Signs Of Infection After Getting Tattooed
The following section will break down the tattoo healing timeline to help you determine the signs of a tattoo infection at each stage in the process.
Directly After Your Tattoo Session
Immediately after receiving your tattoo, your body begins the healing process. The tattoo artist should cover the area with saran wrap and bandage in order to keep the plasma and blood your body will excrete trapped to keep the area from leaking and avoid potential bacteria from entering the open womb.
You should keep the tattoo wrapped for 5-6 hours before washing it with mild unscented soap and covering it again. In this stage, as long as you take care of the tattoo properly, you shouldn’t see signs of infection. You’ll experience some minor pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation.
First Few Days: Sore And Oozing
The first few days will feel sore and your body will continue to excrete plasma to heal the open womb. In this stage, it’s normal to have some redness, swelling, and inflammation but be wary of the development of a rash, blistering, or bumps surrounding the tattoo.
In this early stage, tattoo infections can start small but it’s important to monitor if the pain is increasing, the redness or swelling increases which would indicate that it is infected, and recommended to consult a doctor to stop the infection early.
Second Week: Scabbing And Itchiness
During week two, you would have stopped covering the tattoo and exposed it to the air to start drying out and healing. It’s normal during this stage for the tattoo to scab and itch, but it’s important to monitor how much scabbing is occurring and how severe it itches.
If the scabbing starts to become red and inflamed, you likely have an infection that needs a doctor’s attention. If your tattoo is oozing or developing an open womb (like the photo above) you’ll need to see immediate doctor attention to stop the spread of infection.
To avoid infection at this stage, it’s important to keep the tattoo clean and hydrated. You’ll need to avoid picking at the scabbing, keep the tattoo hydrated with an unscented lotion, and try to avoid contact with unwashed hands, pet hair, and excessive sweat.
It’s ideal to avoid working out and excessively sweating until the scabbing stage has stopped and the new skin has developed. You’ll also want to avoid swimming in any body of water during this stage of the process as well.
Days 14-30: Dull And Slightly Dry
This should be the final step in your tattoo healing process. Your skin should have regenerated a new layer of protection and feel slightly dry. During this stage, your tattoo should have dramatically reduced swelling, redness, and inflammation.
There should be little to no scabbing left during this stage. Infections at this stage would look like a rash or tiny bumps around the tattoo, inflammation, painful swelling, and continual redness.
Infections at this point are likely the cause of a tattoo allergy and will need medical assistance to treat properly. You can avoid infections at this point by keeping it clean and hydrated with an unscented lotion.