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Caring for Healing Tattoos

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My new peacock feather on the left side

My new peacock feather on the left side

How to Care for New Tattoos

Here is some of my best advice, collected from my own experiences under the needle (I've been tattooed for over 25 years now), from talking to other tattooed people, and from being the body art editor at BellaOnline for 11 years. There are tips for all phases of tattooing (before, during, and after), informational links, recommended products, and more.

The links listed just below are quick links to the various parts of this article, so you can either read the whole thing if you are just considering some ink, or you can jump to the section that you need if you've got some ink already. There's also a spot at the end where you can ask questions. Please note, if the answer is in the article and you missed it, I'm just going to tell you to go back and read the appropriate section. It's nothing personal and I'm not blowing you off, it just saves me from typing the same stuff over and over.

Before You Get Tattooed

If you're getting ready to go get your first tattoo, here are a few things you should know.

  • Since tattoos are a healing surface wound, you need to avoid hot tubs, swimming pools, and soaking in bathtubs of water during the healing period. Before the surface heals, the skin is susceptible to infection and public pools and water are easy sources of bacteria.
  • Also, the soaking can cause the scab to come off too soon, which can also hurt your new tattoo. So don't go get tattooed the day before that beach vacation or cruise! Make sure you get a good night's sleep the night before your tattoo appointment and be sure to eat a good meal an hour or two ahead of time. The process of enduring being tattooed is more tiring than most people would imagine and it often stresses the body the same way vigorous activity does, even though you aren't being highly active.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take aspirin before you get tattooed. Both of these thin the blood and can cause you to bleed heavily during the tattoo process.
  • Do not be drunk or high when you decide to get tattooed. More bad tattoos get born into the world from poor decisions than anything else.
  • If you are going to be tattooed for a long time, make sure you have a way of getting home that is safe; consider having someone else drive you. Some people become disoriented or a bit fuzzy-headed after long tattoo sessions due to the endorphin rush.

If you have any allergies to antibiotic ointments, latex, or petroleum products, be sure to tell your tattoo artist before they start to do any work on you. That way they can make sure any equipment or products they might use on you will be safe.

While You're Getting Tattooed

The actual tattoo process is the most exciting part. It's also the most painful. But here are a few suggestions to help you hang in there.

  • Try not to move around too much, or watch what the artist is doing. Any sudden movements on your part may result in a permanent mistake! Be sure to ask your tattooist to stop if you suddenly realize you have to cough or sneeze.
  • Bring along water or juice for you to drink. With larger pieces, sometimes people find they like to take a break and have a small snack to help them get through the process.
  • If there is music you really like to listen to, bring along some earphones and your portable music player.
  • If you are going to have to lay down to get tattooed, you might want to bring along a favorite pillow or a blanket to be more comfortable.
  • Some people bring along a friend for support. Make sure to ask ahead of time to make sure your tattooist is ok with someone hanging out and watching, or even if they can sit with you and talk or hold your hand.
Sunscreen for tattoos is essential

Sunscreen for tattoos is essential

Taking Care of a Healing Tattoo

Once your tattoo is done, it's not too hard to make sure it heals the best that it can. And it is worth the few days of special care after all that cost and discomfort it took to get it.

  • Whatever you do, do not pick at the scab on your new tattoo. If the scab comes off too soon, you run the risk of having the ink "heal out," which leaves a blank spot in the design, and then you'll have to get that part redone. This can happen a little bit during natural healing, but picking at a scab pretty much guarantees it. No matter how much it itches, don't scratch it.
  • You can shower with your tattoo, but don't let it sit under the spray and get soaked. Wash it gently with a mild, natural soap using just your fingertips, and try to roll or scrape off as little scab as you can. Rinse quickly and make sure when you dry off to pat (not brush/scrape) the tattooed area.
  • Tattoos that are totally brand-new get a light smear of antibiotic ointment on them, until the scab forms. Once the scab starts, you will want to switch to a natural or organic, unscented lotion to keep the skin moisturized. You do not want to use anything that contains lanolin or petroleum jelly in it for healing your tattoo, as these will clog the pores and often contribute to the ink healing out. I personally tell people to avoid diaper rash creams (aka A&D ointment or bepanthen), as these very often do contain lanolin and petroleum. I've also learned that the Australian product Lucas Paw Paw Ointment contains petroleum jelly (although it doesn't say so on the label) so avoid that one too!
  • While tattoos are healing, you want to avoid skin trauma. This can include clothes that rub the area too much, any activities where the tattoo would get hit hard, anything that scrapes or scratches the healing surface, and heavy sweating. Sweat is how the body cools itself and gets rid of toxins. That toxic sweat can cause your new tattoo to become infected.
  • Initial healing from new tattoo to scabbed is about 3 days on average and the scab often falls off around days 7–10 but your individual skin healing can vary. The tattoo usually still has some dry skin on top (nicknamed "the saran wrap" phase by many because the tattoo can look shiny) after the heavy scab comes off and after two weeks the skin surface is often healed. The tattoo may be flat to the skin at this point, or it might take a little longer to become flush with the skin. Until the entire surface is healed you want to avoid any swimming or soaking in a hot tub!
  • Now and for the rest of your life, your tattoo needs as much sun protection as it can get. If the surface is still raw, do not put sunscreen on it, as it can skin irritation. Keep it covered with soft clothing and out of the sun. Sunburn causes tattoos to lose colors or fade in intensity, and it can make fine lines and details turn blurry.

