When to Get a Tattoo Touched Up

When to Get a Tattoo Touched Up

When to Get a Tattoo Touched Up - Touch Up - Vancouver Toronto

Have you recently received a tattoo and found that the lines aren’t as clear, or the colors not as deep as you initially wanted? Or, have a few short years passed and taken their toll on the work, leaving it faded and less aesthetically pleasing as it once was? Whatever the case may be it sounds like you’re in need of a touch up. When is a good time to get it done? Let’s review.

How to Know When You’re Ready for a Tattoo Touch Up

The Tattoo Has Fully Healed

For those who recently received a tattoo and want it tidied up, please resist the urge to run to a local parlor if it has not yet fully healed. For a small tattoo you could be looking at four weeks, but it is not uncommon for the period to extend up to six months for larger and more complicated ones.

Also, pay close attention to how your tattoo is healing or has healed. This will give you a good idea of your body’s capacity to heal, and what to expect from the next session. You will want to share this information with your tattooist. Did you experience a rash, excessive bleeding, or discharge at any point? Take note (even write it down) of any perceived irregularities as they may very well apply to your “restoration”.

If you’re returning to the same artist and shop, know that most professional studios will have a clear policy in place for this. Some studios allow free touch ups up until a certain point in time (a few months) while others charge a smaller hourly rate than the original sitting. At the very least the artist you went to in the first place will let you know when to come in for inspection and subsequent touch up, if needed. The larger the work, the more likely. Either way, it can’t happen until the tattoo has healed. Obviously if you’re getting a touch up beyond six months or longer you will most likely pay the normal rate even with the same artist/studio.

However, in some scenarios you may not be able (or willing) to return to the same tattooist. If this is the case, read ahead.

You Can Find a Studio Willing to Touch Up Another’s Work (where applicable)

You should not be punished for not living in the same locale as the tattooist who completed the original work. You may have received a tattoo in another destination while on vacation or you (or the artist) may simply have moved. Alternatively, you may not be all that happy with the original work, or found that the tattooist, while skilled, had a terrible bedside manner. Regardless of the scenario you need to find a studio that is willing to do a tune-up on old work. Some parlors won’t do this, so do your homework ahead of time before walking in to a shop near you.

You Can Provide the Touch Up With the Aftercare it Needs

Your tattoo may need a touch up because you were not able to provide it with the adequate aftercare it needed to heal properly and for the ink tone to take to your skin. If this is true, please be prepared to take the necessary precautions this time around. For example, if you’re a contact-sport athlete and have a big tournament coming up, wait until the season has concluded (view more). If you have a big trip coming up, consider waiting until you’ve returned (view more). If the summer is almost here and you consider yourself a professional beach bum, some temporary lifestyle changes may need to be made. You get the idea. A touch up can be a great way to restore or outright improve a tattoo but don’t use it as a crutch and a way to shirk aftercare responsibility.

You’re Sure You Want the Touch Up…Instead of the Alternative 

Most people want a touch up are pleased with the original design and simply want to make their tattoo “pop” again. If that’s you and all of the conditions above are met, you’re all set. However, some of you are looking at a touch up as a means to do more than restore an old tattoo, but to make it better than it originally was. If this is you, perhaps it’s time to look at an alternative – a cover up, which can deliver the design that you wanted all of this time. We know that you may be concerned about the tattoo being too dark or deep toned to do so, but with Adrenaline Studios’ laser tattoo removal service we can fade the tattoo first, then have an artist apply a cover up over a much more welcoming canvas. Learn more about fading a tattoo for cover up, which is a service available in both our Toronto and Vancouver shops.


Schedule a consultation regarding your tattoo touch up (or otherwise) with an Adrenaline Studios near you.