Tattoo scabbing is a normal step in the healing stages. When the skin is tattooed, it causes minor injuries on the normal skin. When the skin is punctured, injured or cut a scab is normally formed in the healing process. What is the difference between a normal scab on tattoo and infected tattoo? In this article we will discuss all this questions on scabs plus what to do during scabbing and how to avoid tattoo fails
Tattoo scabs are always crumbly, crusty coagulation of plasma or blood. Large tattoos tend to have excessive scabbing compared to smaller ones.
A scab is a good sign in any healing process since it provides a protective layer from foreign infections and substances during healing.
Tattoo involves punching of the skin and the resulting injuries are always minor and should heal with normal scabbing over them depending on the tattoo size. Picking at the scabs is not good since it causes fading of the color and peeling at the edges of the scab.
Tattoo healing stages
- Tattoo healing stages
- Importance of tattoo scabbing
- Causes of tattoo scabbing and how to avoid them.
- How to take care of a Scabbing on tattoos.
- 1. Bandaging a fresh tattoo
- 2. Swimming and long baths with a tattoo scab
- 3. Picking, Scratching or Pulling off tattoo scabs
- 4. Soaking heavy tattoo scabs
- 5. Dressing during tattoo scabbing
- 6. Colored scabs that smell
- 7. Keep the scab moisturized
- 8. Aloe Vera as a natural home remedy for tattoo scabbing and scaring tattoos
- 9. Apple cider vinegar natural home remedy for stubborn scabs.
- 8. Lemon Juice as a natural home remedy for removing scabs
- Tattoo Fails and How to Avoid Them
First lets discus the tattoo healing stages in order to fully understand when the scab comes in. This knowledge is important in handling tattoo scabs since it will guide in the healing presses.
Healing process normally lasts for about three to four weeks but it depends on the size and nature of the tattoo. Basically There are three healing stages:-
1. Stage one is the tattoo Weeping Stage
In this stage, the tattoo is considered to be a fresh open wound and is very delicate. It discharges a clear fluid called plasma. Any excess ink that is used is also discharged at this first stage.
The tattoo artist normally puts a clean bandage over the tattoo to absorb the discharge and to protect it from any external infections.
The bandage lasts over the tattoo up to a day and should be changed from time to time to avoid unwanted perspiration over the wound.
This also avoids sticking of the bandage on the fresh tattoo. This stage is characterized by a stinging feeling, swelling, and a reddish look on the fresh tattoo.
Tattoo scabbing starts in this stage and they should be left alone. Cleaning the area at this stage is advisable to keep it clean. Take care of the scabs as advised in this article under the heading- how to take care of scabbing tattoos.
At this stage, Pain killers can be used to reduce the pain. This stage is expected to last for about a week.
2. Stage two is the tattoo itching and peeling stage
In this stage, the skin tends to bind and pull together as it heals. The tattoo becomes itchy and gives an urge to scratch. Avoid scratching it all costs since this might peel of the well-formed scabs at this stage.
The scabs may start naturally falling off at this stage to finally reveal the brand new tattoo beneath which is a good sign of healing.
Most people experience skin peeling around the tattooed areas at this stage due to the dry scabbed tattoos. It is good to avoid peeling the skin, applying moisturizer is a good idea. This stage lasts for about one to two weeks.
3. Stage three is the final healing stage
In this final stage, the tattoo scabs have all fallen off and the ink looks perfect and in place. The tattoo might look different from the look it had when it was new but NOTE that this is okay since there are still layers of dead skin over it.
Keep the tattoo clean and moisturize it twice a day to speed up the natural falling off of the dead skin over it. Do not peel or pull of the skin layer manually by hand as this might damage the tattoo.
This layers of healed skin or dead skin will finally shed off on their own and the tattoo will finally look as good as when it was first done.
Importance of tattoo scabbing
Scabs help in protecting the tattooed area from any bacterial infection as the white blood cells under it helps in healing and repairing the new skin under it. The density and size of the scab varies in individuals and this is what determines the tattoo healing duration.
When the scabs finish their intended purpose and all is okay under them, they naturally fall off and the new healed skin with the new tattoo is finally exposed. Below, let’s discuss a few questions that are always asked about tattoo scabbing.
