Photos That Show How Tattoos Change With Time

Have you ever thought of getting a tattoo? There are a lot of things to consider before you say 'yes', and none of them you can really take lightly. Because tattoos are forever… right? That's what we're told, at least, or what most people believe. But it's not always the case. It's true that a tattoo rarely disappears altogether, but ask anyone who's ever got one: it doesn't look the same after a couple of years. Sometimes it doesn't even look the same after a few months. This is something important to remember if you're still deciding whether you want to go ahead with this idea or not. Yes, the design you have in mind is perfect, but ever wondered how it'll look in the future? These 50 pictures of how some tattoos have aged will prove to you that literally, nothing lasts forever, even when they are supposed to.



Faded lines


Having your palm tattooed must hurt. According to experts, tattoos hurt a lot more in less padded areas, therefore the palm of your hand is a very sensitive place. This person went ahead with their idea, though. Let's hope they didn't really suffer because some maintenance is overdue.

The golden key


The design this person chose is gorgeous, and look how amazing it looked right after the tattoo artist finished the job. This person must have felt very happy and satisfied with their choices. But four years later, this golden key isn't so golden anymore.

Saturn’s rings or the golden Snitch?


We're not sure about this design. Is it supposed to be Saturn's rings? Or maybe this is a Harry Potter fan with a passion for Quidditch? What we do know for a fact is that two years later it looks more like a drawing with a marker than something that's supposed to be permanent.

The demon


This mythological-like creature looks very good and like a great idea for a tattoo if you're a fan of demons and such. The problem, in this case, is that time has not been very gentle with this demon.

La Madonna


We're not sure what's the meaning behind this design. We are sure, however, that this person (probably) had a different Madonna in mind and not the pop icon we're all thinking of. Whomever the model for the tattoo was, the time has not been very kind in this case either.



Bulls are a sign of strength and force, and Taureans are considered very stubborn, strong-minded people. But we think no amount strength could have helped this tattoo against the passing of time.

Iguana love you


There was a time iguana tattoos have gotten very, very popular. They're fun, it doesn't necessarily have to be a big tattoo, it's a good option if you're looking for something small that you can get on your ankle… The iguana in this one didn't age very well, though.

Under the sea


Look at those colors! Look how the artist used different shades of orange for even the littlest details! Look at it ten years later: almost no orange ink left, and the black ink is smudged.

Twinkle, twinkle little star

The details of this tattoo are impossible to see years after it was done. It's a shame because it doesn't look like something that could be made better with a couple of extra sessions.

The rose


This hasn't aged so badly, right? It doesn't look as "fresh" as when it was done, but that's to expected. Time has passed and this person has even gotten more tattoos ( they're awesome for what we can see) and the rose is still wonderful.

Touch the moon with your fingers


As we've mentioned before, your hand is a very sensitive area. This, however, is a small tattoo that probably took five minutes. The problem is that it didn't look great, to begin with, and it doesn't look great a couple of months later. Such a shame, because the design is cool.

Cross, moon, arrow


These haven't aged so badly, and they still look a lot like they did when they were freshly done. What a relief, right? They're not exactly in a place you can hide much if you stop liking them unless you live in the North Pole and wear gloves all the time.

What does it say again?


We're not sure what this tattoo says, but when it was done you could tell very easily that it was in another language (it's even in another alphabet). Ten years later, you can't even be sure if those are words or just ink smudges.

My love, my life, my darling


Here's a case of a tattoo that aged badly but got a do-over. Whoever is married to Sarah must really love her: this kind of tattoos are very expensive, they're painful to get and they take several sessions. This person did it all twice! You're a lucky girl, Sarah!

If you liked it then you should have put a bow on it


Little tattoos on your fingers became a big thing a couple of years ago. Why wear a ring if you can get something that you don't have to take off to wash your hands? Well, it can't all be good things. There's a down to it: sometimes they don't age well.

15 years later...


A lot of things can happen in 15 years. Ask the person with these two tattoos. The coloring faded completely, and it's as if it had never been there. Sadly, it looks more like some cauliflower plants than the beautiful flowers set on fire they were before.

Oh my God, this is not going to age well


The man in this design looks like he could see the future and is knows how the tattoo will look in a couple of years. The details when it was fresh look absolutely amazing and it's a work of art, but the passing of time had no mercy.



This doesn't look so bad, and we can even say that it looks better after some time passed and it healed properly. We think this stands a great chance at aging well. We'll have to change in a few years and see what happened!



We don't know who Kosta is, but she must be very important to this person because they got the name tattooed with a heart and rose to boost. Love may last forever, but sadly the coloring, in this case, didn't.



This tattoo is amazing. Awesome design, the attention to detail the artist brought to the work is mesmerizing. It looks like it's aging very, very well. This person's very lucky. Imagine if it aged badly and they had to spend the rest of their lives hiding the elephant in the room!

Infinity and beyond


This is supposed to symbolize all things infinite and eternal, right? Well, isn't it ironic? This tattoo is either fading or someone regretted getting it done and decided to pay for a removal treatment. Either way, we insist: ironic.



The sharpness in the details and coloring may have changed a little with the passing of time, but this tattoo is still pretty great. Besides, it looks even better after some proper healing, as it happens with a lot of tattoos.

