Many people like tattoos since they display personal identity and individuality, but also tattoos can be so risky. A normal tattoo will heal without any problem, however others may cause numerous problems like allergic reactions or become infected. In the post, what causes infected tattoo?
Tattoos have been associated with serious health risks which some may even lead to amputation of your body part like hand or leg. Therefore it is very important to notice some strange appearances and fillings on your tattoo before the problem worsen off.
Symptoms of an Infected Tattoo
- Redness and irritation– after leaving a tattoo shop, you may realize some redness and irritation around the art which is normal. This should stop after a day or two, but if it continues for several days then it is not normal. If the tattoo bubbles up and turn bright red, it is a clear indication that your skin is infected.
- Fever-this is the best and reliable symptom that you are having an infected tattoo. More so, if your temperature is above the normal 98.6 degrees Celsius, you should make arrangements to visit your doctor immediately.
- Pain-in usual cases a tattoo is a painful process to get, so it is normal to fill pain during and sometimes after getting it. The pain should not last for long. If the pain gets worse especially in a shooting manner it is much important if you go to hospital. This shows you are having an infected tattoo.
- Swelling– after a tattoo session it is normal for your skin to swell up a little bit because it has been irritated. If the swelling continues for more than one day without lessening up, it is a clear indication that there is a problem and seek medical attention quickly before the situation worse off.
- Strange smell– when the tattoo is infected there is unusual smell from it whish is not good. This is because of bad bacteria that has caused the infection which is associated with such odors.
- Clear or white discharge-a little clear discharge after the session is normal but it should not last for long. If the fluid is whitish, it is pus and it is a sure sign of an infected tattoo and immediate action should be taken.
- Red streaks and sores-if there is red streaks run from the tattoo and sores around the tattoo, this is not normal. It is an indication of blood poisoning or staph, so visit a doctor.
- Heat – infected tattoos normally feel hot when touched. A normal one is usually warm but extra heat is an indication of a problem. If it is infected the area around it will be very hot when touched and there will be heat radiating from it.
- Blistering –this normally occur at the top of the tattoo. It is a clear sign that your tattoo is having an infection. It is normally manifested with red, raised sores filled with body fluids. If the tattoo is bubbly red, that is a clear sign of an infection and quickly consult your physician for medication.
- Increased scab size –this is normally due to increased levels of discharge. The scabs may form with thick and bulbous and have a yellow green crust.
Response to take after noticing an Infected Tattoo
- Consult the tattoo artist for advice- revisit the shop where you acquired the tattoo. Most of the artists have information or are trained on the after care of the tattoo. They can advise you on what to do in case the situation is not in a worse state.
- Visit your doctor– if the tattoo artist confirm that the tattoo is not in a normal state, make an appointment to your doctor. The doctor can find out the type of infection and recommend the exact treatment to cub the infection.
- Use of topical ointments– this can be done only the infection can be handled at home. If you have recommended ointments then it is better use them. Though, the ointments should be used as preventive, as they only clog the skin which could lead to an infection.
- Keep the tattoo dry – as the tattoo is in the healing process, it is important that it should not be submerged in the water. Don’t swim with an infected tattoo or get rained on and also avoid making your tattoo wet at all times.
What does an Infected Tattoo Look Like?
Regardless of the precautions taken before the tattoo session, all tattoos will be slightly uncomfortable in the hours and few days following the session. Knowing how differentiate between normal discomfort and unusual one can be so difficult. Knowing how to eliminate this kind of discomforts can be helpful and keep you stress free during the recovery process of the tattoo.
Noticing the signs of an Infected Tattoo
- Always make a close observation for a few days before coming up with a conclusion.
After a tattoo session the entire area will be red, slightly swollen, warm, and sensitive. New tattoos are always a bit painful, with some sores. After the first 2 days of session it is very hard to notice an infection since all these fillings are normal.
- Keenly look for continuous inflammation from the tattoo
For large and complicated tattoos, it takes a longer time for them to heal as compared to small and simple ones. If the inflammation is continuously serious for more than three days, it may be a sign of an incoming infection to the tattoo.
- Observe for serious increase in size the tattoo area
If the tattoo or area around it swell up in an even manner, it is a sign of an infection and it should be treated immediately by a doctor. Mostly if the area rises significantly instead of shrinking down, get it observed by a doctor. This is an automatic presence of an infected tattoo.
- Strange outcome that is associated with a bad smell is also questionable
Foul smell discharge from the tattoo is a clear indicator to an infection. Take a caution of visiting your physician immediately.
- Take your body temperature to make sure it is normal
The normal body temperature is usually 98.6 degrees Celsius. If it goes past that you may be having a fever which is a clear sign of an infection
What should I do before tattoo session to prevent Infected Tattoo?