Remember, your individual skin healing and reactions may vary! If you think you are having a problem, go back and talk to your tattoo artist or see a doctor!

How to Recognize an Infection

  • Tattoos can be red, swollen (raised-up), weepy/bleeding, and just plain sore when they are done. The more complex a design and the longer you sat there, the greater the chances for these symptoms. If your tattooist had a really firm grip on you or if you tend to be sensitive to it, there might even be a few bruises.
  • If your tattoos increase in redness, become more painful, and either the skin or the fluids weeping out become yellow-greenish in color, those are all classic signs of an infection. In those cases, either go back to your tattooist or doctor to have the infection confirmed and evaluated.
  • If left untreated, infections can not only damage the tattoo itself, they can potentially lead to something life-threatening like blood poisoning.
  • Some people have allergic reactions to tattoo inks or experience adverse skin reactions. To determine this, you need to see a doctor or dermatologist.

If you have more questions about your tattoo possibly being infected, go see your doctor!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Raye

Got A Tattoo Question? - in the interest of saving space and time, I'm going to answer things not already addressed by the Hub.

Reece on May 12, 2019:

Hi guys just read this article on Bepanthen and it seems to all check out, not to good to use. Has anyone ever used tattoo healer from mr bees manuka as their tattoo aftercare cream ?? lets us know :)

Dan on January 12, 2019:

Thank you for the info on Paw Paw Ointment! I thought it would be a good stand in for Dr Pickles Tattoo Balm, but obviously not.

Rachael on May 31, 2017:

Hi i went back to my tattoist after a week getting my done and told her there is a little red around one area she just said it is just a irritation from something it is slowly slowing going cause i am using benthpan on it but it is only light red and suggestions is paw paw ointment good to use

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 24, 2016:

Frank, a person who can't actually see your tattoo can only make random guesses. Is it extra ink on the skin? Did the artist screw up? I have no idea, I can't see what you are talking about. You need to consult someone who can look at your arm, like another tattoo artist, in person.

Frank Robinson Jr. on June 12, 2016:

I got a tattoo yesterday and got the bandage on for 24 hours. It said if there was excessive leakage, I could remove, which I did today. Some of the fine lines look to be a little blurry. Is that normal? My NEW normal? Weeep.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on April 26, 2016:

Shanni, not seeing the fine white bumps, I can't say exactly what is happening, but it is NOT normal and I suggest you go back and let your tattooist take another look at what's developing. A commercial cocoa butter could have a lot of chemicals in it, so I can't say if I would recommend it.

shanni on April 26, 2016:

I got a tatto 3 days ago and yesterday i realised that it has some fine white bumps on it.. is that normal? Also is cocoa butter a good ointment to use on it?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 23, 2014:

Martin, I have not. I don't use anything that isn't organic on my own skin or for healing wounds.

Martin on December 22, 2014:

Have you tried Sorry Mom? They have creams for both the healing process, for older tattoos and a sun screen for tattoos.

I have tried it and i think that my tattoos heal faster!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 30, 2014:

Tanya, what you are describing is normal for a new tattoo, but each person's skin heals at their own rate. You tattoo will flatten out as it heals more fully.

