Why Do Tattoo's Start To Itch While Healing?


If you’re itching to scratch at your tattoo, you’re certainly not alone.

A tattoo is most susceptible to itchiness when it’s fresh, but this can occur at any stage of the healing process. When you get a new tattoo, the skin is damaged with needles and ink, which can cause itchiness at some point.

Still, no matter what the cause, you should never scratch at your tattoo — especially if it’s new ink that’s still healing. This can lead to serious damage to the tattoo, as well as the surrounding skin.

Normal healing process

When you get a new tattoo, your skin is literally recovering from a wound. The skin is inflamed and working on preventing infection and repairing itself. As the skin tissues heal, it’s normal to experience some itchiness.

Cool compresses

Cool compresses can ease itchiness while also reducing swelling. Ask your doctor before using any compresses around recent tattoos. It can take about two weeks for new tattoos to heal, according to The Nemours Foundation.

Keep the area moisturized

If your skin is both itchy and dry, the solution may rest in moisturizing. For old tattoos, choose either an oatmeal-based lotion or a thicker moisturizer made from cocoa butter. Stay away from products with colors and fragrances, as these may cause further irritation and may inadvertently increase the itch.

Itching is a common sensation that occurs during the healing process of a tattoo. It’s natural for a new tattoo to itch, but it’s important to understand the reason behind it and how to properly manage it to avoid any complications.

First and foremost, a new tattoo is essentially an open wound. The needle punctures the skin repeatedly to insert ink, which causes trauma to the skin. The body’s natural response to any type of injury is to initiate the healing process, which includes inflammation, scabbing, and itching.

When a tattoo starts to itch, it’s usually a sign that the healing process is progressing. However, it’s important to avoid scratching or picking at the tattoo, as this can damage the delicate tissue and lead to infection, scarring, or even the loss of the tattoo.

So, what can you do to manage the itching? Here are a few tips:

  1. Keep it clean: Wash your tattoo gently with a mild soap and warm water, then pat it dry with a clean towel. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as this can irritate the skin and prolong the healing process.

  2. Moisturize: Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free lotion or tattoo aftercare cream to your tattoo to help soothe the itch and keep the skin hydrated. Be sure to use a product that is specifically formulated for tattoos, as regular lotions may contain ingredients that can irritate the skin.

  3. Don’t scratch: While it may be tempting to scratch your tattoo when it starts to itch, resist the urge. Scratching can damage the skin and lead to complications, such as infection or scarring.

  4. Avoid tight clothing: If your tattoo is located in an area that is prone to rubbing or chafing, such as your waistline or undergarments, try to wear loose clothing that won’t irritate the skin.

  5. Take antihistamines: If the itching is particularly bothersome, you may consider taking an over-the-counter antihistamine to help alleviate the symptoms. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions carefully and consult with your healthcare provider before taking any new medications.

In summary, it’s normal for a new tattoo to itch during the healing process. However, it’s important to avoid scratching or picking at the tattoo and to follow proper aftercare instructions to ensure a successful healing process. If you experience any unusual symptoms, such as excessive swelling, redness, or discharge, be sure to contact your healthcare provider or tattoo artist for further guidance.

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