Tattoo artist wearing a mask and using gloves to prevent infection

May 23, 2018

How Serious Is Your Tattoo Infection?

Tattoos are generally safe, and getting an infection is pretty rare; however, any cut or injury can get infected. One can drastically reduce their chances of getting a tattoo infection by following our guide for getting your first tattoo, especially making sure you are going to a shop that is clean and uses sterile tools, and by following your tattoo artist’s directions on how to care for your new ink.

But, just in case, here is what you need to know about recognizing a possible infection, treating the affected area, and more.

How to Identify an Infected Tattoo

The most common sign of a tattoo infection is a rash or red, bumpy skin around the area where you were tattooed. However, this could just be irritation from the needle, especially if you have sensitive skin. If the symptoms don’t fade after a few days, and continue for a week or more, see your tattoo artist or doctor.

Make sure to see your doctor if you experience one or more of the following:

  • fever
  • feeling waves of heat and cold
  • abnormal shivering
  • swelling of the tattooed area
  • pus coming out of the tattooed area
  • red lesions around the tattooed area
  • areas of hard, raised tissue

How to Treat an Infected Tattoo

If you only have minor bumps and rashes, you can manage it at home with antibacterial ointment, proper cleaning, and rest. If you do have an infection, treatment depends on the type of bacteria or virus. Your doctor may take a tissue biopsy to see how best to treat it. For the majority of already rare cases, your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic to help stop the infection. If the infection persists, treatment could last for weeks or months.

If your infection was caused by MRSA bacteria, antibiotics may not be beneficial. Another very rare type of infection (an atypical mycobacterial infection), is characterized by persistent, sometimes itchy, and painful bumps in your tattoo. This would also require long-term antibiotic treatment.

When to Absolutely See Your Doctor

If you have a fever, or feel feverish, or experience abnormal oozing or scabbing around the tattoo, see your doctor. You should also see your doctor if a rash or swelling lasts for more than a week. Make sure you get anything suspicious looked at, because if an infection isn’t treated quickly enough, or if the bacteria are resistant to an antibiotic, abscesses can result that will have to be removed. You should also see your doctor if you experience excessive, uncomfortable itching around the tattooed area, or if the area is oozing pus or fluid. This can be a sign of an allergic reaction to the ink. In very rare case, an allergic reaction can also lead to anaphylactic shock. Go to the emergency room right away if this kind of allergic reaction occurs.

Aftercare Instructions For Fresh Tattoos

Tattoos can get infected very easily, but with the proper aftercare, your tattoo will reach optimal healing. Nat-A-Tat2’s mission is to promote the healthy healing of tattoos through certified organic and vegan tattoo aftercare products. Fresh tattoos should be cleaned 3 times a day. You should start right after the bandage is removed and keep up with cleaning through the entire healing process of the tattoo.

STEP ONE: Nat-A-Tat2 Gentle Foam Cleanser
1 ) Wash hands thoroughly.
2 ) Apply foam cleanser to newly tattooed area.
3 ) Gently rub cleanser into tattoo and surrounding area.
4 ) Gently wipe off remaining cleanser with paper towel.
5 ) Wait a few minutes before going on to the next step.

STEP TWO: Nat-A-Tat2 Organic Tattoo Lotion
1 ) Wash hands thoroughly.
2 ) Squeeze appropriate sized portion of lotion onto your hand.
3 ) Dab portion of lotion onto the entire area of the fresh tattoo.
4 ) Gently rub in the lotion evenly over the tattoo.
5 ) Repeat the steps 2 -3 times daily until tattoo is fully healed.
NOTE: Do not scrub and do not use the aftercare lotion in excess.