Why do I have blisters on my tattoo?

Why do I have blisters on my tattoo?

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To find out how to stop your tattoo blistering we asked tattoo artist Amy Riot for her top aftercare advice.

Tattoo blisters, also called tattoo bubbles, can be a worrying but pretty common part of the healing process. But why does this happen and how can you fix it? Our guide covers all you need to know.

Is it normal for a tattoo to blister?

After getting a new tattoo you can expect some redness, swelling and pain. And, although it's not really a 'normal' part of the tattoo healing process, you may experience tattoo blisters too.

In fact, thy're more common than you might think. Even the most seasoned tattoo collector can get them!

Tattoo blisters

What causes tattoo blisters?

An allergic reaction or even an infection can sometimes cause your tattoo to blister, so it's worth getting checked out by a medical professional if you're unsure of the cause.

If you can safely rule out either of these, then one of the more common reasons why tattoos blister is excess moisture trapped under your new ink. This is often down to your aftercare regime.

"Blistering on fresh tattoos can occur when the correct aftercare procedures aren’t followed," says tattoo artist Amy Riot (@amyriottattoo). She explains that "fresh tattoos require cleaning and patting dry with a clean dry towel/flannel. Afterwards, a really thin layer of aftercare cream should be applied."

By applying aftercare cream thinly, you should be able to avoid over-moisturising your tattoo.

Do I have blisters from the tattoo wrap?

If you have blisters around your tattoo rather than on your tattoo, these could be caused by the products used by your tattooist, such as second skin or adhesive tape. Blisters from your tattoo wrap may suggest an allergy to the ingredients in the adhesive or second skin itself. If you have a reaction to the tattoo aftercare your tattooist used it’s best to speak to them.

How long do tattoo blisters last?

It’s hard to say how long blisters on a tattoo will last. Everyone’s skin is different. It can also depend on the style and size of tattoo you’ve had inked. "Large, heavy colour tattoos will take much longer to get better," says Amy.

When healing a tattoo it’s always wise to keep checking if it’s infected, especially if you’ve experienced your tattoo blistering. "You know your body.  When something's not right ask your tattoo artist for advice," she adds.

Can I pop a tattoo blister?

We know it can be tempting to pop tattoo blisters and pick at your new tattoo. But it’s not a good idea. Amy agrees: "Never pop the blisters! This could cause infection which could lead to all manner of nasty problems."

When you touch your tattoo to apply aftercare you should wash and dry your hands first - always touch tattoos with clean hands. If your tattoo blisters are popping or you think your tattoo is infected you should contact your GP as soon as possible.

Will a blister ruin a tattoo?

Potentially, yes. If the blister becomes a scab which is removed too soon, either accidentally or from scratching, it can remove some of the ink. Your tattoo can also appear patchy if it’s become too wet during the healing process. This can cause the ink to drop out of your tattoo and possibly lead to infection. That’s why it’s always important to follow the aftercare advice given to you by your tattooer.

How to treat tattoo blisters

So you’ve got a new tattoo and it’s started to blister, now what?

Tattoo blisters can affect how your tattoo looks, which makes it really important to know what to do if it's something you experience.

Follow Amy’s simple steps to treat your blistered tattoo:

  • Let the blister dry out.
  • Keep off the moisturiser for a few days.
  • Make sure the area is kept clean.
  • Make sure your tattoo is uncovered from clothing as much as possible.

How to prevent tattoo blisters

Everyone wants their tattoos to heal perfectly and look amazing for years to come. To help prevent tattoo blisters, Amy says, "The best advice I can give for caring for new tattoos, so you don’t get any nasty blistering, is washing your new tattoo a couple of times a day with warm soapy water, pat that baby dry with a clean towel and less is more with the aftercare!"

How to care for your new tattoo

One of the best things you can do for your new tattoo is follow the aftercare advice of your tattoo artist. You’ll also want to use products designed to care for tattoos. The Stories & Ink Aftercare Duo includes a wash and aftercare cream specifically designed for fresh tattoos.

For best results, use the Stories & Ink Aftercare Duo during the first few weeks of healing. Both products are 100% natural, dermatologically-tested, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, vegan-friendly and suitable for all skin types.

Need more advice?

For more aftercare advice, inspiration, and interviews with amazing artists, check out the Stories & Ink Journal.