It’s normal for a brand-new tattoo to be swollen and itchy. But if you’re searching for, “Why is my tattoo raised?” once your skin is healed, you might have a problem.
Why can you feel your tattoo lines months or even years later? Various factors could cause your skin to swell. Let’s talk about the reasons and discuss what you can do to take care of a raised tattoo.
Why is my tattoo raised after being in the sun?
The tattoo artist probably already told you to wear sunscreen because it keeps the ink from fading (1). But spending time in the sun may also cause a healed tattoo to swell. High heat and humidity can affect scars as well as tattoos. If you’ve gotten overheated, try cooling down and drinking something refreshing.
You can also ice the tattoo to reduce swelling. Protect it with a cloth and keep the ice on it for 10 minutes at a time. The rest of the time, keep the tattoo dry and out of the water if you’ve gone swimming.
If the swelling increases or other symptoms appear like itching, redness, or a rash, please seek medical advice.
In the meantime, keep your tattoo vibrant with sunscreen. Although you shouldn’t put it on broken skin, sunscreen is your friend once the skin has healed. It doesn’t just protect the ink from fading, but it also keeps UV rays from breaking down the collagen and making your skin wrinkle in the years to come.
Tattoo Goo Renew Enhancing Lotion SPF 30
Tattoo Goo has a whole lineup of aftercare products including soap and moisturizer to care for new ink. This lightweight lotion is thin and quick-absorbing. It’s easy to apply and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy.
It’s packed with vitamins A, D, and E from olive oil so it promotes healing and protects against photo-aging. The SPF 30 protection level filters out 97% of harmful UV rays to keep ink bright.
Lastly, the non-comedogenic formula contains no petroleum or lanolin that could clog pores or cause irritation.
Why is my tattoo raised after months?
Long after the tattoo has healed, you may still develop an allergic reaction to the ink. The persons who are most at risk are those with psoriasis or eczema. If one of those skin conditions flares up, it could affect an old tattoo.
We recommend getting medical advice to treat the situation. If you’re unable to do so, but you already have experience taking care of a flare, try the same treatment you typically use.
For example, if you’re experiencing itching and irritation, you might try a cortisone cream.
CeraVe Hydrocortisone Cream 1%
We like CeraVe’s hydrocortisone cream because it has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. It’s made for sensitive skin, it won’t clog pores, and it has no artificial fragrance.
The dermatologist-tested formula is safe for all skin types. It soothes itching for hours at a time with pramoxine hydrochloride 1%, the strongest you can get without a prescription. This ingredient provides relief from eczema and rashes and may also reduce a swollen tattoo. With that said, please don’t apply this to a healing tattoo.
The formula is fortified with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated and healthy. Unfortunately, it also has methylparaben as a preservative. Still, it should be quite helpful for short term use.
If you don’t want to try medication, soothe an irritated tattoo with a professional tattoo aftercare cream like the one below.
Hustle Butter Deluxe Tub Tattoo Aftercare Tattoo Cream
Hustle Butter is a best-selling moisturizer for new tattoos. Not only that, but it can be used as a lubricant during the tattooing process and it also makes old tattoos look brighter.
It relieves itching and inflammation with a vegan blend of plant butters and oils. The highlights include shea and mango butter and coconut and rice bran oils. Although it’s not oil-free it’s non-comedogenic. Plus, it feels extra soothing with a hint of rosemary and mint essential oil.
Tattoo collectors say that it’s excellent for healing new ink because it keeps the skin soft and reduces scabbing without triggering acne.
Why is my new tattoo raised?
For the first few days after you get a new tattoo, the skin is going to be swollen, red, warm, and irritated. It may leak liquid, blood, and ink and feel extra sensitive. After all, it’s just been punctured numerous times with needles. Colorful tattoos with a lot of saturation and shading are the ones most likely to swell.
If you’re wet healing with a medical-grade bandage like Saniderm, you might not notice if your tattoo is raised because it will be covered all the time. But if you’re dry healing by washing it morning and night and applying moisturizer, you can keep a close eye on how it’s doing.
It’s a good idea to use antimicrobial soap to keep the tattoo clean to prevent infection. This one here doesn’t sting or dry out the skin.
Provon Antimicrobial Lotion Soap
Here’s medical-grade soap with 0.3% PCMX, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial ingredient. We’ve seen people clear up infected piercings with it and speed up healing of new tattoos. It can be used anywhere on the body.
Pro tips: wash your hands with this soap before touching the new tattoo. When you dry your hands or the tattoo, use a fresh towel or disposable paper towels to prevent cross-contamination.
Why is my tattoo raised after one year?
What if it’s been a year since you got a tattoo, so the skin is completely healed, but you can feel the lines? What if the ink looks raised above the surrounding skin?
First, does it feel sore? Itchy? Hot? Then it may be inflamed and it’s a good idea to show it to a doctor. It could be a reaction to the ink or there might be something going on besides that.
If it doesn’t feel inflamed and doesn’t look infected or rashy, keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t go back to normal in a few days, we suggest talking to a doctor just in case. But don’t panic, sometimes it just happens.
