How to Treat a Tattoo Infection

Everything you need to know about tattoo infections
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If you have a tattoo, it’s important to know how to treat a tattoo infection properly if one arises. Here’s an informative video from Andy at Vivid Ink sharing some useful information about tattoo infections.

Credit: Vivid Ink Tattoos

Video Transcript:

Hi guys, Andy from Vivid Ink. Okay, so today is going to be a video about tattoo infections, how they happen, the problems they cause and, the best ways to avoid it: [, Music, ]

Okay. So let’s jump straight into it. The first thing I want to explain is a tattoo is a process where the skin is broken by a bunch of tiny needles. Now, inherently any time you want to take a process of this type, there’s a risk of infection.

I’m going to put up a bunch of pictures here showing tattoo infections in various different stages. Now these are from google and they’re not done in any of the Vivid Ink studios. [ Music ]

Infections will generally have one or multiple of the following symptoms and issues: constant pain in the area, a rash, redness over that normally seen in a fresh tattoo, skin which is super hot, really uncomfortable and itchy, an unusual discharge, color and smell, and generally a really angry appearance.

If your tattoo is showing these symptoms, it could be that you have a tattoo infection. A tattoo infection is nasty and, as is the case with everything, there are less and more severe levels to tattoo infections, and they can go all the way from mild discomfort with the tattoo, maybe needing a touch-up, all the way to a really big issue.

Okay, so the first thing to note that it’s really common for people to assume, if you have a tattoo and it ends up getting infected – that the studio you’ve got it in – must have done something wrong. You know, that it was potentially unhygienic, the process itself was done incorrectly, or contaminated or unsterile equipment must have been used. And that is absolutely a potential way to end up with a tattoo infection. But it’s not the complete story and it’s not even the most likely way to get a tattoo infection.

Another crucial and often unrecognized aspect of tattoo infection is in the aftercare process. Now aftercare is the correct way to care for your tattoo immediately after and in the days and weeks following your tattoo.

Aftercare is absolutely critical in making sure the tattoo remains free from potential contaminants and potential infection risks. Let’s break these down a little bit further. So we have the process and then we have the aftercare.

Let’s go with the process first. So the elements which can cause infections during the tatting process are relatively straightforward. It would be from using contaminated equipment, so maybe ink which is contaminated and then reused, single-use items being used multiple times and general unclinical practices. Now there are horror stories about this kind of thing, especially from days gone by when the industry wasn’t advanced as it is today. Now the great thing is Vivid Ink tattoo studios and all professional studios, this risk should be completely mitigated.

All professional studios will undoubtedly be taking multiple essential steps to care for your health and your hygiene. These will include only using sterile equipment, single-use items being used only once and disregarded safely, a clinically clean environment and having a great understanding of all cross-contamination principles. These are just a few and there are actually loads of other precautions taken to make sure that the process is safe for you and themselves.

Okay, so we’ve seen how you can end up with an infection in the process. Now, let’s have a look at the aftercare.

Okay, so typically, when anybody hears the word tattoo infection, they pretty much always jump to the conclusion something must have gone wrong in the studio, but it’s actually much more common for the infection to happen once the artist has finished their end of the bargain. This can be really unfair on artists, who will most likely have done everything correctly and literally had nothing to do with a customer ending up with an infection.

A tattoo is essentially a controlled open wound and it has to be cared for in this way. So, let’s take an example, let’s say you have a tattoo and you decide a few days later to go back to work and your job is a sewer inspector. Well, the potential hazards in that environment which could enter the fresh tattoo would be horrendous. It would actually be more than likely you’re going to end up with a tattoo infection.

Now I understand this is a pretty extreme example, but there are absolutely loads of situations like this in real life. It could be touching your tattoo with dirty hands. It could be not cleaning it properly or drying it with dirty towels. It could be lying on unclean bed sheets or going swimming. There are absolutely loads of other examples, or it might come down to pure bad luck. You know something completely out of your control and you never actually know what contaminated it, because, as we all know, not everything that can cause an infection is visible.

Now the point I’m making is that all of these elements happen once your tattoo is finished. Is that your artist’s fault? No, it’s not unless they haven’t explained the proper aftercare to you.

What to do if you end up with a tattoo infection?

Firstly, don’t panic. Speak to your artist in your studio and check that it’s not just a normal reaction to the tattoo. And if it’s not, and it’s looking like an infection, make sure you follow their guidance. They may tell you to make some changes to the aftercare process or they may tell you to get in touch with your GP, who might prescribe some treatments or antibiotics.

Now that all probably sounded a bit doom and gloom and kind of scary – and I am sorry about that, but the good news is it’s incredibly rare to get a tattoo infection and the other good news is it’s mostly something you’re in control of. And now you know. Hopefully, you’ll be really vigilant with your aftercare and make sure you’re doing everything in your power to get that risk factor as close to zero as possible. Anyway, I hope that was informative. If you do have any questions, please feel free to get in touch, we’re always happy to help. Catch you soon.

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