Symptoms Of An Infected Tattoo

Any time you have any type of surgery, or do anything that involves cutting or pricking the skin, you risk getting an infection. An infection can cause serious problems for you, ranging from destroying your new tattoo to even death, and is not something to be taken lightly. People with hepatitis or AIDS should not get tattoos because they are at an elevated risk of infection and are more likely to suffer the most serious side effects. You should see a doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme redness or irritation. Of course there is going to be some redness and irritation from getting your tattoo done, but it should decrease within hours to days. If the redness or irritation starts to increase suddenly, you may have an infection.
  • Pain. The same thing holds true for pain. Your pain should decrease in increments after having your tattoo, and if it starts to get worse instead, you should check with your doctor.
  • Fever. This is one of the surest signs of an infection; even if your temperature is just slightly elevated you should check with your doctor.
  • Swelling. It is normal to have a little swelling immediately after your tattoo, but again, if it gets worse instead of better you should seek medical attention right away.
  • An unusual odor can also be a sign of infection.
  • Any type of discharge or pus coming from your tattoo is also a bad sign.
  • Red streaks or sores that develop on or around your tattoo could indicate a simple infection, or something more serious like blood poisoning or a staph infection, and you should proceed to the emergency room ASAP.

Since an infected tattoo could potentially kill you, you should not take any symptoms you have lightly. Even if you just have a "funny feeling" about it, you should check with your doctor to be on the safe side. You also want to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to prevent an infection in the first place. Your tattoo may take days or weeks to heal depending on its size, the care you take, and any personal hereditary or health issues you may have. You need to keep the area clean and protected until it is properly healed. Using an antibiotic ointment can help keep bacteria out, but you don't want to wear it 24/7 because it won't let oxygen in either.

Infected Tattoos

Redness around the tattoo can be a sign of an infected tattoo.
Redness around the tattoo can be a sign of an infected tattoo.
An arm tattoo with a staph infection. This tattoo infection can be serious and should be looked at by a doctor.
An arm tattoo with a staph infection. This tattoo infection can be serious and should be looked at by a doctor.

Have You Ever Had An Infected Tattoo?

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How to Know if a Tattoo Is Infected

Comments 137 comments

notorious_HAI 7 years ago

Hey good hub. Nobody thinks about some of the negative consequences of a tattoo until they get an infection of some sort. I didn't know you could get staph infection from getting a tattoo. Yuck. Something to think about next time...

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ufgcom 7 years ago from Florida Author

Most people can get infections if the needles used are not clean or the area around where the tattoo is going is dirty. Not only can you get infections but diseases from dirty needles. I have never seen an infected tattoo or known of anyone who has.

suzanne 7 years ago

I had a tattoo , last sunday (21st) its now 6 days later , the tattoo is red swollen and leecking yellow fluid , ive had 8 previous tattoos and never had a problem , this sucks.its saturday night and carnt see a doctor till monday, wot sucks more than having the infection, is having to wait ,its dead worrying

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ufgcom 7 years ago from Florida Author

I wouldn't worry about the 'leecking yellow fluid' that's actually normal. That is your body healing the tattoo because getting the tattoo is like having a needle rubbing underneath your skin. The red swollen part isn't normal so I would get it checked out.

When you get a tattoo you are supposed to put a cream of some type on it, which will make it feel better. My friend just got a new tattoo on his arm last Friday and its still healing, not red or swollen but he has been putting that cream on it. It helps it heal faster.

kell 7 years ago

i got a new tattoo last week

ive had 7 before these ones and i did what ive done with every other tattoo ive ever had but this one is still red around some parts of it.

it is on my ankle and the foot i drive with so im confused whether i have an infection or just irritation

was told to put savlon on it which has helped a bit its healing but there is still redness in some spots

should i go to a doctor about it or maybe try some other cream??

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ufgcom 7 years ago from Florida Author

Remember that I am no doctor when saying anything regarding what you should or shouldn't do. Two of my good friends just got tattoos, the guy got his on the inner forearm and the girl on the side of her chest/stomach. Both of them had redness and irritation, but that only lasted about 1 week.

Since your tattoo is on your ankle its so much easier to get it irritated just by the rubbing of your pants. I would wear shorts for a week and try not to rub it, if that is even possible for you.

Red around your tattoo is normal, but if its 'seeping' a lot after the first few days I would go see a doctor. A tattoo is just like a scratch on your body, just bigger. Usually tattoos take time to heal, so if nothing improves after the first 14 days, go get it checked.

Coco 7 years ago

I was just wondering.. i have just gotten my second toattoo on my hip and it looks like its infected but im not sure... i've read the instructions given ontop of this page and im starting to get worried about it. It looks like it has been cut (so a deep cut) and it left a deep scab hole.. so what is it?

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ufgcom 7 years ago from Florida Author

If you got a tattoo on your hip it can be just irritated from the movement of your clothing. I would try to wear loose clothes for a few days to help it heal faster. If the tattoo is red and pussy I would go get it looked at.

Usually tattoos take 7-10 days depending on the size and how intricate the tattoo is before its healed enough to withstand being rubbed or irritated.

Ant 7 years ago

I've had my tattoo for exactly a week now, there seems to be little to no scabs, it is just beginning to peel. I have a bottle of Jergens Intense Moisture Thearpy -Non Scented lotion, is it ok to use that?

shaun stevens 7 years ago

i have had a tatto for about a year and sometimes its goes all hard again iff it had just been redun

Lea 7 years ago

Hi, had my third tat done a week last tuesday and it's still really red and sore looking. I have been using bepanthen on it then savlon. Could it be infected?

she11 7 years ago

ive had a tattoo for 4 days now but i am a bit concerned about the burning sensation im sti11 fee1ing, the tattoo is very hot to touch and is very painfu11 sti11 is this norma1 wou1d 1ike some advice if anyones had simi1ar thanks.

