Why Does My Tattoo Look Wrinkly?

Why Does My Tattoo Look Wrinkly?

Getting some fresh ink at your favorite tattoo parlor makes you feel like a million bucks. Once you get the new artwork home and follow your artist’s instructions for washing it, the second thoughts start creeping into the mind.

“Will I like the way my tattoo looks after it heals?”

“What will my new artwork look like if I gain or lose a little weight?”

“Why is my tattoo so scabby right now?”

It takes several days for the irritation to subside after getting a new tattoo. As your skin goes through the healing process, it can sometimes look a bit odd, like having grandfather or grandmother skin in that area.

You’d expect peeling, flakiness, or itching, but not this outcome. Is there something that you’re doing wrong to make a tattoo look wrinkly?

Why Does My Tattoo Look Wrinkly?

Most tattoos look shiny or wrinkly during the healing process. This issue occurs because it gets too wet or dry during the healing process. As scabs form, they will feel raised to the touch for a couple of weeks. It helps to keep the artwork out of the shower and regularly cleaned to minimize this effect.

When you have a tattoo put on your skin, it becomes an open wound. The needles penetrate to deposit ink, allowing the regenerative process to update the look so that it doesn’t disappear.

The problem with the healing process from all those jabs is that you can have peeling skin form all over the place. You’ll also notice colorful scabs, often filled with ink, that bubble up on top of the artwork.

Those issues are expected. It’s a good sign that the area is on the right track while following its healing process. In a few weeks, you’ll have an entirely new layer of skin cells that won’t look scabby or wrinkly.

Until that new surface arrives, it can be a little frustrating to see the new skin form. It looks more wrinkled, as if you experienced an injury that caused premature aging in that one specific area.

How Long Does the Wrinkled Skin Last?

Your tattoo artist will let you know what to do if you’re concerned about the wrinkling in that tattoo area. The instructions might include applying petroleum jelly, an antibiotic ointment, and covering it with bandages.

Most people experience complete healing with their tattoo within eight weeks. If you have a healthy immune system and a fast metabolism, it might only take five to six weeks to get rid of the wrinkly look.

A fresh tattoo always looks more wrinkled than one that went through the healing process. This fact even applies to older adults who might get artwork on wrinkled or sagging skin.

You might see skin flakes form as the body heals from the tattooing process. It might even shake away like dandruff. Others might see minimal effects or nothing at all.

If you see your new tattoo starts wrinkling, the best thing to do is to take care of your skin as much as possible. Your artist should give you a healing lotion or specific recommendations to follow to ensure that the artwork meets or exceeds your expectations.

How to Prevent Wrinkled Skin with a Tattoo

Following those instructions helps to support the healing process by taking these steps during the first six to eight weeks after getting inked.

  1. Don’t take a bath with a fresh tattoo. You don’t want to have your tattoo get submerged in water at al. Take a shower only, keep it out of the spray, and avoid hot tubs and swimming pools. Even a trip to the beach is something to avoid.
  2. Avoid heavy creams. Petroleum jelly helps protect your tattoo after the initial application. When you get into the healing process, try to use a lighter moisturizer to encourage the healing process.
  3. Wear loose clothes. The scabs forming on some tattoos can fill with ink. They tend to be sticky and soft, which means they tear away when clothing comes across them. You’ll want to wear something loose and light for the first month or two after getting the tattoo.
  4. Keep the tattoo uncovered. You want the tattoo to dry out to avoid excessive scabbing. You’ll want to avoid direct sunlight, but it is helpful to expose the artwork to the outdoor air.
  5. Avoid strenuous exercise. Excessive sweat can cause problems with your new tattoo. The extra moisture creates wetness in the area that leads to scabbing and other issues. If the art is fresh, there is even the chance that the moisture could cause the color to fade or run.

A new tattoo is always an exciting experience. Once you get inked, the next step of the process is aftercare. What are the steps you can take to keep your skin looking vibrant and healthy?

If you have any questions about wrinkling, speak with your tattoo artist to get their feedback. When redness, swelling, or leakage occurs in the area, it is time to talk with a doctor because those are the signs and symptoms of an infection.

My Experience Getting a Tattoo

I got my first tattoo more than a decade ago from a charming man named “Lunchbox.” We took a trip to Las Vegas, and the entire thing was done on a whim.

