It’s itchy and driving you crazy. You know you shouldn’t have done it and now you’re asking, “What happens if I scratch my tattoo? What should I do?”
Don’t panic. Take a close look at it. Did you break the skin? If not, then you can relax and promise yourself that you’ll take better care of it from now on.
But what if you accidentally scratched your tattoo in your sleep and now it’s bleeding? Uh-oh, time to take action. Go wash your hands then gently wash the tattoo. Don’t hold it under running water, though. Blot it with a clean paper towel and put on a thin layer of moisturizer when it stops bleeding.
It’s not a bad idea to show the tattoo artist what happened and get their advice. If it’s a deep injury, get medical advice instead.
It’s not necessarily bad if you accidentally scratch your tattoo because it’s unlikely that you can scratch a tattoo off. After all, the ink is deposited in the dermis underneath the surface. You’d have to cut the skin pretty deep to mess with the ink. However, if you dig at the tattoo, you’re likely to end up with an infection and a scar. Let’s talk about how to protect a new tattoo from being scratched accidentally.
How to protect a new tattoo while it’s healing
The easiest way to make sure you don’t scratch your tattoo is to put a bandage over it. Medical-grade tattoo bandages protect it from friction, injury, contamination, and getting wet, but still let the skin breathe so that it heals faster.
Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage
Tattoo artists use Saniderm’s transparent bandage for wet healing. Instead of letting the tattoo dry out and scab over, putting a waterproof bandage over it seals in the moisture so that skin heals faster. It also protects your clothes and bedding from leaking ink and blood during the first few days.
Moreover, wearing a bandage cuts down on tattoo aftercare maintenance. This type of medical-grade dressing can stay in place for days at a time. That means you don’t have to repeatedly wash and moisturize the tattoo. And if someone wants to see it, the bandage is transparent, so you can show off your new ink without worrying about someone touching it.
Since it minimizes scabbing and peeling, it means the tattoo isn’t as itchy. Still, if the skin is bothering you, Having the bandage means you can ice the skin to numb it more easily. Plus, the dressing is latex-free to prevent allergic reactions.
How can you stop a new tattoo from itching?
It’s crucial to keep a healing tattoo clean. But you need to use the right kind of soap to prevent irritation. Regular bath soap might leave a residue or dry out the skin too much. Also, fragranced soap might cause irritation.
Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap
This alcohol-free, fragrance-free tattoo soap kills germs with PCMX and Lauricidin. But even though it’s potent, it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin. It’s non-drying yet it leaves the surface squeaky clean.
When you were tattooed, needles pierced your skin, leaving tiny holes behind. Those openings can serve as a pathway for bacteria to cause infection, which is why cleansing twice a day is essential to prevent problems. This cleanser was designed by both dermatologists and artists to protect tattoos and promote healing.
Reviewers say the soap is surprisingly soothing. It’s also good for treating cuts and bug bites.
Can I slap my tattoo if it itches?
No, please don’t slap your tattoo if it itches. Yes, we’ve actually heard some artists give this advice, but we don’t agree with it.
You’ve just spent hours and lots of money getting inked. Please don’t injure your sensitive skin and run the risk of damaging your tattoo by getting slap happy. Better to steer clear of temptation altogether and try icing the spot or applying a soothing moisturizer or numbing cream.
Mad Rabbit Repair Tattoo Aftercare Soothing Gel
No, this is not a numbing cream – it’s a lightweight moisturizer mentioned in Inked Magazine. It’s described as offering “cooling relief” because it calms the skin with aloe, allantoin, and bisabolol, a derivative of chamomile. These are powerful moisturizers and anti-inflammatory ingredients. The formula also includes nourishing argan and sweet almond oils but no petrolatum to suffocate the skin.
It’s not ideal for brand-new tattoos, but excellent for calming the skin when it starts to itch and peel.
What happens if you scratch the scabs off a tattoo?
It seems like it would bring relief to scratch off the scabs, but you’ll probably regret it. Not only might you get a nasty skin infection, but you could end up with a scar that mars your tattoo. Pulling off the scabs will make the tattoo take longer to heal. Worst of all, there’s a chance you could get a full-body infection like sepsis or a flesh-eating infection that requires surgery. Remember, this isn’t just some little scrape. Those needles went all the way into the dermis and you really don’t want to get your tattoo infected.
How to heal a new tattoo faster
You can use a medical dressing to protect your new tattoo or you can go the traditional route with dry healing. This means washing and moisturizing the tattoo at least twice a day. Be sure to use fragrance-free, alcohol-free products approved by tattoo artists.
Tattoo Aftercare Bundle by After Inked
After Inked is a brand that has been featured on NY Ink, Tattoo Titans, and Ink Master. It’s recommended by tattoo artists around the world. Its products are vegan and cruelty-free, made from clean ingredients.
Take a look at this tattoo aftercare package with cleanser, moisturizer, and a transparent dressing. It’s everything you need to get through the vital healing after getting new ink.
