What To Do When Your Tattoo Itches and Raised

What To Do When Your Tattoo Itches and Raised

This is a problem that a lot of people come across when they get inked. If you've finally made up your mind about your tattoo design and got inked, there is also a lot of aftercare. It may or may not be a cause for concern, it really depends on what is causing the itching.

If you are wondering “why does my tattoo itch?” we’re covering some of the reasons here. It may well be nothing to worry about, so you can quickly get rid of tattoo itching, or at least establish whether or not it is something that you need some form of help for.

Causes of an itchy and raised tattoo?

If you have a new tattoo itching and causing you pain then try not to worry too much. It could simply be down to the area being dry. However, you need to watch out for the following causes of itching, which can be more serious and require more attention.


Infections can come from the tattoo equipment not being cleaned and sterilized quickly, or other dirty surfaces or poor hygiene practice. You may also get an infection if you don’t cover the tattoo properly and it comes into contact with bacteria. This can cause an itchy tattoo, along with other features.

If you’ve got a fever, or the area looks especially sore or starts to give off pus or a smell, it’s time to go to the doctors and seek medical help.

Allergic reactions

Some people have allergic reactions to the pigment found in tattoo ink. Red inks are common for this. Signs of an allergic reaction also include a red rash, or the area going bumpy or itching.

It might not happen straight away, there are examples of people getting a reaction months or even years after the actual tattoo took place.

A steroid ointment is a good solution, and this can help the area to recover and minimize symptoms.

Ink contamination

The ink itself needs to be kept incredibly clean and clear. You’re injecting it into your system, so the idea of there being any problem with this can be very problematic. You wouldn’t get a vaccine that was contaminated. There have even been examples of the FDA recalling certain tattoo inks because of the fact they were contaminated.

Dirty ink

Ink can get dirty in other ways. Even if it is shipped in good condition, it’s vital to ensure that nothing gets into the ink. Dirty ink can cause irritation, and it can even lead to health problems as a result. Dirty ink or tools could pass staph and impetigo illnesses between people. A reputable tattoo shop will make sure to not make such mistakes.

Sometimes older, healed tattoos become raised but don't itch. A tattoo can become raised for a number of reasons. The most common factors that can cause tattoo raising are allergies, tissue damage, certain weather conditions, poor healing and rough tattoo artist work.

What to do when your tattoo itches?

What are the steps to take when your tattoo itches? Are there methods that can prevent this and stop you from wanting to scratch incessantly? Luckily, a bit of tattoo itching is normal and there advices you can follow:

Cool compresses

This is the oldest trick in the book if you are feeling itchy. Apply a cool compress to the area to numb it and this should give some relief, if only temporary. You can keep doing so when the itching gets too much to bear.

Moisturized area

The simplest cause of the tattoo itching is often just the fact that it is not properly moisturized. A dried-out tattoo can cause a lot of discomfort.

Your tattoo artist might be able to supply you with some moisturizer, if not, topical treatments that can be bought online are a great solution and usually make the area feel a lot better. Make sure you buy something that is safe for use with your tattoo.

Creams and Ointments (Not for New Tattoos)

There are plenty of tattoo creams and ointments available that can help. These might numb or soothe the area. However, you need to consider which you can use, and this will depend on how new your tattoo is.

Brand new ink is effectively an open wound, so you don’t want to apply any ointment that is designed for a tattoo that has healed. However, if it has healed but is still dry and needs a bit of help with moisture and recovery then you can buy tattoo ointments over the counter.


An itchy tattoo is nothing unusual. Many people experience some sort of itching to go along with the pain, but if it is particularly bad or you find that you have other symptoms such as a fever or pus, or bad swelling or a smell in the area, then you might need treatment for an infection. This shouldn’t be ignored, as you might need antibiotics to stop the spread.

Choosing a trustworthy tattoo artist who takes precautions is essential to make sure that you don’t end up with an infection that could have lasting implications or scarring.

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