How to Treat an Infected Tattoo

The best way to flaunt your style and state of mind is through a tattoo. They have become a rage of today’s generation. Initially, being used as a sign of rebellion, tattoos have become a part of our culture. They signify different aspects of human mind and give a pictorial representation of our minds. For college going youth to music icons to fashion models, tattoos define style and are a symbol of a person’s individuality. Tattoo designs come in many shapes and sizes, there are various designs like barbed wire, skull, roses etc.

Getting a tattoo done can be a quite a task as you have to choose the design carefully. After the design, permanent tattoo could be painful but it will become your style statement. After the tattoo is made, it requires constant care and attention. There might be infections and pus at the site. When getting a tattoo, ensure that you do not have any skin infection and all the needles used in making a tattoo are sterilised. Keep yourself free from all infections after getting the tattoo.  If you notice any odour or pus, immediately go to the doctor. Getting a  tattoo can be fun. With just a little care, you can make it a style statement. Read on to find out how to treat an infected tattoo.

Before you can treat an infected tattoo, there are some signs and symptoms that you need to understand so that you know the seriousness of the infection.

tattoo infections


One of the first signs of an infected tattoo is redness and irritation. The infection causes redness and irritation which can make you feel very uncomfortable. The skin becomes very itchy. The area around the tattoo becomes red and hot. Just after getting a tattoo, you may have redness for a day or two. If the redness persists then there might be a chance of an infection.

Yellow or Green Pus:

The infected area gets swollen and discharges yellow or green pus. When you notice this, then there is a chance of an infection.


This is one of the first things that happen in case of an infection. If you get high fever after one or two days of getting inked, then it is better to read the signs properly and consult a skin doctor.


The art of getting a tattoo works on the principle of no pain – no gain. Initial pain is common, but if the pain persists and becomes very unbearable then you should get it checked by the doctor. Usually after getting inked, the pain decreases within 2-3 days.


Sore formation around the tattoo area is a clear sign of infection. If you notice red sores developing around the tattoo area, then it is best to consult with a doctor as soon as possible.


After you have confirmed to the above signs and symptoms, you can follow the below mentioned steps to treat the infection.

1. Keep the Ink Area Dry:

Keep your tattoo dry at all times as it will keep infections at bay and avoid the contact of water. Do not swim if you have an infection as chlorine in pool water can harm your skin. Keep the area dry even while taking a bath. Cover the tattoo in the shower.

By ensuring that the infected area is dry, you can speed up the healing process. Extra care and attention is needed for speedy recovery.

2. Do not Use Chemicals:

Do  not use any chemical based products like soaps, creams or any petroleum-based products on the tattoo as these products can be harsh for your skin, they irritate the skin and delay the healing process. Only use the products that the doctor prescribes you and do not scratch the wounds, by doing this it can aggravate the problems.

Usually at times like these, do not blindly follow anyone’s advice and use any chemical products. Taking advice from your doctor is the best way. If you still want to go for a second opinion, then it is better to go back to the tattoo artist. Since the tattoo artist knows how to treat it better, take advice from him/her.

3. Cover the Infected Area:

Air is needed to heal the infected tattoo but remember to guard the wound against dust particles and other infections. Always cover it with gauze when you go out and change the gauze from time to time. Keep it away from the contact of pets, body fluids, dirt etc. Keep the infected area away from your pet too. Take care while sleeping, do not let the infected area stick to the bedding.

Just by keeping the wound covered, you will be doing a great favour to yourself and saving yourself from infections. If the wound is open, it becomes more prone to other infections because the air is full of dirt, pollutants, bacteria and virus.

4. Use an Ointment:

When the doctor prescribes an ointment, use it after cleansing the wound. Take a cotton ball or use your hands to apply the ointment on the infected site twice a day. The ointment  should be medicated, this will prevent itching.

5. See a Doctor:

After following the preventive measures, if you feel some odour of pus coming out of the wound, see a doctor immediately. The doctor might give you antibiotics to reduce infection or advice for a blood test.

Tattoo infection is a serious issue and can be life threatening. Proper steps have to be taken to avoid any serious damage or problem. Tattoos are not only a fine and an artistic way of speaking your mind out but, it also involves huge risk. Usually 8 out of 10 people get infection after getting inked. The risk is even higher in parlors that do not follow any safety precautions. It is highly advisable to choose a parlor that is run by a certified tattoo artist. If you already have any kind of skin allergies, then it is better to talk to your doctor or to the tattoo artist to avoid any kind of future complications.

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