Infected Tattoo

Infected tattoos are nothing to sneeze at. An infected tattoo is potentially very dangerous to your health. At best an infection could be painful and ruin your tattoo, and at worst could make you very, very sick and even be fatal.

As tattoos are made by piercing the top layer of skin and injecting ink into the dermis – the layer underneath, they are basically a wound. All tattoos are going to feel somewhat tender in the beginning, with a certain amount of pain and swelling. This should gradually subside over a few hours to a few days. If things tend to get worse, rather than better, you may have an infection.

Signs of an infected tattoo

• Increased pain in tattoo

• Increased swelling and redness around tattoo

• Increased feeling of heat in tattoo area

• Fever

• Swollen lymph nodes

• Red streaks, lines or sores in and around tattoo

• Foul odor from tattoo

• Discharge like pus

• Generally feeling ‘off’

Any of these signs may indicate an infection and several of them together are definitely cause for concern. If you have any of them or if something just doesn’t ‘feel right’, don’t waste time debating the issue and get yourself to the doctor or clinic and get it checked out. Something like a staph infection can get nasty and requires antibiotics.


An ounce of prevention is worth more than a ton of cure. If you are going to get a tattoo, make sure to have it done professionally.

Infected needles or incorrectly sterilized needles can put you at risk of not only infections, but disease too.

After the tattoo is done it is important to keep the area clean and moist for a couple of days, then clean and dry. Avoid soaking it in water and rubbing it with a towel – be gentle and pat it dry.

Don’t pick at scabs – they are your body’s defense mechanism and fiddling with them can lead to infection and or scarring.

Remember, too antibiotic creams can sometimes cause an allergic reaction. They can trigger redness, itching and bumps in the tattoo area.

By Gizelle Bichard

Other pages on remedies-for-skin in connection with this page on infected tattoo

- Read more on basic tattoo care here

- Tattoo removal

Leave your thoughts or advice...

Do you have something to share about this?

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Trying to heal tattoo without ruining it completely!  
I recently received 2 tattoos last week. They are both for each of my grandsons. I have kept it clean and put the correct ointment on it. The pics will …

Jacked Up Hummingbird 
I got my second tattoo over the Thanksgiving weekend and took care of it in the same as my first. I used Aquaphor ointment and applied a very thin layer …

Click here to write your own.

Search this site...

The benefits of Aloe Vera

Make your own sugar scrub!