We get it - the tattoo itch is a real thing. And when you’ve headed to the tattoo shop to get your first tattoo, we know you’re already thinking about when you can get your second one! But getting a tattoo is similar to a medical procedure, and there is healing that needs to happen after your session. So, how long, exactly, should you wait between tattoos?
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Why You Should Wait Between Tattoo Sessions
Why You Should Wait Between Tattoo Sessions
Whether you’re contemplating getting another tattoo added to your personal canvas, or if your artist is working on a big piece that needs to be broken up between several appointments, there are a few factors that should be considered prior to heading into another tattoo session. They are:
- Your immune system, health, and lifestyle
- Healing time for the tattoo
- Your personal pain threshold
- Size and complexity of the tattoo
- Location of the tattoo
- Personal preferences
- Your finances
- Artist recommendation and availability
Your Immune System, Health, and Lifestyle
The first factor that influences how long you should wait before getting another tattoo comes down to you and your body. Every body heals differently, and your tattoo may also cause you to experience flu-like symptoms during the healing process. Some people have weaker immune systems than others, which can undoubtedly affect the healing process, as well.
In addition, your overall lifestyle and daily activities or even your career may influence how long you should wait between tattoo sessions. For example, if you regularly engage in activities that may irritate your skin, such as working in construction, you may need to wait longer between sessions to allow for proper healing. Maybe you’ve got a vacation planned; you’ll also want to wait before you head into another tattoo appointment so you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about your tattoo.
Healing Time for Your Tattoo
Aside from your own health and immune system, a tattoo does need extensive time to heal. Proper healing is essential for tattoo longevity and overall skin health. Depending on how your skin heals - or how a particular design heals - you may want to wait longer between tattoo sessions.
Your Personal Pain Threshold
If you are looking to book another appointment for a piece you already started, it’s important to keep in mind that the sooner you work on this fresh ink, the more it will hurt! A tattoo can take 3 weeks to two months to heal, depending on the size and complexity of the design, and working on raw, healing skin will be a very painful experience. Furthermore, adding additional injury to your body while you’re presently healing a tattoo somewhere else will likely lower your personal pain threshold and make the session unenjoyable.
The Size and Complexity of Your Tattoo
Of course, smaller tattoos and simple tattoos take much less time to fully heal, while larger and more complex tattoos may require longer healing time, which may affect how soon you can get another tattoo.
Location of the Tattoo
On that same note, tattoos in certain areas, especially areas that experience a lot of movement, such as hands, knees, arms, or fingers, may require more time to heal, thus extending your wait times between sessions.
For more information on the healing stages of tattoos, check our our article, Tattoo Healing Stages - What To Expect.
The tattoo itch is no joke, and sometimes, the adrenaline rush of one tattoo will have us rushing into another, and another, and another! You should wait longer between sessions to avoid saturating your body with too many tattoos too quickly or to allow for better planning of your overall tattoo design.
Check out our article, Can You Really Get Addicted to Getting Tattoos?
Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good. If you want to have a quality tattooing experience at a clean and qualified tattoo shop, you’re going to have to budget your finances accordingly. Tattoos are a lifetime investment, so the time you wait between sessions may be influenced by what your present finances allow.
Artist Recommendation and Availability
Your tattoo artist is the expert in their industry, and they may have personal recommendations or guidelines for how long you should wait between tattoo sessions in order to ensure that their hard work heals well. Moreover, your tattoo artist is not your personal tattoo chef, and their availability will definitely impact when you’re able to book your next session.
Our Final Thoughts
The recommended wait time between tattoo sessions can vary depending on various factors, including your own health and lifestyle, the size and complexity of the tattoo, your artist’s recommendations, and more. Generally, tattoo artists recommend waiting at least four to six weeks between sessions to allow for proper healing and to minimize the risk of infection or scarring. If you are considering heading into another tattoo appointment, it may be beneficial to discuss this with your tattoo artist or preferred shop so they can give you the best advice for your personal situation.