Redness on a Tattoo: 9 pieces of advice from experienced tattoo artists.

Title - Redness on a Tattoo_ 9 pieces of advice from experienced tattoo artists

I just got tattooed, and I experience tattoo redness. There is a small area of my tattoo where the redness doesn't disappear. What to do next? We've asked our experienced team of tattooists in The Black Hat Tattoo to share their experience with us. They help you understand tattoo redness or rash and what to do about it. 

What is redness on a tattoo?

What is redness on a tattoo

Redness on a tattoo is when your skin becomes red and slightly swollen on the area where you got your new ink. Most of the time, tattoo redness or rash is not severe and will resorb within two or three weeks. 

An acute inflammatory reaction causes it. Redness on a tattoo happens because the needle and the ink cause irritation, which is an entirely normal body reaction after getting a new ink. Your body's natural response to a wound is to mobilize larger volumes of blood near the area to drive more oxygen, nutrients, and blood-clotting cells so your tattoo can heal as quickly as possible. 

Is redness normal after a tattoo session?

Is redness normal after a tattoo session

Redness on a tattoo or rash is a normal body reaction, such as itchiness and swelling after getting a new tattoo. When you get tattooed, we insert the ink in the second top layer of the skin. Your immune system is working to heal from the procedure, which will take a couple of weeks. You can read more about our aftercare recommendations here

Each new ink is likely to cause some irritation. It is a natural reaction of the human immune system. Redness, swelling, sore skin, flaking, and itching are expected during a normal healing process. 

Most of the time, these signs will disappear as soon as your skin cells get the time and space to adjust to the ink with proper care. Tattoo redness is a part of the healing process. 

On the other hand, a rash is different and can develop over time. A tattoo rash can appear weeks or months after tattooing. You can recognize a rash by itchy bumps, redness that becomes darker with time, and increased pain plus swelling. Sometimes, the rash is similar to acne. 

How long is redness normal after a tattoo?

How long is redness normal after a tattoo

The redness on the tattoo should go away after 2/3 days. In a normal healing process, the irritation will soon go away if the tattoo isn't too big. 

Some skins are more sensitive than others, and your skin will react its way. Do not compare yourself to others because each person is different, and each tattoo experience is unique.

The area will stay red for a day or two for a tiny tattoo because the healing process is faster. However, the body can remain red for up to a week if you get a large piece, such as a full sleeve or a back piece. 

Should my tattoo still be red after 5 days?

Should my tattoo still be red after 5 days

If your tattoo is still red after five days, the healing process may take a little longer than usual. Before worrying too much, the first thing to do is to consider if your healing process takes longer due to the size and placement of your new ink. Some massive work or coverups are often more robust on the skin and can increase the redness.

Additionally, during the aftercare procedure, moisturizing your tattoo too much can delay the healing process and create unwanted side effects. Excess in aftercare cream can cause redness.

A heavy-handed tattoo artist could have irritated the area more than expected, causing excessive redness. 

Coverups can result in redness lasting longer than an area tattooed for the first time. 

When is it normal, and when to worry about it?

When is it normal, and when to worry about it

The redness usually indicates that you are applying a moisturizer that is not ok for your body or using it too much.

The redness goes away when you stop applying it. It will be your easy solution to solve the issue you face.

However, other causes of redness would be: not cleaning the area, allowing bacteria to take over, keeping the cling film for too long, and not allowing your skin to breathe and dry; you are allergic to some element of the ink.

We all know that the sun damages the skin, which is even more true for tattooed skin. The tattooed area may become extremely sensitive to sun exposure, and you may get redness or rashes in the tattooed area as a result.

You can experience redness after the healing process and sometimes even years later. Usually, the redness is not caused by anything too serious. Older tattoos can go red because the skin is always more sensitive to sunlight than other areas, even after time has passed. 

Does redness around the tattoo mean infection?

Does redness around the tattoo mean infection

Redness itself isn't the only thing that signals an infection. The most common symptoms of an illness or an allergy are bumpy skin, redness, and rash around the tattooed area. And if these symptoms last for a week or more, it is time to ask your artists and seek medical advice from a doctor.

As previously mentioned, a tattoo that is just slightly red for up to a week (or sometimes a little longer) usually is nothing to worry about.

You must seek medical advice immediately if you experience cold and flu-like signs such as fever, waves of heat and cold, and shivering. Also, if you have swelling or pus from the tattooed area or red lesions, these are strong indications to visit the doctor as soon as possible.

How do you treat redness on a tattoo?

How do you treat redness on a tattoo

As we said earlier, it is common to have the skin irritated up to a couple weeks after getting your tattoo. Your tattoo is a piece of art but also a wound. 

When the tattooing experience occurs, needles will be introduced to your skin thousands of times. While the damage to your skin is tiny, its volume will irritate your skin for the following weeks.

To treat tattoo redness, some people find that a cold compress helps. It will soothe irritated skin, especially if some swelling is involved. 

The best solution to tattoo redness is often the correct aftercare products and procedures. An antibacterial perfume-free soap, an aftercare cream adapted to your skin, and a tattoo is mandatory. When experiencing tattoo redness, the first step is to change the brand of your antibacterial soap and ditch the chosen tattoo cream for another one. 

The photosensitive reaction is a common cause of redness. To avoid a photosensitive response, it is recommended to always wear a high-SPF sunscreen or protective clothing over your tattooed skin. We strongly advise avoiding long hours of sun exposure straight after getting inked up to one year after completing the healing process. 

Following the tattoo session, avoiding wearing tight-fitting clothing or too-tight bandages is best. 

Is redness a sign of tattoo allergy?

Is redness a sign of tattoo allergy

Redness is not always a sign of tattoo allergy; some redness is normal. Swelling and itchiness too. Your immune system is working for you. 

Early signs of tattoo allergy can be red, bumpy rashes around the tattooed area. The persistence of the symptoms is an indication of seeking a potential allergy. However, tattoo allergy is rare. Read more about tattoo allergies here

Also, when the artist protects your fresh ink after the session, they use clingfilm and medical tape. Some people develop irritation to those or an allergy to the medical tape, causing an itchy allergic reaction around the tattoo.