Tattoo peeling

Are your tattoos looking greasy, or are they leaking fluid? A tattoo rash is a condition with more than a slight reddening or itching. This can occur right after getting inked or even years later.

What is Tattoo Rash?

After getting a tattoo, it is normal for there to be some redness, swelling, or itching. It is normal for your immune system to react against the ink injected into your skin. This should disappear within a few weeks. If these symptoms persist or become more severe, you may be allergic to tattoo ink. Red, bumpy rashes may appear around the tattooed area.

The following symptoms may accompany tattoo rash:

  • Pimples look like tiny bumps
  • Itching, redness, swelling, and itching
  • Blisters
  • Scaly patches are created by raising them
  • Skin crusts and skin flakes
  • Pus love fluid oozing from their area

You might feel shortness of breath or severe pain. These reactions should be reported immediately to a healthcare professional.

What causes tattoo rash?

Your tattoo will heal properly if you maintain good hygiene and protect the area where it is tattooed. You may get a rash from your tattoo despite all the precautions.

Allergy To Tattoo Ink

Tattoo ink contains metal salt pigments. Allergies to any of the coloured pigments can occur. Red ink is most commonly associated with reactions to tattoos. After retroviral therapy and joint replacement surgery, people can also get allergic reactions to tattoos.


More common than allergic reactions are tattoo rashes caused by infection. But, the infection can occur if tattooing equipment or water dilutes tattoo inks are not properly sterilized. This could lead to germs entering the artwork.

Tattooing can cause your skin to break down. If the area where tattoos are not properly taken care of, germs could enter. Tattoo rashes can be caused by impetigo and staphylococcus infections. These can lead to acne, such as bumps and scaling in the tattooed area.

Photo Sensitivity

Sun exposure can make your tattooed skin extremely sensitive. If you expose your skin to the sun, it may cause reddening or rashes. The allergic reaction may be caused by the yellow tattoo ink. Photosensitivity can also be caused by tattoo inks that are red, blue, or black. It may appear immediately or take several hours for the rashes to develop.

Predisposed to Skin Conditions

Tattooing can cause or initiate flare-ups in skin conditions like¬†psoriasis and vitiligo.¬†These conditions can be predisposed by genetics. The ink introduced to the skin through puncturing it during tattooing can act as a stimulant. This phenomenon is called the “Koebner phenomenon”. Some people get skin conditions as soon as they are inked. Others may develop them over time.

Reaction to MRI

Some people may get an MRI injury to their tattooed skin. Radiofrequency waves are sent out by an MRI machine that is attracted to the metallic pigments in your tattoo. They can cause heat to the area and may result in a skin rash. Before you go to an MRI, inform the technician that you have tattoos. If you feel a burning sensation or stinging sensation in your tattooed skin, ask the technician to stop the procedure.

What happens when tattoo ink is injected into skin?

Your skin is pricked by the tattoo artist about 100 times per second. This allows the pigments to be absorbed deep into the dermis, which is the skin layer below the epidermis. It’s the outermost layer of your skin that renews itself continuously. This allows the tattoo to remain on your skin for a long time.

There are many blood vessels and nerves in the dermis. The skin is inflamed by the ink. This triggers the immune system, known as macrophages, to attack the pigments and engulf them. The majority of pigments remain in the area tattooed, trapped between skin cells and immune cells.

Research has shown that certain pigments can be transported to the lymph nodes and deposited there. Some studies have shown that tattoo ink pigments can enter the bloodstream, and even the liver.

Although there is no evidence to prove that tattoo inks cause cancer, some of them contain residuals of heavy metals like cobalt or nickel, which could pose a health risk.

How to Get Rid of Tattoo Rash?

You can choose one of these options depending on the severity or underlying cause.

  • If your breakouts aren’t severe, cold compression may be helpful to reduce redness and swelling.
  • It can be helpful to apply an unscented moisturizing lotion or cream after consulting your tattoo artist in order to relieve severe itching.
  • You can apply a topical steroid cream to soothe inflammation if moisturizers fail to work.
  • Non-prescription antihistamine medications can be used to reduce flare-ups.
  • Your doctor will confirm a tattoo infection and you will be prescribed the appropriate antibiotics or antiviral medications for the recommended time.
  • You should see a doctor immediately if you experience severe discomfort, such as dizziness, stomach pain, difficulty breathing, or other signs of systemic infection.

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