TheArtist* 7 years ago

Shell11 Ive had my 8th large tat done 4 days ago also on my forearm,with a lot of colour and its been swollen and very very tender, scabbing up a bit thicker than normal too. not sure whether to wait a couple of days as its gone down a bit now. but by what ive been reading an infection is most likley cause, just depends what kind of infection as to the urgency of treatment...hope yours has healed nicley though..may be some hope for me yet lol

g man 7 years ago

I got a tatto like 3 months ago now my tatto its starting to itch and forming lil bumps on the lines of my tatto what is dat

tlcloona 6 years ago

i have had a tattoo done a few months ago and the last few days its been swelling and irritating its driving me crazy any ideas?

tat2artist 6 years ago

g man, those bumps within the linework of your tattoo is most likely scar tissue, although most times the scarring is so minimal you'll never notice, sometimes, especially in the cold, or before/during a heavy storm the scar tissue will swell and itch. This is just something that you have to get used to, if its anything else, then that's not normal.

TD 6 years ago

Just got a tattoo two stars above my pecks and its been three days both were red now only one is and it is red hurts alittle and looks like yellow or green ooze but its dry and I don't if its infected or what any advice?

Bunny 6 years ago

I have 13 tattoo's the last 9 have been all by the same artist. I see him pull out fresh guns and needles everytime.. I also see him clean his station prior to me getting in the chair but for some reason number 13 is showing signs of infection. He is coming to my place to check it out and offered to pay for the doctors to confirm our worries.. I will still go to him.. If it is infected its my fault not his!!

hikaru 6 years ago

I had a tatto done on febuary 3rd and it seems to be taking forever to heal. i followed all the instructions of after care that i was given but it is still quite scabby looking and has quite a few spots on it. i was hoping it was just because of where it is (inside of my wrist)

Jay 6 years ago

I have 9 tats, and I've had 2 infections.... If you see ooze, I recommend neosporin( but I am no doctor)... Also, to all who are wording over their new tat.... If you get a tat somewhere the ski. Is constantly bending or moving( I.e. Wrist, inside of forearm, neck, foot) then lumpy scabbing is normal, also cracks in the scab is normal, although if you are keeping it motioned properly there will b minimal cracks....hope I helped

sarah 6 years ago

hi i got a tattoo like last thursday on my lower back, and it was my first one, and i've been doing everything i've been supposed to and its been a week and i just realized a tiny red bump along the outline... i'm just nervous, because i was thinking it might be staph... but i don't know... any help?

dak 6 years ago

hi i got a big tattoo done 2 days ago, and all of it there is hardley any scabbing and it feels fine, but 1 part on my inner ankle is hurting so bad that i want to pass out, i recently broke my other foot in 3 places and the pain from the tat is more severe....also i beleve it is red tho im not too sure cuz of all the color, should i go to a dr???

Amber 6 years ago

I recently got a tattoo six days ago, my 5th one. I believe it is infected. Some people see some "ooze" which is plasma from your body trying to heal. If it is odorous or tinted yellowy or green with the spot being red and hot to the touch usually that is infected. If you are ever worried then go back to the shop you got it done at. They are trained to know if something is infected or not and most of the time have more experience with it. I believe my tattoo is infected but I am letting it dry heal on the spots that were oozing. Also taking aspirin for inflammation and icing the tattoo. Again different spots of the body swell differently so usually you can tell after a week if something is abnormal. When in doubt ask the artist, if it is bad enough go to the doctor ..most of the time antibiotics will help!!!:)

chanti 6 years ago

i've actually had my tattoo for 6 months now and about a week ago two bumps showed up on it. i didn't think anything of it at first. shrugging it off as a mosquito bite or something i decided to wait a few days. now i have about 6 bumps and im really worried because these bumps are only on my tattooed skin. should i be making a doctors appointment?

danny  6 years ago

i have had a number of tattoos now and i have always used bepanthem nappy cream it really helps healing the tattoo u will find that it doesn't scab or there is little scabbing also the cream helps with any rashes u get i know a few people who have started to stopp it scabbing and gettting little rashes

adodoro 6 years ago

I got a tattoo back in October on my left forearm. I just noticed yesterday that on part of it the outline is raised and the shaded area as well as outside area around the outline are red. There is no warmth or fever, no oozing; it's a little sensitive when I touch it, but it doesn't hurt if I don't touch it. Could I get an infection this far out?

Liz 6 years ago

I got a tattoo like 3 months ago. The tattoo is in my inner wrist. I got two flowers. One was shaded in hot pink color the other one is in the teal color. Now my tattoo is starting to itch really really bad but only the teal colored side and forming lil bumps on the lines it.The hot pink flower is fine. Help??? What could this be???

Jonathan 6 years ago

You may be allergic to that particular ink color. I would use some benadryll(sp?) on it to keep it under control.

Marie 6 years ago

Hi, I got a Tattoo about a week ago and its on my hip, It looks to be healing okay, but I got these little red bumps on the surrounding area, NOT on the tattoo though. Should I be worried?

Heather 6 years ago

I just got some nautical stars on the inside of my wrist, the artist did the outline 2 days ago and filled it in today. That part didn't hurt But today after the coloring It's hurting really bad, this is the 1st tattoo I've gotten color in. It's swollen and has an unusual pain. Is it because of where it is, or is it because of an infection? I literally got it 3 hours ago...

christy 6 years ago

i gota big tat on my arm and part of the tat is near my armpit it hot to the touch swollen and u think ice would help?

Artist from another world 6 years ago

"When you get a tattoo you are supposed to put a cream of some type on it, which will make it feel better. My friend just got a new tattoo on his arm last Friday and its still healing, not red or swollen but he has been putting that cream on it. It helps it heal faster."

Use a non scented lotion on it. preferably vaseline lotion. Never use triple antibiotic cream, patroleum jelly, or NEOSPORIN (big no no). They do have special lotions you can purchase too either from your artist or go to a tattoo supply website. You also want to wash it with a non scented soap if you can get it. If not, rinse your tattoo immediately after soaping.

