How To Stop Tattoo Itching For First-Timers

It is likely that you will get very itchy at the same spot the artist applies ink on, but that’s your body’s natural reaction to the wound. If you are worried about damaging the design, scroll down to read a detailed article about how to stop tattoo itching for first-timers!

What Causes Tattoo Itching

Anyone with common sense will know not to scratch at their new tattoo no matter how itchy it is – or they will be told exactly that by their tattoo artist. Old and new tattoos alike can face the same condition, so what is the cause behind the irritation?

  • Body Healing

You are just recovering from a wound since tattooing in any form is still damage to the skin. Think of the urge to scratch as the one you used to have when you tripped and tore your knee: Your skin is trying its best to re-patch itself up!

This is why you shouldn’t scratch at tattoos. When you do, you’re just ruining your body’s effort to heal and prolonging the process even more.

  • Infection Or Contamination

If you catch redness, you may have an infection of sorts. At the early stage of healing, your skin is susceptible to being infected by any foreign agent. Your tattoo will swell up and discharge pus, but generally, careful cleaning will relieve the condition after a few weeks.

But if you experience chills or even fevers, you should see a doctor to cure the infection rather than letting the ailment fade away on its own. Don’t forget, a bottle of ink labeled as “sterile” can still cause irritation.

In case this is your first time getting a tattoo, itching combined with redness and swelling can also be a sign of your body’s allergic reaction. Please check with your tattoo artist if any of the dyeing components are on the list of substances you are allergic to. The reaction may occur right away or several years down the line, so consulting immediately as you see the signs is key.


Old tattoos can become itchy as well!

Continuing the trend of old tattoos acting up, Sarcoidosis is a condition that can cause irritation to old tattoos. It is not directly caused by tattoo ink or tattoo wounds, but it has been known to flare up in inflammation patches right on the design. Sarcoidosis can affect internal organs as well if you’re not careful, so please contact a doctor if you think this is the case.

Other causes for itching can be reactions to MRI scans, pre-existing conditions, or other forms of contamination from the environment. Now that we have learned the reasons behind your urges to tear the tattoo off, let’s get to how to treat this irritation!

How To Stop Tattoo Itching

  • Creams and Ointments

Commonly, you will be advised against applying any sorts of over-the-counter (OTC) products onto fresh inks because these types of creams can severely mess with how your body heals itself. Hydrocortisone is much more suitable for applying overaged tattoos, so getting a tube for long-term use is a great investment!

In case a former skin condition is the cause behind your tattoo itching, a trip to the doctor will earn you a few topical creams. But this is only the case for eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. As we have mentioned before, sarcoidosis is much more complex, therefore requiring a different treatment, often involving immunosuppressants.

  • Moisturization

Your skin might be irritated due to dryness, so moisturization is the way to go. Both old and new inks can be susceptible to this kind of itchiness, so read up on these solutions:

  • Oatmeal-based products are nearly always non-reaction-inducing, making them a safe choice for going over wounds. Usually, an oatmeal lotion or cream would suffice for new tattoos. But if dryness is too severe in old inks, perhaps a full oatmeal bath will be beneficial!

An oatmeal bath will ease any skin irritation!

A quick note on what kind of products you should buy: Do not go for any gels or ointments that have colors and unnatural fragrances, as we should avoid introducing any and all foreign agents onto the wound. Other than that, everyday products that help moisten the skin – like your typical hand moisturizer – will work just fine!

  • Cocoa butter is also another suitable stand-in product if you have yet to find an oatmeal-based lotion. Since cocoa butter is a lot more common in the cosmetic world, your tattoo artist will suggest getting it along with oatmeal. In dire situations, some tattoo-owners have resorted to applying their untinted lip balm on their new wounds!

If your old tattoo is bothering you too much and your patience for it is growing thin, you may pay a visit to a dermatologist’s office to draw out the old ink and remove the tattoo completely!

When To See A Doctor

Most of your skin irritation symptoms will be gone after a few weeks since by then, that particular area of your skin will have healed already. But if you:

  • Feel chills
  • Have a fever
  • Suspect a pre-existing skin condition is making a return
  • Spot pus discharging from your tattoo’s swelling spots
  • Detect any other signs of infection

Please head to the nearest dermatologist’s office or healthcare facility to receive treatment immediately. They will be able to provide you with antibiotics not only to cure the itching but prevent it from moving to other areas of your body.


If you show signs of infection, please visit a healthcare professional.

Scratching the tattoo will only make matters worse, as your fingernails may contain a lot of germs, dust, and other invisible contaminants to open wounds. It will also mess with the tattoo’s design and ink, so don’t damage your tattoo if you want to keep its shine.

Letting tattoos infect itself will also leave long-term consequences. The damage may cause scars to appear over the beautiful ink since your wound is not allowed to heal fully. Infections may also cause other complications such as sepsis, so please avoid it at all costs.


That concludes our article on how to stop tattoo itching! Please do not hesitate to visit a clinic or get advice from your tattoo artist when you run into any problems with your tattoo to avoid infections. We hope that this guide was helpful to you this time and any future tattoo occasions as well!

See also: How To Protect New Tattoo From Sun

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