Tattoo Scabbing: First Signs & What to Do

Tattoo scabbing is one of the problems your skin could go through as a series of healing steps occur after tattooing, which could include painful infections.

Tattoo scabbing, can be seen immediately after tattooing. You will notice a clear fluid coming of the freshly pricked skin. The tattoo is a fresh wound and it may sting and feel swollen. You skin peels off when your tattoo begins to dry and heal. The severity varies in different people but it is mostly a normal healing process after getting a tattoo.

Tat scabbing on chest and infected

What is tattoo scabbing?

This process occurs when the tattooed skin forms a protective layer of hardened plasma fluid over the entire tattoo or parts of it. The scabs appear crusty and may often be painful and itchy. The scabbing process involves the thickening of tissue on the tattoo and in its mild form, is of thin texture.

Sometimes it can be severe and the layer formed on the tattoo is thicker. Mild scabbing helps to protect the tattoo from bacterial infection. However, severe blisters increases the risk of bacterial infection on the area.

Tat scab


What should you do to prevent this process?

The main cause of scabbing is often unhygienic handling of your tattoo. Touching the tattoo excessively with dirty hands increases the chances of blisters. Similarly, failing to care for your tattoo appropriately by cleaning and moisturizing often causes your skin to peel off.

It is important to heed to your artist’s instructions on tattoo aftercare.

You should get the right products to apply on the tattoo to keep it moisturized and prevent dryness but also avoid clogging the pores.

A new tattoo is also sensitive to sunlight and it is important to shield it. Sunlight is one of the factors that contribute to tattoo scabs so you need to minimize the exposure time on your new tattoo.

Butterfly scabbing on leg

What should you do to stop the blisters?

When your tattoo starts to scab, you should resist any temptation to scratch off the scabs or even prick them in the attempt to drain any fluid. Scabbing needs to be handled with extra care. Besides cleaning your tattoo with water and drying it gently, it is best to leave it to heal naturally.

You can choose to apply a light moisturizing ointment on the tattoo up to twice a day. Remember to steer clear from creams that would clog your pores (anything that could contain petrolatum) because it would prevent your skin from breathing properly and could even worsen the wound. Additionally, do not cover the scabbed tattoo with a bandage or tight clothing.

Your skin needs a constant supply of air to allow it to heal faster.

Larger tattoos are more prone to severe wounds. A scabbed tattoo will take longer to heal than a normal tattoo. You will thus need to be extra attentive to it to ensure that the tat heals and does not worsen.

Normal scabbing heals your tattoo, which will look normal afterwards. Always be on the lookout for signs that might require you to visit a doctor or dermatologist.

Tattooed skin that does not show signs of healing but continues to thicken is painful and inflamed, or oozes puss could be infected.

Consult your physician to get the proper prescription for antibiotics and ointment to heal such severe scabbing.

Final Thoughts

Scabbing is a part of the tattoo healing process and with the right care, your tattoo will heal properly. To avoid going through the uncomfortable process that prolongs the healing of your tattoo, ensure that you follow the right tattoo aftercare precautions:

If you still develop tattoo scabbing, don’t freak out. There is still measurement to boost the healing process of your tattoo so that you can go ahead and have peace of mind.


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