Big black tattoo


We're not sure what this is, but we know this kind of design was very popular a couple of years ago. It didn't age very well, as it's so faded it almost makes us think that perhaps this person decided to undergo a removal treatment, too.

Little pink flowers


The design is beautiful, and the coloring is very nice. But what happens after four years? Well, as you can see, it doesn't look as fresh as when it was first done (and this is for obvious reasons, of course), but it hasn't aged so badly. So far, so good.

The mermaid


Here we have another example of a tattoo that didn't age well but got another chance. The artist that worked on it the second time around did an amazing job.

The beast


We don't know how the tattoo looked when it was first done, but we can see how it looked after 26 years and what they did to make it better. Mission accomplished, it looks awesome and as if no time had passed.



Awesome design, very good choice of colors, very well done. And it's not aging so badly, right? Only three years have passed and it's already faded a little, but well, let's be hopeful the fading process stops at that.



This one is very good, simple, easy to hide if you want… The problem is that after some time it looks more like you cut yourself with a knife when you were chopping onions for dinner. Such a shame!

The old wizard


Is this old wizard sneaking a peek at the future? If so, he surely wasn't shown how this tattoo was going to age. Otherwise, perhaps the person would have reconsidered and spent the money on something different, instead.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa


This design is a classic and it can be amazing when well done, as we can see in the picture taken right after the artist finished their work. The problem is, four years later it didn't look as great and a lot of the coloring and details faded.

30 months


Here we can see what happens to a tattoo this complicated and big after over two years. It's aged very well for what we can observe, even if some minor details have faded a little. But hey, all in all, this tattoo is doing great!

The Shark


In this picture, we can compare how the tattoo looked when it had just healed and how it looks after 13 years. The big, scary open mouth ready to have you for dinner isn't as scary anymore and most of the details have faded.

You may as well jump


The detail on this one is nothing short of spectacular. It's a shame that after a couple of years the colors faded and all the great work can't be properly admired. But it's still a great tattoo and everything looks as it should.

The name of the rose


You can tell by comparing the two pictures that this tattoo is a couple of years old, but it's aged really well. The red may not be as shiny and passionate, but the rose is still exquisite like the first day. Well done!

1994 - 2009


One picture was taken 15 years after the other, and we're sure that you wouldn't have trouble telling which is which if the photos did not have the year. It's a shame: the original design was very good, but after over a decade it's a big black smudge.

Fly away, high away


Birds have wings and most of them fly (unless we're talking about penguins). The one in this tattoo is more into fading than flying, we think. It looked awesome at first and the details and shadows were great. It's a shame!

Big and scary


Amazing design. It's powerful, it's full of details, it's very well done. But time erased a lot of the ink, and this giant is not as intimidating as it once was.

Watercolor flowers


Watercolor tattoos are very popular nowadays, and they are gorgeous if the artist knows what they're doing. This is the case with this tattoo. A year passed between the first and the second picture, and it looks like this one is going to age well.

Carpe diem, indeed


Carpe diem! Seize the day! Well, carpe diem, indeed. After 6 months, this tattoo is barely visible. It must have hurt a lot and we're sure the person decided to go through with it because they thought it'd last forever. Well… Carpe diem?

Not so constant, we think


As we've seen before if you get things tattooed on your fingers or hands they may start fading very quickly. In this case, only a few months passed before this person noticed that some things aren't so constant after all.

Mischief managed?


If you are a Harry Potter fan, a "Mischief managed!" tattoo could be a great option. For this person, the happiness lasted for less than two months! The words started fading just like they do on the Marauder's Map! Maybe that tattoo is magical?

Peach it, sister


If you were surprised that the Marauder's Map tattoo lasted only six weeks, take a look at this peach. Only two weeks passed and the ink was already fading! Are we sure they didn't do it with some school markers?



This one still looks kind of fine if you consider it's been 15 years and this person decided to get it in the palm of their hand. If they decided they wanted it to look as good as new, a session or two with a tattoo artist may do the trick.

13 years is a long time


We don't get what this is, to begin with, but the coloring was okay when they first got it. Flashforward to 13 years later, all yellow ink has faded and the red one is almost gone, too.



So are you telling us not even love lasts forever? Another tattoo on the fingers gone wrong, this one started to fade and it looks like something this person did with markers while bored at work.

Fall Out Boy


Fall Out Boy is a very popular band, and lots their fans express their love for their music with tattoos. This one doesn't look like it did when they first got it, but it's somewhat okay-looking if we consider six years passed between one picture and the other.

The skull


Skulls were a big thing when it came to tattoos back in the day, and still are. This one didn't do very well after 14 years, though. What looked like an angry, scary skull at the beginning is now but a skull-shaped smudge.

Sail away, sweet sister


This is another example of a tattoo that is aging very well. If you pay attention you will spot what details have faded, but all in all, it's still looking good. Happy sailing!

The elephant head


This is a tattoo that is aging well, too, but will still be as good as it is now after a couple more years have gone by? It's healed well and all, but some little details have already started to fade.

Into the woods


What a beautiful work of art this tattoo is! The attention to detail, the way the artist's used the needle. And time is being kind with it, by the looks of it. Let's hope that in a few more years it's still a wonderful forest and not a big, black smudge of dry ink.