How to Treat an Infected Tattoo…The Definitive Guide

how to treat an infected tattoo

How to treat an infected tattoo?

How to treat an infected tattoo? Your tattooing adventures carry inherent risks. A tattoo is a wound, and like other wounds, it becomes infected in the presence of bacteria. The most common types of bacteria responsible for infections are Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus pyogenes. A tattoo can also become infected by viral organisms such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) or human papillomavirus (HPV), fungi, Mycobacterium marinum, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Corynebacterium minutissimum, or Candida albicans.

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How to treat an infected tattoo

Any person who has recently received a new tattoo should be aware that infection is possible. You should contact your physician at the first sign of any unusual symptoms appearing around your tattoo site.

A tattoo infection can be characterized by one or more of the following symptoms – redness, swelling, pain, hot skin, drainage of pus, and scab formation. Sometimes it resembles an acne breakout. Another clue towards complication is when the tattooed area begins to grow broader than what was outlined in your design.

If these signs are present for longer than two weeks after getting a new tattoo, something may be wrong. In case you have any concerns about your tattoo’s health, speak with your doctor immediately! Remember that delaying medical treatment could cause further damage and spread the bacteria through other parts of your body.

You should never try to treat a potential or actual infection without consulting a doctor first! Some over-the-counter antibacterial ointment and creams that are available might interfere with the healing process and delay your tattoo’s scabbing.

The best way to avoid an infected tattoo is by having a proper tattoo aftercare plan in place immediately after getting one. Below you can find some valuable tips on how to take care of your new tattoo. These simple guidelines will help promote the healing process so you won’t be left with any unsightly or painful marks once it finally heals up completely.


1) Wash your hands before touching your fresh tattoo

2) Gently wash off all blood, ointment, and plasma using lukewarm water and antibacterial soap

3) Apply a small amount of fragrance-free lotion (unscented Lubriderm, Nivea) and Aquaphor to moisturize your tattooed skin

4) Do not scratch or pick at the tattoo

5) Let it air dry for about 15 minutes

6) Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free lotion (unscented Lubriderm, Nivea) only if the tattoo feels dry

7) Repeat steps 1-6 at least 2-3 times per day


1) Don’t use any scented soaps, lotions, or fragrances around the area while it’s healing! These ingredients tend to irritate susceptible skin. The chemicals found in these products can also delay scabbing and disrupt proper pigmentation and tattoo ink absorption.

2) Avoid saunas and swimming pools

3) Don’t expose your tattoo to direct sunlight for extended periods

4) Do not pick at, scratch, or tear the scab(s) off. This can cause ink loss and could potentially delay healing

5) Do not let anyone else touch your fresh tattoo


1) Keep the unwashed tattoo moist by using a wet cotton cloth that has been cooled in the fridge/freezer beforehand. Just don’t place it directly on the skin

2) Also, you can use a damp rag/towel soaked in cold water and Epsom salt (1 tbsp.) Make sure to wring out excess moisture first! An excellent home remedy for speeding up the healing process is placing some crushed garlic pills (or powder if you prefer) and a little bit of water into a paste and then applying it to your tattoo after washing off the blood/plasma.

This is said to work just as well, if not better than any store-bought topical ointment. Another alternative is using aloe vera gel (100% pure), which has been known to help aid in the healing process while also soothing and cooling down skin that’s feeling irritated or tender.

3) If your tattooed area begins to swell, take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), unless your doctor advises you otherwise

4) Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. This will significantly help speed up the tattoo healing process. Dehydration can affect all body functions and delay the entire recovery time

5) Ask your artist about what type of ointment or lotion they recommend for use after getting tattooed

6) After washing and rinsing off, apply a generous amount of fragrance-free lotion (unscented Lubriderm, Nivea) and Vaseline petroleum jelly to help moisturize and protect your new tattoo from drying out. This will not only keep it well hydrated but also speed up the healing time by preventing scabs as well as protecting it from ultraviolet light

7) Avoid picking at the loose skin surrounding your tattoo. Ink loss can occur if you’re constantly picking at it

8) Avoid using body creams or lotions for at least a couple of days after getting tattooed. The oils in these products can clog your pores and prevent blood cells from receiving proper nutrients

9) If your tattoo feels itchy, you can also use witch hazel to help soothe the itching without any harmful ingredients found in most anti-itch products that could irritate damaged skin

10) Stay away from dairy for a few days (if necessary) if you’re experiencing swelling around the area. This can cause excess mucous production, which may aggravate your new tattoo

11) Make sure to avoid hot showers during the first week of healing because this could make some colors appear faded and wash off parts of your artwork

12) You should be able to shower within a few days after getting tattooed generally, but do not scrub the area with anything abrasive. It’s OK to gently wash and rinse off your tattoo (or run it under cool water) without too much pressure, but use caution when doing so.

