Tattoo of a rose.

How To Make Your Tattoo Darker

Over time, your tattoo will begin to fade — it’s something that can’t be avoided. It’s only natural that you want to take good care of your ink and make sure that it’s looking as good as it can for as long as it can. Luckily, there are ways to make your tattoo darker.

While there isn’t a way to prevent the natural aging process of a tattoo, there are some things you can do to make your tattoo look as good as it was when you first got it.

Keeping your tattoo looking fresh is as easy as applying lotion to it daily. Check out our top 6 Best Lotions for Tattoos (2021) that you can use to make your tattoo pop.

Why Tattoos Fade Over Time

Why Tattoos Fade Over Time

The process of getting a tattoo involves a tattoo needle depositing ink into the dermis layer of your skin, beneath the epidermis. This is why your ink will hold, and won’t disappear as your skin’s top layer sheds.

Over time, macrophage cells from your immune system work to absorb the ink in your skin and diffuse it. On top of this, the UV frequencies caused by sunlight will break down the ink over time. This is why it’s recommended to keep your tattoos out of direct sunlight, as tattoos that are exposed to sunlight will age quicker.

If you’re planning on getting a tattoo during summers, check out this article to know more about keeping your tattoo safe.

Giving Your Ink A Facelift

Giving Your Ink A Facelift

There are various things you can do to renew the look of your tattoo. Here, we’re going to go over a few options, such as exfoliating gels, tattoo touch-ups, and if you’d prefer — cover-up tattoos.

Exfoliating Gel

Exfoliating Gel

A tattoo exfoliating gel is said to give your tattoo a fresh look, as if it were new. It achieves this by exfoliating the tattooed skin, removing the uppermost layer. Because of this, your tattoo will appear visibly brighter and pop a lot more.

Of course, the top layer of your skin will again start to renew over time, so this exfoliating gel should be used regularly to see consistent results (twice weekly). If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to give your ink a good touch-up — exfoliating gel may be the way to go.

Tattoo Touch-ups

Tattoo Touch-ups

If you’re not aware, touch-ups for your tattoo involve going back to your artist (or a new one) to have them go over the tattoo again. Essentially, this is overwriting the tattoo with fresh, new ink. This is by far the most effective way at making your tattoo darker.

Tattoo touch-ups are an option for those who have incredibly faded tattoos, or for those who didn’t see much success with tattoo exfoliating gels. If you’re considering one, reach out to your original artist, as you’ll sometimes find that the artist is willing to do it for free (of course, this is at their discretion).

Tattoo Cover-ups

Tattoo Cover-ups

Last but not least, if the above options don’t sound very appealing to you, perhaps you should consider a tattoo cover-up.

Tattoo cover-ups are similar to touch-ups in the sense that it involves going back to the artist to apply new ink. However, the difference here is you are going to your artist to get a brand new design over the existing tattoo. This will overwrite the existing ink, and in most cases, you can’t even tell that there was another tattoo there in the first place.

This is an option for those who may not like the design of their tattoo anymore and would prefer to get something new over it.

How To Reduce Tattoo Fading

While there is no way to prevent the fading of your ink, there are ways to reduce it.

Go To Reputable Artists

Before getting your tattoo, it’s important to do your research on who you want to choose as your artist. While you may be deterred by higher pricing, you need to remember that the prices are high for two main reasons — their skill level, and the quality of their products.

The quality of the ink going into your skin is important. Low-quality ink means that your tattoo has a higher chance of fading quicker. Not only this, there are health concerns with low-quality ink.

To ensure you’re going to an artist who uses high-quality ink and knows what they’re doing, have a look at their reviews, or consider sending them an email to open a dialogue for discussion.

Placement Of The Ink

As mentioned earlier in the article, tattoos that are exposed to sunlight will age faster. Taking this into consideration, if you have yet to get your tattoo and are worried about the aging associated with sun exposure, perhaps you should get your tattoo in an area that’s typically covered by clothing.

On top of this, the friction of the skin can cause premature fading of your ink. For example, getting a tattoo on your inner thighs can age the ink faster if your thighs regularly rub together. Tattoos on your fingers do tend to fade pretty fast, since they are constantly exposed to the sun and hand washing.

Refine Your Aftercare Routine

It’s no secret that your tattoo aftercare routine plays a big part in how your tattoo will look after it has finished healing. If you don’t take care of your tattoo, you run the risk of infection and/or scarring.

Listen to your tattoo artist’s advice on taking care of the tattoo until it heals. In most instances, it’s common for the artist to suggest a scent-free antibacterial soap.

After a few days of healing, you also want to make sure that you’re moisturizing your tattoo to keep the skin hydrated. Avoid intense exercise so that your tattoo can heal.

Don’t let tattoo fading discourage you from getting your tattoo. It’s a natural part of the journey.




While it may be impossible to prevent your tattoo from fading, there are some things you can do to give it a fresh new look. If you have a tattoo that’s starting to look a little old, start with an exfoliating gel. If an exfoliating gel doesn’t work for you, perhaps it’s time to consider a tattoo touch-up or cover-up. Finally, if you’re finding that you’re no longer fond of the ink you once admired, you can also consider tattoo removal. While it might be a bit pricey, it’s definitely an option.

There’s nothing wrong with aged tattoos, in fact, some people prefer them. It’s all about personal preference. Just remember: it’s your ink, and you get to decide what you do with it.

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