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Why is My Tattoo Shiny? Reasons with Myths

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  • 8 min read
Why is My Tattoo Shiny

Tattoos have transcended time, evolving from ancient cultural practices to modern expressions of individuality and artistry, appealing to a vast audience across the globe. 

Today, they’re not only symbols of personal stories and aesthetic choices but also a testament to the advancements in the art of tattooing. 

However, as tattoos become an integral part of our narratives, certain concerns and curiosities arise, such as the shininess of a new tattoo

This shine can often be misconstrued, leading to misconceptions about the tattoo’s healing process and overall health. 

So here in this article, we are going to understand the healing process of the tattoo first and then the reasons for the tattoo shine.

Tattoo Healing Process

The tattoo healing process is a crucial period that spans several stages, each vital for ensuring the longevity and vibrancy of your new ink. 

Initially, the tattooed area will appear shiny and may even exude a plasma-like substance, this is a natural part of the healing process. 

This shininess is primarily due to the body’s efforts to repair the skin; as the tattoo needle creates micro-punctures to deposit ink, your skin responds by generating a protective layer of plasma and oils

This response not only protects the tattoo but also begins the intricate process of healing. 

Factors Contributing to Tattoo Shininess

Several factors contribute to tattoo shininess which include skin healing and aftercare, ink quality and type, skin types and condition, and some external factors. 

1. Skin Healing and Aftercare

The body’s healing process is important when it comes to tattoo aftercare and managing the appearance of shininess often associated with new ink. 

When you get a tattoo, the needle’s puncture to your skin triggers a healing response that is vital for the safety and aesthetics of the tattoo. 

This process can significantly affect how your tattoo looks during healing phases and after it’s fully healed. 

Proper aftercare is paramount in ensuring that your tattoo heals correctly, preventing infections, and reducing the potential for an overly shiny appearance. 

Through meticulous aftercare routines, including gentle cleaning, moisturizing, and protecting the tattoo from excessive sun exposure, you can help your tattoo maintain its intended appearance while fostering optimal healing.

Ink Quality and Type

The quality and composition of the ink used in tattoos play a crucial role in determining the final appearance, including how shiny a tattoo may look after healing

High-quality inks are designed to integrate seamlessly with the skin, offering a more natural, matte finish as the tattoo heals. 

Conversely, inks of lesser quality, and those with high metallic content, can often result in a shinier appearance. 

Metallic components within the ink can reflect light differently than the skin’s natural surface, contributing to a glossier look. 

Skin Type and Condition

The appearance and longevity of tattoos can significantly vary depending on one’s skin type, texture, and even color

Factors such as oily and dry skin conditions, as well as the presence of scars or wrinkles, play a crucial role in determining the shininess and overall aesthetic of a tattoo. 

Understanding how your unique skin attributes interact with tattoo ink can provide valuable insights into maintaining the vibrancy and definition of your body art. 

External Factors

The appearance and longevity of tattoos are significantly influenced by various external and personal factors, with sun exposure, lifestyle choices, friction, and the type of clothing worn playing pivotal roles. 

Excessive exposure to the sun can lead to fading and distortion of the tattoo’s design, undermining the vividness of the ink over time. 

Similarly, lifestyle choices that affect skin health, such as nutrition, hydration, and smoking, can alter the brightness and clarity of a tattoo. 

Furthermore, constant friction from tight clothing can increase the shininess of the tattoo, making it appear glossier than intended.

Common Concerns and Misconceptions

When it comes to tattoos, both the process and the aftermath can stir a pot of worries and misconceptions, particularly regarding the unanticipated glossiness of some experiences. 

Shiny tattoos can incite concern, with fears often gravitating towards infection or poor healing

Why is My Tattoo Shiny

Furthermore, a myriad of myths surrounding tattoo care and shininess circulate, potentially muddling the truth of proper aftercare. 

In addressing these common concerns, it’s crucial to differentiate fact from fiction, thereby ensuring individuals are well-equipped with accurate information to manage and maintain their tattoos optimally.

