How Long Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last?

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Just like any other tattoo, stick and poke tattoos won’t last forever and will fade over time. On average, a stick and poke tattoo will last between five and ten years depending on where it is and how well it’s been cared for. After this many years, a stick and poke tattoo will usually look washed out and faded.

Disappointed? Don’t worry, because these are just estimates. Read until the end of this article to find out what will cause your stick and poke tattoo to fade faster and what you can do to make it last longer.

Factors That Affect How Long a Stick and Poke Tattoo Will Last

The Location of the Tattoo

The location of a tattoo is probably the number one factor in how long a stick and poke will last. A tattoo on a part of the body that is used a lot or experiences friction regularly will not last as long as one that is barely ever touched. For example, areas like the hands and feet are constantly scrubbed clean as well as covered by shoes, gloves, and rings.

On the other hand, the chest, legs, and ribs are usually covered with lighter layers of material. Also, they are not exposed to the elements all day long.

Related: How long do finger tattoos last?

Tattoo Artist Experience

As you probably know, you need to find the sweet spot when doing a stick and poke tattoo. Too deep and you’ll get tattoo blowout (read more about thick tattoo lines). Too shallow and the ink will fade faster. With all this in mind, it is in the hands of the tattoo artist how long your stick and poke tattoo lasts. It’s recommended for tattoo artists to practice on practice skin before real people. When there’s a pulling sensation when the needle is removed from the skin that’s when they are ready to tattoo a person.

Tattoo Equipment Used

The key to achieving any kind of quality tattoo is to use professional equipment. Too many people today use poor quality needles to create stick and poke tattoos at home. Besides the fact that this is a dangerous method that can lead to infection or the spread of life-threatening diseases, low quality needles do not offer the same results. The point of the needle is not the same as a professional one and therefore, does not deposit the ink into the skin the same way. Also, some needles like sewing needles are not as sharp, meaning they may not go far enough into the skin making them much more painful.

Using the correct ink is equally as important as the quality of the needle. Pen ink will not work here. Besides carrying harmful bacteria and chemicals, this type of ink will not last as long. For any DIY tattoos, use professional tattoo ink, or India ink which you can read more about here. Also, make sure all of your materials are sterilized properly.


Any tattoo, no matter the type, is an open wound that can easily get infected. No matter what the size of your stick and poke, you need to give it the best aftercare possible.

Related: Best lotions for old tattoos reviewed

How to Make Stick and Poke Tattoos Last Longer

When you get a tattoo you really love, it’s natural to want to keep it forever. While it may not last forever, it is possible to extend the life of a stick and poke tattoo further.

As mentioned above, aftercare is important. You should never let the tattoo area get too dry. Use thin layers of moisturizer at least once a day, even after the area has fully healed.

Doing this will keep your tattoo really well hydrated, but also soothe any annoying itching and irritation. By using a moisturizer from the very start of the healing process, you can decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any remaining dryness and scabbing. In the days immediately following the application, keep the area clean and avoid scratching or irritating the skin.

Another important thing to note is that the sun will fade your stick and poke tattoo faster. So take care when you’re outdoors. Use sunblock every time you intend to expose the tattoo to sunlight, or even better to cover it with clothing.

Keep in mind that when your tattoo begins to fade, you can always get the lines re-inked. Many choose this option to freshen up the look of their stick and poke design.

Read also: Only ways to make a tattoo darker


We hope that you enjoyed our guide on the lifespan of stick and poke tattoos. As we mentioned, the placement and size of the tattoo play a big role in how long it will last. Small squares or circles on the fingers or wrists generally begin to fade within a few years. Larger tattoos placed on areas such as upper arms or the chest have longer lifespans.