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Do Realism Tattoos Age Well? Here’s The Thing

Suppose you’re looking for a way to immortalize a portrait of a loved one, a pet, or just a photograph that you love in realism tattoos. In that case, you’re probably looking into the possibility of getting realism tattoos. As with all tattoo styles, realism tattoos will begin to age – but how will this affect your tattoo?

Realism tattoos are based on realistic, detailed images. They look hyper-realistic tattoo designs when they are fresh but will begin to fade as soon as the healing process is over. Several factors affect how your tattoo age, including aftercare, sunlight, placement, color, and details.

As we age, so does our skin. And once a tattoo becomes part of our skin, it stands to reason that our tattoo will also begin to age. How well your tattoo ages depends on a number of factors, but our quick guide on realism tattoos and what you can expect will give you all you need to know about the aging process.

What Is A Realism Tattoo?

Realism – also known as hyperrealism or photorealism – is an art style that produces tattoos that look like a 3D object or detailed photograph. These tattoos are made up of hundreds of minute details and carefully placed shading, layering, and other techniques that make the final image pop.

Realism is an art style that requires a trained eye and highly refined skills to master. Not just any tattooist can give you a good realism tattoo.

These tattoos are also good for portraits of people or animals or replicating just about any subject you can imagine that can be photographed. Although photorealistic tattoos may be visually stunning and eye-catching when freshly healed, many people forget that they will fade and age just like any other tattoo.

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Photo by Preston Lane on Unsplash

Realism Tattoo Designs And Aging

As with all tattoos, your realism tattoo designs will fade over time. Even as it starts to heal, your tattoo will become less and less saturated, making it look less vibrant than when it was fresh.

In addition to natural aging, several other factors can affect how your tattoo ages and whether or not it will age well.


Good tattoo designs aftercare is the single most crucial factor in allowing your tattoo to age gracefully. Aftercare is one of the best—and simplest – ways to keep your tattoo in good condition over time.

Although getting a tattoo art is a cosmetic procedure, it has far-reaching consequences that extend beyond your skin. So, looking after your tattoo designs with a good aftercare regime is not only important for your tattoo and your skin, but it’s also important for your overall health as well.

In addition to your aftercare, the speed with which your tattoo designs heal is determined by your age, health, hygiene, and the placement of the tattoo on your body.

Fading Due To Excess Sunlight

The sun is extremely damaging for your realism tattoos if they are over-exposed to it. This is why sunscreen and other sun protection are important to helping you preserve your tattoo designs over a longer period.

The sun’s UV rays have a significant impact on your tattoos, and it is common for realism tattoos to fade due to too much exposure to the sun.

These UV rays also break down elastin in your skin as you get older. This causes your skin to droop and wrinkle. The ink art will also stretch and become warped if the skin underneath your tattoo drops or wrinkles.

Placement Of Your Tattoo

Another aspect that affects realism tattoos aging is the location of your tattoo art. This has a huge impact on tattoos because the artwork might be affected as your skin ages. Thinner outlines may become muddled, colors may fade, and you may lose the original ink art to what is known as ‘fall out.’

Some areas of the body have thinner or more elastic-like skin, both of which will cause your tattoo to distort over time.

Weight fluctuations are also more likely in certain places of your body, which will cause warping and distortion of your tattoo.

The greatest spots for your realism tattoos are those that aren’t exposed to a lot of light, friction, or strain. This includes the chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. So, if you want your realism tattoos to last a little longer, you may want to think carefully about its placement.

The Color Of Your Realism Tattoos

Realism tattoos look great in color and black and grey. But as with any tattoo art that contains color, the color palette will determine how well your tattoo art will age.

Darker colors, particularly black, fade far more slowly than brighter hues like yellow or blue. Grayscale tattoos with thicker tattoo lining will generally outlast colored realism tattoos.

Tattoo Styles Detailing

The more detailed the realism tattoos, the more it will deteriorate over time. Small tattoos, thin lines, shading, and small phrases fade faster. Because of the immense amount of detailing a photorealistic tattoo art needs, you may lose a lot of the intricate details of your realism tattoos in a shorter period.

If your tattoo has too much detail, it will likely end up blending and looking smudged. Alternately, realism tattoos with bolder, thicker, and larger designs will better stand the test of time.

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So, What Can You Expect?

This topic has sparked a lot of disagreement in the tattoo art world in recent years. However, the exact answer to this question isn’t so black-and-white. There are many other elements, aside from tattoo styles, that come into play regarding tattoo longevity.

While little details and light shading can fade more quickly than dark black lines or ultra-saturated colorwork, there are steps you and your tattoo artist can do to ensure the completed product lasts longer.

Firstly, pick a tattoo artist specializing in this art style and has a lot of experience applying ink for realistic tattoos. Another consideration is the quality of the ink pigments used, as lower-quality inks fade more quickly regardless of tattoo styles.

Finally, how you care for your tattoo art during the healing process and in the long run is critical. Protect your tattoo from the sun, as UV rays can quickly degrade even the most painstakingly applied ink.


All tattoos will fade over time, but tattoos containing high levels of detailing will tend to fade and blur to a bigger degree than other designs. Don’t let this deter you from getting the tattoo art of your dreams, though, because with care and touch-ups, you can enjoy your tattoos for years to come.


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