Why Does My Tattoo Look Blurry? Everything You Need To Know

Written by: Claudia
Updated:

If you’ve just gotten a new tattoo or you’ve had one for a few years and you noticed it has started to look blurry, you may be concerned about the state of your once beautiful ink. There are numerous reasons that a tattoo may look blurry, and some are easier to fix than others. Our article on tattoo blowout and blurred tattoos is the essential guide for your issue.

What Causes a Blurry Tattoo?

Our bodies go through numerous changes and there is often no way for us to stop those changes from happening (pregnancy or weight gain, for example), but what if you’ve kept the same shape, weight, and skin health as before and yet your tattoo still seems to look blurry? Or what if you’ve recently gotten a brand new tattoo and it’s healing is not quite as crisp as you imagined it to be?

Here are a few potential causes for your blurry tattoo.

Tattoo Placement

Any professional artist will give you a thorough understanding of how your tattoo will age based on the placement you’ve selected. Yes, tattoos age differently on different regions of your body!

There are a few factors that negatively influence the longevity of your tattoo:

  • If you get a tattoo in a place that experiences a lot of movement
  • If your tattoo is somewhere where the skin is thin
  • If your tattoo is in a region that has frequent sun exposure or rubs up on clothing

Some of the most problematic areas for tattoo placement which experience the most rapid fading and blurriness are your hands, feet, lips, elbows and knees. It’s for this reason that experienced tattoo artists may offer alternatives for placements, knowing that not only will these be extremely painful places to tattoo but they won’t last very long, either.

Poor Aftercare

One major cause of a blurry tattoo is a poor aftercare process during your healing stages. If you aren’t consistent and careful with your cleansing and moisturizing routine, you could experience excess scabbing that could lead to ink loss. This would cause your tattoo to look dull or blurry.

In addition, if you rush the healing process and try to do things like tan or swim with a brand new tattoo, you will experience ink loss or complications in the aftercare process. For proper aftercare advice, check out our article, Tattoo Aftercare Advice - How Do I Care For My Tattoo?

Low Quality Equipment

If your tattoo artist is using cheap ink, ink that is heavily diluted, needles that don’t hold ink well, or are of poor quality, then you’re sure to get a blurry tattoo that is evidence of that malpractice! It’s important to remember that cheap tattoos are not good, and good tattoos are not cheap.

Specific Colors and Styles Which Are More Prone to Blurring and Fading

There are trendy tattoo styles that will actually age rather poorly. Watercolor tattoos, pastel tattoos, and tattoos that are not outlined in black and are made with bright ink will be more prone to fading, blurring, and distortion over time.

watercolor tattoo blurry

Watercolor tattoos lose their colorful impact over time.

Tattoo Size

We get it - minimalist, tiny tattoos are cool and all over social media. But these babies age really poorly! Tiny tattoos turn into tiny blobs over time, blurring what were once sharp and crisp edges, and even minor distortions are far more evident on a small tattoo.

Tattoo Blowout

One of the most disappointing reasons for a blurry tattoo comes down to unskilled craftsmanship.

Tattoo ink is supposed to be deposited in the dermis, which is under the epidermis layer of skin and which sits upon a layer of fat. Tattoo blowout happens when a tattoo artist is inexperienced and doesn’t know where to properly insert the ink, inserting it into the layer of fat. This fat layer is porous and inconsistent and cannot hold the ink properly, causing tattoo blowout.

More on Tattoo Blowouts

tattoo blurry days later

Preventing Tattoo Blowout

Apart from reconsidering tattoo styles, placement, and coloring, the only way to truly prevent tattoo blowout is to select an experienced and skilled artist.

Tattoo blowout happens with a new tattoo and you’ll notice it within a week of your tattoo healing. An aging tattoo does not suffer blowout. It’s for this reason that tattoo blowouts are the artist’s fault. That is why it is essential that you financially invest in your ink and not put your skin at risk of being tattooed by someone who doesn’t understand skin, the region you selected, or how to work with needle depth.

Repairing a Blurry Tattoo - Can You Fix It?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to repair a blurry tattoo to make it look the way it did the moment you walked out of the artist’s chair. There are a few options available to you, but they will alter the look of your tattoo, entirely.

  • Blowouts usually require blastovers to repair them. Due to the way the ink spreads out in the skin, distorting the imagery, a blastover works best for these errors. Blastovers are getting a completely new tattoo over your old one. Keep in mind that these can be rather painful!
  • A touch-up to fix a blurred tattoo would require thicker lines and coloring in the spaces that are now distorted by the spreading ink. If you were going for a minimalist look, you’ll have to settle for something a bit chunkier, unfortunately.
  • If you feel your tattoo is beyond repair and you want to get rid of it, you always have the option of laser tattoo removal available to you.

If your tattoo is blurry or experiences ink loss due to a poor aftercare routine, the good news is that this is often rectified with a simple touch-up!

Our Final Thoughts

Tattoo blurriness can often be prevented by carefully considering your tattoo style, your placement, your color palette, and most importantly, your artist. A professional and highly experienced tattoo artist will know how to correctly tattoo the region you’ve selected and will create a piece with an impressive longevity. Investing in your ink is worth it in the long run.

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