Tanya on November 29, 2014:

I had a wrist tattoo 2weeks ago the writing is still raised and looks shiny under the skin will the writing go down if so how ong will it take ? Thanks

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 29, 2014:

Selena, what do you think is going to happen if someone eats pork while healing a tattoo?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 17, 2014:

Jessica, let it dry for a bit and then put a very thin smear of organic moisturizer on it and see how it does.

jessica on February 16, 2014:

Hi I just got a rose on my shoulder and when i got home i washed of the cream they put on it and put paw paw cream on it not realising the ink would run. i noticed it after some time so i quickly dabbed the cream off it took a bit of ink off but it seems to be okay what should i do now? Keep it sealed with glad wrap or let it dry out?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on February 02, 2014:

Rita, have you looked at the tattoo? Any signs of an infection? That most often what heat indicates.

rita on January 30, 2014:

I have a quarter size heart behind my ear and after almost two week's i still feel a hot sensation. What does that mean?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 22, 2014:

Tina, it will get even blurrier looking as the scab on the surface thickens. Once the scab comes off (no picking!) you'll find crispier lines that probably will still need a little more healing to go.

Tina on January 20, 2014:

I recently got a tatto done on side left of my neck and on shoulder ,,it's just been 3 days and the tattoo font looks blurry ? Is it normal .. Will it be on with time ?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 23, 2013:

Tina, the trauma of getting a tattoo causes blood to rush to the area and that's what creates the sensation of heat.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 23, 2013:

Djs, 1) don't stand in the water spray so that it pours down on the new tattoo the whole time, 2) wash very go wn't,y with your hand, not a washcloth or scrubber, 3) rinse promptly and 4) pat dry very gently.

Tina on December 21, 2013:

My tattoo area is very hot is that ok.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 03, 2013:

Marissa, it's just like healing any other sort of cut or scrape. It's winter, it's cold, sleep with a blanket for goodness' sake...

Marissa Philp on December 02, 2013:

Hi, I got a tattoo 24 hours ago, on my thigh. It doesn't get specific enough about whether I can cover up with a blanket at night?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 20, 2013:

Georgia, the main question here is why did that one triangle heal so badly? Was it a bad reaction to a different shade of ink (which often have different pigments)? Or is the skin different in that one spot? You cannot tattoo lighter colors over dark as a coverup, that doesn't work because skin is translucent. Coverup tattooing only works when you put darker colors over lighter. Have you shown this to your tattoo artist and discussed the situation with them? If the first tattoo scarred, there's a chance going over the same area would make more scar tissue.

Georgia on November 20, 2013:

Hi, I got a yellow tattoo on my wrist about 4 months ago. It was three yellow triangles (a triforce.) Two of the triangles were darker golden yellow, and they healed and look fine. The third triangle was a lighter shade of yellow. The outline looks great but where it was filled in with color it has scarred badly. It just looks very red. When I push down on the skin the blood goes away for a bit and I see the light yellow ink underneath. Is there anyway to fix this? If I got the golden yellow tattooed in this area over the lighter yellow is it likely to cover up all the red from this scarring? And no, I didn't mess with the scab while it was healing... Thanks!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 12, 2013:

Barbara, it sounds like your daughter caused a fresh, deeper wound to your tattoo. It may be starting to get infected or something else could be happening. Go back and show your tattoo to your artist and see what they say.

BARBARA on November 12, 2013:


rcorcutt on October 22, 2013:

Nice tips. I am thinking of getting my first tattoo pretty soon so I will most likely be returning to this hub to get some advice.

JJL618 on February 01, 2013:

Thank you for the help. That portion is more shiny at this point in time than the rest of the coverup, but it has only been 7 days since I got it covered. Maybe in time that will get better. I was told I would probably be able to see some remnants of the old tattoo no matter how well it's covered. I guess I can still get it touched up if needed.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on February 01, 2013:

I have had a coverup done. And at this point, it's been over a decade since it was done too. My experience was that the covered tattoo was a bit raised up and over time it's flattened right out so that only I can tell where it is under the new ink.

JJL618 on February 01, 2013:

Got a question for you. Have you ever had a coverup done? I had a small tattoo on my wrist (it was an outline of a cross not filled in) which I had lasered two times. It did lighten it, but it also created some scar tissue. I had it covered up last week after about 2 years removed from my last laser session. You can still see the outline of the old cross tattoo underneath the new tattoo. Will this get better as it heals or am I stuck with being able to see the old outline? Just curious if you had any experience in this. Maybe I just need to let it heal for a little while to see how it settles in the skin.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 15, 2013:

Michaelagirl, people get tattoos recolored when they don't turn out the way they wanted, regardless of how much time has gone by...

