Ways of treating an infected tattoo

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An infected tattoo can be caused by bacteria and can be easily treated. Tattoos are permanent markings in the skin made by ink and needles. Once the ink is deposited into the dermis, the wound scabs over and the skin heals to expose a design under the new layer of skin.

Causes of an infected tattoo

  • Using unhygienic apparatus with unsanitary practices
  • Improper tattoo aftercare and allergic reaction to the pigment used
  • Not washing the tattoo properly
  • Being around medically sick people
    Infected tattoo
    Apply a prescribed topical ointment to disinfect the infected tattoo.
  • Swimming with a fresh tattoo especially in lakes and ponds
  • Washing dishes, scrubbing toilets with a tattoo design in hands or wrists
  • Touching the tattoo with dirty fingers
  • Sleeping on unclean sheets and using dirty towels
  • Using infected lotions or petroleum treatments


  • Itchiness of the affected area due to presence of bacteria.
  • Pain after having a tatoo
  • The tattoed area becomes red
  • Warmth
  • Swelling
  • Drainage of pus
  • Fever that last more than 3-5 days
  • Red streaks that spreads from the tattoo


  • Apply a prescribed topical ointment to disinfect the infected tattoo. Make sure that the hands are properly cleaned before touching the infected tattoo.
  • Cover the area with a bandage to prevent germs, dust or dirt particles from sticking into the wound. Change bandages everyday.
  • Apply a cold pack to lessen the swelling and itchiness of the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes. Remove the pack and let it warm up before reapplying again for another 15-20 minutes. Avoid placing ice directly on the skin to prevent further injury and worsen the condition. Wrap the ice pack in a small piece of towel or cloth before applying on the affected area.
  • Avoid getting the tattoo wet while in the healing process. When taking a bath or shower, cover the affected area using a plastic wrap and secure using a tape to prevent the tattoo from becoming wet. Avoid swimming in a chlorinated pool to prevent further irritation on the area and worsen the condition.
  • Avoid applying creams or lotions on the affected area to prevent further irritation. If going outside under the sun, apply a lightweight sunscreen that contains natural products.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin to lessen swelling and pain.


  • Choose a tattoo parlor with good reputation and observes sanitary procedures.
  • Take care of a new tattoo as an open wound. Wash the area using antibacterial soap and apply the prescribed ointment. Avoid picking or scratching at the tattoo.

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