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Tattoos are a beautiful and personal way to express yourself; they become a part of you, a story etched onto your skin.

But like any cherished possession, tattoos require care to maintain their vibrancy. The unfortunate reality is that over time, all tattoos will fade.

However, with a commitment to proper aftercare and some lifestyle changes, you can keep your body art looking fresh and bold for years to come.

After all, the ink is permanent, so why not make your dedication to taking care of it permanent too?

Why is My Tattoo Fading?


What do you need to know about tattoo fading? Tattoos are a great way to express yourself, but many worry how they are going to look like as they age. Here’s everything you need to know about tattoo ageing and fading. And check this to learn how to keep tattoos looking bold and bright! ⤵️ https://thecolorbright.com/how-it-works #staycolorbright #thecolorbright #tattoos #tattooed #tattoo #oldtattoos #fadedtattoos #colortattoos #tattoocream #vegantattoos

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Tattoos fade over time due to a combination of natural bodily processes and external factors. Here’s a breakdown of the main culprits:

  • Natural breakdown by immune system: Your body’s white blood cells, called macrophages, are responsible for engulfing foreign particles. Over time, these macrophages can break down some of the tattoo ink, causing the tattoo to lose some colour intensity.
  • Sun exposure: The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are brutal to tattoos. UV rays break down the ink particles, leading to faster fading. This is especially true for brighter colours.
  • Improper aftercare: Failing to follow proper aftercare instructions during the initial healing period can affect how well the ink settles into the skin. This can lead to patchy fading or blurry lines.
  • Friction: Constant friction from clothing or rubbing against other body parts can irritate the tattooed area and cause the ink to break down or disperse.
  • Skin ageing: As skin ages, it naturally loses elasticity and collagen. This can cause the tattooed area to stretch or wrinkle, making the tattoo appear faded.
  • Quality of ink and tattooing: Using lower-quality inks or having a tattoo done by an inexperienced artist can contribute to faster fading. Higher quality inks and proper tattooing techniques ensure the ink is deposited at the right depth for better longevity.

Related read: Are Temporary Tattoos the Next Viral Hair Trend? Here’s How to Wear It

Do Tattoos on Certain Body Parts Age Better Than on Others?


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The answer is: yes! Tattoo placement plays a significant role in how a tattoo ages and fades (of course, other than aesthetics).

It’s also why your tattoo artist may recommend or might have suggested better placements for specific tattoos.

Areas that are prone to fading include high-friction zones — spots that experience constant rubbing from clothing or movement — since friction irritates the skin and can break down or disperse ink particles. The hands, feet, elbows, knees, armpits, and inner arms are more susceptible to fading.

Dr Dendy Engelman, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City, shared with Byrdie that areas with high levels of friction (namely the hands and feet) tend to regenerate more quickly which means that finger and toe tattoos are more likely to fade.

Other than that, the areas with thin skin may not age as well, either. That includes the tops of feet, hands, and inner forearms, which tend to hold ink less effectively, leading to quicker fading or blurring of the tattoo as the skin sheds or renews over time.

According to dermatologist Edgar Fincher on Allure, certain body parts are more prone to age-related changes like loss of elasticity, sagging, or stretching. The same theory applies to tattoos on those body parts.

“Shoulders and ankles have tight skin, and the skin does not sag and become as loose over time, unlike the upper arm or abdomen,” Edgar said.


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The level of sun exposure plays a key role in determining which body parts are less suitable for tattoos too. Dermatologist Naissan O. Wesley expressed that areas with higher UV light exposure tend to have lower collagen density and more uneven pigmentation due to photo ageing.

This can lead to tattoos appearing faded, discoloured, and less firm over time. Sun-exposed areas would include areas like the chest, shoulders, upper back, and forearms.

Additionally, areas prone to weight gain or loss, like the stomach or upper arms, might see some distortion in the tattoo as the skin stretches or shrinks.

Related read: These Tattoo Alternatives Look Almost Like the Real Thing! Check Out These Products and Places

Tattoo Placements That Would Age Well

If you’re looking to get inked or add a new masterpiece to your body, these are the body parts that you can consider that wouldn’t cause the tattoos to fade as much.

Areas with minimal rubbing from clothing or movement, like the upper chest, shoulder blades, calves, and outer arms, are generally better for maintaining vibrant tattoos.

Meanwhile, tattoos placed on areas typically covered by clothing, like the back, upper thighs, and buttocks, are less exposed to sun and friction, promoting slower fading.

Tattoos on areas with thicker skin, like the outer bicep, calves, and forearms, tend to hold ink better due to a denser layer for the pigment to settle in.

Related read: 30 Best Female Celebrity Tattoos That We’re Totally in Love With

Ways to Prevent Fading Tattoos

Here are some key ways to prevent tattoo fading and keep your body art vibrant for years to come:

  1. Sun protection is paramount: Treat your tattoo like any other precious skin — shield it from the sun’s harsh UV rays. Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher whenever the tattooed area is exposed. Reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming or sweating.
  2. Moisturise religiously: Hydrated skin is happy skin, and happy skin holds onto tattoo ink better! Use a fragrance-free, water-based lotion to keep the tattooed area moisturised daily. Avoid petroleum-based products, as they can clog pores and hinder healing.
  3. Aftercare is crucial: Following proper aftercare instructions from your tattoo artist is vital for optimal healing and preventing initial fading. This typically involves gentle cleansing and keeping the area protected while it heals.
  4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Taking care of your overall health goes a long way in preserving your tattoos. Drinking plenty of water, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep promotes healthy skin, which translates to a better tattoo appearance. Smoking can also negatively impact tattoo vibrancy by reducing collagen production, so consider quitting.
  5. Choose your artist and ink wisely: Selecting a reputable tattoo artist who uses high-quality inks is an investment in your tattoo’s longevity. Different colours have varying natural fading rates, so consult with your artist about the best options for your desired design.
  6. Minimise friction: Where possible, try to minimise friction on your tattoos by wearing looser clothing that doesn’t rub against them. Avoid activities that cause excessive rubbing on the tattooed area for extended periods.
  7. Go for touch-ups and maintenance sessions: Even with the best care, some fading is inevitable over time. Regular touch-ups by your artist can help maintain vibrancy. Remember, proper care helps minimise the need for frequent touch-ups.

