How Often Should You Get Tattoo Touch Ups?

The world of tattoos is limitless because it's an art form. They require creativity and a steady hand, a passion for art, and successful application of that passion. A tattoo, then, can be anything. From a flower to a bird, a portrait to written text, tattoos can embody any meaning you want them to and can be personified in any nature. For some people, there are big reasons to never get a tattoo, and there are even tattoos that many tattoo artists hate to do.

If you're going to get a tattoo — or many — you need to understand the essential, proper aftercare measures that you need to take to ensure your tattoo heals correctly. The biggest mistakes people make after getting a tattoo include not washing it enough or washing it too much, exposing it to the sun too much, and wearing tight clothes on the tattoo site (via Dr. Numb). But a big mistake is also never touching up your tattoos. After all, the point of getting tattoos is for them to look nice, and to express yourself. But if they fade and lose their touch, neither of these purposes are fulfilled.

But just how often should you be getting your tattoos touched up?

Can you go a decade without a tattoo touch up?

Getting a tattoo touched up doesn't mean that your artist wasn't excellent or that you didn't let it heal properly. According to, everyone's skin heals and takes to tattoo ink differently, so touch ups are perfectly normal and often not the direct fault of anyone involved. However, touch ups should never be done until the tattoo is fully healed. Then, touch ups are recommended to be done between the first one to six months of having the tattoo, but can be done successfully up to one year after getting the tattoo. This immediate form of touch ups is largely for imperfections in the original tattoo, such as some patches of skin not taking to the ink as well as others.

Once you've had a tattoo for a while, though, you can touch them up much less often. According to a tattoo artist on Quora, tattoos can go several years without being touched up. After the initial touch up within a year of getting it, they're completely optional and can be done whenever you notice your ink is fading. Moreover, this tattoo artist noted that some artists offer free lifetime touch ups, so if yours does, you should definitely take them up on it.

Realistically, you could go five years or even a decade before wanting a touch up. Everyone's skin is different, but you should always get the first touch up within a year of getting your tattoo to ensure that your tattoo is not only even in its shading, but also that its vibrancy lasts as long as possible.