Are you seeking the answer to the question how do I know my tattoo is infected? If you think your tattoo may be infected, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

I will provide some guidance on infection tattoo symptoms , what happens if your tattoo gets infected and what to do next.

What Are The Signs Of Infected Tattoo?

Harmful bacteria entering the open womb due to a tattoo infection frequently causes redness, swelling, inflammation, a rash, or rough skin around the tattooed region.

Redness, swelling, and inflammation are common throughout the tattoo healing process. Still, if they worsen or last for a more extended period than a few days, you most likely have an infection. Here are a few factors that might result in tattoo infections.

What Are The Signs Of Infected Tattoo

Causes of Tattoo Infection

What symptoms indicate an infected tattoo? As previously indicated, infections frequently result from contact with bacteria, viruses, or other undesirable elements in the body through damaged skin. These are some of the causes:

Contaminated Ink:

The use of tainted ink or ink that has been diluted with non-sterile water may occasionally cause an illness.

One epidemic, which first appeared in January 2012, featured the skin and soft tissue infection-causing bacteria Mycobacterium chelonae. It had an impact on 19 persons throughout many US states.

The tattoo region had a persistent rash with redness, swelling, and papules as symptoms.

In one instance, a prediluted ink that was contaminated before it was acquired was utilized by several painters.

DIY Kits:

DIY kits frequently contain stick-and-poke equipment that is challenging to disinfect adequately. An inexperienced tattoo artist may also tattoo you in an unclean setting, like your friend’s basement.

Improper Aftercare:

One of the most frequent causes of tattoo infections is improper aftercare. Most tattoo artists will offer aftercare instructions to prevent infections from spreading to the inked region.

Infections may result if the customer does not adequately adhere to the aftercare instructions. It’s crucial to pay attention to your tattoo artist’s recommendations for proper aftercare.

Infections can be brought on by unhygienic practices like reusing supplies, improperly sterilizing the station between customers, failing to wear gloves, and cleaning and wrapping the tattoo.

Causes of Tattoo Infection

Unlicensed Tattoo Studios:

Licensed tattoo parlors are subject to health department inspections and must maintain a particular level of sanitization and safety to operate. The sanitary and safety regulations established by health organizations are probably not followed by an illegal tattoo parlor.

Immune system weakness:

Some persons may be allergic to substances found in ink. It’s critical to know the components of the tattoo ink your artist uses and whether or not you are allergic to any of them. The FDA does not monitor tattoo ink, so there may be ingredients that are not disclosed.

For this reason, it’s crucial to see a respected tattoo artist who utilizes high-quality tattoo ink. According to the article, Are Tattoos Safe? Think Before You Ink. The FDA has discovered elements in tattoo ink, vehicle paint, and printers.

Tattoo Infection Stages

You can identify certain early-stage tattoo infections from the list below and halt their spread. The American Academy of Dermatology Association has provided the following material as help.


After having a tattoo, an infection may develop right away or up to six months later. If the tattooed area gets darker over time rather than lighter, if the pain gets worse rather than better, if you start to get a rash or painful bumps, if you start to get a fever or hot and cold chills, if pus starts oozing out of the tattoo, or if the tattoo becomes an open sore, these are all signs that an infection is starting to develop.

It’s crucial to act and visit your doctor immediately if you have any of the above responses to stop infections like staph from getting worse.

Rash Caused by an Allergy

Rash Caused by an Allergy

Any time over the lifetime of your tattoo might result in an allergic response to the ink. You can experience allergy responses right now or decades from now. After undergoing a medical procedure, such as antiretroviral therapy or joint replacement surgery, allergic response symptoms frequently appear.

Red is the most typical tattoo color that causes allergic responses in individuals. Red ink frequently contains more metals than other ink colors, which can cause allergic responses.

The emergence of a rash, redness, swelling, inflammation, blisters, lumps, flaky skin or watery fluid oozing from the tattoo are symptoms of tattoo allergies.

We advise speaking with a doctor or dermatologist about your alternatives if you start to detect an adverse reaction arising from your tattoo.

If your symptoms are modest, they could recommend a topical steroid cream, but if you’re suffering significant discomfort, difficulty breathing, tightness in your chest, dizziness, or hives, you should seek emergency medical attention and look into tattoo removal alternatives.

It’s vital to know that tattoo allergic responses cannot be treated with laser tattoo removal.



Blistering is a common side effect of the healing process for tattoos, but if it persists beyond a few days, it’s probably due to an infection.

