One of many commonly asked questions that we see occur via online search is “Can you redo a tattoo?”. Like with any query about body ink, there are a few things to consider. Below is a breakdown of what you need to know.
4 Things to Consider When it Comes to Redoing and Touching Up a Tattoo
It Must Heal First
If your question about retouching the tattoo is coming up the day or a few short weeks after getting it done, then you will have to be patient. Think of a tattoo as you would a wound (so to speak) as it must fully heal before a needle can touch it. While it will vary by size and depth of tone, healing can take up to 6-months. Without adequate time to heal, the touchup can be exceedingly painful, and is ripe for potential complications, including infection.
Waiting the required time after receiving a fresh tattoo also allows you see what the tattoo will actually look like. During the early stages of healing, the tattoo may appear dull, cloudy, and even blurry when compared to what it initially looked like when you left your tattooist’s chair. This is normal. It’s during this stage that some people begin to question whether or not the need the tattoo redone. Fret not, because if you received quality work, the sharp lines and tones will gradually return as the tattoo heals.
Must Follow Aftercare Instructions
As addressed above, most questions about getting a tattoo touched up come soon after it was applied. You must honest with yourself – did you follow provided aftercare instructions to the tee, and for the required length time? Most people start off doing so, but begin to lag as the days and weeks pass. As a result, the integrity of the tattoo may suffer. Most tattoo studios will perform free touchups on tattoos (as a part of the initial agreement) if the tattooist (who performed the work) can see that it’s needed. However, a person may void the potential for a free touchup if it’s clear that aftercare was not explicitly followed. Aftercare is the most proactive way to avoid needing a tattoo redo.
Can You Get it Redone at a Different Studio?
Did you wait the required time to heal and followed aftercare instructions, but don’t want to return to the shop that you got the tattoo done at in the first place? If so, you may be concerned about whether or not a different tattooist will perform a touchup on someone else’s work. Some tattooists won’t, as they abide by an unwritten code that has persisted in the industry for quite some time. Thankfully, some studios are more understanding and do not want people to be left living with a poor quality tattoo. Ultimately, every scenario is unique, but all it takes is communication to find the optimal solution. Email or call tattoo shops near you to ask.
*Logically, people will have to pay the normal hourly rate (varies by shop) to get a tattoo redone if performed by a tattooist who did not apply the original work.
Do You Want a Redo, or a Coverup?
It’s important to clear up semantics. When you state “redo” do you simply want to sharpen lines, darken the tone, and/or make colors more vibrant? Or do you want a different tattoo altogether? If the latter, then what you’re referring to is a coverup. A coverup is an entirely different animal that requires more thought and planning. View our guide to getting a successful tattoo coverup.
If you’re still unsure about your options, and you live in the Greater Vancouver or Toronto area, staff at Adrenaline Studios will be happy to help you come up with a solution. Schedule a consultation at one of our tattoo shops near you.