Gubbkeps 6 years ago

Geez you people... You hardly get a staph infection from a tattoo. More likely from a lack of hygene. Staph lives on your skin, you don´t wash your hands before applying ointment on your new tattoo... there you go.

New tattoos are red and sore, and can be so for quite some time depending on how deep the needle went, size of the tattoo, use of color etc. For crist sake, you´ve had your skin punctured thousands of times.

You apply too much ointment of any kind you clog up the pores, you get pimples.

A tattoo, no mater how healed, can react to the elements. The sun, water etc can make areas swell and itch a bit.

Don´t put so damn much lotion on. In fact i never put any on the first day, but let the new tattoo dry a bit first. Moisture and heat are yum-yum for bacteria you know ;)

Moe214 6 years ago

I got a tattoo 2 days ago and it's kinda red and a little worm is it normal

Gubbkeps 6 years ago

Yes. Se above.

momof4inmn 6 years ago

My tattoo is on my shoulder and back. It's 2 months old, and 4 days ago all the cursive names (4 of them) different locations started forming many bumps just within the writing. One another small spot along the lady bug. I have a hand print and three foot prints all in black and no reaction?? I have tried everything under the sun. Nothing makes it better. It sounds like what G MAN had listed above? I have a derm appt. at Mayo clinic in 4 days to see what they think. Any one what it is, or how to get rid of it?

ricky 6 years ago

I got a few new tatts on my arm it was all good !three weeks later all the red ink is swollen up only the red ?

It has been two weeks and no change. I used a/d.

Any ideas please

Michelle 6 years ago

I got my tattoo on my arm Monday, yesterday My arm was so sore, well I thought that was normal. But then I broke out with a fever, all last night my arm was shaking and hurt like hell. My body felt shaky and weak, it got to

the point where i felt so weak and hot I couldn't even roll over In my bed. I've had this fever for about 12 hours now.. I'm taking amoxicillin because I'm worried about an infection. Could the fever be connected to my tattoo??

dee 6 years ago

got a new tat and seems ok but got bout 20 little red spots no ozzing only tiny red bump is dis normal

MAitai 6 years ago

I got a tattoo in NY back in February but I live in Cali .. I got I love Ny the I and the Ny healed perfect but the red heart is so puffy it looks 3D it's scaby and purple and red in the inner part of the heart my skin around it looks shiney .. It august already what should I do??

kim 6 years ago

i got a tattoo on the calf of my leg two days ago the tattoo pary is only a little red in areas bt my ankle is so swllen it looks like i don't have one there is no pain its not hot or brning what do u think

Christie 6 years ago

I got a tattoo on my outside of my leg 6 days ago and it is STILL red and when u touch the skin it hurtas a lil. i wash it with anti bactirial soap and put bactracin and neosporin on it atleast 3 times a day. is there anything else i can do? the drs isn't open now and i DON'T wanna go to the ER PLEASE HELP

zena 6 years ago

Ive just had my 13th tat and it went red and started to get painfull i went to the chemist and brought tea tree antiseptic cream its the best one ive used as i i used e45 on all my others and helped a lot id recommend that

Gozzo 6 years ago

To those wondering about swelling mths after the tattoo's, it's a reaction to the pigments under the skin. I have one tattoo, that is 20 years old and swells regularly,don't worry about it it's normal. any pain or increase in pain after the work is done seek medical attention or call the tattooist, don't as someone advised leave it a couple of weeks, as to a staph infection not the artists fault %99 of the time it's the clients staph lives on your skin that's why you are told to wash regularly and don't keep it super moist with creams your just creating an environment for the staph. now im off my soapbox.

smith20 6 years ago

i had my 1st tattoo 2 days ago on my inner wrist of butterflys and daisys and its healing well, just has a few puss scabs on the coloured areas, im finding that vasaline really helps, but you should only leave it on there for 10 minutes then wash it off other wise the skin soaks it up and it can get infected

justin 6 years ago

i just got a tattoo on my left forearm it's size is 2x3 black outline and a custom blue shade i got it done by an apprentice artist in cali i live in vegas i had it done last saturday and its been a week there is puss discharge when i wash it and the color that was shaded is not really the color it was and i haven't had a fever or anything just swelling and muscle cramps every once in a while ive been using anti bac soap and keeping it dry and using neosporin once or twice a day when i can. there is no odor i know its not the artist fault i work with my hands and arms a lot i have many tattoos just this one is being a bitch right now can someone help before shit gets bad?

daisy 6 years ago

i got my tat like 6months ago n i didn't even think ther might be glad i only checked it out after getting 1 otherwise i might hv backed dwn from getting 1

Victoria  6 years ago

I got my tat on Sunday and its been leaking the yellow fluid and also the tat itself is all raised and i have red blotch's all around it... it doesn't hurt at all though.

tor 6 years ago

i got a tattoo on the friday before thanks giving and thanksgiving night i went to take a shower and i washed myself with dial soap and i came out and my tatto was red all around and i had bumps on my legs and arms, arm pits, and the list goes on. i went to the docs and they told me it was an allergic reaction. but can a tattoo make that happen or can it be something else? i still have it so its been like 3 weeks i have antibiotics but its notgoing away. i also had gotton another tattoo from the same person and it also got infected but only in the parts of the leaves which was greeen. that went away in about 3 weeks to im just worried please help thanks:)

charizard 6 years ago

i have a tattoo that is now 5 days old it is very sore red and has been leeking yellow liquid also (these small black birds solid black) a few of the scabs fell off the whole things it went soft then droped of leaveing the fresh pink skin underneeth i have no idia what's up with it another aria done with the same needle hasent done this at all im very worryed and gutted i have had a few and this is the only one i have ever had trouble with

kate  6 years ago

I am scared I have had many tats and the one I just got touched up on my lower back has a yellow scab on some spots of the flower. I got it done about three weeks ago and the thing that worries me most is I have been getting red pimple like bumps in a few places on my lower back and have become very ichy. My tat also becomes blister like and when I go to clean it, they pop and yellow green sticky smelly thick fluid shoots out. My boyfriend tells me I should b ok and it will heal but I have a strong feeling I'm going to the doc tomorrow because I have had a severe sore throat for the past three days. Please if anyone has any advice please share.