Why is my tattoo raised years later?
If you notice that your tattoo is raised and itchy years later, it could still be an allergic reaction as your body gradually breaks down the pigment in the skin. Think about it – the ink is embedded among other skin cells that might reject it. This reaction is most common with red and yellow ink.
We bet you can guess what we’re going to suggest that you do – that’s right, go see a doctor. But if you don’t have any symptoms other than the raised texture, why not try a calming tattoo balm like this one:
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve
It’s oily and delicious. This aftercare balm will melt into the skin and deliver healing herbs where they’re needed. The formula features organic calendula, comfrey, and burdock in a base of coconut oil and beeswax. It’s enriched with vitamin E to fix the skin faster and a touch of tea tree oil to prevent infection.
Of course, it’s free of synthetic ingredients like fragrances, parabens, and petroleum. It’s also gluten-free. Feel free to use it on old and new tattoos as well as bug bites and scrapes.
Why is my old tattoo itchy?
As gorgeous as it looks, a tattoo is actually a skin injury. When it heals, there’s a chance it could become a scar. The medical term is hypertrophic or keloid scar. That could be one of the reasons why a tattoo is raised.
Also, when skin scars, mast cells are more common in those spots. Mast cells release histamine, the same thing that causes hives from allergies and makes skin itchy.
It’s crucial to take good care of a new tattoo so that it doesn’t scar. Keeping it clean is only part of the solution. It’s also essential to keep it moisturized and protected from friction. If the skin is hydrated, it’s unlikely to scab and scar.
Wet healing with a transparent, waterproof, medical bandage is the easy way to do it.
Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage
Saniderm sells transparent, latex-free bandages that are pre-cut into various sizes of squares or available in different sizes of rolls for sleeve tattoos. The bandage allows you to shower and keep dirt and dust out of wounds and new tattoos. Although it’s waterproof, it’s breathable so that the skin doesn’t get pruney which would wreck a new tattoo.
As long as you don’t have an allergy to medical-grade adhesive, you’re likely to find this is the best way to heal a new tattoo.
Why is my tattoo bumpy?
If the swelling doesn’t go down after a couple of days after getting a new tattoo, check with the artist or your doctor to see if there’s an infection or allergic reaction. The sooner you address the problem, the more likely that things will turn out just fine.
Protect your new tattoo (if you’re not wet healing with the bandage) by keeping it moisturized. Use a fragrance-free ointment or lotion like Aquaphor.
Why fragrance-free? It’s because artificial fragrances are one of the most common allergens that cause people to develop itchy, red skin and bumps.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant
We wouldn’t be at all surprised if your tattoo artist recommended Aquaphor ointment to heal a new tattoo. Yes, it’s greasy because it’s 41% petrolatum, so it’s not the most pleasant moisturizer to use. On the other hand, just a thin layer creates a protective barrier over the broken skin. It helps keep in moisture and keep out contaminants.
You’ll get the best results if you use a small amount to moisturize after each time you wash the new tattoo. Don’t glob on a thick layer because you’ll stop the skin from breathing which leads to undesirable results.
Once the tattoo is healed, you can still use Aquaphor to make the ink look crisper. It’s also useful for fixing cracked heels and dry elbows and it’s safe enough to use as lip balm and on babies to treat diaper rash. Of course, it’s fragrance-free.
How can I keep my tattoo from raising?
If you follow all the recommended tattoo aftercare steps, everything should be fine. The swelling will go down after a couple of days and the skin will heal on the surface after 2 or 3 weeks.
But remember, the skin has to heal all the way down to the dermis where the ink was deposited. This takes a little longer. It’s helpful to continue to care for your skin by moisturizing it every day. Use a fragrance-free lotion and don’t forget the sunscreen. The tattooed skin may always be slightly more vulnerable and sensitive than the other parts of your body so it’s worth it to use gentle products and protect against sunburn.
Try a sunscreen like this one below that doesn’t leave a white residue so that your ink stays vibrant.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 100
We liked this award-winning sunscreen that not only protects against damaging rays but also prevents premature aging. It has broad-spectrum UV filters plus antioxidants which the brand calls Cell-Ox Shield Technology.
Furthermore, the lightweight, velvety formula leaves the skin smooth and soft. Since it’s oil-free, it doesn’t feel greasy and won’t clog pores so you can use it on your face. It even stays on in the water for up to 80 minutes.
Lastly, it contains no artificial fragrance, parabens, octinoxate, or oxybenzone, plus it’s been tested for sensitive skin.
What other solutions are there for a raised tattoo?
Get medical attention if you’re worried about a new tattoo being infected. If you have an old tattoo that’s raised, a dermatologist might be able to treat the situation with injectable steroids or inflammatory medication.
In conclusion, we hope that this article helped you find the answers you need today.
1. https://www.allure.com/story/tattoo-fading-how-to-prevent This Is Why Your Tattoo Faded So Much, by Marci Robin, published December 22, 2020