Do you know the getting a tattoo includes needles puncturing your skin for about 50 to 3,000 times per minute? And with every prick of the needle your skin will be penetrated to add pigment. It is the same insertion which might cause irritation. Yes, it is common for your freshly tattooed skin to turn itchy. This is more common in the initial healing days and even weeks after you get it done.

What causes an itchy tattoo?

While you are going fora brand new tattoo from a studio, you need to realize that your skin is essentially going for an open wound. Therefore, after a week your tattoo will start scabbing over. Just like any other injury, even after inking process, your skin begins to shed its scabs.

As far as an itching tattoo is concerned, it can be due to number of factors. Find them in detail here:

  1. Flakingskin–Being one of the most common reasons for your new ink to itch, it occurs when your skin starts peeling. And if you are someone with sensitive skin, you might experience a little rubbing and tickling around the area.
  2. Scabbing–As stated earlier, all tattoos end up scabbing for sure. While some would scab heavily, others might turn out with little scabbing. The situation can differ from person to person. You need to pay greater attention if the scabs on your tattoo dry out too much. If overlooked, these can begin to crack open, leading to sores and extensive itchiness.
  3. Allergic reaction – Everyone has a different skin type and sensitivity. In the same, the way your body reacts to the tattoo can differ. Coming to the allergies, these are quite common. And these can lead to irritated skin, further causing new tattoo to itch. However, these might subside after few days. Similarly, there are some particular colors which are more likely to react. For instance, red is believed to be the most common color with adverse skin reaction. And it happens majorly due to the type of metal used in the ink.
  4. Skin conditions – After getting your skin tattooed, chances are that it might bring on certain skin conditions. It is due to the fact that a fresh ink turns your skin more sensitive. So there are chances that this process can expose to any dermatologic conditions. These can range from mild skin problems like dry skin to something severe eczema and psoriasis.
  5. Body chemistry – Similar to your skin, there are chances that your new ink can also affect various organs throughout your body. Yes, it might be rare but it depends on your body’s chemistry that how it takes the new tattoo. Here you can overlook the minor, potential side-effects like itchiness, but hindering your body’s chemistry calls for your attention.
  6. Growing body hairs –Whenever you visit a tattoo parlor, they ask you to shave the skin to be treated beforehand, right? If you don’t make the area clean, it might prevent the tattoo needles from getting caught in any hair. So, it is essential to make the area to be tattooed hair-free to let the ink settle down. But later due to the natural growth process when thehair starts growing back, these can push the ink. As they attempt to rise above the skin surface, it can result into patchy healing.

So these were some of the most common reasons to make your tattoos itchy. Now when it becomes irritated, you are likely to scratch your skin. But is that fine?

Is scratching fine for an itchy tattoo?

One of the most harmful things you can do to your inked skin is scratching it. Wondering why so?
When you scratch your tattoo, the scab formed over the skin which is sign of skin healing, will be at risk of being ripped off. Along this, there can be dirt trapped underneath your fingernails. What if it gets transferred into the open wound? So, you will be significantly at increasing risk of getting an infected tattoo. And this infection within your tattoo can be reason to a long list of nasty problems. Though it depends on the type of bacteria which enters through your wound, yet the risks of infection are always high.

Secondly, during the tattoo process the ink is injected into the lower layers of your skin. This means that a little amount of ink will become trapped in the middle and upper layers. As the ink will take some time to settle down, the area is highly prone to being drawn out by rubbing or scratching. Clearly, when you scratch, it happens to pull a scab off and ink can be lost potentially. Hence, it is highly advised to resist the urge of scratching. Need to know how?

It is possible with the help of an over-the-counter topical anesthetic. Though it is known to be applied before getting a tattoo, yet it can used to get relief from intense itching and prevent scratching. You can trust a good numbing cream like Dr. Numb for this purpose. Being an effective treatment it has to be applied to the skin. In few minutes it will block the nerve signals. As it desensitizes your skin for several hours, it can reduce the discomfort.

But this will be temporary. For permanent relief, you need to look for some effective treatments.

How to treat itchy tattoos?

Choosing the early and right treatment for an itchy tattoo can prevent you from getting into skin problems, meanwhile retaining your piece of art in shape. While new tattoos are more prone to damage and infection, you have to be careful and follow these treatments.

  1. Apply petroleum jelly: If your skin has started peeling, which is completely normal, start applying a generous amount of petroleum jelly all over the scabs. It will keep your skin moisturized and prevent dryness and itch.
  2. Oatmeal bath: In case, it itches too much you can consider this option. Mix some colloidal oatmeal to your bathwater, and let your body soak in this solution for 30 minutes. It boosts healing speed and prevents itchiness.
  3. Ice pack: You can apply an ice pack to treat an old tattoo itching. Just ice the skin for 10-20 minutes and repeat it several times a day.
  4. Antihistamine: It will prevent several problems like swelling, itchiness, and redness. You can use it even for your older, itchy inked areas.
  5. Aloe vera: This magical plant has done wonders for your skin and body. Now it can be used to keep your tattooed skin happy. All you need is fresh aloe gel which you can extract from the leaf, or buy a quality product from the market. You can apply the sticky gel to itchy tattoo. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties will heal your skin, and prevent from itching and swelling.

Lastly, a good aftercare can make a huge difference for how you tattoo will appear. For this,ensure that you keep the skin clean after getting tattooed. Wear loose clothing to prevent in touching the newly inked skin. Also, do not let pets get in touch with your ink.