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 15, 2013:

Mihaelagirl, if you went to the best tattoo artist in your country 1) why are you unhappy with how your tattoo looks and 2) why haven't you gone back to that person to complain about your tattoo losing so much color?

Mihaelagirl on January 14, 2013:

People recolour tattos after years, not after few months :)

Mihaelagirl on January 14, 2013:

But i have my tatto for 7 months, not years... I went to the best tatto artist in my country :) it can't be pale for 7 months... By the way i treated my tatto very well at the beggining!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 09, 2013:

The only way to brighten or darken a tattoo is to have it recolored.

Mihaelagirl on January 09, 2013:

I have tattoo since May, today i noticed that It's kinda pale... What should I do? Are there any special treatments? It's been 7 months since I've got this tatto...

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 28, 2012:

Peter, tattoos age along with your skin, so while you can do surface, temporary changes in how tattoos look, they are going to slowly change over time. Tattoos get more faint and the lines soften as the skin ages. Moisturizing the skin is just a surface change and actually has no effect on the tattoo itself although it can cause them to temporarily seem darker or brighter.

Peter on December 23, 2012:

What can be used to keep old tattoos looking good. I am rubbing baby oil on my tattoo is that ok

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 22, 2012:

John, take a look at the other recent questions. This one got asked just a few days ago. The short answer is "no."

john on November 21, 2012:

Hi i got my tattoo today and its yellow but the blood makes it look orange will it stay that colour.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 20, 2012:

Rio, I don't recommend either. Paw Paw contains petroleum products and the Nivea has too many chemicals.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 20, 2012:

Marie, yellow plus red (blood) makes orange. Until the tattoo heals and the scab comes off, your own blood that mixed with the ink while you got the tattoo will make the colors look a little different. I'm sorry your artist couldn't take the two minutes to explain that.

Marie on November 14, 2012:

Had my new tattoo a wk now and noticed some of the yellow is orange went to the shop and he it is yellow let it settle. But why does it look orange. Any ideas please

Rio on November 09, 2012:

Can I use paw paw or Nivea express hydration cream on my tat I had today ??

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on October 15, 2012:

Angela, first of all, you do not have diaper rash on your chest, so stop using A&D on it. I get LOTS of email from people who complain about losing color from using that. A strapless bra and looser shirts is a good idea. Or do the strapless bra, a softer/older undershirt or tank top and then your nicer shirt. If you can just be gentle with the tattoo for the first week to 10 days, you'll be in the clear.

Angela on October 15, 2012:

Hello so i just got a prettt large chest tattoo and it is only 3 days old ive been cleaning it and useing a&d on it a hairdresser so i have to wear shirts lol i also have farely large boobs so i need to wear a bra should i for the next week or so wear a strapless bra and loose shirts idk what todo i dont want my clothes to rub on it and mess it up plz help thank u

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on October 08, 2012:

Nikki, unless you have a bacterial infection or a diaper rash on your stomach, stop using both of those products. They are going to dry the hell out of your tattoo and keep the skin from breathing. Use a natural soap and organic lotion on it, as recommended on this Hub. (go back up and see what it says about aftercare)

Nikki on October 08, 2012:

I lust got a scorpion on my stomach 2 days ago I've been using dial antibacterial soap and a&d ointment I am noticing a white almost film stating to cover my scorpion is that normal? If not what can I do to help it heal better?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on October 04, 2012:

Amy, this could be a few things. It could be a bacterial infection picked up from the tattoo studio. Turns out many people get them from bacteria in water. It could be a reaction to something in the ink. Most likely the inks being used now are pretty different from what was on the market 6 years ago. And it could be a latex reaction. Really "on it" shops don't use latex gloves anymore, they use nitrile (a type of vinyl) to protect both the tattoo artists and the customers from exposure to latex. You'll have to see a doctor to determine exactly what's happening.

