Is It Acceptable To Scratch A Tattoo?

Is It Acceptable To Scratch A Tattoo? The excitement of getting a new tattoo is endless, especially if it’s your first. You can’t wait for it to recover so you can show it off. The healing process is a relatively rigorous endeavor; however, many people tend to forget this in the middle of all the excitement.

You will go through really uncomfortable phases where the tattoo starts to leak and ooze, as well as scab and itch. Out of all the issues, scabbing and itching seem to be the most challenging to handle since they make us eager to pick and scratch the tattoo.


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Whether it’s your first or your hundredth tattoo, you’ll discover that your ink might start to itch throughout the healing process. No matter how big or tiny, your tattoo will probably itch when the lubricant from the inking procedure dries out and the wound starts to heal.

Please be aware that this itching is common and that it is easy to eliminate itching and avoid scratching with a few basic aftercare measures. If proper aftercare measures are done, your new tattoo will heal more rapidly and lose its itching. Your comfort and the quality of your tattoo might suffer if the proper aftercare treatments are neglected since it could become challenging to prevent scratching the body art.

Read on to learn all you need to know about tattoo itching, including its causes of it, the reasons you shouldn’t scratch your tattoo, and the most effective techniques for encouraging fast healing.


What Causes Tattoos To Itch?

Nothing is more horrifying than witnessing raw blood and flesh when a needle punctures the skin, but the body responds as if it is trauma. In order to embed the ink in the dermal tissue, the tattooing machine had to puncture the five layers of the epidermis. The body has a lot to deal with, with between 50 and 3,000 skin penetrations every minute.

After having a tattoo, your body will start a natural recovery process. This technique may differ depending on the tattoo’s placement and the inking’s quality. Everyone will have a variety of distinct moderate symptoms during this period, with itching of different intensities being one of the most frequent side effects.


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When Is It Acceptable To Scratch A Tattoo, And How Does One Know?

It might be quite challenging to remember not to scratch your tattoo while it is healing. It is critical to prevent scratching your tattoo in the first few days and weeks after it has been finished. Different stages at starting weeks:

Week One

You will typically feel some stinging discomfort and minor irritation during this time. Excess ink, blood, and plasma may be leaked from the tattoo.

Avoid scratching at this stage since scabs are developing. Doing this would irritate the exposed flesh and introduce harmful bacteria from your fingernails.

The tattooing procedure has harmed the top dermis and epidermis layers. The phagocyte cells of the immune system will try to absorb the foreign substance, which in tattooing is the ink pigment.


Week Two

The injured epidermal layer starts to peel off as the recovery process begins to occur. You’ll start to experience dryness in the region and want to scratch. Don’t do that! Allow the skin to continue healing; the development of new collagen will soon repair it.

A good indicator of healing is the little itchy sensation. Let your body heal on its own, free from the irritation of constant touch.

Week Three

The ink pigment should have sunk deeper into the dermis after a few weeks. This indicates that the tattoo is recovering nicely. It ought to appear wholesome and new. Scratching is now safer because the epidermal layer of skin above the ink has healed, but you should probably wait another week.

It is significant to remember that everyone’s experience with tattoo scratching is unique, and for some individuals, scratching a fully healed tattoo might occasionally cause discomfort. You could have an allergy to the ink that was used, or you might be dealing with another problem if you have tattoo inflammation, leaking, or burning after scratching your completely recovered tattoo.

If this occurs, seek medical or dermatological attention to limit the issue and avoid discomfort with more tattoos. Of course, even after your tattoo has healed, your skin may still itch from other sources, like dryness or insect bites, and you’ll want to itch it.


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Don’t worry; rubbing your tattoo is only forbidden if you still possess scabbing and the recovery process is incomplete. You shouldn’t have any problems if you gently itch a bug bite or dry skin on top of your recovered and healthy tattoo.

Is It Common For A Tattoo To Itch?

When the tattoo machine’s needle penetrates the skin’s protective layer, it causes a wound. The skin quickly enters a phase of protection and healing as a result. Swelling, itching, redness, and scabbing are some signs of this. Your skin is merely doing everything it can to fight off infection and recover itself by safeguarding the body, as it is the biggest organ and first line of defense.

It’s common to experience itching when the skin around the tattoo starts to scab over. The majority of the time, itching is a sign that your tattoo is healing and that your skin is recovering. You could think of previous instances where you have had a minor wound, and a scab has developed.

For the first several days after it formed, did your scab itch? Did you ever notice that the itch only became worse when you touched it? This is what will also occur if you scratch the tattoo. Scratching makes your tattoo much more irritated, which is pointless over time.