kazii 6 years ago

yes we get worried at the slightest irritation on our tattoo...oozing liquids , redness and swelling but also remember that u have been punctured several hundred times over with a needle and there will be soreness and redness and oozing for a few days well depending on size, color and location of the tattoo...lots of the time red bumps can be pimples from too much ointment hence clogged pores or ingrown hairs from the shaving of the skin beforehand....iv used vitamin e oil on all ten of mine and all have healed beautifully with or without color ... i find with tattoos on the bone..i have on both ankles and on my fingers... there is swelling several days later, not necessarily of the tattoo but the surrounding area (ankle, knuckle

etc) ...

denise  5 years ago

i have a tattoo on my left side calf muscle and it hurts to walk, and my ankel and foot is swollen and it has a little yellowish stuff coming out,but not really any redness, i got it a week and a day! is it still normal for this? and no itching yet! i hope its not infected i think im worrying my self too much!! please any advise!! thanks

maria 5 years ago

well i was being stupid and gave myself a tat a few days ago and it was fine till this morning i got messed up last nite and i think that milk was spilt on it and i didn't know bout it it hurts really bad, swollen,and red now and im kinda scared and just wondering what household things i can put on it to make it better, i don't want to go see a doctor or anything like that

Chelsea 5 years ago

I just got my 5th tattoo on the back of my calf yesterday, and I've never had a tattoo with a reaction like this one. It is so swollen (2 to 3 times bigger than my other calf) and really red around the outside of the etire tattoo. It hurts so incredibly bad. I can not walk or put any pressure what so ever on that leg. If I do, it feels like my calf is literally going to split open. I cannot even touch it to put the lotion on. I can't believe how bad this hurts. I have never had a tattoo react this way. Wondering if its just because its on my leg (legs have the most blood in them) and maybe I just need to keep it elevated and iced to get the swelling to go away.. I called my artist and he told me to take benedryl and call if that doesn't help.

And actually, the guy who did this tat was just an apprentice of my usual artist, and so of course it took him about twice as long as it would have taken anybody else, so could it be so incredibly sore just because he was working for so long in the same area? And also, usually it hurts more to do the outline than it does to do the color, but with this one, I hardly felt the outline (I actually fell asleep during the outline) but the color was almost unbearable... So I guess all of this could be factors of why my tattoo is sooo swollen and so painful.

shannon 5 years ago

Im having the same exact issue as chelsea. I got a tattoo 2 days ago on the back of my calf and its very lainful. And my calf down to my ankle is very swollen. Its a lil red but not too bad. What's the dealllll

He gave up 5 years ago

He stopped answering why ask still? If your wondering so much see a doctor

denise 5 years ago

shannon and chelsea i had the same prob i just used crutches for a week and a half and kept it elevated my swelling finally went down after almost 3weeks i think its bc it the leg and u walk all the time try using crutches that should help don't walk on it as much as possible

BRAD 5 years ago



Declan 5 years ago

i got an arm piece finished a month ago, the outline healed fine and quickly but some of the dark shading i got in the 2nd sitting has a redness on it and is still a little bumpy but other parts have healed perfectly! it was flakey 2 weeks ago, i thought it was psoriasis, but my tattoo artist said he had never seen anything like it, its making me worried because i plan on getting more! is this a sign of infection or a skin condition?

5 years ago

Tattoos below the waist can be notoriously hard to heal. I have been tattooed close to 100 times and have only had one issue with infection but twice had very painful healing with calf tattoos. The very nature of walking upright can exacerbate the already swollen and painful first few days. I find it's best to elevate and ice calf tattoos in the first few days, especially if you are on your feet a lot. Any oozing or pus discharge after the first 48 hours can be indicative of an infection. When in doubt, see a doctor. Only an antibiotic can clear it up at that point.

The tiny bumps many of you describe are often an allergic reaction to prolonged exposure to petroleum based products, like A&D ointment. Try switching to a dye and fragrance free lotion after the first two to three days. I like Eucerin, but remember less is more. Your skin needs to exchange oxygen at the surface to heal properly and all that goop keeps thatfrom happening. Also moisture and warmth are a bacteria paradise, so keep it clean too! An antibacterial soap like Hibiclens works great for the first two days.

Hope this helps.

Dawn 5 years ago

I got a nice leg piece about 4 days ago now. The redness, the swelling, the pain, and tenderness have not gotten better but have gotten worse. Mind you, this tat goes from my knee to my ankle on my right calf. I am beginning to worry about the redness and tenderness at this point. No oozing or puss, just swelling and pain. Should I be concerned? I understand its only been 4 days, but I have 5 tattoos, 2 of which are cover ups and I have never had this type of swelling or tenderness. Any advise?

starburst88 5 years ago

I got this red tat back in dec.2010 and now it has black spots in it???? Is that normal???

jayystacks 5 years ago

Please help me omfg Idk wat dis *ish is but I got my bdate on my shoulder and within a month it swelled up so bad I can't tell if its a scar or sumthn in it?its soft nd hurts often...its been for months can this still get treated?