It is advised to maintain the tattoo clean by washing it with warm water and a mild, unscented soap for a few days while it is still open, to keep it out of the sun for a few days, and to avoid getting it wet while it is healing.

We advise speaking with your doctor, who might suggest an effective topical cream or antihistamine drug to lessen the blistering.

We often advise washing the treated region and using a sterile needle to drain the blister at the base when blisters develop after tattoo removal. Then, to ensure good healing, we advise washing the treated area once again and keeping it covered.

After-Tattoo Infection Warning Signs

To assist you in identifying the symptoms of a tattoo infection at each stage of the procedure, the next section will outline the tattoo healing schedule.

Immediately Following Your Tattoo Session

Your body starts repairing the wound as soon as you get a tattoo. To stop the plasma and blood your body will expel from seeping and prevent potential pathogens from entering the open womb; the tattoo artist should wrap the region in saran wrap and bandage.

The tattoo should be covered for 5–6 hours before being washed with moderate, fragrance-free soap and covered once more. If you carefully care for the tattoo at this point, you shouldn’t notice any infection symptoms. You’ll feel some little irritation, swelling, redness, and discomfort.

Days 1-3: Sore and oozing

Your body will continue to exude plasma to mend the open womb over the first few days, making you feel pain. It’s usual to have some redness, swelling, and inflammation at this point, but you should watch out for the emergence of a rash, blisters, or lumps around the tattoo.

In this early stage, tattoo infections may start mildly, but it’s vital to keep an eye on if the pain, redness, or swelling worsens, as these signs of infection should prompt a visit to the doctor immediately.

Week Two: Scratching and Itchiness

You would have stopped covering the tattoo during the second week and allowed it to start drying out and healing. The tattoo may scab and itch during this period, but it’s crucial to keep an eye on how much scabbing and intensely it itches.

If the scabbing starts to get red and swollen, you probably have an infection and should see a doctor. You must seek immediate medical assistance if your tattoo is seeping or forming an open womb (like in the image above) to halt the spread of infection.

At this time, it’s crucial to keep the tattoo clean and moisturized to prevent infection. Avoid picking at the scabbing, moisturize the tattoo with an unscented lotion, and keep dirty hands, pet hair, and heavy perspiration away from it.

It’s best to refrain from exercising and sweating heavily until the scabbing stage has ended and the new skin has formed. Additionally, you should refrain from swimming in any body of water during this procedure phase.

Days 14 through 30: Gray and a little dry

This ought to be the last stage in the healing of your tattoo. Your skin should feel somewhat dry and have grown a fresh layer of defense. Your tattoo should be significantly less swollen, red, and inflamed at this point.

Scabbing should be almost completely gone at this point. At this point, infections might appear as a rash or small pimples close to the tattoo, inflammation, uncomfortable swelling, and persistent redness.

A tattoo allergy is most likely the result of an infection at this time, which requires medical attention to treat adequately. At this stage, keeping it clean and moisturized with an unscented lotion will help you avoid infections.

Infection Warning Signs Following Laser Tattoo Removal

Infection Warning Signs Following Laser Tattoo Removal

You have the option of getting a laser tattoo removed if you decide that you no longer want the tattoo on your body after getting it. Infections can happen following laser removal, like when you had the tattoo.

Similar to getting a tattoo, laser tattoo removal involves healing. With incorrect tattoo removal aftercare, the infection might happen. You must speak with your laser technician if you have any queries or worries regarding the recovery procedure.

The tattoo becomes an open womb once more during laser tattoo removal, and it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and cared for to prevent infections. Infections after laser tattoo removal can frequently resemble tattoo infections.

After laser tattoo removal, blistering, excessive redness, swelling, and inflammation are indications of infection. Consult your laser technician as soon as you notice any signs of infection so they can provide the proper treatment and advise you to halt the progression of the illness.

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How To Prevent Tattoo Infection

How To Prevent Tattoo Infection

Before getting one, discover whether you are allergic to any substances in the tattoo ink. Make it essential to find out what substances are in the inks your tattoo artist uses.

Ask for an alternative ink or decide not to get a tattoo if you are allergic to any components. However, because tattoo inks are not regulated in any manner, it may be challenging to determine precisely what is in them.

Ensure that everything in contact with your skin has been adequately sterilized. Ask the salon how they fulfill safety requirements for sterilizing their equipment. It is for your health!

Before getting a tattoo, one should also think about the following:

Is the tattoo shop authorized? To continue operating, licensed parlors must pass regular health agency inspections and adhere to strict safety standards.

The tattoo studio is reliable. Before getting a tattoo, you should check out a few tattoo shops to see how reputable they are. It is possible to determine a store’s level of safety by reading internet reviews or asking around.