The foam cleanser is safe for sensitive skin and made without sulfates, alcohol, fragrances, and parabens. (It doesn’t even have cocamidopropyl betaine, a common replacement for sulfates that also causes irritation).
Then, the moisturizer is based on grape seed oil, not petroleum. It’s also fragrance and paraben-free, plus it’s not sticky or greasy (unlike popular post-tattoo treatments like Aquaphor). You can even keep it in the refrigerator so that it’s extra soothing.
Can I scratch my tattoo after it’s peeled?
Once your tattoo has fully healed and is no longer peeling and doesn’t have scabs, yes, you can scratch it.
Can you scratch your tattoo after a month? We hesitate to say yes because we don’t know if it’s healed yet. Large tattoos with a lot of shading and saturated color take longer to heal than small stick and poke or single needle designs. But look on the bright side, the itchiness should only last for the first couple of weeks. And taking steps to keep it clean and moisturized will alleviate much of the discomfort.
Why is a tattoo itchy?
Any time your skin is healing, it’s likely to feel itchy. This is normal.
For the first few days after you’re inked, it’s going to be sensitive, not itchy. It might look red and a little swollen. The symptoms should decrease within 72 hours.
The risk of scratching the tattoo rises during the second and third week as it peels. That’s when it’s important to keep it moisturized. Apply a thin layer of tattoo aftercare balm up to four times per day.
Hustle Butter Tattoo Aftercare Cream
We wouldn’t be surprised if your tattoo artist mentioned Hustle Butter for a new tattoo. It’s a pleasant-smelling cream made for tattoo aftercare. It can also be used as a lubricant during the tattooing process.
Unlike A+D ointment or Aquaphor, it contains no petrolatum and it’s not greasy. Instead, it has delicious natural ingredients like aloe, shea, and mango butter plus coconut oil, rosemary, mint, and green tea. It has a pleasing lightweight texture that absorbs quickly and leaves the skin smooth and calm.
The formula is vegan and free of artificial fragrances and harsh ingredients. Just be sure to wash your hands before dipping your fingers into the jar. Clean hands prevent cross-contamination and infection.
If a tattoo is itchy, does that mean it’s infected?
If your tattoo is itchy, it’s not necessarily infected, although it could be.
The signs of infection to watch for are redness, yellowish discharge, swelling, and hot skin. Redness is usually the first sign. It spreads outward from the infected part. If that’s the only sign you’ve noticed, it’s time to double down on keeping your tattoo clean and protected. Use antimicrobial soap to wash it morning and night and keep it covered with a medical dressing if it might be exposed to dirt, friction from your clothing, or contaminants.
If you’ve reached the stage where you see pus, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. If you’re already experiencing a fever and chills, get medical care immediately.
What can make a tattoo itchy besides infection?
You might be tempted to scratch a tattoo if your skin is having an allergic reaction to the ink. Weirdly, this may happen years after getting a tattoo. There is an autoimmune condition called sarcoidosis that can cause severe itching and inflammation in old tattoos, too (1).
If you have psoriasis or eczema, those could make your tattoo itchy. And getting an MRI might make old ink feel uncomfortable.
What can you do to stop an old tattoo from being itchy?
Something as simple as icing your skin or putting a cool compress on it can calm the itch.
Put on moisturizer or ointment. However, if your skin is dry and you’ll be using something thick like petroleum jelly, dampen the spot first. That’s because ointments are occlusive and they seal in moisture, but they usually don’t provide moisture as lotion does.
An over-the-counter remedy like hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl can make an itchy spot feel better. Soaking in an oatmeal bath is also helpful, but be sure to moisturize afterward. (Please don’t soak in the bath if you have a new tattoo).
If you’re desperate, tattoo numbing cream is another idea.
Hush Anesthetic Tattoo Numbing Gel
Tattoo collectors love Hush anesthetic. It has 4% lidocaine to numb the skin and block pain signals.
Apply it before the tattoo session and you’ll be able to sit still for longer even if the artist is working on sensitive spots like your ribs or feet.
Furthermore, the formula also reduces redness and swelling so that the skin recovers faster. It contains helpful ingredients like chamomile, green tea, and calendula with a touch of menthol texture soothing power.
Stay calm and moisturize. Try not to scratch. But if you can’t resist, turn to one of the proven solutions for tattoo aftercare and soothe the itching.
We hope you found the answers you need today. If you have other questions about getting tattooed, let us know in the comments below.
|The best tattoo aftercare products
|Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage
|Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap
|Mad Rabbit Repair Tattoo Aftercare Soothing Gel
|Tattoo Aftercare Bundle by After Inked
|Hustle Butter Tattoo Aftercare Cream
|Hush Anesthetic Tattoo Numbing Gel
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/itchy-tattoo Help! My Tattoo Itches and I Don’t Want to Damage It, Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Kristeen Cherney — Updated on July 31, 2018