Amy on September 27, 2012:

hi i had 4 tattoeos 6 years ago.. all fine no problems.. i had another last week, a fairy big one on my thigh, its healing really well but on the night of having it done i came out in a chicken pox like rash on the underneath of my leg.. not around the tattoo tho, its still there now. its itchy and ugly looking, my tattooist thinks maybe a latex allergy but ive never had a reaction before?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on September 14, 2012:

Lauren, tattoos can look quite different when healed versus fresh, something that's come under recent debate in the body art community. If you are having dry skin, then it is a moisture issue, but if you are talking about how the tattoo looks darker or "better" when you moisturize, then that's what your tattoo actually looks like. If that second situation is the case, you might consider going back to your tattooist and requesting a touch up, or even having parts recolored if they didn't turn out how you wanted.

lauren on September 14, 2012:

hi i had a tattoo on my wrist just over 4weeks ago but it looks like all dried out. im having to moisture it still or otherwise it looks quite bad.

do you have any advice please

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 18, 2012:

Mike, speaking as a woman with chest tattoos, I too found it unavoidable to skip wearing a shirt while healing. I wore shirts that were softer for that first week when I was most scabbed, and left the new ink as uncovered as I could when at home.

mike on August 17, 2012:

I just got a tattoo on my chest and it is unavoidable that I have to wear a shirt. It is constantly rubbing on the tattoo. Is this going to be a problem

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 16, 2012:

bing, I once read a quote from the famous tattoo artist Ed Hardy where he said people get the tattoo they deserve. You might want to think about that for a while. Only new/unhealed tattoos get damaged by water this way, so your tattoo has to be really new to be so messed up from being in the pool. You can either live with your tattoo as it is, go see a dermatologist and pay a huge amount of money to try and get the mess removed, or you can go back to a tattoo artist and have them redo/fix your tattoo and then do NOT go into any pools until the whole surface is completely healed.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 16, 2012:

fred, if you aren't suffering from diaper rash, why are you using a diaper rash cream on your tattoo? I've heard the absolute worst stories from people who use A&D, mostly like yours about the ink healing out. In the end, you've got to let the tattoo heal as gently as possible (and the Hub talks about what to use and what NOT to use) and then you'll have to go back and get the messed up spots re-tattooed again.

bing on August 14, 2012:

got a tat 7 days ago got drunk and passed out with tattoo in pool. skin over tat shrivaled and came off. tattoo lost most of color waht to do now

fred504 on August 01, 2012:

ok, I got an tattoo a week ago now. Whe i got it everyrthing seemed fine. It is my first, so I followed every procedure I was told to do, even seing if the parlor was clean. Ive been taking care of the tattoo my using anti- bacteria soap and A&D ointment ( artist choice). But around day three I notice where the artist shaded in a grey around some parts of the tattoo was coming off. ( colors are black & grey). What I mean by coming off, is that piecees of my skin is gone from three little, but noticable parts of the artwork. I went back to the tattoo shop to see if something was wrong, and the artist told me that its ok and its not infected, just keep cleaning it. He also told me that he'll go over it when it heals. IDK, but it still didnt seem right to me. The rest of the tattoo is healing besides the parts where you actually see my meat around the tattoo. This has been annoying me for days now. Now that a week passed, another unshaded piece came off and looks similar to the missing pieces of skin that gone. My tattoo isnt even presentable anymore because of the spots missing. Is this normal? Btw. I do have sensitive, but other shaded spots look normal compared to the lartger shaded spots. Alot of people consider that the artist went too deep when he shaded it in and caused my skin to come completely off.. BUt is there a way I can treat these open wounds without messin up the tattoo?? I realize once it heals , ill have missing parts from the skin coming off, but walking around with these sore-ish like things by the tattoo makes it appear to look worse.. PLEASE HELP!!! what can I do? and what can i use to make both the tattoo and wounds heal, becuase the a&d ointment isnt doing a good job for me..

just to mention, no the tattoo doesnt leak puss nor have a odor too it.


(Day 2)


(day 3-4) when the skin came off.


week later

(day 7) after i washed it and applied cream


Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 10, 2012:

jack, I have no way of guessing how long it's going to take you to heal. Only you will be able to make that call.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 08, 2012:

Ashley, eczema outbreaks in the same spot as a tattoo could ruin the design over time. And I have no idea if tattooing in a spot you don't usually get them could cause irritation and lead to getting them there. You should consult with a professional determatologist if you are really hell-bent on getting tattooed.

Jack on July 07, 2012:

I am going to get my tattoo this Friday the 13th. It is just an outline style tattoo on my inner bicep and I am going to my cabin on the 23rd. Will I be healed enough to swim in the lake by that time? I am usually a pretty fast healer and there wasnt any problems from my last tattoo. Thank you.

