what happens to tattoos when you get old

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Once we started turning to tattoo our bodies at a younger stage of our life, most of us had a question- “what will happen to my tattoos when I get old”? Well, having this question in your mind is legit to be precise.

Every organ of our body goes through changes as we get older. So it is inevitable that the aging process is going to affect the tattoos of your body. Even if you take the best care of your skin, your tattoos will change and fade away as you grow older.

If the question “what happens to tattoos when you get old?” ever crossed your mind, then you found the right place to search for answers. So, without further delay, let’s find out.

5 Iminent Things Your Tattoos Will Go Through As You Get Old

  1. They will change

The first thing you would see is that the shape of your tattoos is changing as you grow older. Due to the stretching of the skin, the outlines of the tattoos will most probably lose their initial shape. The details of the tattoos will have an obscure appearance as your skin loses its smoothness and gets wrinkled.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. The first signs of aging can be seen through the changes in our skin. So this type of change is imminent for your tattoo. Surely, you will be going to face this sooner or later in your life.

  1. They will fade

Fading of tattoo is one of the most unavoidable occurrences you will face later in your life. Such occurrence is caused by years of sun exposure and micro skin damage. Tattoos start to fade after 5 to 10 years, even in some instances, it may happen sooner depending on the ink that was used for the tattoo. But you can diminish the damage by reducing your exposure to the sun and using sunscreen every time you go under the sun. Continuous sun exposure causes the tattoos to lose their color and makes them duller in appearance.

However, aging is the main reason behind the fading of your tattoo. As your skin ages and loses its resilience, it couldn’t retain its shape, promoting the deformation of your tattoo as the ink spreads and loses the vibrant look.

Fading can also occur as a result of weight gain as people get older. Weight gain makes your muscle appear larger and breaks the shape of your tattoos, resulting in fading.

  1. They will change their size

Due to lack of elasticity and hydration, your tattoos will stretch with your skin, resulting in the change of tattoos’ form and size. Smaller tattoos tend to get compromised to stretching compared to the bigger ones. As we stated above, bigger tattoos are more flexible in terms of muscle stretching and deformation, as they will merely seem to get elongated as a result of skin stretching in specific areas.

Saggy muscles alter the size of the tattoo the most. For example, when you grow older the tattoo on your back may appear bigger as the muscle will start to drop its usual size and stretch the skin.

  1. They will lose their shape

As we said earlier, our skin loses its elasticity, gets wrinkled over time. These drastic changes make our tattoos lose their initial shape. 

However, the change of shape is more noticeable in larger muscles of your body that are prone to stretching such as the biceps, the upper chest, abdomen area, thighs, lower back, etc. But the shape change is least visible on smaller tattoos and muscles.

So, before getting inked, decide where you want to get those tattoos on your body, what will be the after-result of the change of your tattoo. Such decisions will play a vital role in the later stage of your life. 

This occurrence is inevitable, but the deformation can be lessened by getting a bigger tattoo as they are more flexible to shape change compared to the small ones.

  1. Lack of hydration

As your skin ages, it gets drier due to a lack of hydration. As dermatologists said, lower level of cell renewal, less oil production, chronic exposure to the sun can cause your skin to drier as you grow old. You should consider these things if you have a tattoo on your body. Regardless of whether your tattoo is new or old, it needs hydration. Better to stay hydrated and moisturize your skin daily.

What to do to keep your tattoo fresh

There are few ways you can prevent tattoos from losing their shape even as you grow old.  The moment you get your body inked, your top priority will be taking good care of your post-tattooed skin. Apart from this, you should maintain a good diet, stay healthy. 

If you can keep a good shape of your body even in old age, this will surely reflect well on your tattoos. So let’s introduce you to some of the tips you can follow to maintain your tattoos.

Aftercare routine

The best way to maintain the vibrant look of your tattoo and shape is to take care of it from the very moment you get it. The most important part of the aftercare routine is giving your skin time to heal. Think like this- your skin gets injured while tattooing your body, so the injuries need time to heal. Follow the aftercare instruction provided by your tattoo artist. This will help to prevent skin irritation and infection, making it look brighter for a long time.

Anyway, don’t overcommit the aftercare routine like cleaning the tattooed area too often. Clean the tattoo at least twice a day with gentle soap and lukewarm water. Apply water-based moisturizer on it to prevent further damage. Avoid touching the area too often.

Sun protection

Protecting your tattoos from UV radiation is another way to prevent your tattoo from fading and skin from premature aging. Sunscreen is not only important for your tattoos, it has an anti-UV rays ingredient that helps your skin also. Protect the surrounding area of your tattoos from direct sun exposure with clothing or a bandage until they fully heal.

Covering the tattoos with sunscreen will prevent the area from drying and wrinkling. So you can have nice and fresh-looking tattoos for a long time. We recommend you to use sunscreen of SPF50 or 50+ before going out.

Workout and maintain weight

Workout will increase the blood flow of your body which will lead to healthier skin. This will help your muscle to stay in shape even if you age, preventing tattoo deformation. A strong muscle is averse to wrinkles.

But your muscle will inevitably sag as you grow old.  Proper diet, activity, and exercise will delay organ and skin aging, insuring your tattoos stay in shape longer.


It is very significant to stay hydrated all the time, so your skin can age gracefully. Lack of water in your body will result in dryness of skin, eventually, that will lead to wrinkling following up with accelerated skin aging.

Water is very important for health and skin. So, at least drink 8-10 glasses of water every day.

Final words

We hope you got a firm idea of what happens to your tattoos when you grow old. There is no way you can stop the passage of time or your skin from changing. Therefore, proper activity and exercise will help you to keep your tattoo looking its best.