If you’ve just had your first tattoo and don’t know what to expect, the sight of your new ink covering over in an unsightly scab can be alarming.
But you’ll be pleased to hear that this is almost always a normal part of the tattoo healing process. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about healing tattoos and scabs.
Do All Tattoos Scab Over?
Yes. Although, how much or little they scab over depends on the tattoo itself.
As a general rule, if you’ve used a good tattoo artist, you will mainly encounter a thin layer of scabbing. But that doesn’t mean to say that heavier scabbing is necessarily cause for concern though.
Heavier scabbing can occur for a number of reasons. For example, it occurs on areas of the tattoo that have been gone over multiple times, or on detailed tattoos that have been done over the course of a long session.
It’s also common when your tattooist is inexperienced, or heavy-handed, when they push the needle too far into your skin.
Heavy scabbing can also be a sign of an infection though, so be sure to keep and eye on it and visit a professional if you’re concerned.
Why Do Tattoos Scab Over
Tattoos are essentially open wounds to begin with. And like any wound, your body begins healing it.
The scabbing phase of healing happens to create a barrier between your broken skin and all of the harmful stuff found in the outside world. With this protective shield in place, your skin begins to repair beneath it.
How Long Does The Scabbing Phase Of A Tattoo Last?
Again, the answer this question will vary from tattoo to tattoo.
As a general rule, the scabbing will begin around 3 days after getting your tattoo. By around the two week mark, the majority of your scabbing should have flaked off. However, thicker scabs can take longer so be patient and let your body do its thing.
What To Be Wary Of During The Scabbing Phase Of A Tattoo
When your tattoo has scabbed over, there are a few things you should ensure you avoid where possible:
Do Not Pick Your Scabs
This is like rule #1 of tattoo aftercare. No matter how tempting, do not pick your scabs.
The scabs will flake off when they are ready to do so. Before that time, you run the risk of pulling some of the healing skin off with them and causing damage to your new ink.
Do Not Scratch
Your scabbed-over tattoo is going to itch. There’s no doubt about it. But scratching must be avoided. In a similar way to picking, this could pull off scabs before they’re ready and damage your tattoo.
Do Not Apply Too Much Lotion Or Submerge In Water
Doing either of these things come out with the same result: soggy, gooey scabs. And when your scabs are in this form, they are far more likely to stick to clothing or be accidentally pulled off – or both.
With all of that in mind, your tattoo scabbing over is completely normal. It’s a crucial part of the healing process.
For this reason, some care is required to ensure your give your new tattoo the very best chance of coming out the other side looking vibrant, vivid and defined.