PJl 5 years ago

My cousin got a tattoo done 6 days ago on his upper back. His girlfriend stuck a paper towel to it (sounds stupid) so she could cut his hair (she should know better, she has 12 tats) and it got stuck really bad. Now his tat looks like hamburger meat, there are holes in the tattoo and he is in a lot of pain. Should I take him to the hospital or try to help him treat it himself?

ddgg 5 years ago

I'm having work done on a large tattoo, had the last 4hr session yesterday. Now I don't know if its coincidence but I've had a high temperature since last night, sore limbs, no energy, dry throat, basically flu symptoms. Is it bad timing or more? My tattoo looks fine, some standard redness but none of the other symptoms at all having just read this blog. Any opinions? Regards, Daniel

ddgg 5 years ago

I had the same problem it was red with hot to touch.I went to the doctors and found out it was cellulitis an infection .I had high fever dry throat and very week .was in hospital 4 five days.

Trisha 5 years ago

Hey edgy: did you ever find anything out? I had one done 3 days ago and the lady day I have had low fever, been tired, dry throat, eyes hurt, but my tattoo looks perfectly fine. Thinking it's a coincidence, but not sure.

John 5 years ago

I got a tattoo done 2 days ago and it's very sore today and leaking lots of green plasma help!

shannon 5 years ago

had my calf tattoo done 2 days ago its red and swollen up slightly and also feels warm to the touch and sore when i touch in places i also get muscle spasms in the calf when i walk at times but no ozzing of any kind of liquid green yellow or clear slight scabbing here and there but not on all the tat i don't have a fever or feel sick this is my third tattoo and my largest never had any problems with my other tats can someone give me a bit of advice on this as im getting worried about it being infected.

cindy 5 years ago

my friend got a tat about 4 yrs ago and it has been itchy and has had a scab since

what is the problem can someone help

Lin 5 years ago


I got my tattoo above my ankle about 5 days ago and it has been leaking semi clear/yellow fluids (not thick, like water) for the past 3 days. I need to use paper towel to soak the liquid many times throughout the this normal or do I have an allergice reaction to the ink?

skuya101 5 years ago


Martha 5 years ago

Makes me not get a Tattoo anymore. Dam it must sucked for thoses people that got a Tattoo infection hope there better.

paige 5 years ago

if you have any kind of red bumps that itch and look like pimples/whiteheads, you should go to the doctor immediately. i just got a fresh tattoo on my ribs a week and a half ago and it was fine for a few days. i then started developing little bumps that looked like bug bites. the next day they were huge. i decided to go to the doctor and sure enough it was a staph infection. these are more common then you think, especially in hospitals and doctors offices because staph is a bacteria on everyone's body, so when there is a puncture wound (which is what a tattoo is) it is very easy to spread the germ into that. that's why it's so important to constantly wash your hands and wash the tattoo, don't even think about putting lotion on it until you wash your hands. so if you notice bumps with whiteheads around your tattoo, don't hesitate. go to the doctor and get a medical opinion so it can be treated right.

Bear 5 years ago

Man, people are dumb. Clean your TATTOO, not "tat/ink", with Dial soap AT LEAST 3 times a day. Use ONLY: a&d ointment, aquaphor, or unscented lotion. Until its completely healed. Is that so hard?

inky ash 5 years ago

Little red bumps, just in the tattooed area, can also be just an ointment rash from the tattoo artist usind to much ointment while tatting. They came up on mine about a month after it healed. My doc didn't know what it was, but my tattoo artist told me what it was. I know he's not a doc, but he's experienced. Got my tattoo finished and its beautiful with no bumps, and its now 5 years old. You can always check with your artist before freaking out.

shanny 5 years ago

after treating an infected tattoo....

would it look normal?

lydia 5 years ago

i just got my 3rd tattoo last sunday one half of it hurts still and its still scabing but today their were a bunch of pimps near the tattoo on my stop but i also got the pimples on the other side which has no tattoo is that caused by a tattoo infection

Matt 5 years ago

I got one 4 days ago and now its super itchy and a little red around the outlines also there are two little pimples on it shouls I worry ive had 4 others and I don't remember it being like this

HELPPP!! 5 years ago

I got a tattoo 3 days ago on my forearm& its been veryy swollen& red, its also veryy warm and now its weeping black ink "/ it did take nearly 3 hours and its veryy detailed, its veryy sore& tender, I can't bend or straighten my arm properly, iknow that can't be normal! HELP!

Real 5 years ago

Im tatted as could be. If ur shit gets infected ur doing something wrong.... or cheap

Cat17T 5 years ago

I got four tats done from 10 years (newest) to 15 years ago (oldest). I never had an infection with any of them, four different artists. Always saw them clean their stations. THey always used fresh guns and needles and obsessively cleaned my skin before and during the tattoo sessions. I was never told to use any particular cream or lotion. Just remove the plastic dressing in a few hours to a day.

The only one I had any trouble with was my bicep tat which has red and yellow ink in it. The other three (Between shoulder blades, left shoulder blade and tramp stamp) all were in black only and no trouble. the one with color was red and sore for a couple of days but nothing to worry about. No real infection concerns just irritation from the colored ink.

However, Monday night (2 1/2 days ago) I got the tramp stamp redone. It had faded a bit (fifteen year old tat) and I wanted to add some more work to it so the artist redid the entire thing to make it look uniform. No problem I thought. It was still black but he added some brown and possibly some red to highlight it. I have been in severe pain since Tuesday morning. It is an angry red and inflamed. It hurts to bend over or to touch my back. Showering is excruciating. Sleeping isvery difficult as every movement of my lower back sends severe pain radiating up to my shoulders and around my waist. I have never experienced anything like this before. It is way worse than the minor reddening I had 12 years ago with the bicep tat. This is the only time I was told to use any kind of cream. I purchased the ocean H2O ??? at the shop and used it but it offered no relief. Now today, I have had to resort to neosporin pain relief ointment to help. I will be calling the dr in the morning as it is getting redder and more painful the longer I go. I can't tell if there are red streaks from an infection as there are reddish brown streaks tattooed around the tat.

