9 Problems With Healing Tattoos

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As a Tattoo Aftercare Company, it’s best I discuss the process with you. If you lost your aftercare instructions, I have the Suffolk County Board of Health’s aftercare instructions posted here. You’ll note they advise you to not use products containing mineral oil or petroleum, as these ingredients will clog pores.

Should any problem or concern arise regarding your specific healing process, contact the shop and artist immediately. DO NOT rely on your friends, as they are not certified by the board of health, nor do they have enough experience in this area. Should you have questions regarding my aftercare products specifically, feel free to contact me directly.  (I can only advise you about specific issues you are having with healing your tattoo if you purchased my products.)

If you have little or no tattoos, you may want to check out this link for information on the styles of tattoos and very basic information. This will save your artist a bit of a headache in answering very basic questions.

Let’s get dirty…


There are common healing problems I’ve seen on the internet when using the aftercare products sold at local drug stores. I’ll offer some basic solutions on fixing them, though my #1 recommendation is to obviously purchase your aftercare here prior to getting your tattoo.

Aftercare products may also be marketed as a tattoo cream, tattoo aftercare ointment, tattoo healing lotion, or aftercare lotion. These phrases are interchangeable with our tattoo salve, tattoo lotion and Clean Jell-E ointment.

Happy inking!

  1. Problem: Discharge (weeping tattoo). Too much healing product was used or was used before the skin was allowed to dry completely after washing.
    • Solution: gently blot the skin to remove the excess product or wash tattoo gently and allow it to dry completely before applying aftercare.
  2. Problem: Dull tattoo. This may be part of the healing process, as skin takes a full 30 days to completely regenerate and heal.  Tattoos may also seem dull as they scab and peel, due to the skin healing from the inside out.
    • Solution: apply a thin layer of aftercare to see if the skin brightens a bit – your skin may just be thirsty!
  3. Problem: Flaking skin/peeling. The tattoo is dry.
    • Solution: apply a SMALL amount of aftercare to the skin.
  4. Problem: Pimples or itchy white bumps. The pores of the skin are clogged.
    • Solution: wipe away excess aftercare, or use a product that allows the skin to breathe properly.
  5. Problem: Puss in the tattoo. Using a scented lotion or other beauty care product can cause an infection. If you truly have puss in your tattoo, see a Dr immediately.
    • Solution: use only aftercare products that are specifically designed for healing tattoos.
  6. Problem: Rashes.
    • Solution: use a product with hypo-allergenic ingredients. Many people have reactions to products that contain mineral oil or petroleum.
  7. Problem: Scabbing. The tattoo was not washed properly or was left dry for too long.
    • Solution: gently clean the tattoo with warm, soapy water and apply a THIN coat of aftercare.
  8. Problem: Swelling (extreme – some swelling is part of the normal healing process). Improper care/allergic reaction/depressed immune system (I can’t possibly cover the multiple factors that can cause this, due to everybody healing differently).
    • Solution: depending on the location of the tattoo, reduce the use of the body part. Wear loose clothing and/or shoes that keep the tattoo free from excess dirt, but allow the skin to breathe completely. DO NOT LEAVE TATTOOS COVERED, as the skin must breathe to heal! Keeping it covered can also trap bacteria and heat in your skin. Clean the tattoo according to the aftercare instructions provided. 
  9. Problem: Redness or irritation: Over-washing, not washing enough, or not enough aftercare being used.
    • Solution: determine which applies to you, and clean the tattoo according to the aftercare instructions provided.

P.S. I am an expert in the healing process of tattoos and skin in general. I have over a decade of research in skin issues and have studied natural forms of healing the skin for nearly a decade. You can tell from the pic that I have a few tattoos, as well (and the pic is a little old, so I have more!). My husband has also been tattooing for over a decade and we obviously work very closely with one another on tattooing and aftercare.

I am also a Certified Laser Tattoo Removal Artist, so I do have textbook knowledge on how tattoos heal, where the ink sits in the skin, and how colour and ink quality differ from tattoo to tattoo. 

2 thoughts on “9 Problems With Healing Tattoos”

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