What to do if tattoo starts scabbing?

This article explains why tattoos start scabbing and provides tips for proper aftercare when it occurs.

2 min read

a scabbing tattoo man's arm with a tattoo on it
a scabbing tattoo man's arm with a tattoo on it

Tattoos are a popular form of body art that has been around for centuries. Getting a tattoo involves a needle puncturing the skin and depositing ink into the dermis layer. After getting a tattoo, it is common for the skin to scab over as it heals. But why does this happen, and what can you do to ensure proper healing?

Why tattoos start scabbing

Scabbing is a natural part of the healing process for tattoos. When the needle penetrates the skin, it creates tiny wounds that your body immediately begins to repair. Scabbing occurs when the body produces a protective layer over the wound to prevent bacteria from entering and to allow the skin to heal properly.

However, scabbing can also be caused by improper aftercare. If you do not properly clean and moisturize your tattoo, it can become dry and flaky, leading to scabbing. Additionally, if you pick at the scabs or expose your tattoo to excessive sunlight or water, you can disrupt the healing process and cause scabs to form.

What to do when your tattoo starts scabbing

If your tattoo starts to scab, it is important to take proper care to ensure proper healing. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized: Clean your tattoo regularly with a mild soap and warm water, then pat it dry with a clean towel. Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep the area hydrated and prevent dryness.

  2. Avoid picking at the scabs: Picking at the scabs can cause them to peel off prematurely, which can damage the healing skin underneath and increase the risk of infection.

  3. Avoid exposing your tattoo to water: Avoid swimming, soaking in a hot tub, or taking long showers or baths. Water can soften the scabs, making them more likely to fall off prematurely.

  4. Avoid exposing your tattoo to direct sunlight: UV rays can damage the healing skin and cause the ink to fade. If you must go outside, wear loose, protective clothing that covers your tattoo, or apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

In conclusion, scabbing is a natural part of the tattoo healing process, but it can also be caused by improper aftercare. By following these tips, you can ensure that your tattoo heals properly and looks great for years to come. Remember to always consult with your tattoo artist if you have any concerns or questions about aftercare.