Does the tattoo artist you’re considering use safety precautions? Every time they begin a tattoo, your tattoo artist should use a brand-new, sterilized needle. Additionally, they should always wear gloves.

Follow the maintenance instructions your tattoo artist provided you with care if they were given. Call them if they don’t give you specific instructions after that. They need to be able to provide you with details on aftercare.

To ensure that the region heals properly, you should generally perform the following:

  • Remove the bandage 3 to 5 hours after getting the tattoo.
  • Use antibacterial soap and water to wash your hands.
  • To pat the area, use a clean, dry washcloth or paper towel (to dry it and to remove blood, serum, or excess pigment).
  • Give the area some time to dry naturally. Avoid rubbing it dry since this might harm the skin.
  • Apply an ointment, such as Vaseline, to the region. Do not use a lotion. Rub the extra away.
  • For at least four days, repeat these instructions four times daily.

How To Treat A Tattoo Infection

Speaking with your doctor first and foremost if you think your tattoo may be infected is crucial. Here are a few typical remedies for tattoo infections.


They treat inflammation because they can lessen swelling, redness, and inflammation. Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are a few popular antihistamines to take.

Tylenol and other over-the-counter medications can help to lessen the swelling, redness, and inflammation associated with an infected tattoo.

Topical creams

They are the best for keeping the tattooed area moist and minimizing infection signs like redness and inflammation. Examples include petroleum jelly and Aquaphor healing ointment.

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Additional Remedies for Tattoo Infections:

  • If you are worried about infection, speak with your tattoo artists.
  • Use warm water and mild soap to keep the tattoo clean.
  • To prevent scratching the tattoo, wear gloves and blot the itchy areas.
  • Avoid letting pet hair, debris, or dust on your bed linens touch the open tattoo.

When to Visit a Doctor If Your Tattoo Is Infected

When to Visit a Doctor If Your Tattoo Is Infected

You should see a doctor if you experience the following: fever, heat and cold chills, unusual scabbing (as in the picture above), or the tattoo starts to ooze.

Antibiotics may usually resolve infections, but if a rash or swelling persists for more than a week after receiving antibiotics, you may want to consider removal.


FAQs About How Do You Know Your Tattoo Is Infected

What If The Wound Is Bleeding Yellow Fluid?

Pus is frequently yellow (light or dark), occasionally almost brown, occasionally greenish, and occasionally mixed with crimson blood. Although pus is a normal byproduct of your body’s healing process, it might also indicate an infection. To be sure, you should probably visit your doctor.

What Concerning Green Scabs?

The scabs may seem yellow, green, or brown, just like the pus. A dry scab, instead of seeping, indicates that your body is mending.

How Can Infections From Tattoos Occur?

A motorized needle deposits ink deeply into your skin during a tattoo procedure. It starts an immune system reaction there. Your skin cells are permanently filled with ink after this process. It can also result in a tattoo infection in certain people.

How Quickly Can A Tattoo Become Infected?

After receiving a tattoo, several infections might happen. Others take time to form, and you might not become aware of them for several months.

How Are Infections From Tattoos Identified?

Medical professionals can frequently identify an illness based only on symptoms. To identify the bacterium causing it, laboratory testing may be required. This makes it easier for you to get the treatments that are right for you.

How To Reduce Swelling After A Tattoo?

To lessen swelling and inflammation, apply an anti-inflammatory cream. Gels and lotions for pain relief might contribute to your comfort. Apply topical anesthetic spray on fresh tattoos to lessen uncomfortable swelling. Leave as much of your tattoo exposed for faster healing as possible.

Why Does My Tattoo Smell?

You usually need to hide a fresh tattoo for 3–4 days. The tattoo will begin to exude fluids at this time. These fluids are a mixture of lymph, plasma, and blood. These fluids will release an odor that may occasionally be compared to the smell of vinegar, cheese, feet, or other odors as they begin to decompose and die.

Can You Get A Fever After A Tattoo?

Unsettling responses

After getting a tattoo, you could experience a variety of emotions. According to Katz, you can get a rash — redness or pimples — around your tattoo, and you might get a fever. Violent infections can result in high fevers, trembling, chills, and sweats.


Infections can occur when the tattooing process introduces bacteria into the skin, so it is essential to ensure that your tattoo artist is using sterile equipment and taking proper precautions. If you develop symptoms such as redness, swelling, or pus, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately, as these could be signs of a more severe infection. We hope you found this article beneficial, and thank you for reading!