Proper Tattoo Aftercare to Reduce Shininess

Here’s a step-by-step guide on tattoo aftercare to ensure optimal healing and appearance:

  • Keep the Tattoo Clean: Gently wash your new tattoo a few hours after getting inked using lukewarm water and a bar of mild, fragrance-free soap. Pat dry with a clean, soft towel.
  • Apply a Thin Layer of Aftercare Ointment: Use a recommended ointment or moisturizer, applying a thin layer to prevent drying and assist with the healing process.
  • Moisturize Regularly: Once the initial healing begins and the tattoo starts to peel, switch to a gentle, fragrance-free lotion to keep the area hydrated.
  • Avoid Tight Clothing: Wear loose-fitting clothes over the tattoo to reduce friction and allow the skin to breathe.
  • Keep it Out of Water: Avoid submerging the tattoo in water (swimming pools, bathtubs) for the first few weeks to prevent infection.
  • Do Not Pick or Scratch: Resist the urge to scratch or peel flaking skin or scabs, as this can damage the tattoo and impede healing.

Tips on moisturizing, cleaning, and protecting the tattoo from the sun:

  • Choosing the Right Moisturizer: Look for moisturizers that are hypoallergenic and free of fragrances, alcohol, and other irritants that can dry out or damage your tattoo.
  • Cleaning Technique: When cleaning, be gentle. Do not scrub the tattoo. Use your hands instead of a cloth or sponge to avoid irritation.
  • Sun Protection: Once your tattoo has fully healed, protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays by applying a high-SPF sunscreen. Sun exposure can fade the colors of your tattoo and increase shininess over time. Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you are spending the day outdoors or in water.
  • Hydration Matters: Keeping your body hydrated helps maintain skin elasticity and heals quality. Drink plenty of water daily to support your skin’s natural moisture balance and healing.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: During the initial healing phase, keep your tattoo completely out of direct sunlight. Once healed, minimize sun exposure to preserve the sharpness and vibrancy of your tattoo’s colors.

When to Consult a Professional

While a shiny tattoo can be a normal part of the healing process, certain signs may indicate an underlying infection or an allergic reaction. 

If you notice your tattoo exhibiting persistent redness, swelling beyond the initial healing phase, unusual discharge, or excessive heat emanating from the tattooed area, these could be markers of an infection. 

On the other hand, signs of an allergic reaction might include severe itching, rashes, or bumps around the tattoo area, sometimes accompanied by a fever.

In cases of unusual shininess paired with any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with a professional. 

Initially, reaching out to your tattoo artist can be beneficial as they can provide first-hand advice based on their experience and knowledge of your specific tattoo process. 

They should be able to discern if the shininess is part of a normal healing process or if it’s indicative of a complication. 

However, for symptoms that are severe or do not resolve with initial care, seeking medical advice from a dermatologist is imperative. 


Is it normal for new tattoos to be shiny?

Yes, it is perfectly normal for new tattoos to appear shiny. This shine is primarily due to the tattooing process, during which the skin is punctured to deposit ink. 

Following this, your body’s natural response is to start the healing process, producing plasma and extra fluids to protect the wound. 

When you apply aftercare products like ointments or lotions, they add to this shine by creating a protective barrier over the tattoo. 

Why is my tattoo shiny after 2 months?

The shininess of your tattoo after 2 months can be attributed to the ongoing healing process. 

Your skin is still repairing itself and producing new layers over the tattooed area. 

During this phase, the generation of new skin cells can cause the tattoo to appear shiny, a natural part of the body’s healing mechanism.

How do you treat a shiny tattoo?

To treat a shiny tattoo, it’s vital to keep it moisturized and clean. Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic lotion to the tattooed area at least twice a day after gently washing with mild, antibacterial soap and patting dry. 

The shine often indicates that the skin is still healing and needs moisture to prevent scabbing and cracking, which could damage the tattoo. 

Proper hydration of the skin aids the healing process, keeps the tattoo’s colors vibrant, and ensures the longevity of its design.