How long does an infected tattoo last?

An infected tattoo will last for about one week to two weeks. If the infection has not decreased within that time, then it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of an infected tattoo?

how to treat an infected tattoo at home
how to treat an infected tattoo at home

A tattoo reaction will have pus, rash, redness, and swelling around the area where the tattoo was done. There may also be a fever along with flu or cold-like symptoms. In extreme cases, there can be a discharge from the site of the red tattoos and chills, fevers and sweats, possibly septic shock. The affected person could become very ill if they do not address their infected tattoos promptly. Hence, it is best to contact your health care provider immediately when you notice any of these symptoms.

What are the possible complications of an infected tattoo?

Possible complications include cellulitis, lymphangitis, septicemia, and even cardiovascular collapse if left untreated. Cellulitis is inflammation or fungal infection of the deeper layers of skin and tissue under the skin. Lymphangitis is when viral infections in either one of two lymphatic vessels supply your upper layers of skin with fluid. Septicemia occurs when an infection gets into your bloodstream and can be life-threatening without treatment. Cardiovascular collapse happens when there is difficulty pumping enough blood through your heart to get it to all parts of your body correctly.

An infected tattoo can also lead to an allergic reaction to other severe infections such as MRSA if the individual has a compromised immune system. Staph infection is also a possibility.

how do you treat an infected tattoo
how do you treat an infected tattoo

How can you prevent an infected tattoo?

A thorough cleaning of the site of the tattoo is essential before getting one. There are many different types of cleansers available for this purpose, and it is best to consult your health care provider on which ones are most suitable for you.

Keeping the area clean after getting a new tattoo is also helpful so that germs don’t have more time than they need to get in there and contaminate it.

Not only should this be done, but some bandages or dressing should also be placed over the top. The individual doing your tattoo should know how long this needs to remain on for and how to change it if appropriately required.

They also need to ensure that there is no contaminated ink in the pigment. If you notice that the bandage becomes soaked with blood or other fluids, it is essential to replace it immediately.

What should you do if you think your tattoo has become infected?

treat infected tattoo
treat infected tattoo

If you suspect that your tattoo is becoming infected, see your health care provider as soon as possible. They may decide to treat you by giving oral antibiotics or pain medication depending on what they find while examining the affected area.

It is vital for people who have diabetes, liver disease, skin infection diseases like eczema, psoriasis, or other conditions that affect their immune system to be especially mindful of potential bacterial infection in their tattoos. They should also let their health care provider know of their condition before having a tattoo done.

If the individual chooses to ignore signs of an infection, they could end up with fluid-filled bumps or lumps that contain pus called abscesses which require surgical draining by a health care provider. They could also cause permanent scarring if left unchecked.

This can happen when too much pressure is applied during the tattoo procedure resulting in blood vessel damage under the skin. Blood clots may form around these damaged vessels and lead to changes in normal tissue structure or function, resulting in long-term deformities or loss of function in areas like joints.

A new tattoo should never be done on top of another one, so wait until any scars have fully healed before getting another one, no matter your age.

What are the signs of infection?

how to treat a infected tattoo
how to treat a infected tattoo

Redness, pain, swelling, and warmth around the tattoo that gets worse rather than better within a few days or weeks can indicate an infection. You may also notice fluid-filled bumps coming out of the skin, which should be looked at by a health care provider immediately. This could potentially lead to severe scarring if it is not treated correctly.

If you have any other questions about infected tattoos or how to treat them, be sure to ask your health care provider before getting one done. Their years of experience will give you peace of mind knowing that they know exactly what needs to happen for you to recover from this painful process as soon as possible fully.

how to treat infected tattoo
How to treat infected tattoo

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