5 signs your tattoo is infected

Have you ever seen an infected tattoo? It doesn’t look good, let me tell you that. In fact, if it’s YOUR own tattoo, you’re probably going to feel scared. You’ll know something’s not right – it’ll be red, swollen, painful, and most likely, will have pus coming out of the wound.

So, here are 5 signs your brand-new tattoo may be infected:


A little swelling or inflammation is actually normal during the first day or two. But it should subside pretty quickly, not become more inflamed as the hours go by. A little pain is also to be expected – you just got literally stabbed by tiny needles! It’s normal for your skin to feel tender for a few days. Don’t touch your tattoo directly though, especially with unclean hands, as that can cause an infection!


A slight fever may be expected as well, depending on the size of the tattoo and your response to the tattooing process. Your immune system is raising your body’s temperature to try and get rid of the foreign objects (the ink) that just got inserted in your skin.

However, after getting some rest, the fever should subside in a day or two. If not, and your tattoo feels hot to the touch, then you probably have an infection going on! Go have it checked out by a medical professional, you don’t want to risk getting sepsis from your tattoo!

It’s stinky

The tattooed area can become stinky if left unclean and untreated for days. This is why it’s important to keep the tattooed area clean, especially while it’s still weeping. A normal healing tattoo won’t smell at all.

There’s pus

This is one sure sign of an infection. Pus won’t ever be seen in a perfectly healing tattoo, but for infected tattoos? Yep, it’s a pretty common sign. Don’t try to self-medicate. Seek medical advice right away.

Very thick scabs

Most, if not all, tattoos will eventually scab. However, the scabbing will be kept to a minimum if proper aftercare is followed. If it becomes too thick, then it means the wound wasn’t cleaned properly. Thick scabs can hide the germs and bacteria underneath, which can of course lead to a serious infection

If you think your tattoo is infected, set an appointment with your doctor. Don’t wait until the infection gets worse. It’s your health on the line.


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