Infected Tattoo – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

As we all know, a tattoo is a type of body modification and it is made by inserting ink into the skin in order to change its pigment. Tattoos usually have their specific meanings and many people like them.

It is normal to experience a little discomfort immediately after you receive a tattoo. This session is usually followed by pain and others signs of discomfort. But, sometimes there are also symptoms that should warn you that something is going wrong.

Which are these symptoms? Have you ever asked yourself: “Is my tattoo infected?” How to tell if your tattoo is infected? How to treat an infected tattoo? Have you ever watched the infected tattoo video? In this article you will get the answers to these and similar questions. We will tell you something more about infected tattoo symptoms and causes. Also, we will tell you how to treat the infected tattoo properly.

If you also have a tattoo or if you are planning to receive one, this article will be certainly interesting and also useful for you. Now you will see which are the most common causes of a tattoo infection.

The Causes of Infected Tattoo

Dirty Hands. There are many factors that may cause the infection of your tattoo. The most common cause of an infected tattoo are dirty hands. If you have touched your tattoo with dirty hands, you are more likely to get an infection. You will probably do it by accident, but it can cause serious problems.

Moist. Another possible cause of a tattoo infection is a moist environment around your tattoo. If you apply too many aftercare creams and oils, you will create too much moist, which is not good for your tattoo. It is known that bacteria will appear in such environment and they can cause infection.

Opened Creams. If you are using some aftercare creams that have been already opened, they might contain bacteria and also germs. This can be the cause of a tattoo infection.

Exercising. If you start exercising immediately after receiving a tattoo, you will slow the healing process, which may cause an infection. Also, if you hit your new tattoo, it could cause serious complications.

Weak Immune System. If your immune system is weak, it can also lead to a tattoo infection. It means that you don’t sleep enough, that you may be drinking alcohol or using drugs or that you have bad diet. All these factors may weaken your immune system and lead to a tattoo infection.

Low Blood Flow. Low blood flow can also be one of the causes of a tattoo infection. If the tattoo tissue is swelling, it can lead to low blood flow and the infection of a tattoo.

Contaminated Needles or Ink. If the artist has used the needles or ink that are contaminated, it could lead to a serious infection of your tattoo. Because of that it is very important to check if your artist is using clean equipment.

Other Diseases. It is known that if you suffer from some other disease or illness, it could slow the healing process of your tattoo. You should have this thing in mind before you decide to receive a tattoo.

The Symptoms of Infected Tattoo

As we have already said, there will be a certain discomfort immediately after the tattoo session. Actually, the area around your tattoo will be very sensitive and red. It could be also a little swollen. Of course, the area around the tattoo will be painful, as if you had sunburn. But, all these symptoms are normal and you don’t have to worry. It is best to wait about 48h to see if the symptoms will be reduced.

If you notice that after three or more days the symptoms are still there and if your tattoo is still painful, then it could mean that something is going wrong with your tattoo. In this case we recommend you to visit the tattoo artist and to tell him about your problem. He will examine the tattoo and you will know if everything is okay or you have gotten an infection. But, as we have already said, wait a few days before you visit the artist. There’s no need to panic immediately.

Another thing you should know is that it will take more time for large and complicated tattoos to heal. However, if the symptoms don’t stop even after a few days, you may have an infection. There are several ways how to check if your tattoo is infected or not. Below you will see which are the most common symptoms of a tattoo infection.

Pain. As we have said above, the area around your tattoo will be painful a few days after receiving a tattoo. If the pain doesn’t stop after a couple of days, you should visit the tattoo artist and also your health provider. If you have a sharp shooting pain inside the tattoo, it must be an infection, so you should seek help as soon as possible.

Warmth. Warmth is one more symptom of an infected tattoo. You can simply put your hand on the area around the tattoo and if it is too warm, it can mean that your tattoo is seriously infected.

Itchiness. Another symptom of a tattoo infection is itchiness that lasts for more than a couple of days. It can be very uncomfortable, so we recommend you to ask your tattoo artist for help.

Redness. Also, redness may be a sign that your tattoo is seriosly inflamed. You should know that slight redness around the area of a tattoo is normal, but if you notice that your skin is getting dark red and if it is each day more painful, than you should seek help.

Swelling. One more symptom of a serious infection is swelling around the area of a tattoo. If you notice any pustules or if your tattoo is swelling, then you should visit your tattoo artist and ask him for help.

Discharge. One more sign of a serious tattoo infection could be a discharge that has foul smell. The discharge is actually a clear fluid that has a slightly golden color. Also, there may be a thick and yellow-green substance inside the tattoo.

Blistering. Another symptom of an infected tattoo is blistering. It usually occurs on the top of the tattoo and it is manifested as red and raised wounds that contain fluids.

Thin Red Lines. If you notice any thin red lines that are radiating out from your tatoo, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. It could mean that you have blood poisoning or some other serious complication. In this case it will be more difficult to treat the tattoo infection.

High Temperature. One more way to check if you have an infection is to take your temperature. If it is high and if you have fever, it could be a symptom of a serious infection, so you should visit your health provider. You should know that fever is one of the surest signs that you have an infection.

All these are symptoms of a tattoo infection. As we have already mentioned, some of these symptoms are normal and they can appear a day or two after getting a tattoo. But, if they last for more than two or three day, you should visit the tattoo artist and also your doctor. In some more serious cases you will need medical help, in order to prevent any complications. Now we will show you how to treat an infected tattoo properly.

