Differences Between a Tattoo & a Retouched Tattoo

Updated November 21, 2016

When you get a tattoo retouched, you go back to the tattoo parlour and get the original tattoo touched up. You can also get your tattoo recolored if and when the colour fades. It is very common for people to get tattoos retouched and recolored after they've had them a while and the tattoo is not as sharp, distinct or colourful as it was initially. Your tattoo should be completely healed before you go back in for retouching or recoloring.


When you get a tattoo, the skin can swell and cause the lines of the tattoo to not be as even as they should be or prevent some areas from being filled in with colour. When the swelling goes down and the scab falls off, you may want to have the tattoo retouched if you notice that the lines are uneven or see other problems with the colour.


Some of the pigments that are used in tattooing don't last or wear as well as others. They fade and aren't as bright or as attractive as they were initially. The white in a tattoo can turn brown if the area is overly exposed to the sun, for example. While colour fades, black ink tends to blur and loses its detail. Some people simply like to have an old tattoo updated or enhanced.


When tattooed, ink is permanently implanted or deposited under your skin. There is, however, technology that allows unwanted tattoos to be removed via laser.


When getting a tattoo, pigment is inserted into your skin via pricks made into the top layer of skin. A machine is used that is comparable to a sewing machine's up and down needle action. After every puncture, ink is inserted. The dangers of tattoos include allergic reactions to the dye, especially to red dye, skin infections, swelling and burning in the tattooed area, the development of keloids or overgrowth of scar tissues, and granulomas, which are small bumps that form around the ink. Bacterial infection is possible after getting a tattoo as is getting a blood-borne disease such as hepatitis B or C, HIV and tetanus.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.