- Get tested for allergies before receiving a tattoo
Though it is not common, some people are allergic to certain ingredients in tattoo ink and can get an ugly and painful situation if they get a tattoo. So it is advisable to go for allergy test if you are willing to have a tattoo.
- Look for a licensed and qualified tattoo artist.
Make your own observations in your area for a good parlor and artist make sure the artist is licensed and qualified for you to accept him to carry a tattoo session on your body.
- Make sure the artist uses new and sterilized needles
Best tattoo artists take cleanliness as their priority and always take steps to show you clearly that they are using new needles on you. They also have to put on gloves.
Infected Tattoo Symptoms or Signs
In most cases it is normal to have a little bit of swelling, redness, warmth and itch from a new tattoo for the first two to three days after the session. Make sure the pain and complication does not get worse after this given period of time.
Always observe the following Symptoms:
Spreading or increasing red color around the tattoo-redness is normal right after getting a tattoo but if it increases after 2 to 3 days it could be a sign of a problem, and it will be better if you visit the artist to check it out.
Uneven increase in size of the area around the tattoo-similar to the above swelling is very normal right after getting a tattoo. But when it increases it is a sign of having an infection. Elevating the tattoo and icing it can reduce inflammation though it is much important to visit a doctor.
Increased high temperature from the tattoo is not normal. Some warmth right after the tattoo session is also normal, but if it increases after 48 hours it may be a clear indicator of an infected tattoo and action should be taken as early as possible.
Off-white, brown, or greenish yellow fluids oozing from the tattoo– in most cases this is pus which is formed after a serious infection of bacteria to the tattoo and the best action is to visit a doctor immediately.
Stinking bad smell due to the bacterial infection- When the symptoms are in this level the situation is very worse and it is very important to take a quick action which is to visit a physician.
Swollen lymph nodes- this normally occur when someone is having an infection or illness. If you are not ill and the lymph nodes swell up it is a clear indication that tattoo is having a problem.
Increasing pain and tenderness-for the first few days it is normal to have pain because the skin has been traumatized. Continuers pain after three days is not normal. It indicates that the tattoo is having problems
Red lines running from the infected tattoo- this will occur due to blood poisoning, especially to those people with allergies. The blood is poisoned with some ingredients in the tattoo ink resulting to this. It is important to run to your doctor for examination.
Peeling– this is not a good indicator of the infection. This are the last stages when it comes to an infected tattoo.
Infected Tattoo Before and After
A Tattoo that is Infected have the following looks:
- It usually has from pink to red discoloration around it. It also has an itchy feeling which can be a sign of irritation.
- There is unusual kind of swell up that is filled with fluids in the immediate area of the tattoo. If the swelling is not treated early it spreads up.
- If the infection is left untreated for a long period of time you can develop a fever which can range from light to severe. If the fever get worse you should visit a doctor.
- It is normal to have pain after a tattoo session but if he pain don’t stop after some few days it might be an infected tattoo.
- There is usually a clear liquid with tinny spots of blood which is part of the process of healing. But if the discharge is yellowish-green pus that is an indication that there is a problem with the tattoo.
- There is a bad bacteria that may affect the tattoo causing it to produce a bad stinking smell which need to be checked.
- From the original tattoo, if there are red lines running from it it is an indication of blood poisoning and you should go for immediate examination by a physician.
What may cause an Infected Tattoo?
- The instructions given on how to care for your tattoo are not being followed properly.
- The tattoo parlor where the session was carried out may not have been clean enough for such surgical act.
- The tattoo artist may not have been licensed and trained.
- The needles used were not new and they were not sterilized.
- Exposing the new tattoo to wetness by not covering when having a shower or swimming before it is healed.
- Denying the tattoo exposure to fresh air.
- An infected tattoo may arrive when you hurt your tattoo by knocking or heating it to other objects.
- Irritating the new tattoo by not covering it during sleep or scrubbing it with clothing.
- Entrance of bacteria to the pricked skin may also result to infected tattoo.
Appearance of the Tattoo after healing
The appearance of the tattoo after healing will only depend on how severe the infection or the wound was and whether thick scabs, blisters, or sores had appeared on the tattoo.
The following happens to your new infected tattoo:
- Fading of the color
- The tattoo may lose the shape of the art
- The tattoo develops scar tissue
- The affected body part may be amputated in severe infections
How to Treat an Infected Tattoo at Home
The normal swelling and redness from a tattoo can be treated at home. There are basic instructions that an artist normally give after the session that can be carried at home. Be careful and follow then all.
Treating an Infected Tattoo
If you realize that your tattoo is having an infection, it is very important to first revisit your tattoo artist for consultation and to confirm that the tattoo is not normal. This is because many tattoo artist have been trained to look for infection and they have carried the session to hundreds of people making them more experienced.
