How Long Should My Tattoo Hurt For? | Freehand

How Long Should My Tattoo Hurt For?

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The pain and soreness will most likely continue for 3-7 days after the tattoo is finished. It is usually closer to the 3 day mark as when a week passes, the tattoo is normally in an itchy phase. As each day passes, the pain from the fresh tattoo should get better a little bit each day. If this is not the case for you, then I would consider double checking if your tattoo is infected or not. Other factors can determine how fast the pain passes so let's get into a few of them. 


Size of the tattoo

Bigger tattoos will have more ink in them. They will also cover more skin area and this can effect how long the tattoo is sore for afterwards because there is more skin to heal. Small tattoos are generally only sore for 1-2 days after and sometimes not at all. So if you are planning on getting a small and minimal design then you should have no worries. Full sleeve tattoos or large back tattoos will most likely hurt for quite a while. 


Intensity of the tattoo

What does this mean? Well, some tattoos use a lot of deep colours and blackwork for example. It will take longer for the tattoo to heal where the ink is thick and dark. These kind of tattoos will probably be sore for a bit longer than average. 


Location of the tattoo

What body part is the tattoo on? This can drastically effect how long your tattoo should be sore for. This is because some body parts we can protect and let heal a lot easier than others. For example the hand is used in so many functions throughout the day. This means the skin is always moving and cannot fully rest. Body parts that have creases and are always bending like the knee an elbow can also be more painful afterwards because they are moving a lot. If possible, try to reduce movement in these areas whilst your tattoo heals. This is not always an option but it's something to keep in mind.


How Long Does a Tattoo Hurt For Afterwards?

So as mentioned previously, typically the range is 3-7 days. It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort from your tattoo afterwards. The feeling can be described as a constant burning sensation. The skin feels like it would be hot to touch. Again, don't worry if this is the case because it's totally normal. 


Should My Tattoo Hurt After 5 Days?

If your tattoo still hurts afer 5 days then don't panic. It's normal. In fact, experiencing any pain up to the 7 day mark is regarded as normal. After that, we would reccomend contacting your artist or a medical expert to make sure your tattoo is not infected. 


How Long Should My Tattoo be Warm?

The area where your fresh tattoo is will normally feel a little warm. This is because of the inflammation and recovery process that is happening. Expect to feel this warm sensation for anywhere up to 3-7 days after your tattoo. If you feel a sudden change in temperature and the skin becomes hotter than usual, then this may be an indicator of infection.


How to speed up the process?

A healthy recovery process is important in order for your tattoo to stop hurting. What can do you to ensure this process is fast but without cutting corners? Let's go over some points. 


1. Do not itch or pick your tattoo.

2. Keep your fresh tattoo moisturised.

3. Stay out of the direct sunlight for 7 days.

4. Don't take painkillers.

5. Avoid scented products.

6. Gently clean your tattoo with water. 

7. Apply ointment.


Following these instructions will ensure your tattoo will heal as fast as possible and therefore reduce how long you experience pain after your tattoo is finished. Try not to touch your tattoo unless you are cleaning it as leaving it alone is generally best practice. 


Thinking about getting a new tattoo but would rather something custom and unique? Contact a tattoo designer on our website and let them know your idea. You will receive a totally bespoke tattoo design that you can envision before  booking an appointment. Browse through hundreds of artists who specialise in various different styles.

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