5 Signs That Your Tattoo Isn't Healing Right

Tattoo Healing Signs

Getting a tattoo isn’t dangerous anymore. As long as you’re getting the work done in a clean, sterile environment like most shops you don’t have anything to worry about. Healing should be quick, the pain should fade, and your tattoo should be there in perfect condition the same as it was the day you got it. But what if you’re not sure what is “normal”? What if it’s your first tattoo? What if you’re not sure that spot is supposed to be there? Here are few things you should look out for.


Tattoos are skin damage, and when your body is damaged the area becomes hot. This is a difficult one to diagnose because at first heat will be normal because your skin IS damaged. Tattoos by nature damage the cells of the dermis and epidermis so your body gives off heat trying to repair those. When it’s not normal is if that heat hasn’t dissipated after the first few days. Combine with the second sign and you’re looking at infection rather than healing process.

Outside Color

Fresh tattoos are red, the skin is irritated and angry. It may even last a couple of days where the redness extends outside of the outline a little. When it’s not normal is that the color is purple, deeper red, even bluish and especially if there are “veins” visible streaking out from the tattoo. Infection is most easily spotted by color but will also feel especially hot to the touch.


The first 24-48 hours of your tattoos life it will ooze. This ooze is a combination of clear or yellowish plasma, blood, and ink. It may be barely colored or the color of your tattoo but it’s perfectly normal. When it’s not normal is when this discharge is thick, cloudy, yellow or even green. It’s especially likely your tattoo is infected if it’s bad smelling too. Discharge after the first 48 hours should be checked out.

Hives, spots, Bumps

If there are bumps or any kind of markings outside of the actual tattoo, especially if they itch you may have some sort of allergy to the ink. It’s extremely unusual for someone to be allergic to ink these days because there’s very little in it. Metals have been outlawed for decades, and other than pigment and plastics there’s not much else in there. You may also be allergic to your choice of aftercare. If your tattoo has any marks that have developed after getting tattooed (excluding scabs or ingrown hairs) get it checked out.

Falling Out

There are two reasons your tattoo is falling out – your body is rejecting the ink because you’re allergic, or it wasn’t put in properly in the first place. There’s a greater chance of the latter being the case. Falling out doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything medically wrong with your tattoo, but it also means it’s not going to look great once the healing process is over. Color can also come out if a scab gets removed prematurely.

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