Medusa Piercing Guide

Why Do Tattoos Itch and How to Stop Itching Tattoo

Itching tattoo is a common thing among many people, especially during the healing process. The condition can last for a number of days and it is not recommended to scratch despite it being irritating.

I felt confused the first time but you should not get worried since you are not alone. Therefore, the post provides detailed information about how to stop itching tattoo and what to do during the healing process.

Note: Reading the post may make you feel very itchy but it sheds light on how to handle the situation in the long run.

What Does It Mean When Your Tattoo Itches? Is it normal?

Tattoo itching during the healing process is something normal to everybody and it usually goes to some extent. It happens differently to different people.

One group of people usually experience mild irritation while the other group extreme irritation that last for a long period of time. Others may feel nothing at all.

In case you are among the people who experience extreme itching then do not worry since we shall provide solutions on how to relieve itchy tattoos.

However, there are instances where itchy tattoos may seem not to be normal. This should not worry you since there are several ways on how to combat the situation immediately.

Infection around the tattoo can result in the formation of red itchy bump or lump and it is recommended to consult your doctor immediately in order to combat it from spreading.

Old tattoo itching could be due to a number of reasons but in most cases, it is due to the skin around becoming dry. The flaky skin results in irritation and this is the reason why you should moisturize the skin around the tattoo regularly.

You should consult your dermatologists in case the situation grow worse day-by-day so that they can check out what is causing the nuisance.

Why Do Tattoos Itch – What Is Causing My Itchy Tattoo?

The tattooed skin usually become an open wound immediately after getting the brand new tattoo from the studio.

The tattoo will scab immediately after the first seven days. Later the scabbed skin will begin to shed inform of dead skin. This is completely normal although it may trigger a mild itching.

Itching tattoo can be triggered by a number of different factors. Some of the common factors that lead to tattoo itching include:


It is normal for all brand new tattoos to scab. Our body differs and it is the reason why scabbing is different. Some bodies scab heavily while others may scab lightly such that you may not be able to see it.

Heavy scabs are usually thick and they cause the skin around to become very dry. This may later cause the scab to crack resulting in an open sore. Extremely dry scabs usually result in itchiness feeling.

Body Chemistry

The body experiences different reactions and these reactions may affect the body organs in a different way. Skin is among the major organs on the body and a brand new tattoo has some possible side effects.

The itching feeling during the healing process of tattoo is normal and it is usually short-lived. This happens since the body chemistry slowly goes back to its normal processes.

Skin Conditions

Skin tattoos can result in certain skin conditions that have never affect you in the past. This is because the skin becomes more sensitive than before and it is likely to expose some hidden dermatologic conditions.

The condition is usually mild and there is no need to get worried about it. It usually ranges from mild dry skin, psoriasis to eczema.

In case you are aware of any previous skin condition before getting a brand new tattoo, it is recommended to seek medication from a professional doctor.

Allergic Reaction

Tattooing process usually involves the use of an ink and some people usually experience some allergic reaction from the ink.

The reaction is quite among many people and it is usually minor. You do not require any form of medication since the reaction usually subsidizes after some few days.

The allergic reaction can make the skin around the tattoo to itch and in extreme cases, the tattoo may bleed. This is the reason why it is recommended to try as much as possible to avoid scratching the affected area.

Ink contamination

Tattoo ink contamination can result in some symptoms of itching around the brand new tattoo. According to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), any ink that is labelled sterile can put you at the risk of experiencing tattoo itching.

Therefore, it is recommended to check the tattoo ink being used before getting a brand new tattoo. Red ink is the most common ink colour used by many tattoo studios but they contain heavy metals that can cause irritation to the skin.

Regrowth of Shaven Hairs

The tattooing artists usually prepare the area on the skin that is supposed to be a tattoo in advance. This usually involves shaving the area of skin that has adequate hairs.

Shaving usually helps to prevent the tattoo needle from being caught by the hairs during the process. It also prevents the growth of ingrown hairs that can cause another serious problem.

Sometimes, the shaven hair can be pushed into the skin during the tattooing process and later result in ingrown hairs that may trigger itching during the healing process.

Tickly Peeling Skin

Skin peeling is the most common cause of itching tattoo since it makes the area around the tattoo to become very sensitive.

The exposure of the sensitive skin to the environment triggers rubbing and tickling. This is the reason behind why you need to know how to stop itching tattoo.


This is a skin condition that is more prevalent among old tattoos. The autoimmune condition usually occurs after some years.

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, the autoimmune condition can affect even the internal organs of the body.

Sarcoidosis is known for causing extreme itching and inflammation of old tattoos. Consulting your doctor will do you better than harm.