If the artist confirms that you have an infected tattoo, visit the doctor who will be able to diagnose the infection and prescribe proper medication for the treatment of the infection.
It is also important after realizing that your tattoo is infected to use topical ointments which are linked to the sight if you have been confirmed by qualified physician that your tattoo is having problems. Avoid using topical ointments to prevent an infection as this will only clog up your skin and result to infection where it was not.
Keep dry at all times your tattoo by avoiding it from coming in to contact with water as it can cause your tattoo to fade and even cause more infections.
Avoid exposing the infected tattoo to direct sunlight as it dries it up causing it to form more scabs. Also to avoid future skin infections where sunscreen all over your tattoo.
Along with doctor’s visit, do the following for home care:
- Before touching the tattoo, wash your hands with anti- bacterial soap and warm water clear all germs that may be on your hands, then dry them with a clean towel or on air.
- Clean the tattoo by washing all the discharge with warm water. Do not let the tattoo to stay wet for long time. Washing should be done with anti-bacterial wash or soap with bear hands and not cloth since can scrub the wound.
- With a mixture of salt in water, rinse the tattoo in a gentle manner observing not hurt the wound.
- Do not scrub the scabs but carefully wash away all foreign particles and extra fluids in a gentle manner. If you force the scabs off the tattoo, you will be damaging it.
- In a careful state, dry up the tattoo with a soft cloth observing not to damage it. Or you can leave the tattoo to dry by air.
- Let the infected tattoo to dry very well before applying anything.
- When completely dry, apply an ointment recommended by the doctor as prescribed.
- Wrap up the tattoo well observing not to apply much pressure on it to prevent entrance of dirt and germs on it. Wrapping should be done when the tattoo is moist when going to sleep or when wearing rough cloths that may irritate it.
- When not active, let your tattoo to air dry in a clean environment.
- The tattoo should always be dry during healing time except during treatment as prescribed by the doctor.
- Direct sunlight to the tattoo is harmful and therefore should be avoided.
- Apply a cold pack to minimize itching and swelling to your infected tattoo. Avoid placing ice pack directly to your skin, instead wrap the ice pack in a towel so that it does not affect your skin and cause tissue damage.
- Don’t let the infected tattoo come into contact with wetness. Try as much as you can to keep your tattoo away from water so that it may heal quickly. Always cover it when having a shower.
- Don’t use any creams or lotions on the infected skin as they be a way of letting in more bacterial infection. Chemical products that are not prescribed including soaps and creams can be harsh on the skin and can aggravate the infection.
- You can take medication to reduce pain and bring down the swelling. Over the counter medications can be taken to relieve the pain and swelling associated with an infected tattoo.
Recognizing the symptoms of an infected tattoo
- Pay attention to notice if there are any bad smell coming out from your tattoo.
- Keenly observe for a feeling of shooting pain at the location of the tattoo.
- Observe your temperature changes.
- Look for red lines running from the tattoo.
- Feel for swelling and inflammation.
- Look for any discharge.
- Look and observe if you have swollen lymph nodes.
What are the common causes of infection to a tattoo?
- Touching the tattoo with dirty hands that contain germs in most cases by not knowing.
- Using a lot of aftercare creams and creating a necessary condition best for harboring bacterial infection.
- The artist using unsterilized needle and contaminated ink.
- Low blood flow to the wound may slow down the healing process. This is normally caused by much swelling on the tattoo.
- If you went through the session while you were sick, the healing process can be slow.
- People with poor immune system and poor balanced diet are easily exposed to bacterial infection.
- Drinking, lack of enough sleep and drug are also other causes of slow healing and can also lead to an infected tattoo.
- Hurting your tattoo by heating or knocking it can because wound trauma, and also much exercise and not resting is another cause of infection.
- Rough cloths and bed linen, with other foreign bodies like dirt and grime when they get into your tattoo they can cause problems.
- Your tattoo getting cross contamination from other infected fluids like after care creams and ointments can contain bacteria and germs.
- Is my new tattoo infected? What should I do about it?: https://tatring.com/getting-tattooed/Has-My-New-Tattoo-Become-Infected-What-should-I-do
- How to tell if a tattoo is infected: http://www.wikihow.com/Tell-if-a-Tattoo-Is-Infected
- Infected tattoo treatment: https://www.schmidtandclark.com/infected-tattoo-treatment
- Tattoo infection: http://mddk.com/tattoo-infection.html
- Infected tattoo: signs and treatment: https://tatring.com/getting-tattooed/Tattoo-Infection
- Tattoo problems-home treatment: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/tattoo-problems-home-treatment#1