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Tattooing, the art of piercing the skin repeatedly with a small needle to deposit ink in the skin, requires upkeep for a healthy tattoo. Black and blue inks typically looks brighter longer than other colors. Red tends to be one of the first colors to fade. Some will argue that the brand of ink plays a role in the fading process, but all red ink fades eventually. There are strategies to help keep your red ink bright as long as possible, before nature takes it toll.

Clean the tattoo with antibacterial soap and let it dry for 15 minutes. Then apply a thin layer of petroleum-based topical ointment up to 10 times a day in the first two weeks of healing a tattoo. Keep the tattoo moist to encourage healing and prevent red ink from fading right away.

Apply sunscreen every time your tattoo will be exposed to direct sunlight. Sun will bleach the tattoo quickly, causing the red to turn pink.

Use moisturizer daily to keep the tattoo skin moist, once it’s healed. Moist skin has a better appearance and will hold ink longer. Dry skin flakes and over time it will fade layers of the tattoo.


The time it takes to fade and the amount of fading depends solely on the individual’s skin. Red ink may need to be touched up to regain its vivid color.