Tattoos aren’t sticky labels that can simply be pulled off. They are permanent collections of pigment that have been injected into the dermis. Over time, just like dreams (or nightmares?), even the most vivid tattoos tend to fade. This is what makes them easier to remove than new tattoos. 

How Do Tattoos Fade?


When you first got your tattoo, your body began a quest to get rid of it. It’s nothing personal – bodies are simply primed to reject any foreign invaders. 

Back when your tattoo was brand new, white blood cells in your body called macrophages rushed to engulf the particles of ink. Their job was to break down the ink and flush it from your body, but most of the ink particles were too big for this to happen. 

Did the white blood cells give up? No! Your fearless macrophages didn’t quit! Instead, each macrophage engulfed some ink and prevented it from migrating to other places. 

Macrophages don’t live forever, so each time one died, another one came along to engulf the ink. In that process, tiny particles of ink escaped and were flushed away via your body’s lymphatic system. 

In other words, the more time that passed, the less ink there was left in your tattoo – and therefore,  it faded. 

The Sun:

Another factor that can cause tattoos to fade is sun exposure. UVA rays can penetrate through the second layer of skin, the dermis, and break down the ink particles. Remember those intrepid macrophages? If the ink particles are small enough, they can complete their mission and flush the ink out of the body. You may remember being warned always to wear sunscreen when you were first tattooed – this is why! 

Is it Impossible to Remove a New Tattoo?

No, not at all! It will just take longer because the body hasn’t had a chance to eliminate any of the ink itself over time. New tattoos have more ink particles that need to be broken down (this is what the laser does), so you will need more sessions if you are trying to get rid of a recent inking. 

It’s important to recognize that you can’t trot (or gallop) directly from the tattoo parlor to Ink-B-Gone, even if you have an incredibly swift change of heart. Your tattoo site needs to be completely healed before you can start thinking about laser tattoo removal. 

For more details, you may enjoy reading our blog: How many sessions does it take to remove a tattoo?


Every person and every tattoo is different, so ask our experts!

When you’re ready to look into laser tattoo removal, it’s important to find a professional and expert technician you trust. Before you commit to anything, you can come in for a free consultation here at Ink-B-Gone, the leading laser tattoo removers in Colorado.


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