Tattoo Healing Problems: Preventing and Treating Them

Are you thinking of getting a tattoo? It’s an exciting thought, right? Am sure you have an image in mind of what you want and how it will appear. Just lovely and beautiful. However, have you thought really hard about it? I mean, getting a tattoo is not an easy decision to make, unless you don’t have all the information, you are drunk or high. There are things like choosing a qualified professional to do it, knowing the healing process, the best products to use and the healing time.

A tattoo is a healing wound and should be taken care of as such. You should not rub dirt into the tattoo, introduce bleeding, press it with your fingers, expose it to harmful environments, get into a chlorine pool with it, touch it, peel it or scratch it.

Signs your tattoo is not healing properly

Your tattoo is supposed to go through the three healing stages without an infection of any sort. The following are some of the problems you will experience as it gets healed. Some of them indicate an infection to the tattoo in which case you should go back to the artist for recommendations or visit a doctor.


Redness and irritation after a few days

Of course, it will have redness on its first days due to irritation. The redness, however, should not last longer than that. This is a sign that the tattoo is not healing properly. You may be over washing or not washing it properly. It could also be a sign of poor aftercare.

To avoid getting redness, make sure you use a simple non-fragrant soap to clean it. Use warm water and clean it at least three times a day. Pat the tattoo dry without rubbing it and then after it’s dried out, apply some light non-scented lotion.

Heat or warmth

If the tattoo feels like there is heat coming from it or is hot to the touch, see a doctor. An infection like this will also cause fever. This could be because of the redness if it won’t go away.


The tattooing process damages skin and inflammation are expected. However, the inflammation should fade after a few days of getting it.

Visit the tattoo parlor or a doctor for a checkup.

Fluid leaking off the tattoo

Plasma, blood, ink and lymphatic fluid will ooze out after 24 hours of getting it done. This is normal because the body is healing itself. The plasma helps the tattoo to scab. If these continue for more days, see a doctor.

You can avoid or reduce oozing by not touching the affected area. If you must touch it, do it only when cleaning it and use clean hands. Touching it with dirty hands exposes it to germs.

Wash the tattoo gently or blot out the excess product and allow it to dry completely before applying lotion.


Scabs are not a sign of infection, but if they get too thick and start cracking, you need to see a doctor.

Wash the tattoo properly and do not leave it out to dry for long. Washing it regularly ensures that the plasma levels remain low to avoid big scab formation.  Use warm soapy water, then apply a small amount of lotion (thin coat).

Flaking and itching

Flaking will happen in the second stage of healing and this is normal. The scabs that formed on the first stage need to flake off. Itchiness may occur at this stage due to the flaking.

Apply some lotion to the tattoo to keep it moisturized and avoid dry skin. Dry out the skin first before applying the lotion to avoid trapping moisture between it and the lotion. Do not pull out the flaking or scratch the tattoo.


This could be a sign of an allergic reaction, a weak immune system or improper care.

Reduce contact with the tattoo before it heals. Do not touch it, avoid clothes that rub against the skin on that area. If it’s in a location where there is lots of movement. like the wrist, hands or ankle, reduce use. Wear loose clothing and if it’s on the leg, wear shoes that protect it from dirt but allow it to breathe. Clean it according to instructions given by your tattoo artist.


This is part of the healing process, especially on the second stage before the skin completely regenerates and heals. It may also appear dull if it’s in the peeling and scabbing stage as the skin heals from the inside out.

Make sure you moisturize it well.

Itchy white bumps or pimples

This means that you are using too much lotion or moisturizer. The skin pores are clogged.

Wipe away any excess lotion or moisturizer so that the skin can breathe.


This means that the skin is reacting to products in your moisturizer or aftercare product. For example, products with petroleum or mineral oil, affect some skin types.

Use tattoo aftercare products that contain hypo-allergenic ingredients.


This means that you are using either a scented lotion or a product that reacts with your skin causing an infection.

Use aftercare products designated for tattoo healing. You could also use the same lotion you use daily because your skin is used to it.


The tattoo will be raised for a few days but if the skin surrounding it gets puffy and lasts for some days, it could indicate an infection. Visit a doctor for treatment.

Tips to avoid these problems

The above reasons are why you need to do thorough research before you can visit a tattoo parlor.

  • Make sure that the artist is a professional and has done this for a long time or at least knows what they are doing. Get a licensed, reputable artist, who follows safety procedures.
  • Make sure you are not allergic to the ingredients in the tattoo ink before you get it.
  • Make sure you get it in a clean environment to avoid infections. The studio should be clean and with properly sterilized equipment.
  • Make sure the artist is careful during the process to avoid too much skin damage.
  • Follow instructions given on aftercare by the tattoo artist. This will prevent oozing, scabs, and puffiness.
  • Closely monitor your tattoo very carefully for the first few days after you get it.
  • Find what works for you. The skin types are different and therefore the healing process will be different.
  • Do not scratch, pick or peel at the skin.
  • If you notice any puffiness, discoloration or any suspicious symptoms, visit a doctor. You can also visit the artist and ask for recommendations. A tattoo that is scabbing or oozing, however, needs a doctor.

It’s not as bad as these symptoms sound. Some people go through the tattoo healing process without any of these symptoms. They do nothing to the tattoo and it heals fine. Like I said, healing processes are different for different people. Just do thorough research and go to a proper studio to get it done. Take good care of it like it were a baby and then you can enjoy it forever.


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