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How to Care for Your Tattoo Scabs

You’ve put in the work to find an amazing artist and had an amazing session to get a piece of art on your skin. You go home and follow the artist’s directions as they told you and everything is going smoothly. But there is one tiny detail that is bothering you. You’ve found a scab on your beautiful tattoo! Is a tattoo scab normal? Should you be alarmed?

Long story short, light and moderate tattoo scabbing is part of the healing process. However, heavy skin scabbing that is painful and bumpy isn’t normal and should be looked at by your tattoo artist and a medical professional if appropriate. Let’s dive into some of the details about healthy tattoos, scabbing, and care.

What is the Tattoo Care Process?

Tattoos normally scab after the first 3-days. Apply the proper tattoo care regiment as recommended by your tattoo artist, and let the tattoo heal. Use antibacterial soap like Tattoo Goo® Deep Cleansing Soap to gently clean the tattoo and products like Tattoo Goo® Lotion With Healix Gold + Panthenol for itch relief and excessive scab prevention.

Anybody with tattoos can tell you all about the itching after a tattoo. You’ll feel the urge to scratch but look for relief that doesn’t come from scratching your skin. Applying the Tattoo Goo® Lotion With Healix Gold + Panthenol will help hydrate the skin and keep you from impulsive scratching and rubbing. Hydration will help with the itch and help keep your tattoos healthy.

Poorly hydrated tattoos can cause your tattoos to split and bleed. This is called tattoo cracking and can cause bigger, deeper scabs to form. Deep scabs can extend your healing time, and can be more prone to getting pulled or ripped off before fully healed. That can lead to scarring or make your tattoo look patchy and faded even though it’s new.

A beautiful tattoo with ink that will last you a lifetime needs a healthy healing process. Everyone’s body is different. But all tattoos need minimal scabbing to retain their ink. Here’s our best practices to care for your tattoo scabs.

1. Talk to Your Tattoo Artist

If you find yourself questioning what a healthy tattoo scab is or when to speak with a medical professional about a possible infection, talk to your tattoo artist. Although infections are rare, it’s always best to check in with a tattoo professional. They should be able to answer any questions about how a healthy scab should feel like. It’s not too much to ask for them to check and see if the tattoo is healing normally.

2. Clean Your Tattoo Carefully

Follow the instructions given to you by your tattoo artist and on the tattoo care products they have recommended or you have researched. Ask about specialized soaps made specifically for tattooed skin like Tattoo Goo® Deep Cleansing Soap for gentle cleaning. Most tattoo artists will recommend that you gently let warm water run over your tattooed skin for less than a minute and pat the area dry with a fresh towel when you’re done.

If your tattoo is scabbed underneath clothes, remove the clothing slowly in case the scab is sticky. Gently pat the area dry to avoid pulling on the sticky scab. A moist scab is more likely to latch onto your towel making the process painful.

3. Gently Apply Tattoo Products

Hydrating your tattooed skin is essential to a healthy recovery. A dry tattoo scab is much more likely to crack, leading to painful bleeds and infections.

Try Tattoo Goo® Lotion With Healix Gold + Panthenol on your healing skin to help it stay hydrated and help your skin recover faster. It’s recommended that you apply products on dry skin. Moist skin will dilute the lotion before it can penetrate properly.

4. Don’t Scratch or Pick

Don’t scratch it. We mentioned it once, but it’s important enough that we’ll mention it again. Dismiss all temptation to pick at the itchy scab as it can cause ink loss and infection. After a tattoo, your skin becomes highly sensitive for at least two weeks. If the scab doesn’t go away after that time, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. If your tattoo continues to feel tender or swollen, or if you’re feeling feverish or experiencing any pus development on the tattoo, you may have an infection. Whatever the symptom, don’t ignore it. Work with your medical professional for a smooth recovery.

5. Protecting Your Ink Under a Scab

Your tattoo artist will tell you how long it’ll take for your tattoo’s clarity to mature. Most tattoo artists will recommend waiting two months for the ink to fully sharpen.

If your scabs experienced any bleeding during the healing process, it’s possible your tattoo lost some ink. If you feel like your tattoo has lost some ink after scabbing, consult with your tattoo artist to make sure it’s maturing well. If you do experience some loss due to scabbing, you may want to schedule a touch-up session.

In the end, don’t stress over normal light tattoo scabbing. Your skin is a resilient organ and, if you’ve followed your cleaning tattoo aftercare regimen, the healing process should be smooth. Take care of your new and existing tattoos with everything you’ll ever need – all in one kit – using the Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit.

The kit includes a special tattoo-purposed deep cleansing soap, protective barrier balm, Tattoo Goo’s special Healix Gold lotion with Pathenol, and a tattoo-specific SPF 30+ formula to keep your skin safe under the sun. See all our other Tattoo Goo products!