The Treatment Of Infected Tattoo

Visit the Tattoo Artist. As we have already said, the first thing you should do if you notice that your symptoms are getting worse and worse is to visit the artist who has made the tattoo. The artist will immediately tell you if you have an infection or not and if it is necessary to seek medical help.

But, you should have in mind that the artist may not assume the responsibility for your infected tattoo. The artist is responsible only if something has happened while you were in the tattoo studio. The artist can decide himself if he will fix your tattoo or not. But, if you have a proof that the conditions in the tattoo studio were unsanitary, if it was not clean and if you have performed a proper aftercare, then the artist has a legal obligation to fix your tattoo.

Visit Your Doctor. If you have an infection, the doctor will prescribe you antibiotics that should be helpful if you take them regularly. The antibiotics will fight the infection and if it is only a topical infection, it will be easily to treat. But, if it is a blood infection, your tattoo will need more time to heal and it will need more serious treatment.

It is also possible that the doctor prescribes you a topical ointment and you should apply it regularly. Also, it is important to keep your tattoo clean at any time. We recommend you to wash the tattoo twice a day. After applying topical ointment, it may be necessary to cover the tattoo with sterile gauze, but you should know that the tattoo also needs fresh air. Because of that, it is recommended to let the tattoo get enough air in order to avoid any other infections.

Keep the Tattoo Dry. One important thing you should know when it comes to treating the infected tattoo is to keep your tattoo dry during the treatment. As we have said, you should wash the tattoo regularly with clean water. You can also use soap without scent, but in a very small amount. The next step is to make the tattoo dry before you put the sterile gauze again or if you keep it uncovered. An important thing is that you should never cover the tattoos that have been infected.

Now when you know how to treat an infected tattoo, we will tell you how to prevent the tattoo to get infected.

Is It Possible To Prevent Your Tattoo To Get Infected?

Get an Allergy Test. Before receiving a tattoo, you should be well informed about all possible side effects that you may experience. Also, you should check if you are allergic to some of the ingredients in the tattoo ink. Many people don’t know that they are allergic to certain ingredients, so they become infected when they get a tattoo.

In order to prevent the infection, it is best to get an allergy test before receiving a tattoo. It is truth that most people are not allergic to ingredients that are found in tattoo ink, but there are always exceptions. Actually, if the artist will use only India ink, there’s no need to worry because it contains ingredients which cannot cause the allergy. But, if you decide to get a tattoo with colored ink, then it is recommended to get an allergy test first.

Choose a Licensed Tattoo Artist. Another thing that is very important if you decide to get a tattoo is to choose a licensed tattoo artist. Maybe it is the most important thing when it comes to getting a tattoo. You should search well and you should be well informed about all the artists in your area. It is important to choose the artist who has a license. Also, it is important that his parlor is clean and that other customers have been satisfied with his work.

Check the Sanitary Conditions In a Tattoo Studio. When you come to your tattoo artist, you should also check if he is using new needles and gloves. Cleanliness should be a priority of all tattoo artists. So, you should make sure that your artist puts on gloves and that he is opening new needles in front of you. This way you will not have a risk of getting infected and you will feel safe. If it is not the case, you should leave the parlor and search for some other artist.

And what should you do yourself to prevent an infection to happen? Is there anything you can do after getting a tattoo? Of course, there is.

Follow the Instructions of the Tattoo Artist. The first step is to follow all the instructions that you have received from your artist. The artist will probably tell you to rinse your tattoo after 24h from receiving a tattoo. You should use warm water and non-scented soap, as we have already mentioned above.

Perform an Adequate Aftercare. Also, the artist will probably give you a Tattoo goo. Have you ever heard of it? It is actually a tube which contains topical ointment. You should apply this ointment a couple of days after receiving your tattoo. This way you will keep your tattoo clean and it will heal properly. There is also a warning for you: you should never use Neosporin or Vaseline when you have received a new tattoo.

Wear Comfortable Clothes. As we have already said, it is important for tattoo to have enough air in order to heal properly. You should wear more comfortable clothes that will not irritate your skin.

Avoid Sun. It is important to keep your tattoo away from the sun as much as possible. If your tattoo is exposed to sun, it could be damaged and the ink could start bleeding. Also, other complications are possible if your tattoo is exposed to sun too much.


As you have seen in this article, getting a tattoo may be nice and attractive but it can lead to serious complications. If your tattoo gets infected, you will have to seek medical help. As we have told you, there are many ways how to recognize if your tattoo is infected. The most common signs of infected tattoo are redness, swelling, pain, discharge with foul smell, bumps around your tattoo, itchiness and many other symptoms. If they appear immediately after you have received a tattoo, it can be normal, but if they last for more than a couple of days, it means that your tattoo is infected. In this case you should visit your tattoo artist, but also your health provider. Depending on the severity of symptoms, you will need medical help as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are many ways how to prevent your tattoo to get infected. As we have said, it is important to choose a licensed tattoo artist and to be sure that sanitary conditions in a tattoo studio are very good. It is crucial if you want to avoid any risks and health problems. After receiving a tattoo, it is important to follow the instructions of your tattoo artist and to perform proper aftercare. Remember that you are responsible for anything that happens after getting a tattoo.

We hope this article has been useful and interesting for you and we are sure that you will choose the best professional for your tattoo. Now when you know all the risks and possible side effects, we are sure that you will take more care of your tattoo and your overall health.