tattoo redness, irritation, acne or reaction

How to Treat and Prevent Tattoo Acne

Getting small, raised bumps around or on a new or existing tattoo? While the process of getting a tattoo involves some level of discomfort, one potential side effect that can happen after the procedure is tattoo acne. These small, red bumps may leave many concerned, wondering what they are and how to address them. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, treatment, and prevention of tattoo acne, helping you understand and navigate this common post-tattoo concern.

What are Tattoo Acne?

Tattoo acne, also known as tattoo pimples or tattoo bumps, may look like traditional acne, with a red or white appearance, which can often feel irritable or itchy. However, tattoo pimples are not actual acne, but rather a reaction of the skin to the tattooing process or aftercare practices.

Causes of Tattoo Acne:

Allergic Reaction: Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the tattoo ink, which can manifest as tattoo pimples. This reaction may be triggered by certain pigments such as red, green, yellow, and blue, or additives present in the ink.

Infection: As the process of tattooing involves puncturing of the skin, bacteria can enter the skin through open tattooed areas, possibly leading to an infection which may include pimple-like bumps. The risk of infection increases if proper tattoo aftercare is not followed. This can especially occur when tattoo wraps are not clean or are left on for too long.

Clogged Pores: Poor aftercare practices, such as excessive moisturising or using petroleum-based or other comedogenic products, can clog the pores around the tattooed area, leading to the formation of pimples.

Ingrown Hairs: In rare cases, hair follicles near the tattooed area may become irritated or blocked, resulting in tattoo pimples.


Treatment Options for Tattoo Acne:

Keep the area clean: Gently cleanse the tattooed area with a mild, fragrance-free wash such as the Soothing Foaming Tattoo Wash and lukewarm water.  Avoid scrubbing or scratching the bumps, as this can worsen the condition.

Avoid irritants: Avoid using any harsh or fragranced products on the affected area, such as lotions, ointments, or creams. These can further aggravate the skin and delay the healing process.

Apply a warm compress: A warm compress can help soothe the affected area and reduce inflammation. Use a soft clean cloth soaked in warm water and gently apply it to the pimples for a few minutes several times a day.

Consult a dermatologist: If the tattoo pimples continues or escalates after a few days, it is advisable to seek professional medical advice. A dermatologist can evaluate the condition and provide appropriate treatment options, such as topical creams or antibiotics, if necessary.

Preventing Tattoo Acne:

Follow proper tattoo aftercare: Carefully follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist. This includes keeping the tattoo clean, avoiding excessive moisture, and using recommended aftercare products such as Aussie Inked Premium Tattoo Aftercare balm and FlexiSkin Tattoo Bandage Wrap. 

Choose a reputable tattoo artist: Research and select an experienced and licensed tattoo artist who maintains a clean and sterile working environment. Proper sterilisation and hygiene practices minimise the risk of infections and adverse reactions.

Avoid tight clothing and excessive sweating: Tight clothing or excessive sweating can irritate the tattooed area, leading to clogged pores and increased risk of tattoo pimples. Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid vigorous activities that cause excessive sweating typically 2-3 days after the procedure.

Patch test for allergies: If you have a history of allergies or sensitive skin, not only patch test any aftercare you will be using but you may consider requesting a patch test before getting a tattoo. This can help identify potential allergic reactions to the tattoo ink.

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