Skip to content

How tattoos change over time – and what you can do preventively

“What will it look like when you are old?” – this question has probably been asked by almost everyone whose body is adorned with a tattoo. But what do changes in the skin actually do to tattoos? What does a tattoo look like after pregnancy, for example? Tikbow spoke with an expert about how body art changes over time – and what tattooed people can do to prevent it.

There are many different factors that influence the texture, quality and lifespan of a tattoo. Immediately after stitching, you should avoid both water and direct sunlight, as both can cause the fresh color to fade and/or run. But even after the healing is complete, a tattoo lives our lives every day and is exposed to various environmental influences. Tikbow has talked with Florian Riffel, the manager of the tattoo studio Autark in Berlin, about which factors have a particularly strong influence on the tattoo aging process.

Are tattoos with color more susceptible than black?

"Definitely! But it is also strongly dependent on how experienced the tattoo artist who stung the motif is, explains tattoo expert Riffel. Of course, the skin of the respective customer also plays a role in the durability and aging process of tattoos, but in general a colored tattoo is more susceptible to sunlight and tends to fade more quickly. Riffel: "Black usually also does not remain für always black, but stands basically solid in the skin." He therefore advises to strengthen color-realistic work with black lines, because the colorful motifs "tend to blur, especially if they are not well done."

Which motifs change particularly rapidly?

Filigree lines, smooth edges and very realistic tinting, which is effective due to its strong contrasts, are particularly susceptible to distortions. A blurring of the Ränder can occur here already after five to ten years. "The skin is an organ and not a piece of paper, concrete, wood or a board. The cells renew themselves and work", explains expert Riffel. "The pigments, which have been worked in cleanly and dünnn, change very much as a result of the cell buildup. Dünne lines eventually become 2-3 times as thick", he warns. A realistic motif should therefore be stitched in different contrast levels and with supporting lines; this can prevent bleeding and premature fading.

How do weight fluctuations and pregnancy affect the tattoo aging process?

If the human skin is strongly stretched by weight gain and then quickly loosened again, the connective tissue cannot react in time. As a result, the stretched skin becomes loose and sags. Therefore, the place for a tattoo wants to be well überlegt. If you gain a lot of weight, a small motif on the inner upper arm will logically be less distorted than one in the abdominal area. The same applies to pregnancy. This affects a tattoo outside the abdominal area quasi not, but the motif on the abdomen is strongly distorted under circumstances.

Normal weight fluctuations, which give the skin and connective tissue enough time to regenerate, have minimal to no effect on a tattoo. The safest places for tattoos are the back of the neck, shoulders and everything below the knee.

Does my age affect the result when I get stitched?

Basically, the aging process of the skin is individual for each person. It is difficult to make a generalized statement. This is primarily because the condition of the top layer of skin depends on many different factors. For example, diet, body care and lifestyle. Nevertheless, Florian Riffel says that it is all the better for skin care if the skin is young and not so severely affected by any sunburns.

How does the aging process change my tattoo?

The constant cell renewal of our body is indispensable for the regeneration of our skin appearance. But it also has a negative effect on tattoos, as it promotes blurring, fading and fraying of the motifs. In most cases, however, the changes in tattoos are relatively undramatic. Especially large motifs retain their recognition value even in old age. The be-all and end-all is proper care. Because: "If the wearer cares for his tattoos, he will have something from them for a long time", says expert Riffel.

What can I do against the tattoo aging process?

The biggest enemy of tattoos is UV rays, so be careful in the sun! Motifs in exposed areas should be especially well protected with sunscreen or covered by clothing if you want to avoid fading of the tattoo. Of course, proper care and regular re-stippling of the tattoo also have a positive effect on its appearance. Small motifs should generally be re-stabbed after one to two years, while larger tattoos should be re-stabbed about five years later. However, expert Riffler points out that even this does not always help. The reason: "The more pigments get into the skin, the wider and more extensive become, for example, small lettering drawings", so the Tätowierer.

The fact is that it cannot be prevented that the design will change over time – after all, the design ages with it. The process can only be slowed down with the right care.