1. How long does a tattoo scab last?
Once the tattoo is done, it scabs almost immediately after weeping has begun. Once the scab is formed, it may take a week. In cases of infection of heavy layers of scabbing it may last for two weeks or up to a month. However this depends on an individual’s nature of tattoo.
Tattoos vary in sizes. The tattoo artist techniques may also determine how deep the tattoo wounds are scabbing. It is advisable to use a professional tattoo artist and to take good care of the scab for it to fall off real quick.
2. Do all tattoos scab? Or do all tattoos scab over?
No, not all tattoos scab and with immediate special care after the tattoo has been done, completely avoiding tattoo scab is possible. Read bellow under the sub topic – How to avoid a tattoo scab.
3. Is it normal for a tattoo to scab?
Yes, it is normal for a tattoo to scab just like any damaged skin. It is therefore advisable to let it naturally fall of while u take care of it. Read more under the topic – How to take care of scabbing tattoos.
4. Why is my skin peeling while scabbing?
Tattoo damages the skin and just like in sunburn cases, peeling has to occur on the healing skin. The ink stuck in the top skin layer will have to come off and the area may start to peel in most cases.
The scabs pull the skin as it forms thus the tightened arrears may also start to peel. Moisturizing ointments can help with the peeling and they should not be pulled off.
5. What is the relation of tattoo scaring and tattoo scabbing?
Scarring occurs when the artist overworks and goes deeper in a tattoo area. It is characterized by raised skin tissues around the tattoo outline and longer healing duration.
When tattoo scabs are not well taken care of, they may also lead to tattoo scaring. Scaring can also can also result from poor art done by a non-professional artist.
6. Incase my tattoo is spoiled due to scabbing, can I remove it?
Yes, tattoo removal is very possible. This is done by though laser treatment and most tattoos are always not visible after this treatment.
However, in some cases complete removal may be impossible depending on the artwork but visibility can be greatly reduced almost to zero.
You may also want to see:
- How to remove ingrown hair
Causes of tattoo scabbing and how to avoid them.
Keeping the tattoo keep it id of body fluids which promote scabbing. Unwanted body fluids like sweat and accumulated blood are some of the major causes of scabs on tattoos.
- Tattoos tend to produce a yellowish fluid called plasma which dries up to form scabs. Cleaning plasma using an anti-bacterial wash and letting it to air dry can help in avoiding scab formation.
- After a week or less, unclean means bad tattoo scab. Gently washing the fresh tattoo and keeping it moisturized will help tattoos tend to start peeling leading to scab formation. Peeling tattoos can cause bad scabbing and it is advisable to let them fall off naturally. Natural scab falling is always guaranteed in many cases.
- Dry skin causes the tattoo to crack. Scabbing then starts along the cracks which is not a good thing in the healing process since it causes irregularities on the healing surface.
- Washing any accumulated blood and perspiration fluids on the fresh tattoo helps in avoiding scabbing since this are some of the main causes of early scabbing on tattoos.
- Using recommended ointments to keep the tattoo moisturized is a good idea since a dry tattoo is should be avoided. Dryness can end up ruining the whole effort. Vitamin A and D are good in the healing process and ointments with this contents are highly recommended.
How to avoid a tattoo scab
Yes, you may keep tattoo from bad scabbing completely. When the artist is done drawing the tattoo, they will always bandage it to keep of any foreign and external bacterial infection.
Following simple steps listed below can help in completely keeping away the scabs.
Carefully remove the bandage and air the tattoo. This should be for about 30 minutes.
Using a natural soap, make a soft leather using water on your hands and gently wash the tattoo using the soap. Avoid using washcloths or brush since they may reap or even scar the delicate tattoo.
Natural soaps or antibacterial foam are recommended since they have less chemicals that may react with the new sensitive tattoo resulting to infections.
Run warm birth water over the foam to rinse it off. This should be done gently until any fluid on it is gone.
Let the tattoo air dry naturally from about 40 to 60 minutes away from dust and definitely NOT in the sun. Do not use any towel or cloth over it as this area is very sensitive at this point.