Ashley on July 04, 2012:

I've has excema my whole life. I've decided to get a tattoo. Should I get a tattoo considering I have excema?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on July 02, 2012:

Amber, everyone heals differently, so it sounds like you are either a slow healer or there's a part of the tattoo that got more wounded during the tattoo process or is being stressed more during healing. It's hard to say what is happening because you've described the tattoo, but not said anything about how you have been taking care of it. Re-read this Hub and see if any of those care tips work for you.

Amber on July 01, 2012:

my tat is a week old, and part of it is still weeping, it looks as if there is a small amount of actual skin missing.... help?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on June 30, 2012:

Emily, your own blood will over-stain pale inks colors and make things look different from how they really are. Fresh yellow tattoos often look orange, white can look pink and sometimes greys looks brown due to the blood in the scab. Wait until the entire tattoo heals and see what the eyes really look like.

Emily on June 30, 2012:


I got a tattoo done yesterday, a crested gecko, which is great except for one detail that throws the beauty of it off. The artist decided on her own to make the eyes red. When I mentioned this, she said that adding a little brown would help. The red of the eyes just makes it look... Off. Is there any way to fix this?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on June 30, 2012:

Dan, that all sounds completely normal.

Dan on June 30, 2012:

So I just got my first tattoo, and it seems kind of blotchy and the ink is kind coming off a little bit, that's normal of the healing process right?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on June 26, 2012:

Lee, wearing tight clothing that rubs the surface of the healing tattoo can damage the healing surface by causing the scabs to rip off. You don't want to do that until the entire skin surface is free of any scabs or healing areas. You'll have to wait until the skin fully heals to be able to assess the damage but you might have some spots that need to be re-done.

Lee on June 26, 2012:

I just got my first tattoo a comic book drawing of poison ivy and the next day I wore legging and when I took it off I used slightly cold water and some of the ink was on my leggings after I removed it and I'm afraid I took off some ink but I'm not sure the face of poison ivy has a spot that now looks a different color from the rest

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on May 31, 2012:

If the dancing is going to make your fresh tattoo rub against your shoe, it is a bad idea. And drinking (which thins the blood) may make it weep or bleed more. Either put off the dancing and drinking or do the tattoo a few days after doing it.

Bex19 on May 31, 2012:

I have booked a tattoo for tomorrow, it is my first one and I am looking forward to getting it, however I am having a large birthday party in the evening and I was wondering if it was a bad idea to get a tattoo on my foot (only a small one) and then go out drinking and dancing later that night?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on May 30, 2012:

If the tattoo artist got you a bit deeply that can make it more tender, and how much an area weeps can be related to the same thing, or placement. I've had extra ink ooze out of healing tattoos for the first few days with no problems later.

Marie on May 18, 2012:

I just got a tattoo on my arm yesterday, it's my first really colorful tattoo and I'm not sure if it's just healing different from the color? It's red, swollen and seeping... I don't see any white or green oozing but when I pat it with a towel the oozing comes off in the color of the inks.. I've never had this happen before, normal?

louromano on March 22, 2012:

I love tattoo. Thanks for your input. Figured a tattoo artist would really be the expert.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 15, 2012:

dritz, the only true way to brighten up a tattoo is to have it recolored. You will find that tattoos can temporarily look better just by moisturizing the skin (not too oily or the shine blocks the appearance). Anything you do that is going to effect the skin layers will result in premature aging of the tattoo (sun exposure being the big culprit). Any sort of dermabrasion is going to wear away the skin which might make a tattoo seem brighter for a bit but is also going to expose the skin layer where the ink is more which will potentially speed up ink loss from that layer. Lines and shading soften over time as the skin ages and ink molecules are absorbed (pulled in to the body) or lost (pushed out). Scraping off skin cells won't reverse those processes.

dritz on March 14, 2012:

Hi. Just wondered if you could answer a question for me. I was told that using

microderm abrasion creme & buffer on an old tattoo, would brighten it up & make

it look new again. Do you know if this is true? If you are buffing old skin

cells off, are you also buffing the old tattoo off?

Thanks for your input. Figured a tattoo artist would really be the expert.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 12, 2012:

Donny, gravity pulls all the extra body fluids from the trauma downwards, hence your swelling. It's normal for it to happen right after getting tattooed and may take several days to go down.

