Tattoo Infection

What is a Tattoo?

Tattoos have become immensely popular among the young generation. It has been noted that tattoo does not causes any problem in most of the people.  But in some cases, tattoo causes infections. A tattoo generally refers to a series of small wounds on skin made using tattoo machine that helps penetrating dye into the skin. In general, a small amount of blood oozes out from a tattoo upto24 hours then it dries slowly.

Tattoo Infection

The cases of tattoo infection are noted in very few cases which arise due to variety of reasons.  The severity of the infection can be from minor to fatal depending on the seriousness of the issue. In most of the cases tattoo infections can be treated with proper antibiotics and it does not reaches a life threatening position.

Tattoo Infection Symptoms

The symptoms of tattoo infections can be confused with general allergic reactions on skin. However, it following symptoms appears, it should not be taken lightly.


While getting tattooed, a small amount of swelling is quite normal. But the swelling should not be abnormal in nature. Sometime, swelling in tattooed area distorts the design and makes the area look puffy. Swelling must be treated immediately or else, it will spread to other areas which is a prominent sign of infection.


In some cases, a person can experience mild to high fever after getting inked depending on the level of infection.  Immediate medical help is advisable in case the fever exceeds hundred degrees.


While getting inked, it is quite normal to have some pain and tenderness in the tattooed area. Generally the pain goes away within few days. But if the pain persists or worsens, then immediate medical help is advisable.


After getting tattooed, the skin oozes a small amount of blood or liquid which indicates the healing process. However, if the tattooed area is oozing yellowish green puss, then there are chances of infection. In some cases, the inked skin discharges whitish liquid which indicates infection.

Foul Odour

In case the tattooed area is giving a foul odour it means the bacterial infection has started.

Dark Red Streak

Little red streak is common while getting inked. But you need to check if the red streak is spreading. Sometime tattoo causes poisoning of blood in such cases immediate medical help is required to deal with the situation.

Causes of Tattoo Infection

Tattoo infection arises due to variety of reasons. Few reasons causing tattoo infection is mentioned below.

  • In most of the cases it has been observed that people often do not follow the instruction while getting inked which leads to tattoo infection.
  • While getting inked, the thumb rule is to clean the portion of the skin on which you are planning to get the tattoo design. Lack of cleanliness and hygiene might cause tattoo infection.
  • Always remember to get inked from a certified tattoo artist. Lack of skills in tattoo artist can lead to serious issues.
  • Sometime tattoo artist forgets to sterilize the tattoo making equipments which might spread infection. While getting inked the tattoo artist should always use fresh needle or else it can spread infection and other serious diseases like AIDS.
  • In many cases, it has been observed that the tattoo artist does not wear gloves or clean their hands before making the tattoo in your skin. This habit or carelessness can lead to tattoo infection.
  • Sometime not letting the new tattoo get fresh air might lead to the bacterial growth which can cause tattoo infection.
  • Sometime continuous friction of the tattooed skin against the cloth can slow down the healing process which can lead to tattoo infection.

Treatment for Tattoo Infection

Tattoo infection must not be taken lightly as it can lead to serious problem if left untreated. Unhealed or infected tattoo becomes vulnerable to bacterial attack which can even become life threatening. In order be ensured that your tattoo is not infected, you must first visit your tattoo artist. The tattoo artist can check and update you regarding the condition of your tattoo. However, if the problem is serious then you must seek immediate medical help. In case or minor infection, doctors will prescribe antibiotic medicines. Minor infections can be treated with proper medical course at home. It is generally advisable to use antibiotic medicines rather than any ointment because ointment can clog the pores in the skin can lead to infections. While taking a bath try to avoid water contact with the tattooed skin. Also avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Most importantly try to keep the tattooed surface clean until it heals properly.

Pictures of Tattoo Infection

tattoo infection

Picture 1 – high grade tattoo infection

Tattoo infection image

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tattoo infection on legs

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tattoo infection pictures

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