Tattoo Scabbing, Tattoo Healing – Normal vs. TROUBLE!
Here is a post I didn’t really want to write. Why? Because a poorly healing tattoo and tattoo scabbing is a nightmare – one I have personally experienced and hope to NEVER live through again. I am tackling this icky subject today because of google. Inside the inner workings of my blog I can see what search terms lead you – the reader – to me – the lazy woman in her PJ’s writing while dishes pile up around her (not the mental image you were hoping for? It gets worse). And those search terms are an ongoing source of; delight, confusion, amusement and horror for me. Some of my recent favorites?
- what happens if you do meth before getting a tattoo
your mother becomes very disappointed in you…and your tattoo artist
- i die i kill for my brothers tattoo
a little confused here – if i were your brother i go hide just to be safe
- monster ass
hey I’m working on it people but doughnuts are delicious – give me a break!
- what if you can’t see my tattoo
hmmmm – you are the Invisible Man? Cool! But you wasted your $$ on that tattoo, bro
- what kind of tattoos will get you killed by gangs
“I hate Gangs” (that is what the tattoo would say. I’m not saying that – nope not me. I..uh..love gangs. Yup sure do….(don’t kill me)
- can i have sex if my tattoo not healed yet
well what kind of sex did you have in mind? If it involves peanut butter and sandpaper ummm…No?
side note: looking forward to search terms like; “can I have sex with sandpaper and peanut butter?” – Bring It Internet!
(thanks to The Bloggess for pioneering the search term shout out – I only wish my search terms (and responses) were half as good as hers)
But I’m not here just to amuse and entertain (well – actually I am) but to Educate. All kidding aside healing a tattoo can be easy or a total nightmare. I wrote an article a while back about what to do when healing a tattoo but it was very general. Here are some specific issues that can arise and what may be the best next step.
I am NOT a tattoo artist OR an expert!!! ALWAYS go with your tattoo artists advice FIRST with any and all tattoo healing questions – NOT the random lady in her PJ’s from the internet
- Heavy Tattoo Scabbing
Some crusting or light tattoo scabbing is a normal part of the process but heavy tattoo scabbing is not. If you have tattoo scabbing that is visibly raised and feels “chunky” then you have a problem. Heavy scabs form when you do not thoroughly clean off all the plasma (clear slippery stuff oozing out of your new tattoo).
The first couple of washes after you get inked can be a little scary. Wash your skin with your fingertips and tattoo artist approved soap until it squeaks – this means you have removed all the plasma. Then apply TA approved ointment in a light layer.
If you have heavy tattoo scabbing DO NOT PICK THEM or try to pry them loose or mess with them in any way – leave them alone!!!! Picking tattoo scabs can lead to scarring and the ink pulling out.
(and DO NOT PEEL YOUR TATTOO either – that interferes with the healing process – I know you want to peel it… believe me I know – but DON’T DO IT!! Let all that stuff flake off naturally)
2. Redness and/or Inflammation
Hurts – doesn’t it? That redness is not a good sign. It means your tattoo – which is an OPEN WOUND by the way – is infected. If your tattoo looks like this DON’T TOUCH IT!
Contact your artist immediately and get your ass over to the shop to get their expert advice ASAP. Tattoo infections get turn very serious if not treated properly and quickly. A messed up tattoo is the least of your worries.
And if you foolishly went to a scratcher instead of a professional then get your ass to a doctor – you heard me right. Get Thee to a Medical Professional! Here is an informative wiki page on infections for further clarification.
Little pimples can be fairly common in a healing tattoo. If this occurs several things may be the cause. You may have used too much ointment (or the wrong type), you may have left your initial wrap on for too long and allowed bacteria to form on your tattoo or very rarely you may be allergic to the tattoo ink.
Your skin’s surface has gotten clogged and these little cysts have formed to basically freak you out. Don’t freak out. DON’T PICK THEM.
Contact your artist and ask for their expert advice. They will most likely ask you to clean the area carefully and only apply the thinnest layer of ointment possible OR let the tattoo go dry – this happened to me. It sucked. I had to leave my wrap on too long as I travelled cross-country with a new tattoo and ended up with a rash and mild infection. Bleh.
Swelling can be hard to spot initially as a new tattoo will be red and somewhat inflamed the first day or so – that is normal.
Major swelling however is a sign of infection, is VERY SERIOUS and will have your affected area looking like a Kardashian after removing her hooker pumps….ahhh…shoes. If you are experiencing major swelling you need medical attention!
5. Red Streaks
If you have red streaks radiating out from your tattoo you have a blood infection and need immediate medical attention.
For real. I did not include a picture for the following reasons;
a. there were not clear examples – which restores my faith in humanity as people with blood infections should be on their way to the hospital not posting on Instagram
b. I don’t want you to take my word for it – I’m just a random blogger.
If you; HAVE A FEVER, ARM IS RED & SWOLLEN, SEE RED STREAKS – get medical attention pronto! c. I can not bear to look at another image of a poorly healing tattoo.
I need a shot of whiskey and a hug. Seriously.
Does this list represent everything that can go wrong with a tattoo? Oh hell no. A tattoo is an open wound and requires care and constant attention to heal well. The best way to properly heal a tattoo involves first and foremost getting tattooed in a sterile environment by a trained professional. Next step is taking your care sheet seriously and following it religiously.
Don’t improvise and don’t cut corners. And if you have any concerns start with your artist first – NOT the internet (present article absolutely included!) OK let’s end on a happy note shall we?
all better now? Here are some perfectly healed tattoos and remember…
Get tattooed by a professional. Take your aftercare seriously.