Donny on March 06, 2012:

Got a tattoo on the side if my calf a little over 48 hours ago and i just noticed my leg below the tattoo is swollen, it was about 3 hours of work,is that normal or is it something to worry about

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 02, 2012:

Gamergrl, many tattoo artists don't use latex themselves to help minimize their own contact with it. Feel free to bring that up to them, as that's an extremely important issue in conjunction with getting tattooed. Tattooists should be able to provide you with a latex-free experience.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 02, 2012:

Jase, how long until you can swim after getting tattoo work done on your back will depend on how long it takes for all the scabbing to heal and for the surface to be closed. You don't want to go swimming if the skin is still open or scabbed or otherwise not finished repairing itself following the tattooing.

Gamergrl from Williston Park on February 28, 2012:

I am seriously considering getting a tattoo. But I am allergic to latex. My question is do tattoo artists use other types of gloves besides latex ones? Like nitrate, vinyl or polyurethane gloves.

Jase28 on February 28, 2012:

I've just booked in for the outline for a full back piece July 3rd , I'm then going back for the shading July 16th - now here's the problem I am going on a beach holiday July 27th. Will this have enough time to heal and will I be able to enter the swimming pool? I have had tattoos in the past on a much smaller scale covering up with sun lotion aint a problem either. Or would I just be best booking later? Or should it be fine it does have a fortnight to heal.

ginji86bell on February 23, 2012:

thank you, very useful, I wish I read this before I put neosporin on mine because some of my ink came off...

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 30, 2012:

heather, not that it's scabbing, do not soak it at all, as making the scab come off too early can damage the tattoo.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 30, 2012:

johnny, be careful not to let the scab get pulled or yanked, and be sure to keep the tattoo gently moisturized. Scabs cracking is normal, but fresh bleeding is not.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 30, 2012:

Aaron, excess ink comes out as part of the healing process. Make sure the tattoo isn't being kept too wet and gets to be uncovered to get air.

heather on January 24, 2012:

i had a tattoo on my wrist a week again and have been in a hot bath a few times since then having a soak for 10mins not knowing it could do any harm, my tattoo is still a little red but appears to be scabing over with a few cracks, im using simple moisturiser to stop itching and keep it from being to dry. a i doing the right thing

johnny on January 23, 2012:

i just got a tattoo a week ago and its cracking in the scabs it bleed a little from the crack is it going to ruin my tttooo?

Aaron on January 15, 2012:

Just got a new tat and it itself seems to be sweating, and losing a little color. I haven't workout or anything. Is this normal?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 14, 2012:

Milly, feet can be quite tender after tattooing and nothing you are describing sounds uncommon.

Milly on January 12, 2012:

Hey I got a tattoo on my foot 2 days ago. The next day it wasn't painful but today when I woke up it was really painful. I did a lot of walking up until today and I'm not sure if that's why it hurts or if I should be worried about an infection.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 08, 2012:

Estrella, different areas of the body react and heal differently so that's probably part of it. And remember that the scabs pick up a lot of excess ink so tattoos can look a bit changed when that surface covering comes off.

Estrella on January 07, 2012:

I got my new tat 3 days ago & have been using Aquaphor daily. Just a bit ago, after applying more ointment, my tat starting peeling a lot! I'm very concerned, because it looks as if a bunch of the ink came off with the skin & there are place that look faded already. What should I do? Is this normal? I got my last one back in Feb. of last year & don't remember it peeling as much. Any thoughts?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 23, 2011:

jeremiah dodge, if you do stuff to it that will damage it as part of your job, then yes. If not, then no.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 23, 2011:

Hailey, it's not uncommon for tattoos to crack somewhat as they scab.

jeremiah dodge on December 23, 2011:

im getting a wrist tattoo today and was wondering if me working in a bar ruin it

Hailey on December 22, 2011:

i just got a tat about 3 days ago . they told me to use fragrence free lotion but it was so dry i used it once , and i read online NOT to use petrolium contents and that lotion had it . i washed it off imdiately and am concerned it may mess up my tat . what do you think?

and two its cracking alot , im concerned that my tatto might perminatly have crack marks

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 21, 2011:

Kim, a spot that is still bleeding raw after a few weeks is worth having a doctor look at to make sure you don't have some other medical issue going on.