What Causes Tattoo Scars and What To Do About Them

What Causes Tattoo Scars and What To Do About Them

Tattoos are a work of art. It is an image, word, or quote that is so beautiful to you it's gained a spot on your skin to be on display forever. 

For the most part, tattoos are harmless and heal perfectly, but sometimes your skin has a different idea. Dealing with tattoo scars can be scary and stressful, but that's why we're here to help. 

At Nourishing Biologicals, we care about your skin, which is why we use clean, clinically proven, and sustainable products that help treat the cause and not just the symptoms. 

Common Risks of Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are awesome. Expressing yourself through art is a gift that an artist can bring to any canvas, even your body. However, like most things, tattoos have their risks. 

Yes, these days, many studios are very safe, and there are tons of world-renowned tattoo artists. You should always do your research before putting something on your body permanently. 


If you are prone to allergies and have naturally sensitive skin, you should consider doing intense research before getting a tattoo. 

You may have an allergic reaction to the ink put under your skin. 


While keloids are very uncommon, there is still a small chance it may happen to you. Keloids will resemble a bump on the skin, which occurs when the needles and ink are worked into the surface of your skin.


Infection occurs when bacteria or viruses enter broken skin. Even though your ink is under your skin, it is still technically an open wound. Hence when you bleed while getting a tattoo. 

An infection can happen immediately or days/weeks after your session. 

If you're experiencing dark, brown, or purple spots, bumpy or raised skin, swelling, discomfort, a rash, or itchiness, then we suggest going back to your artist and having them check it out. 

You may have an infection, which can lead to a tattoo scab. 

What Is Tattoo Scarring 

Tattoo scarring is when the tattooed skin area exhibits scarring after the healing process is over. However, don't panic just yet. Routine healing and scarring can be easily mistaken. 

Tattoos are usually scarred if redness, swelling, or puffiness after the healing period has passed. 

What Causes Tattoo Scarring 

The artist or the canvas can cause tattoo scarring. If the artist didn't do their job correctly, that might be why your new ink isn't healing the intended way. 

Pushing The Needle Too Deep

If the tattoo artist penetrates the needle too deeply, this will cause hiccups in the healing process. Once the needle has broken past the epidermis (the thin outer layer of skin), the chances your tattoo will heal scar-free is pretty slim. 

Thankfully, if the epidermis causes the scarring, chances are this will only be in a small area of your tattoo. This is usually a mistake that is caught immediately by the art. 

Overworking The Area

When a tattoo artist overworks an area of a tattoo, this can prevent the tattoo from healing correctly. When the skin is overworked, a deep level of skin is damaged, and it causes serious irritation to the skin. 

Peeling at Scabs

Yes, tattoo scarring can be the artist's fault. However, it can be yours too. It is normal for all tattoos to scar post-session —you should expect it. 

If you would catch yourself severely picking at your tattoo scabs, then that may be the reason your tattoo isn't healing correctly. However, don't get down in the dumps yet —- there are ways we can help. 


Infections are a common cause of tattoo scarring, and sometimes they aren't avoidable. You're given strict instructions on how to care for your tattoo once it's finished, but sometimes even if you follow those to a tea, your tattoo is still left swollen and irritated. 

These can get icky, whether your skin just didn't react well to the ink or if the infection was caused by something else. You should wash your infected tattoo with warm soap and water two times a day. Make sure to be extra gentle as the skin is super sensitive. 

If You're Prone To Scarring 

Sometimes, you just have bad luck, and your skin is extra prone to scarring. If your skin is prone to scarring, we suggest considering all possibilities before getting inked up. Yes, everyone loves tattoos, but if your skin doesn't love it back, it may not be worth it. 

If you're reading this a few weeks too late, and if you're already tatted up, don't panic; we're confident we can get your tattoo scarring under control. 

Ways To Reduce the Appearance of Scarring

Luckily, you can help with the appearance of tattoo scarring. This is thanks to modern skincare and state-of-the-art moisturizers. Unless the scarring is extremely severe, you can expect certain products to reduce the appearance of some scarring. 

Of course, you may notice something small, considering it's on your body, and you see it every day. But that is one of the beautiful things about tattoos; even if they aren't perfect, they're yours!


While moisturizing may not heal the scar completely, it can aid in the healing and reduce scarring appearance. 

Moisturizing your new ink should be done from the second you leave the studio until your tattoo artist declares your tattoo healed. It's key to always apply an occlusive product like Vaseline a few times daily. Not moisturizing can cause scarring, but it can also help better the issue. 

Start with our Moisturizing Body Lotion to help replenish thirsty skin and support the protective skin barrier. Once you are experiencing scabbing, applying our Scar Logic can enhance your results and avoid scarring 

Tattoo Touch-Up 

If the scarring you're experiencing is minimal, but the color distortion is apparent, then utilizing a tattoo touch-up product is a good idea. If the skin around the tattoo is still very red and swollen, then this option may not work for you. 

Will Tattoo Scarring Hurt

Yes, expect tattoo scarring to be uncomfortable. Everyone's tolerance differs, but it is technically a wound. Even if it looks cool and may not seem like an injury, it can still scar over. 

Scarring is a collection of cells that covers the sight of an injury

Even if your tattoo is heavily scarred over and doesn't look how you’ve hoped, don't rush to get back in that chair. If your tattoo is scarred over, it can scar again. In this case, let your body heal at its own pace. 

Even if your moisturizing and tattoo touch-up cream doesn't fix your issue, you can always get the tattoo redone. A good rule-of-thumb to follow is that the longer you wait to get your ink redone, the less it will hurt. 

What To Look For 

Knowing what to look for can be tricky, as the normal healing process and scarring can be hard to differentiate. A key sign that you're experiencing scarring is that you're still experiencing redness and discomfort after the given healing period has passed. 

Raised or Sunken Skin

Experiencing raised or sunken skin is common with tattoo scarring and is usually with the worst cases. It's not uncommon to have some parts scar worse than others. 

Redness and Swelling

If you've noticed your tattoo is severely red and swollen after it is healed, then expect scarring to be the issue. 

Color Distortion 

If the color of your tattoo is distorted, then chances are your tattoo has scarred over. Color distortion is one of the more complex fixes, but it is always worth a shot. Worse case, you can get some fresh new ink to color up the old one. 

Final Thoughts 

Getting a tattoo can be scary — it is on your body forever, after all. However, nothing to stress about, even if it doesn't turn out perfect. There are plenty of solutions to tattoo mishaps; they have been happening since the beginning of time! 

Nourishing Biologicals suggest before getting a tattoo, you should do some tedious research. 

If you've already gotten your tattoo and you're struggling with scabbing and scarring, try to stay patient and trust the process. 


What to know about scar tissue | Medical News Today

What Are The Risks Of Getting A Tattoo | Medical News Today 

Infection From Tattoos: Care Instructions | Kaiser Permanente

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