Be careful not to let it over dry since this can cause cracking on the tattoo surface. After it is dry, apply a reasonable amount of tattoo aftercare cream. Do not over apply the cream just a small reasonable amount over the surface is okay.
Finally keep it clean and avoid any external contact from the fresh tattoo surface. This way, the tattoo has high chances of healing without forming scabs over it.
How to take care of a Scabbing on tattoos.
A good artist should always give immediate care guides after the tattoo is done and should create awareness of scabbing and what to do to avoid any bad results. However there are minimum and standard tattoo after care.
In this case, Scabbing should be well cared for since if ignored the whole tattoo can be damaged in the process and serious infections may be experienced. Below are a few tattoo after care and scabbing tips.
1. Bandaging a fresh tattoo
Immediately after the tattoo is done, it should be carefully bandaged. This should be just long enough and temporary for the skin to create a protective translucent film layer over it. Taking good care of this first layer can help in avoiding scabbing completely.
2. Swimming and long baths with a tattoo scab
Over-Soaking a scabbing tattoo should be avoided. This mostly happens when swimming or having a long bath and can cause the scab to fall of prematurely. This makes the healing process longer.
3. Picking, Scratching or Pulling off tattoo scabs
Picking, Scratching or Pulling off tattoo scabs is not a good idea. Once the scabs have been formed they Scabs tend to fall of naturally after several weeks of formation. When a scab is removed prematurely, re-scrubbing occurs in the same area which causes prolonged healing.
- Pulling of tattoo scabs and why should this be avoided at all cost?
When scabs are prematurely pulled off, it can result in any of the following serious consequences:-
- Removing ink on tattoo and living an ugly inkless scar on the final result might happen.
- A new scar will form which is not a good thing. When a new scabs replaces another, the ink below might be altered in the healing due to difference in exposure duration.
- Pulling a scab may cause tattoo infection to the exposed area which is the last thing you want.
- A scar can also form on the affected. A scar on tattoo can lead into a total damage of the tattoos final desired outlook.
- When a scab is pulled, the ink bellow it can be leaked out ant this can cause serious defects on the final tattoo. In some cases, it might not be repaired to its original state.
4. Soaking heavy tattoo scabs
Soaking is only advisable to patients with very huge scabs on their tattoos since tattoo scabs and size vary in different patients.
Large, mountainous multi-layered crusty tattoo scabs are not normal and occurs when the plasma at the weeping stage is not thoroughly washed or cleaned. Heavy scabs also occur as a results of the artist overworking one area of the tattoo.
Soaking heavy tattoo scabbing should be done as follows:-
- Run warm water over the scab for about 5-10 minutes maximum. This allows the thick scab to absorb the water.
- Use a clean dry towel to gently pat on the scab with a purpose of drying it.
- Alternatively, put a clean towel in warm bath water and place it over the tattoo for a few minutes to help in shrinking and peeling of the massive or excessive crust.
- Be careful not to over soak since it might damage the tattoo.
- The scabs might feel dry and may be develop cracks. In this case, gently apply an aftercare cream in small amounts to keep it moist. Use a damp sterilized towel or wash cloth to clean any excess creams.
5. Dressing during tattoo scabbing
Putting on tight clothes is not advisable during scabbing as it may rub off the scab layers due to friction from movement. This causes premature falling off of tattoo scabs. When scabs form under tight clothes, they might end up being pulled off together with the cloth. It is advisable to but on loos clothes over the tattooed arrears to avoid this.
6. Colored scabs that smell
Scabs can also help in identified infected tattoos which is very important. When a scab is filled with yellow or green fluid and produces a bad smell, it is definitely a sign of an infected tattoo. It is important to seek medical attention and the advice of the artist who made the tattoo for medication and advice.
7. Keep the scab moisturized
The fresh plasma discharge forms the first crusty layer which is a scab on the new tattoo. It is important to keep this scab moisturized since when it dries up, it cracks and splits open. This may cause re-scabbing which is not good for any tattoo.
U may use over-the-counter ointment or unscented hand lotion to keep the tattoo moisturized. However it is important to avoid keeping the tattoo too moist. Do not overdo it. Avoid using petroleum jelly or lanolin products as this may clog the pores and affect the healing process.
