How Long Does Cosmetic Tattooing Really Last?

October 18, 2017

The question most people want to know before committing to semi-permanent tattooing is how long does cosmetic tattooing really last. In this post, the founder of Belle Sorelle, Ashleigh Jones, will part ways with her expert knowledge on the topic. So for the answer to this question, and many others about cosmetic tattooing, read on...


Semi-Permanent vs Permanent Cosmetic Tattooing:

Cosmetic tattooing in Australia is known as semi-permanent cosmetic tattooing. However, in some other countries it is known as permanent cosmetic tattooing. So this can be confusing for you to know how long cosmetic tattooing should last.



How Long Does Cosmetic Tattooing Really Last?

Cosmetic tattooing generally lasts between 1-3 years. However, this does vary on each person. Touch ups and colour boosts should be done yearly to maintain your cosmetic tattooing. Some people however, may require touch ups earlier.


Why does cosmetic tattoos fade?

One of the most prevalent reasons why cosmetic tattoos fade over time is because we use biodegradable pigment when tattooing. This means that your body can break it down. Whereas ink that is used for body tattooing, is non-biodegradable. The reason why we don’t use non-biodegradable pigment on the face is because it is not as stable as biodegradable pigment. And it is more likely to blur and have dramatic colour changes over time.


Do skin types effect cosmetic tattooing?

Skin types and skin health play a big role in how well and how long the pigment will stay in your skin. If your skin is not in good health then it is more likely to fade quicker or have the tendency to blur slightly. Oily and porous skins are more likely to need more perfection visits than a drier skin.


Why do skin types and skin health play a role in cosmetic tattooing? 

This is because our cellular turnover on our face is faster than the turnover on our bodies. The skin on our face sheds roughly every month meaning that every month the cosmetic tattoo on our face will get a tiny bit lighter as our skin sheds. Our faces are also exposed to the skin products we use which helps to speed up our cellular turnover and exfoliation process. Which also results in faster fading of our cosmetic tattoo. Body tattoos are generally covered by our clothing so they're not exposed to the harsh daily elements that our faces are exposed to.


Does our metabolism play a role too?

If you have a fast metabolism, your body is more likely going to breakdown the pigment a lot quicker than someone with a slower metabolism. Your metabolism will also play a part in how your skin will heal. Plus certain things may happen throughout the healing process which may cause areas to fade more than other areas. The latter is mostly due to your cosmetic tattooing becoming itchy and flakey, and then without even realizing it, we scratch the area. This is most likely to happen during our sleep - resulting in areas that flake off taking the pigment off with it.


Therefore, because of these few reasons, we cannot guarantee that your cosmetic tattoo will hold consistently throughout the whole area. The above would result in possibly only some areas needing more attention than other areas at different times.


Are there any other reasons cosmetic tattooing might fade quicker?

There will always be one side of the cosmetic tattooing that will fade quicker than the other side. This goes back to us having a stronger side of our body (which was explained in the symmetry blog here).


Any tips or tricks?

If your cosmetic tattooing is fading quicker than expected, then other methods of tattoing can be used to help get more duration from it. For example, with eyebrow feathering we are implanting pigment to make a tiny stroke in the skin. The skin surrounding that tiny stroke doesn’t have much work to break that pigment down. Whereas a more solid tattoo is a large area with no breaks in it. Therefore the skin surrounding the solid block tattoo has a lot more work to do to break the pigment down - making it last a bit longer than feathering.


What are the benefits of your cosmetic tattooing fading?

One of the best benefits to having your cosmetic tattoos fade is that as we age our face shape changes. Thus allowing you to change the shape when you come back for your touch up visits. Different factors also alter the colour of the pigment over time such as medications, hormones, skin acidity, sun exposure and more. So as the cosmetic tattoo fades and the pigment may start to alter, it allows you to change the colour as well.


And finally...

If most people were to leave their cosmetic tattoo for three years without getting touch ups there wouldn't be much left, if anything at all. That is as long as cosmetic pigment has been used, and not body tattoo ink.


Fading will not happen evenly throughout the area. As different spots will break down differently, this is why cosmetic tattooing is classified as permanent in other countries because we cannot be sure that every bit of your cosmetic tattooing will completely disappear on every individual. Some people may be left with some strokes here or there that may take a lot longer (if at all) to completely disappear.


So there you have it. All of your cosmetic tattooing questions answered. For more information, or to book your next appointment, please feel free to comment below or book online here.



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