Tattoo infections

How To Heal An Infected Tattoo

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 20, 2017
How To Heal An Infected Tattoo

Tattoos have become extremely popular over the last decades, but they can be little risky at times. Whether it is your first tattoo or fifth, each tattoo will give you an all new experience for sure. Most tattoos heal without any problems, but sometimes they may create an infection. You have increased risk of having an infected tattoo if you don’t take proper care of it and don’t follow the hygiene rules prescribed by your tattoo artist. Click here to know How to care for a new tattoo. Here at, we are going to discuss about how to heal an infected tattoo.

You may also be interested in: Is Vaseline Good for Tattoo Aftercare?

Signs of a tattoo infection

Most people don't identify an infection, as they take the symptoms as a part of the healing process, especially if its their first tattoo. They don’t know what to expect, and thus ignore the symptoms of a tattoo infection. First of all, you need to know what signs to look for if you have got a tattoo recently. Here are some signs of a tattoo infection:

  • Extreme irritation or redness: Mild irritation, redness and heat is normal on a new tattoo, but it is expected to decrease soon. But if your tattoo has become bright red in color and has started forming bubbles, then take it as a sign of infection.
  • Fever: Check your temperature with a thermometer. If it has even slightly increased, it is a sign of infection.
  • Pain: Pain is normal during and after getting the tattoo, but it should decrease within hours. But if your pain worsens, then it’s an infection.
  • Swelling: Little swelling is normal, but if it worsens and does not decrease within 24 hours, it’s an infection.
  • Unpleasant odor: If your tattoo smells unusual, it’s an infection.
  • Discharge: If pus is coming from the tattoo, it’s a sign of infection.
  • Red streaks: If you see red streaks forming on and around the tattoo, them it may be a sign of something serious like blood poisoning. Seek medical attention immediately.

You can also click here to know in detail How to tell if a new tattoo is infected.

Treating an infected tattoo

If you have developed any signs of tattoo infection, then you should consult your tattoo artist immediately. They are trained to handle infections, and ensure that it’s an infection or not.

If it’s an infection, go to your doctor who will try to heal the infection with antibiotics. If the infection is quite bad, he may also prescribe a blood test. Topical ointments like A+D Ointment, Neosporin or Bacitracian can be prescribed to be applied to the infection.

After applying the ointment, you may also cover it with a bandage to keep it away from bacteria and germs. Make sure you keep the tattoo dry, even while taking a shower. Also avoid exposure to sunlight. If you need to go out, apply sunscreen generously on your infected tattoo. Applying cold packs on the infected tattoo can also help in reducing swelling and itching, but make sure that you don’t apply ice directly on the skin, as it may cause serious tissue damage at times.

How To Heal An Infected Tattoo - Treating an infected tattoo

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How To Heal An Infected Tattoo