8. Aloe Vera as a natural home remedy for tattoo scabbing and scaring tattoos
The Aloe Vera plant is known for its soothing, healing and rejuvenating natural abilities. Aloe Vera speeds the healing process since it strengthens any collagens hidden structures in the scar. Allover can be used to heal the edges of a peeling scab and also in scarring tattoos.
- Cut a fresh Aloe Vera plant to extract the juice.
- Clean the affected area and gently apply the juice directly by squeezing the aloe juice on the affected area. Be careful not to scratch.
- Let it stay for about 10 t0 20 minutes then gently rinse off.
- Repeat regularly for great results.
9. Apple cider vinegar natural home remedy for stubborn scabs.
Apple cider vinegar gets rids of scars by improving cell growth and maintaining a proper PH balance. The following simple steps can be followed for great results.
- Get 5ml of apple cider vinegar and mix with 50ml water
- Clean the affected area and gently apply using a cotton ball.
- Let it settle for a bout 20-30 minutes
- Using lukewarm water, gently rinse it off.
- Repeat this steps for great results. Remember it is important not to soak the tattoo so it is important to space out the process.
8. Lemon Juice as a natural home remedy for removing scabs
Lemon contains hydroxyl acid (AHA) which helps in removing dead skin cells. It also aids the growing of new cells and improves the skin elasticity.
Lemon juice also acts as a natural bleaching agent that is gentle on the skin and is useful in lightening an ugly scar. Below are a few steps on how to use it on scars:-
- Wash the scab with a natural chemical free soap.
- Blend or squeeze a few lemons to extract the fresh juice contents.
- Using a cotton ball, gently apply the juice on the scab and around it.
- Gently rinse off with warm water after 10-15 minutes
- Repeat this occasionally and keep it in mind that we don’t want to soak our scab in the process. Space out the process well.
Tattoo Fails and How to Avoid Them
Any person who has spent more than ten minutes on any social networking account has probably seen their fair share of bad tattoos—tattoos that are–to say the least, regrettable.
Though most people find them hysterical, it is likely that if they were on your body, it would not be as nearly funny. You may think that being a reasonably intelligent person that has had a laugh at many stupid tattoos that you are immune to such disasters, but you will find that it only takes a simple judgment error to become a proud owner of a permanent mistake.
The following tips will ensure that this does not happen.
1. Check Your Spelling
Perhaps the most ironic and infamous tattoo fails are the “No Regrets” design. The design, which became trendy years ago, still remains one of the most fashionable and admired tattoos globally.
From the images above, you may think that it is the work of your artist to spell check the piece, and yes, the artist should probably so, but when dealing with a script, it is a joint effort between both parties.
What you write down for the artist is undoubted, what will be written on you. If the artist catches the error, fantastic, but the artists’ attention is on tattooing. Therefore, if using the script, ensure you write down exactly what you want to be tattooed on you.
2. Foreign Language Tattoos
One of the worst tattoos you can have is a foreign language tattoo that has been spelt wrongly. Many English speaking tattooists and not fluent in Latin or Japanese.
As such, when you hand the artist a character or phrase written in your grandmother’s mother tongue, the artist will not have an idea whether the phrase is correct or not.
The image above is a clear example of a misspelling on a tattoo done in a native Swahili language. The correct word is “Hakuna Matata” but it ended up with “Hanuka Matata”. Walking around East Africa and central Africa (East and central Africa is a great tourist destination) with such a tattoo will be a big embarrassment.
3. Choose the Right Tattoo Artist
Not all tattoo fails are funny—as it is quite tragic when a person hopes to get a good and beautiful portrait of their spouse, parent, or child only to end with a grotesque caricature in its place.
Of the most difficult of tattoos, portraits happen to be at the top, and even some of the top tattoo artists globally will often not be comfortable handling them because realism may not be their preferred style, or they have not done enough of them to feel confident about tattooing them.
If you want a portrait that is realistic, you have to pour over several portfolios, talk to several tattoo artists and remain open to the opinions they provide.
Below is a video on how to prevent scabs and infection on your tattoo and how to take care of scabs.