Instead of looking for reviews or testimonials, we searched Myspace for recommendations. Lunchbox’s ads kept popping up, and he seemed like the right choice. We booked an appointment for the next day.

There was a guy in the chair when I arrived who was screaming his head off. Lunchbox looked up at me, laughed, and said the fellow had passed out at least four times. “Go ahead and look through my portfolio,” he told me. “Pick out something, and I’ll talk once I’m done with this loser.”

After picking my tattoo, Lunchbox came over and reviewed the process with me. He showed me the needles he’d be using that were still in the packs, the ink, and the equipment. “You didn’t shave,” he said. “That’s good. I’ll take care of that in the chair.”

I told him that I wanted green in my tattoo, but he vehemently shook his head. “Red,” he said emphatically. “If you go with red, that’ll make your design look like – “ and the rest isn’t suitable to write in polite company, but it was a compliment.

After sitting in the chair, he went through the process. Then the work began. It was a bit of a sting, but something akin to a cat scratch. I remember watching the artist work, seeing the art form on my arm, and feeling great about it.

It was an extensive tattoo. The design goes from about my wrist to my elbow on the bottom of my forearm. We chatted for a bit, but then a song came on the radio. “Hold on,” he tells me. Every time it would get to a specific part, he’d yell, “PUTTING ON THE RITZ.”

It was hard not to laugh. Lunchbox offered a great experience. Most people say that I got lucky because of how I looked for an artist, and they’re probably right. That’s why I’ve put these tips together to help.

How to Find the Best Tattoo Artist

The best place to begin your search for a tattoo artist is to ask for a personal recommendation. If you have a friend or family member who loves their artwork, the chances are they’ll be happy to offer a referral. This process also lets you get to see the quality of the ink in a real-life situation.

Word-of-mouth advertising for tattoo artists is the most honest form of advertising you can find in this industry today. Since people are more likely to tell you about a poor experience, the parlors that receive high praise should be places to consider.

If you’re unsure after those recommendations, try visiting every parlor or studio within a comfortable driving distance of home. You can request the location’s infection control reports, business complaints, and insurance information.

Even new tattoo artists have a portfolio to review. It helps to take the time to browse through the examples, although you must take those images with a grain of salt. No one puts their mistakes into their advertising.

You can also review the latest issues of your favorite tattoo directories and magazines. Although a shop can deliver shoddy work and still invest in this space, you can be confident that people are happy enough to spend some money there.

We’re also past the days of Myspace recommendations. Most tattoo artists are online, offering their portfolio on blogs, web pages, WordPress sites, and more. Spend some time looking over the social media profiles to see if there is something you want.

When all else fails, you can always travel to a tattoo show or book an appointment at a top parlor from one of today’s best artists. It costs more to get your ink this way, but you’re more likely to enjoy the results after.

One final tip: reputable artists call their equipment a “tattoo machine. Anyone who calls it a gun should be avoided.

A Final Thought About Tattoos in Today’s World

It takes time to develop specific skills. The best artists keep practicing to master their talents. If you can find someone who does color and shading well, delivers straight lines, and keeps the color within them, it’s worth paying extra to have the work done.

When people see my tattoo, they can’t believe the quality of the work. It has dozens of straight lines, shaded red coloration, and geometric shaping to it. What’s even more incredible is that Lunchbox only charged me $250 for the work. I’ve had an artist tell me it should have been at least $1,000.

What’s even more impressive is that I got it in 2007, and it still looks almost as fresh and new as the day I got it.

I keep it that way by using After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer daily. It’s a non-petroleum-based product that doesn’t contain gluten or parabens. It’s safe for all skin types, is hypoallergenic, and won’t cause irritation.

The patented formula contains grape seed oil, which keeps the red colors in my tattoo bright and the black lines crisp. There has been zero leakage this entire time, producing a bold result that everyone notices.

After Inked moisturizer doesn’t stick to your clothes. All you need is a thin layer that covers the tattoo. I use it a couple of times per day.

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer
  • Aftercare Lotion
  • Safe for All Skin Types
  • Recommended by World-Renowned Tattoo Artists
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With a bit of patience, your wrinkly tattoo heals into something smooth. If you have any concerns, please speak with your artist or consult with your doctor.


My name is Hajer and welcome to my site. This is my little haven, my outlet, where I can express myself, and show you everything I've learned about makeup, skincare, hair tips, and so much more, as well as the different beauty mistakes I've made so that you can avoid them.

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