MRI Reactions

Certain health conditions in the body require magnetic resonance imaging scans for diagnosis. Although it is rare, the MRI scans can affect the old tattoos in one way or another according to FDA.

Itching and swellings around the tattoo happen to be among the common symptoms after undergoing MRI scan when you have a tattoo.

Fortunately, the symptoms tend to clear up after a couple of days without any form of medical intervention.

Can I Scratch My New Tattoo If It Itches?

A big No…No!

Scratching a brand new tattoo can be the worst thing to attempt. What will happen when you scratch a brand new tattoo is that the scabs that have formed will get out and this will inhibit the healing process.

The chances of also getting an infected tattoo will increase since the dirt in the fingernails will enter the open wound.

The commencement of infection will make the situation worse since some type of bacterial infection on the tattoos can be tricky to handle.

Therefore, it is recommended to resist the urge of scratching either old or new tattoo on your skin. You can add a moisturizer in case you experience the urge so that the skin becomes soft free from dryness.

Tattooing involves injecting ink deep into the skin. Some ink may get trapped into the lower and upper layer of the skin once they settle down.

Picking scabs and rubbing may draw out the ink from the skin after settling. This usually happens when you fail to resist the urge of scratching.

The ink from the tattoo can be lost due to the habit of picking the scabs before healing takes place. This may trigger future retouch since pulling out scabs causes some small patches on the skin.

A pit on the skin can be formed when you pick scabs prematurely from the tattoo that is under the healing process. This may take longer to heal and in most cases result in permanent scars on the skin.

However, it is quite difficult to control yourself from the urge of scratching the tattoo while asleep since the conscious is not active.

This is the reason why you will be unable to control the urge of scratching the tattoo while snoring in bed. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your fingernails short or wear hand cloves while in bed.

How to Stop a Tattoo from Itching

There are various ways on how to stop itching tattoo just like the normal skin itch. However, the itching is usually harmless than scratching.

Extreme skin irritation and itching can drive you insane. This is because it can happen without you knowing at any time.

Here are some of the tips and tricks on how to handle an itching tattoo. The tips include:

Use Moisturizing Lotion

Most people usually leave the skin around the tattoo to dry up. This is the reason behind itching sensation since it usually stiffens up and begins to tickle.

In case you feel the skin around the tattoo is dry, just apply a thin layer of moisturizing lotion in order to moisten it up.

Note: Do not apply too much lotion since it will inhibit the healing process as the tattoo will be unable to breathe.

There are a lot of lotions recommended in the market that help to foster the healing process of not an only tattoo but also other wounds on the skin.

Hustler Butter is a type of lotion I have personally used and I can testify it does the best job on the brand new tattoos. It keeps the skin around hydrated and even facilitates the healing process.

Cool Compresses

This is typically used to relieve the itching sensation and also swellings around the tattoo. It is recommended to consult your dermatologists which type of cold compress to use before using any.

According to the Nemours Foundation, brand new tattoos usually take about seven days to completely heal unless otherwise.

Drawing out Old Ink

If the tattoo ink is the cause of itching and swelling, then it is recommended to just draw it out. You will be expected to visit a professional dermatologist who is a specialist in the removal of tattoos.

Tattoo removal usually involves the use of laser treatment or skin dermabrasion. At the end of removal, you will be left with a permanent scar that is dark in colour.

Oatmeal Bath

Colloidal oatmeal baths create a soothing effect around an old tattoo hence help to relieve itching effect in case it happens.

The bath is not suitable in case you have a brand new tattoo that itches. It is not recommended to submerge new tattoos in water until a couple of days elapses.

Medications for Skin Conditions

Sometimes, the preexisting skin around the tattoo may itch and it is advisable to consult your doctor. The doctor may prescribe topical creams in order to treat the existing skin condition causing the itching effect.

In case you have been diagnosing with sarcoidosis, you will be expected to take immunosuppressants so as to combat itching and other complication associated with it.

OTC Creams and Ointments

You are not supposed to apply creams and ointments on the new tattoos since it will interfere with the healing process.

They can also change the colour of your skin in the long run. However, in case the skin around the old tattoo is itchy then apply a small amount of topical hydrocortisone.


Itchy tattoos are caused by many factors as listed above. However, most of the causes are treatable. I hope the tips above have been of great assistance. Feel free to share which tricks have worked for you in the comment.

It is advisable to know how to stop itching tattoo but you should note that the irritation usually lasts for about 10 days in case it is a brand new tattoo.

Therefore, you can resist the urge until this time elapse and you will be a proud owner of stunning blemishes free tattoo in the rest of your life.