The worst part is that I was gonna get another tat tomorrow, also color ink. Now I am reconsidering. May have to go all black again and not anytime soon. It seems to me as if clean instruments and good hygiene are not necessarily proven to prevent infection. These things just seem to happen. Will definitely go back to this guy. His work is awesome and he is very clean. just may have to remove the appt from my blackberry and instead see the doc.

jim123 5 years ago

got a tatt on the outside of my upper right arm 8 days ago its got a couple of scabs on it and i have a lot of pussy blister type things on my right forearm any idea what it could be?

Molly 5 years ago

I'm doing a research project on tattoos and this was really helpful, thanks!

Allison 5 years ago

In all honesty, if it happened 1-3 days after ur tat... It could be the artists fault anything after that... U did something wrong

MS 5 years ago

Hi everyone. so here's my situation... i got a tattoo 8 days ago. its now been a week and a day and my tattoo on my wrist is looking yellow and oozying this yellow tinted puss on some parts of, the majority of the middle. This makes me very nervous. This is my twelfth tattoo and i don't remember any of my other tattoos healing like this. I also got it done with my best friend who got the same exact thing on her wrist and hers does not at all look yellow and oozying puss in parts of her tattoo. I have been applying A&D ointment on it but at first i was using this product called tatwax, applying about 4 times a day. Ive switched to A&D since i know the product works. I don't have a fever or feel sick and its not really red and swollen but its just heavily oozying this yellow stuff. Some people say its plasma or whatever but im just not sure. I need reassurance people. Fml

5 years ago

I got a tat about almost a week ago, and I still have pain and in a couple spots there is a little puss and reddness....what is this?? also the tat is on my upper shoulder / arm

MattD 5 years ago

I am a professional Tattooist, Any puss looking stuff is not normal. A new Tatt will ooz the first day but after that it should dry. Any discoloration in a discharge could mean it is infected. A new tatt will be sore for up to a week, redness could last for up to a few weeks. It normall takes around four weeks to heal, depending if the artist is heavy handed and if your skin was over worked. A normal tatt will start itching within a four to five day period. The first peel will start with two weeks and the final peel will should be within four to five weeks, Once again this all depends on how the artist has worked your skin. I would highly recommend that any abnormal pussy or milky white discharge be examined by a physician. I would also recommend that you have your artist clean your skin with alcohol before he applies and during the tattooing process, it will burn but remember everyone has staph on their skin and by cleansing with alcohol will greatly reduce the chances of infection.

matt 5 years ago

i got a tattoo and its on the bicsep and there is swelling on my elbow like that's the only place

jemma 5 years ago

Hey I had a tatto done on Saturday its. Still a little bit red and it feels like its stinging ive washed it and kept it clean

Maureen 4 years ago

I have got a tattoo done on my arm, its filled with small red pimples, looks like some infection, it itches, please suggest what is to be done. its now 14 days.

victoria 4 years ago

I got a tattoo done on my foot and got staph! It sucks its swollen red bleeds and pusses and I can walk on it! Anyone notice anything funny with your ttattoos go to the hospital they will treat it like they are doing doing for me

shell 4 years ago

tattoos do leak for first couple of days and do swell i have 5 tattoos and one is a cover up on my foot, feet are harder to look after and do swell a lot i had cankles it was that bad if ur ever unsure see a doctor x

Sheila 4 years ago

Most of the time the little red bumps you get are from the lotion or aquatat cream- Keep using it though because you don't want your tattoo to crack it could cause you to have to get a touch up and it would open your skin making it easier to get an infection

Beth 4 years ago

I just got a tattoo on Two sat. Ago and that one is doing great the I finished the design this past sat. And now. Have four spots on the new tat. That's yellowish and hurts, what the heck is this and what do I do?

lynx 4 years ago

hub.. i just got my first tattoo and its located on my left foot, its a big ass cherry blossom tattoo, so im worried because its been 3days since i got this and until now its swollen, and i think it gotten worse and its itchy, i put on a bactroban antibacterial ointment.. i go to work everyday and i walk does it have anything to do with it? i have another tattoo on my hip but it doesn't seem to bother me.. and i think it healing fast than my foot, i got it the same day i got the tattoo on my foot..

HannahAmaya profile image

HannahAmaya 4 years ago from Good Hope, Illinois

I got a tattoo last friday and its still sore and red should i see a doctor?

Jeremy 4 years ago

to Beth: any artist should know better than the go back into a tattoo that is not healed yet. If you got an outline done two weeks ago and just got it finished, you may be infected or seriously irritated. Either way, it isn't going to heal right. You should never ever get a tattoo finished until it is fully healed which takes at least 4 - 6 weeks.

Jeremy 4 years ago

Also, do NOT use any antibacterial ointment. Ointments are petroleum based and smother your skin. Just wash your tattoo with undyed, unscented antibacterial soap (i used Hyboclens) a few times a day. You do not need to put any lotion or any ointment on your tattoo until it begins to dry out which takes a few days.

Anonymous 4 years ago

Quote from author:

"I have never seen an infected tattoo or known of anyone who has."

Ok, one question:

"I wouldn't worry about the 'leecking yellow fluid' that's actually normal. That is your body healing the tattoo because getting the tattoo is like having a needle rubbing underneath your skin. The red swollen part isn't normal so I would get it checked out."

Better advice would be just to say, "Since I am not a dermatologist, and have never known anyone with an infected tattoo, best advice would be to schedule an appointment with your doctor, a dermatologist, or go to the ER if you think you have a tattoo infection. The wrong advice/care could lead to a rapidly spreading staph infection, development of MRSA, or death, if not taken care of at all."

" Most people can get infections if the needles used are not clean or the area around where the tattoo is going is dirty. Not only can you get infections but diseases from dirty needles. "

Not the only ways it can get infected. Putting on a dirty shirt after the tattoo, using a desterilyzed gauze pad bandage, smoky/dirty environment where the tattoo is done, or where the person who got the tattoo sleeps. There's also the allergic reactions to the specific ink that people think are infections, then theres infections via a fragranced bar of soap. If you don't have unscented soap, buy it. its a necessity.

