Why Does My Tattoo Itch?

Last Updated on March 21, 2022

Why Does My Tattoo Itch?

A lot of people are turned down from the idea of getting a tattoo simply because of the itch that comes along with it. Getting inked is a body art that deserves respect and could make you appreciate your body a lot more.

Don’t let itchiness take the significance of a tattoo away from you. So, if you are dying to scratch at it, you are not alone, and we have the perfect solution for you!


Why does my tattoo itch?

Itchiness will occur at some point after getting a tattoo. It’s a given and an inescapable fact. Usually, itchiness happens shortly after getting the tattoo while it’s fresh. But it can occur later on as well. Your skin just went through a traumatic process.

The tattoo gun penetrates the skin constantly as it lays down the ink underneath its surface. The skin needs time to heal from it and, as a result, will do several different things. It will swell up and cause inflammation which is a way for it to heal. This usually invites a lot of itchiness along with it.

There is a lot better than you can do rather than scratching your tattoo and ruining the entire experience. We have a guide that will make sure you are relieved from itchiness after getting a tattoo. After all, you deserve to have the best tattoo experience possible!

What causes itchiness?

  1. Infections and allergic reactions to ink:

Your tattoo is the most susceptible to getting infected when it is fresh. That’s why properly covering the tattoo is crucial for an infection-free ride. When you get a fresh tattoo, the upper and middle layer of the skin is penetrated, exposing the skin tissue that can easily get infected. If you do get infected, you will notice itchiness and swelling up of the area with some discharge. If you experience any of these things, do not scratch the skin and immediately consult your dermatologist.

Another reason for itchiness on a tattoo is ink. Sometimes tattoo ink is made from ingredients that you might be allergic to. This allergy may flare up as soon as you get the tattoo or even years down the line. The wise thing to do is know about your allergies beforehand to avoid all those ink products that can cause reactions on your skin.

  1. Contaminated ink and skin conditions:

The ink that has been left out too long or isn’t kept sterile, even though it says sterile on the packaging, can infect your skin. You can avoid getting infected by contaminated ink by simply asking the artist to use new ink in front of you and clean his tattoo gun as well.

A lot of preexisting skin ailments can disqualify you from being eligible for getting a tattoo. It’s simply for your own health. Conditions like eczema or psoriasis can be triggered easily if the skin undergoes trauma of any sort. And trauma from a tattoo gun is no regular trauma. So, it is not recommended for people with any of these conditions to get a tattoo.

  1. Reactions from MRI and Sarcoidosis:

It is super rare but worth mentioning that sometimes old tattoos can flare up and swell due to getting an MRI scan. It has happened to a select few, but it is a possibility.

The result is itchiness and redness around the area. It goes away on its own without having to perform any medical procedures, so there is nothing major to worry about.

Another condition known to affect old tattoos is called Sarcoidosis. It is an autoimmune condition where your immune system starts to attack your healthy body tissue. The condition has nothing to do with tattoos but can result in itchiness and redness around old tattoos.

We believe that every possible outcome, no matter how little, is worth mentioning regarding tattoos and itchiness.

How to treat an itchy tattoo?

Tattoos tend to itch—especially the new ones. And you need to do everything you can to relieve the itchiness. There are a few ways you can set yourself free from all the scratching, ensuring your tattoo and your skin’s good health.

  1. Keeping your tattoo moisturized:

For dry, itchy skin, a moisturizer can be exactly what you need. Go for moisturizers that have cocoa butter or oatmeal in them, as these agents do a great job at moisturizing the skin and relieving the itch.

However, you need to make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients used in the moisturizer you are using. Try avoiding scented lotions as the chemicals in them can do more harm than good.

As for new ink, always check in with your artist as he may ask you to avoid certain lotions that will pull the ink out.

  1. OTC creams and cool compresses:

Tattoo artists will suggest you not to go for any over-the-counter creams as they may ruin the tattoo. Always read the ingredients of what you are using, and if you see anything that may affect the skin, don’t use it.

However, if the tattoo is old, going for an OTC cream or ointment should get the job done and remove all itchiness from the tattoo.

Cool compression can also be used to relieve swelling and itchiness from a tattoo. It uses pressure and cold temperature to lower the swelling and hence the redness around your tattoo.

However, new tattoos can pose a problem with cool compression. In that case, consult your artist immediately.

  1. Medicine for skin conditions and getting rid of old ink:

Skin ailments that you’ve had previously can make your tattoos itch. For example, bad psoriasis breaks out can cause the tattoos to itch a lot and swell up. Your dermatologist is your best option as he will prescribe you creams that will work on psoriasis and eczema without affecting the tattoo.

However, if you develop Sarcoidosis, you will need immunosuppressants to relieve the itchiness.

If the ink is causing the problems, then it’s a lot harder to get rid of it. You will require medical help at this point and will get your tattoo laser removed.

This can sometimes leave a scar, and the darker the ink is, the harder it is to remove it.


These are some of the ways you can help yourself when itching gets out of control. Have faith in yourself and always seek professional help should it get way too out of hand.

Wear your tattoos with pride and show them off! Getting a tattoo is a huge commitment, so make sure you do everything in your power to get the best results possible!