Related read: Tattoo-covering Foundations Will Change Your Concealer Game Completely – Here’s Why

6 Best Tattoo Aftercare Products


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Tattoo aftercare products are available at almost all tattoo shops, but here’s a list of the best ones you can buy for your tattoo maintenance routine!

Hustle Butter Deluxe Luxury Tattoo Care

how to prevent tattoo from fading

Developed by Richie Bulldog in 2011, Hustle Butter is the go-to and original luxury product for tattoo aftercare, suitable for both new and older tattoos.

Its natural, vegan ingredients, including shea and mango butter, help heal and rejuvenate tattoos while preventing fading.

Trusted by artists worldwide, it doesn’t remove stencils or clog tubes, making the tattooing process smoother.

Hustle Butter Deluxe Luxury Tattoo Care (28g) retails for S$28.86 instead of S$31.07 at Shopee, at the time of writing. It’s also available for S$18 (28g) and S$33 (140g) at Asia Tattoo Supply.

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm

how to prevent tattoo from fading

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm is a natural, petroleum and lanolin-free balm enriched with over 60% olive oil and lavender oil — perfect for all stages of tattoo care.

Its premium olive oil formula mimics the skin’s natural oils, promoting healing and protection while enhancing ink vibrancy!

Simply apply two to three times daily to healing or healed tattoos. Made in the USA, dermatologist-tested, and cruelty-free, it’s a reliable choice for tattoo aftercare.

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm (21g) retails for S$24 at Shopee and from S$10 to S$15 at Asia Tattoo Supply. There’s also a Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit, which includes an antimicrobial soap, balm, and lotion for S$24.59 at Amazon.

Urban Legend Skin Booster Ink

how to prevent tattoo from fading

This product serves multiple purposes: skin mark recovery, burn treatment, tattoo aftercare, post-laser treatment, sunburn aftercare, and treatment for irritated skin (for individuals over three years old).

Formulated without allergens, parabens, or petrolatum, it is vegan-friendly and proudly made in Greece.

Registered with CPNP, its active ingredients include hyaluronic acid, B-glucan, aloe vera, calendula, and ginkgo biloba. Hence, offering comprehensive care for various skin concerns, including great aftercare properties for your inks.

Urban Legend Skin Booster Ink (20ml) retails for S$9 at Asia Tattoo Supply. There’s also a butter, antibacterial soap, and booster for colour available.

Balm Tattoo Original Balm

how to prevent tattoo from fading

Balm Tattoo’s specialised ointment is enriched with a potent blend of dexpanthenol (5%) and sepitonic M3, meticulously crafted to nurture and safeguard your tattooed skin.

This balm fosters skin regeneration, alleviates irritation, and preserves tattoo vibrancy — all thanks to its unique formulation.

Infused with essential minerals (zinc, copper, and magnesium) and organic anions, it facilitates optimal mineral absorption by the epidermis.

Ideal for dry, peeling, or sensitised skin due to environmental factors, it offers high tolerance, free radical protection, and infection prevention. The Balm Tattoo Original Balm is dermatologically tested, not tested on animals, and ensures safety and efficacy even on damaged skin.

Its non-staining formula creates a protective barrier, akin to a second skin, shielding against external contaminants.

Balm Tattoo Original Balm retails from S$16 to S$40 (8g, 30g, and 100g) at Shopee.

Balm Tattoo Dragon’s Blood Butter

how to prevent tattoo from fading

This 100% vegan balm is free from petroleum derivatives and crafted with natural ingredients to enhance tattoo longevity and vibrancy.

Developed and endorsed by tattoo artists and skincare specialists, this balm helps close pores, prolong stencil longevity, and maintain colour contrast.

With its collagen-promoting antioxidants and skin-restorative properties, it’s the ideal choice for tattoo aftercare!

Balm Tattoo Dragon’s Blood Butter retails for S$17 (8g), S$35 (50ml), and S$68 (250ml) at Shopee.

Balea Tattoo Skin Care Ointment

how to prevent tattoo from fading

Designed for post-tattoo care, this German-made cream is enriched with moisturising 5% panthenol and birch bark extract to nourish while enhancing the skin’s elasticity.

It also features allantoin, bisabolol, almond oil, and shea butter, which all aid in skin regeneration and protection.

Plus, it’s certified by the Dermatology Institute and doesn’t have any fragrance which makes it compatible with sensitive skin.

Balea Tattoo Skin Care Ointment (50ml) retails for S$13.63 instead of S$17.99 at Shopee, at the time of writing.

Related read: 15 Tattoo Removal Clinics to Get Your Ink Erased in Singapore – Here’s What to Expect

Featured image credits: @alizzadanika/TikTok, @dermdudeofficial/TikTok, @imashleyhall/TikTok