to fade. Sweat glands secrete an oily substance called sebum that can also break down tattoo pigments. And lastly, sebaceous glands produce an oil that lubricates our skin but also breaks down tattoo pigments.
All of these factors contribute to a faded tattoo and a blurry tattoo over time.
But don't worry, there are ways to slow down the blurry tattoo and faded tattoo process that results in a blurry tattoo. Avoiding your tattooed skin from sun exposure, using sunscreen to avoid sun damage, and keeping your skin hydrated will all help keep your tattoos looking fresh for longer. So if you're thinking about getting a tattoo, find an experienced artist, and go for it! Just be sure to take care of your skin afterward.
Do you have a tattoo? What design did you choose and why?
Let me know in the comments below!
About me, the tattoo artist:
I am a professional tattoo artist that works from my private tattoo studio and art gallery, located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. As an experienced tattoo artist with a commercial art background, I specialize in large, color, detailed tattoos and digital paintings. If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, be sure to check out my "tattoo aftercare" for everything you need to know about taking care of your new tattoo.
Thanks for reading!
Tattoo Artist, Commercial Artist, and Manager of Mystic Moon Media LLC
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