Can You Tattoo Over Acne? (Essential Facts & Tips Revealed)

People nowadays can tattoo over moles, birthmarks, and even scars. But can you tattoo over acne? At first glance, it might sound like an odd question, but many people are looking for the answer. If you’re also one of those, today’s post will clear the path for you.  

Can You Tattoo Over Acne?

Getting a tattoo over pimples has never been a good idea. The tattooing tip might break the zit and flood the opening with ink, which might reside there forever and be challenging to eliminate.

Having breakouts on tattoo-intended skin is troublesome.

Poking or needling the zit might cause the follicular layer surrounding the pimples to break. A tattoo tool can also trigger this burst and disseminate germs, causing inflammation, edema, and a rise in breakouts.

Thus, qualified tattooists usually refuse to tattoo over acne. Instead, most of the time, they will advise you to tattoo an alternative region of your skin or to wait till the acne goes away.

What To Do When Having Pimple Outbreaks Before A Tattoo Session

Postpone the appointment until your skin clears up

It is not advisable to tattoo over a pimple. It not only compromises the texture of the skin and prevents the tattooist from performing on a smooth and flat surface, but it can also transmit germs to different regions of your skin and (or) exacerbate your current outbreaks.

As a result, even minor and less apparent blemishes (no pigmentation or visible irritation) necessitate postponement.

It’s always the right thing to do to reschedule your session.

Furthermore, in an outbreak, your skin is more susceptible. When the tattooing tip pokes the zit, it creates a hole full of ink, and the pigment might deposit inside, giving the skin an imperfect look. Therefore, please rearrange your visit if you are suffering from a pimple condition.

Also, it’s always possible to have a tattoo over a former pimple spot. After having a tattoo, it’s advisable to clean and look out for your skin to prevent breakouts from returning to the site.

Improvise & deal with your skin problems

When you have breakouts in the area of your skin you intend to ink (which might be your initial motive), it’s advisable to go for a walk-in session instead of a planned visit. 

You might wonder why and here is the reason: Breakouts sometimes could be very unpredictable, and a walk-in would allow you to have yourself tattooed immediately when your skin is clear instead of booking and waiting for a scheduled appointment.

Having acne-prone skin might be super annoying.

What if you have another breakout when waiting until the planned day? You might get trapped in a never-ending loop of postponed sessions.

Unfortunately, there is another side to the knife. If you are susceptible to pimples, you may plan ahead of time and implement precautionary measures before your visit. This option is only viable if the preventative measures have already proven effective by experts.

Some of these methods might include dietary changes, or you may need to use prescribed medications from your doctor. Additionally, 7 days before your ink session, you could put a 2.5-5 percent Benzoyl peroxide lotion onto the spot.

Applying Benzoyl peroxide is a great preventive method.

If you choose the second method, you might have to work on a Benzoyl peroxide tolerance, especially if you possess a hypersensitive complexion since it could turn red or bleach your skin.

Try it out a couple of months ahead of time. Once your skin gets fully used to it, it is an excellent preventive step. Moreover, preventing excessive moisture, keeping the targeted region hygienic, and replacing your sleeping bedding daily will also assist in minimizing the worsening of acne-prone complexion.

Can A Breakout Happen After Tattooing?

Yes, it can. However, a blemish on a tattoo does not always imply something wrong with the tattoo. Sometimes, it just happens due to how your skin reacts or how you take care of your tattooed area.

Why Do I Get Acne Post Tattooing?

On people with sensitive skin, acne might come to the surface for a few other reasons:

Skin irritation

Itchiness and aggravation are common side effects of new tattoos. On newly tattooed areas, irritation can cause pimples. At the same time, using tight clothes or wraps over the newly tattooed surface can also further aggravate skin irritation.


Acne vulgaris refers to a dermatological disease caused by excessive sebum production by the sebaceous glands. Triglycerides, fatty acids, wax esters, and squalene make up sebum, a greasy component. Typically, an adequate amount of sebum is very beneficial as it aids in the moisturization of the skin and hair.

However, excessive sebum can clog cells with debris, decaying skin cells, and germs, resulting in blemishes on the skin’s top. Indeed, in the recovery period, fresher tattoos are more susceptible to bacterial problems and thus, lead to zits. 

But that’s not always the case – new tattoos aren’t the only site where you have breakouts. For those with acne-prone and oily skin, they may even get breakouts on older tattoos.

Excess moisture

If you have had a tattoo before, you must have heard tattooists saying things like, “Keep the area dry and clean.” And what method do they use to minimize skin overhydration and avoid adverse debris from reaching the area? Well, most tattooists bandage a new tattoo using plastic wrap.

Yet, don’t leave this plastic wrap on your skin for too long. After a couple of hours, you should take the film out and keep the tattooed area open until it recovers.

Tattooists usually wrap your new tattoos using a plastic film.

Wrapping the area for an extended period or having too much lotion on can lock moisture underneath the skin, leading to a bubbling effect. Excessive humidity can cause scabbing and pigment degradation, as well as promote more acne.

[alert-success]Read more: Should I Wrap My Tattoo At Night?[/alert-success]

Indeed, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the bacterium that causes blemishes, thrives in humid environments like the thighs and underarm. Thus, tattoos that absorb excessive moisture might well encourage the development of Propionibacterium acnes.

Can Acne Degrade The Tattoo?

A blemish on your tattooed site is not going to do you any harm. However, if you’re not cautious, how you handle the zit might affect the ink and destroy your artwork. In the worst case, wrong aftercare may potentially make you more susceptible to infection.

Here’s how to appropriately deal with blemishes on new or old tattoos, as well as warning signs to look out for:

New tattoos

New tattoos are more prone to infection and skin problems as your skin is highly vulnerable after tattooing. At this point, you’re working on an open incision, and thus, any invasion of bacteria might cause pimples and other problems.

You’re aware that squeezing pimples is a bad idea. While it might appear highly tempting if a pimple ruins your new tattoo, doing so might cause way more damage.

Pimples on tattoos don’t usually come with harm.

When you break, poke, or pick at a zit, you introduce your tattoo to bacteria, increasing your contamination chance.

Even when you don’t get an infection, poking your tattoo might cause problems as you’re messing up with the fresh ink, which causes uneven, fading areas in your artwork, as well as scars.

Old tattoos

A tattooed complexion is always incredibly sensitive, even though your older tattoos have completely recovered, remain stable, and are no longer open wounds.

It’s advisable not to poke or break any newly formed blemishes. For example, popping a zit that has developed over the ink might result in noticeable scars. At the same time, infection is still a possibility that could come to reality.


Now you know the answer to the question “Can you tattoo over acne?” Having a pimple right before getting a tattoo is an annoying situation, but postponing is a must for your safety and the best aesthetic outcomes. 

Also, no qualified tattoo artists will ever agree to do so – thus, it’s always a good thing to wait until the blemishes disappear. Good luck!

See Also:

5/5 - (2 votes)

Leave a Comment