Tattoo Scabbing | Aftercare & Healing

A new tattoo will flake and peel during the healing process and may even scab a little bit. To prevent a new tattoo from overly scabbing and thus possibly losing color and clarity, the first two weeks is the most critical time to carefully follow aftercare tips.

Whether you use an aftercare product suggested by the tattoo artist, an over-the-counter ointment or an unscented hand lotion or moisturizer, you must keep your tattoo moist. If it dries out and starts cracking, where it splits is where you are going to see scabbing.

While keeping it moist is vitally important, you can overdo it and keep it too moist or what you'd call saturated.

Avoid using petroleum or lanolin based product that clogs your pores. These products can not only pull out color, but they actually hamper the healing process. A slow healing tattoo has the potential to scab just as much as one that doesn't get enough moisture during healing.

Wear loose clothing while your tattoo is healing. Tight clothes that rub on a new tattoo can irritate and scrape the area to the point of pulling off flakes and scabs that aren't ready to come off. It's also wise to wear clothing made of breathable materials such as cotton. Avoid nylons and polyesters.

Keep it clean
Gently wash your tattoo with a mild, antibacterial soap and your fingers. Never use a wash cloth, sponge, bath puff or any other material while washing the area. Then, thoroughly rinse all of the soap off. It's important to carefully remove this debris to prevent a new tattoo from scabbing.

Don't rub
Rubbing your tattoo can pull off the thin layer that is also referred to as a scab which forms a protective layer over the fresh ink. This scab is necessary and you don't want to pull it off before it's ready or you will end up with larger scabs that are harmful. Re-apply ointment, lotion or moisturizer

Avoid Sweating
Sports, gum etc can irritate a new tattoo, so try to avoid extremely physical activity.
Also avoid contact sports, where the protective scab can be knocked off.

Don't soak in any kind of water including bathtubs, oceans, lakes, swimming pools or hot tubs. Not only can the water seep under the skin and draw the ink out, any germs found in the water source can potentially cause infection, which can lead to scabbing and scarring.

Tattoo Scabbing - Healing
Scabs can be unsightly, painful and itchy. Scabs are the encrusted formation that forms atop a wound during the healing process. Designed to keep germs and bacteria from invading the wound and leading the infection, they can be unsightly. Improper caring of scabs can lead to permanent scarring.

Reasons for Scabs:
The tattoo starts to scab over, similar to a scab that may occur if you've been badly sun burned. This is a natural reaction, as the top layer of skin becomes a little crusty, protecting the open wound (tattoo) underneath.

After a few days, the natural healing process of the tattoo causes the skin to form a complete scab over the entire image. This scab should be very thin and flaky if you've taken care of your tattoo correctly.

Once the tattoo finishes healing, the scab begins to peel, eventually falling off completely on its own. During this time, it's important not to pick the scab or it could pull the ink out of the fresh tattoo underneath.

What to avoid:

Don't pick at the scab; give it time to heal undisturbed. Picking scabs open not only exposes the cut to bacteria, but keeps it from healing properly and will eventually lead to scarring.

Clean the scab with warm, soapy water. Don't rub on it or you risk having it fall off. Dry it immediately after washing.
Keep the scab moist by applying a warm, wet compress one to two times a day. This will help promote healing by allowing the    skin beneath the scab to regenerate.
Apply lotion to the scab to keep it healthier and less likely to fall off or become cracked.
Apply an antibiotic ointment to the scab between soakings to help keep it from hardening.

Avoid soaking the scab in excess water. This can cause the scab to fall off, which will restart the healing process, making it so another scab has to form. Allow the scab to get as much air as possible to promote healing. If you cover the scab, make sure it still has airflow.

Talk to your doctor about chemical peeling for scabs and scars. Chemical peels remove the top layer of skin, but may lead to some skin discoloration. In the case of severe acne scabs and scarring, this is one way to achieve a smooth layer of skin.


Tattoos & Tanning
Tattoo Scarring
Sweating & Tattoos
Itchy Raised Tattoos