It's not always the tattoo artist's fault, which people always assume is the case.

I had an infected tattoo, and my artist used a clean needle right out of the package, and cleaned the skin around it. The environment was clean, and I had a sterile bandage on it as soon as it was over, with a good layer of A+D.

Poor care on my part caused it after the fact. (accidentally using a dirty shirt while it was still peeling, sleeping directly on the side with the tattoo as well.)

Jessica 4 years ago

I got a tattoo on my wrist a week ago and four days ago my roommates dog jumped on my arm, and it scratched the scab right off. Now where the tattoo got scratched its raised, red, hurts and is leaking puss, I've had enough infections to know that it is indeed an infection. My buddy is an artist and told me to keep it clean and apply a tiny bit of polysporin on it twice a day.

Neva again 4 years ago

neva getting another tatoo again mines hurting and raised in PAIN :'(

Navy Wife Tat 4 years ago

I just got a tattoo a week ago, it was healing perfectly until I started using a different type of soap to clean it (Cetaphil) I didn't realize that I was allergic to cetaphil and the last 3 or 4 days now I have had little red bumps all over my stomach, a bit going up my chest, and some going down my thigh (my tattoo is on my ribs) there are not really any bumps on the tattoo, just around the area but it has been worrying me. Anyone know if there is much I can do besides waiting it out and hoping it was just an allergic reaction?

Amanda 4 years ago

I just got a tattoo a week ago its healing perfectly im getting it colored in today had to wait a week for the swelling to go down because my skin is so sensitive i think after this tattoo im done

HannahAmaya 4 years ago

talk to the tattoo artist he checked out mine and said it was fine

livi90 4 years ago

Heyy. i got a tattoo 3 days ago. it's my 4th one (a cover up tattoo) on the inside of my wrist. it's descent size i guess and has a whole lot of color. it was super scabbed up but now it's not. it doesn't really hurt, just feels kinda sensitive/itchy to the touch. around it is kinda swollen, kinda red, and a little warm to the touch (the reddness and warmth was almost to my elbow). it looks a little better on the outer parts of it but in the middle where the artist did the most coloring still gets pretty moist. wouldn't really say it's oozing but gets moist and white lookin like a scab does when it gets wet. i just don't know if i need to be concerned or not... any advice...??

livi90 4 years ago

you can also see like cut type wounds in the tattoo...

Jaycash12245 4 years ago

If you feel your tattoo is infected take no chances by waiting us rubbing alcohol then apply neosporine For a day or two if it doesn't clear go to the doctor or ER... This process of cleaning will cause your tattoo to lose color and might fade but tattoos can get redone and it's easier to get it redone than lose an arm or leg because of an infection be smart don't wait....personal experience speaking here!!!

Jamie 4 years ago

You all have major issues with taking care of your ink....never had anything like this happen..apply ointment, don't goober it up, lil bit and rub in as needed thrughout day, drying out causes scabbing, also wash w an antibacterial soap 1-2 times a this for first 3 days. than start using an unscented lotion, i use lubriderm and wash 2-3 times a day

Kelly 4 years ago

Had my tattoo done last saturday would love advice on how to stop it itching

ben 4 years ago

I have a lot of tattoos and never had problem healing them cheek lotion is the best and use dial soap to wash it the worst place was back of my arm by the armpit had lil discharge but it ia normal jus keep it clean and moisturized and you will be good

Dominique 4 years ago

I just got a tattoo on my doesn't with lots of detail color n shadeing now my arm is really swollen around the tattoo n

leaking fluid after I

a&d ointment on it it is also it is red around the tattoo more red as if u were looking at a blood clot r hickey type instead of redness seen in the pics above is this normal r infected?

john 4 years ago

I have both arms half sleeve and my leg sleeved I used every cream and ointment out there and AQUAPHOR healing ointment works the best.

jake 4 years ago

hi i got a tattoo 4 days ago and just wanted to check if its normal for itching after this amount of time and some small black spots have appeared that look like they could be part of the tattoo but the weren't there the day before does anyone know what this means? been using the cream and keeping it clean

4 years ago

I got my third tattoo almost two weeks ago. I've never had a problem before and it's been healing fine, peeling naturally and not hurting at all until yesterday when I woke up to be being really red and bumpy. No bumps around the inked parts, just redness around, severe itchiness and swelling. It is also peeling (again) and the parts that peel have faded severely. It's on my ankle/foot and I heard that those are very prone to infection. Should I visit the doctor?

saturnsscythe 4 years ago

I just got my 4th tat this last Thursday. Its on my right calf, a couple inches below my knee and a couple inches above my ankle. Its pretty big. Well, its red, swollen, slightly warm, and its got clear-yellowish fluid coming out, but its drying as soon as it comes out. None of my other tats did this way. I'm terrified that its infected. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ronja 4 years ago

Saturn, i just got a massive back tattoo on Friday, not my 1st tatt either, have had over 30hrs behind me already, and am VERY cautious and careing with all aftercare, was in extreme pain on Sunday ...having a high pain threshold i usually am pretty tough, but there was no sleep for me and it felt like a sharp hot razorblade going over my back again and again, and yesterday it broke out in what looked like hundreds of tiny little blisters/pimples with sore red bumps all around the tattoo, and within (more so on the skin, then the actual ink itself).... went to the hospital, turned out it's a secondary infection am now on antibiotics and Endome for the pain and some antihistamine for the inflammation. I think its slowly going down.

If you think something is not right go see the doctor, rather safe than sorry. last thing you want it to be is MRSA or something. Wish i had gone on the first signs of doubt. I hope it wont ruin the tattoo.

