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Inflamed tattoo: why it happens and what to do

The inflamed tattoo usually leads to the appearance of signs such as redness, swelling and pain in the area of ​​the skin where it was made, causing discomfort and concern that it may be a sign of something serious.

However, it is normal for the inflamed tattoo in the first 3 to 4 days, as it is a natural reaction of the skin to the type of injury that was caused by the needle, without being an indication of something more serious such as allergy or infection. So, it is very important to start with proper care right after the tattoo is finished, to reduce skin irritation and ensure that no further complications arise.

However, it is expected that this inflammation will subside over time, having almost disappeared after a week of care. Thus, if the inflammation does not improve or worsens during the first 7 days it is very important that the tattoo is evaluated by a dermatologist or general practitioner, as it may indicate the presence of an infection or even an allergy to the ink.

See also: Food and tattoo – 6 “oily” foods you shouldn’t eat when getting a tattoo

Inflamed tattoo – How to know if it is infection


One of the most serious complications that can arise after getting a tattoo is the appearance of an infection, which happens when some microorganism, such as a bacterium, a fungus or a virus, manages to enter the body.

When this happens, in addition to skin inflammation, other symptoms may appear, such as:

  • Low or high fever;
  • Chills or heat waves;
  • Generalized muscle pain and malaise;
  • Pus exit from tattoo wounds;
  • Very hard skin.
    Regardless of whether these symptoms appear or not, whenever the inflamed skin does not improve after 3 or 4 days and whenever the symptoms worsen over time, it is very important to go to the hospital or consult a doctor who can assess the location and understand if it is necessary to do some kind of specific treatment. See what are the most common skin infections.

One of the tests that can be ordered by the doctor to understand if it really is an infection is the smear of the site. In this exam, the doctor rubs a cotton swab at the tattoo site and sends it to the laboratory, where it will be analyzed to identify if there is an excess of any microorganism that may be causing an infection. If this happens, the doctor can advise the use of an antibiotic, antifungal or just recommend a new routine of care, according to the microorganism identified.

How to know if it is allergy

The allergy can also cause signs similar to those of the infection, especially in the area of ​​the skin where it was made. However, it is less frequent that leads to the appearance of fever, chills or general malaise, being more common the appearance of redness, swelling, pain, itching and even peeling of the skin.

Thus, the best way to know if it is really an allergy is to make an appointment with the dermatologist, who can order a skin smear test to detect a possible infection and then start the allergy treatment. Better understand how to identify a skin allergy.

What to do to treat inflamed tattoo

Since there is no single cause, the most important step in treating an inflamed tattoo is to consult a dermatologist, or go to the hospital, to identify the correct cause and start the most appropriate treatment:

  1. Treatment for infection
    The treatment for an infected tattoo will vary according to the type of microorganism present. In the case of a bacterium, an antibiotic ointment with bacitracin or fusidic acid, for example, is usually indicated. If it is a yeast infection, the doctor may recommend the use of an antifungal ointment with ketoconazole, fluconazole or itraconazole. When it is a virus, it is usually only necessary to maintain the hygiene of the place and take a rest, since the body is able to fight the virus without medication.

In most cases, ointments are able to treat the infection, but if the situation is more severe and the symptoms are not improving, it is advisable to go back to the doctor as it may be necessary to start using oral remedies, in the form of pills.

The later treatment for an infection is started, the greater the risk of spreading to other tissues and even other organs, putting life at risk. Therefore, whenever an infection is suspected, it is very important to consult a doctor to start the appropriate treatment.

  1. Allergy treatment
    The treatment for an allergic reaction in the tattoo is usually simple and can be done with the ingestion of antihistamine drugs, such as cetirizine, hydroxyzine or bilastine. However, if the symptoms are very intense, the doctor may still prescribe a corticosteroid ointment to apply to the skin, such as hydrocortisone or betamethasone, which will help to quickly relieve irritation and discomfort.

In most situations, the allergy does not need to be treated by removing the tattoo, as the body will slowly get used to the presence of the ink. But if the symptoms do not improve, it is important to go back to the doctor, to adjust the medications being used or to evaluate other types of treatment that may help.

See also: Know the risks of getting a tattoo in pregnancy

How to prevent the tattoo from igniting


Inflammation of the skin is a natural process that will happen in most tattoos, as it is the way the skin has to react to the injuries caused by the needle and heal. However, complications that cause this inflammation to last longer or reoccur, such as infection and allergy, can be avoided.

For this, the most important care must be thought before even starting the tattoo, and consists of choosing a certified place and with good hygiene conditions, since, if the material is dirty or contaminated, it is almost certain that some type of complication, in addition to a very high risk of catching other serious diseases like hepatitis or even HIV, for example.

After that, post-tattoo care should be started right after finishing the process, which is usually done by the tattoo artist, who covers the tattoo with a piece of film paper, to protect the wounds from contact with microorganisms. But other precautions, such as washing the area, applying healing cream and avoiding exposing the tattoo to the sun, are also very important. Check out the step-by-step care to take after getting a tattoo.

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