Can A Tattoo Be Affected By Scratching?

A tattoo that has been scratched might get damaged in a number of ways. Scratching your tattoo has the potential to ruin your body art and leave scars, in addition to making the itch worse and perhaps causing a horrible infection.

Scabs that have formed from scratching are removed too soon, leaving the skin’s defenses vulnerable to bacteria and other contaminants. A skin infection will likely result from these contaminants entering the skin, which will only worsen things. Redness, increasing and protracted itching, and oozing at the location of the wound are some indicators of an infection.

Contact a doctor if you notice any of these signs. Scratching off scabs too soon can lead to skin scars that might become permanent and unpleasant.


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For those who are worried about aesthetics, rubbing your tattoo will always smudge the ink’s location in the skin and damage the design. If someone scratched the tattoo during the recovery process, they could find shares of the tattoo that are entirely vacant after it has recovered.

Like the majority of people who get tattoos, you probably took your time deciding on the style, artist, and location. Most likely, you also spent a hefty sum on the work! Keep your nails short until your tattoo is completely healed to safeguard the investment.

How Can The Itching Be Reduced?

In order to minimize itching throughout the recovery process, proper tattoo aftercare is essential. After receiving a new tattoo, you must comprehend tattoo maintenance and its significance entirely. The first and most crucial step to success is to maintain cleanliness surrounding the tattoo as it heals.


Infection can be avoided by keeping the region clean, which also reduces discomfort and itching. You should think about getting a soap designed specifically for tattoo healing as a way to clean yourself.

As an additional option, you can wash the tattoo with a mild, fragrance-free soap. Since rags and sponges can store bacteria and germs that might contaminate the ink, that’s why you should only use your hands to carefully clean.

To prevent the removal of scabs, which might injure the tattoo and the artwork, wash the tattoo with clean, warm water, then pat it dry.

The most crucial step in stopping itching is moisturizing after cleaning the tattoo. The moisturization helps the itching phase of healing pass even more quickly and reduces irritation.

To stop itching and encourage healing, you should moisturize your body art many times each day, depending on the size and location of the tattoo.

Use clean hands to gently rub an unscented moisturizing ointment or a lotion specially designed for tattoos over the tattoo as required. Make certain that you only use fragrance-free, non-comedogenic lotion while applying it.


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If the tattoo is scabbing, you might want to gently massage the cream or lotion to stop the scab from removing too soon. An increase in itching is a symptom that the tattoo needs to be moisturized more frequently.

Reason To Worry

The tattoo recovery process is supposed to include some mild itchy discomfort. It indicates the start of the instinctive phagocytic process. It denotes the formation of scabs and the body’s natural defense of the exposed wound.

Itching that is excessive and persistent is the main reason for worry. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin can respond in unexpected ways after getting a tattoo, and these reactions can manifest as infections, sores, and skin disorders.


It’s possible that this is a delayed response to the ink itself. The FDA does not govern ink for tattoos, and it has been discovered that some ink contains residues of substances like lead or copper. Because of this, it is even more crucial to take strict precautions to safeguard your tattoo once it has been done.

How Long Is The Itching Going To Last?

Itching from a tattoo shouldn’t last for more than a week or two. This period varies depending on the type of artwork, how it was apply, and the post-treatment measures use during the recovery process. It is possible that irritation may last longer since larger, fully shaded, and colorful parts may take more time to heal.

The healing process should also not be overly prolonged for shorter, single-needle, or delicate works. The time it takes for a tattoo to heal will also likely be longer if it was applied by a heavier-handed tattoo artist who may have placed the ink deeper into the skin’s layers. It may be useful to inquire about your tattoo artist’s tattooing style or whether they sometimes consider themselves heavy-handed.


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However, it is generally preferable to consult a doctor to make sure you are not fighting an infection if you are still feeling redness or irritation and it has become worse throughout this healing time. When the skin around the tattoo has healed, and the scabs have completely peeled off, the itching often entirely goes away. Try to be patient during the scabbing and healing process; your tattoo will appreciate it.


A thorough recovery process is key to a healthy, clean, and long-lasting tattoo. This can only happen if the tattoo is covered. A rushed recovery process and even irreversible harm to the tattoo itself can result from improper tattoo maintenance.

Avoid touching the wound directly as much as possible in the beginning. Repeated scratching can introduce harmful germs into the tattoo, irritating the skin, making it uncomfortable, and infecting it. One of the primary activities to avoid when recuperating is scratching.

Remember to keep in mind how the tattoo will recover. Just let the body take care of recovering itself. After a month has passed, you should be able to scratch the area as needed.

Megan Ivy