Me 4 years ago

If everyone researched what happens after they get a tattoo ie the healing process, as much as they research what they want to get tattooed there would be less silly questions like " my tattoo is itching, I had it done four days ago, is this normal?" (plus many ther silly/annoying comments) then this thread would only have about 10 posts, if in doubt ask your tattooist, as if you have gone somewhere reputable not just cheap, he will know, or go to a doc. All you people, you have spent time and money on getting a tattoo, so spend even more time (and money on the right products) on looking after your tattoo, if you go some where that is brilliant, not because they are just cheap and can fit you in there and then, look after your new tattoo how the tattooist told you too (and others how others on this site have explained) the chances of having any problems are tiny, do remember its a wound basically so yes it will scab, itch, feel warm, be raised a few weeks to months after etc etc, commen sence is a great thing, but I've seen very little of that on here ( besides a few, you know who I mean) the new layer of skin will take months to get back to normal, and once in a blue moon my 19 year old tattoo (I have many others and never had a problem, same as my husband) can sometimes feel slightly raised as this is normal. I know I've not wrote this down in the best grammar in the world, but that's because I'm annoyed by all the sillyness, so writing quickly.

Jon 4 years ago

Hi I had a tatoo 3 weeks ago and had to use bepanthen antiseptic, didn't do good I started to have pimples or bumps on my tat then the pharmacist suggested savlon which made it worst now I'm having puss filled pimples and it's itchy and painful, what should I do?

Me 4 years ago

Jon, well go and see a doc if your worried, that's commen sence, as it's been three weeks it's you that's done something not your tattooist . If you don't want to see a doc, keep it clean but dry, you should have only been using cream twice a day after cleaning ( left to dry for an hour) with a very light layer of cream, for no more than a week I can't see how the cream is the problem unless you are allergic. DON'T COVER IT UP, LEAVE T TO DRY AND GET AIR TO IT.

steph 4 years ago

Had flowers done on very back of arm right by crease of armpit. All my black work healed after day two. My flowers are in color. Every color piece scabs horribly and puss comes out. Black no, color yes. I believe I am allergic to something in the colored ink...strange. its Been a week today on my flowers and still have very painful scabs. I use currel ultra healing lotion after 24 hrs for both black and color. I don't think my sleeve will have any more color.

BUTTERFLY 4 years ago


lol 4 years ago

if you have to ask just go see your doctor

dontknow 4 years ago

I got a tattoo on my right calf the before yesterday its still red and I can't really walk on my leg now.I keep getting cramps under the tattoo..... Any ideas?

BIG DADDY 4 years ago

I got a piece done on my arm farely big all is healing ok.My concern is that the skin is crackin and there is puss and some blood coming out, some pain when i carry something heavy with that arm.Its only red and blue/teal like someone else siad where the skin is crackin and infection is a big concern and other major conerns as well.

dontknow 4 years ago

I got a tattoo on my right calf the before yesterday its still red and I can't really walk on my leg now.I keep getting cramps under the tattoo..... Any ideas?

jessica 4 years ago

I have seven tattoos but just got my seventh one 4 days ago, and I'm having symptoms like never before. It is on my forearm. Very big. And on two parts are very very sore. Leaking ink, red around it and where the ink leaked out it is now yellow scabs where at first it was holes. I'm really scared and I know how to take care of tattoos very well. Yesterday my arm was very hot. and when I touch it, or put the cream/vasoline on it, it is very painful. I had it covered up at work but I have been handling with cardboard boxes and money. So I'm really worried. Does this sound like an infection?

JEAN 4 years ago

received a tattoo 2 weeks ago. my problem is my leg is swollen from the knee down, I have fluid retention which is normal the problem is its a liitle red around the tatoo and very itchy, no sores or anything, could it be infected?

Natalie 4 years ago

I got a tattoo on the back of ankle about a month ago I had gone to virginia with my family and got into a pool only a week after getting it (stupid move) when I went back to the hotel room it

Had a blister type scab over it I pealed it off (i didn't have mich of a choice or it couldve been worse) I cleaned it and put a lot of A&D on it and well now it healed but theres still this small light red spot on one of my letters should I worry even though I had none of the "symptoms"

abondormon 4 years ago

I don't have any recent tattoos and never had one get infected. But I've received my Rx meds straight to my front door from for over 2 years now! They're simply the best. Highly Recommend :)

MsBrightSide. 4 years ago

I just a tattoo 2.5 weeks ago.. Its mostly all healed but there is one area which looks like its a wound. I have had trouble healing it. It wouldn't dry out with any ointment etc on it. So I was told to leave it. There is redness and raised hard skin around it. Not all around it perfectly but its raised, hard and red. Doesn't hurt though. That area of ink looks deep though, that's the only way I can describe it. Like its dug in my skin and not on my skin, if you know what I mean. It looks aweful too. I think I may have to go to the doctor but I don't know. Its not oozing or hurting so hmm.

Angela Dalton 3 years ago

Always make sure that you keep the area moisturised and do not let the area get dry and irritated. Use creams such as nappy rash cream or burn creams, savlon is not the way forward as it can cause the ink to be drawn out of the skin and not giving you the best result. Bepanthen is the best cream to use, it sooths itching and irritation. It also keeps the skin moisturised. Best thing to apply and it is gentle because it is used on babies. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR TATTOOS. Do not get careless.

Angela Dalton


missy 23 months ago

So I got my 6th tattoo 3 days ago its on my forarm and its slightly red and it still burns I don't remember this with any of my other tattoos should I be consered

littlegibbo 23 months ago

hello guys I had a tattoo done on me left leg and since I had it done im struggling to walk its very inflamed and sore I cant touch it its red and I dunno what else to do part from my bepathan cream and ice cubes

heather 22 months ago

Hello my boyfriend had a cover up and its scabbing but he has some yellow spots on his arm do you know what it could be? He went to a tattoo shop and got it done. Please let me know

Sabu 12 months ago

I have got new tattoo 4 weeks ago. but i have got redness and itchng around tattoo since the first day but no pain . I visited tattoo artist and he recommended to visit doctor . I am worring about it .

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