Surprise Discount For Complete Tattoo Removal Call Now 866-465-0090
Published: 06.06.2022
Updated: 02.06.2024

The day of your tattoo appointment has arrived, you’ve waited weeks or even months for this special occasion and when the artist is finished the tattoo is everything you could have imagined! A few days later there seems to be a smudged picture around your new tattoo, the ink is light in color and a little out of focus, even blurry. What happened? Most commonly, it is a tattoo blowout that occurs.

What is Tattoo Blowout?

Tattooing isn’t an exact science, but it does involve some precision by the artist who places ink into the second layer of the skin. Tattoo blowout is rarely ever caused by the client during healing. There are several reasons blow-out occurs, all centered around fat cells in the skin, an uncontrollable environment carrying the ink to an undesired location.

What Does a Blown Out Tattoo Look Like?

Tattoo blowout can look like a smudge, a smear, or a stain, it can cause once crisp line-work to appear fuzzy or blurry and can make a whole tattoo look out of focus. In some cases, minor tattoo blowout might even travel two or three inches from the tattoo during the healing process, appearing extremely faint and mostly unnoticeable to the untrained eye.

Tattoo Blowout Causes

The most common reason for tattoo blowout is the application, something tattoo artists learn during an apprenticeship and continue to refine during their career.

  • Incorrect angle of the needles entering the skin; Sometimes harder to reach parts of the body require an artist to move and manipulate themselves into precarious angles, resulting in a sub-optimal position to properly put ink into the skin.
  • ‘Thin’ sections of skin, where it’s very elastic, like the ditch opposite an elbow.
  • Overstretched skin: Tattooing works best when the skin is stretched tightly, most commonly angled between the artist’s non-dominant hand’s thumb and forefinger. Overstretching the area can result in the ink spreading through the dermis, resulting in blow-out.
  • Overworking an area, where a tattoo artist simply spends too much time attempting to saturate the skin, resulting in an abundance of ink in the dermis.


Does Tattoo Blowout Go Away?

Sadly, the answer is no, tattoo blowout will not go away on its own. Tattoo pigment particles are too big for the body’s immune system to process away, so the blowout will remain, as if it were intended to be there.

Fixing Blown Out Tattoos

There is no way to reverse a blurry line in a tattoo, but there are two ways to fix tattoo blowout. Each option will be dependent on where and how severe the blowout is, and what aligns best with a client’s goals.

Fixing a Tattoo with a Cover Up

The most obvious answer might be tattoo fixing. However, just having the artist tattoo over the area where the blowout has happened is not always the right answer. Skin colored ink, sometimes called camouflage tattooing rarely ever looks natural, less over the course of someone’s life. Tattooing over blurry or ‘smudged’ line-work also doesn’t make those original tattoos crisp and sharp.

A cover-up tattoo over blowout requires tattoo aftercare, which on average, means approximately 2 months of healing to fully recover, and on a case-by-case basis, it could even be a bit longer. Even if the skin looks healed and all tattoo aftercare side effects are gone, the immune system is still healing internally so it’s crucial to wait the two months.

Once healed your artist can start the tattoo cover up process, understanding this will require an addition to the existing tattoo by modifying, expanding or changing the design. Usually, the underlying tattoo blowout can be incorporated into the new design but fixing a tattoo with a cover up will require more tattooing. This is not a great option for fine line tattoos or tattoos that mostly include line-work.

The cost will vary based on the artist and design, ranging from $75 to several hundred dollars, or more.

The advantage to doing a tattoo cover up to fix blow out is that aside from the two months of tattoo aftercare waiting, it’s usually resolved in one appointment with a tattoo artist. Conversely, some disadvantages to this option include turning a small tattoo into something much larger, completely changing the layout, design or meaning of the tattoo. Depending on the location, stretching or blowout may occur again.

Laser Tattoo Removal for Messed Up Tattoos

Covering up a tattoo blowout isn’t always an option, especially given how it will add to the size and density of the existing tattoo. Laser tattoo removal for blow-out will remedy the unwanted ink remedy and, in most cases, will not require the original tattoo to be touched up. (Check out our article to learn more – how does tattoo removal work?)

From the time the blowout is first noticed it’s best to wait about twelve weeks before starting laser tattoo removal treatments. This gives the body plenty of healing time and ensures the ink has fully settled within the skin.

On average, one to three tattoo removal treatments will be needed to remove the blowout ink from the skin, with about 6-8 weeks of healing between treatments if required.

Tattoo removal cost to remove blown out tattoo ink is very affordable but will range mostly on how large of an area will be treated at each office visit.

Perhaps the most amazing advantage to choosing to have the ink blow out removed is that it retains the original design and artwork, without re-doing lines or adding unnecessary elements resulting in a larger or darker tattoo than originally intended. Additionally, most tattoo removal treatments take a very short amount of time to complete, 30 seconds to a few minutes in most cases.

The only disadvantage from utilizing laser tattoo removal treatments to remove blow-out is the time it takes, waiting the six to eight weeks to see if all of it has been removed or if follow up treatment will be required.

The FDA oversees the lasers and technology used for tattoo removal and recommends lasers over every other option for safe and effective removal.

Need Help Fixing Your Blown Out Tattoo?

Tattoo blowout won’t fade or go away on its own, but it is fixable and there’s no reason to live with a tattoo that is almost perfect when it can be remedied.

Book a consultation for your tattoo blowout with one of our experts online now!

Dr Kevin Shomaker Dr. Kevin Schomacker VP Medical Research

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