Itchy Tattoo Causes, Allergy, Infections, Cancer, After Years Relief and Removal of Itching Tattoos

Is your tattoo so itchy and giving you a hard time? Let us explore some of the common causes of tattoo itching, tattoo itching in relation to cancer and also discuss how they can be relieved or treated including tattoo removal itself.

Despite the joy of having tattoos, we must always bear in mind that having a tattoo may come with different shocking side effects. For instance, it will be very bothersome when your tattoo itches intensely despite the many things you try to avoid this tattoo itching.

Tattoo Itching

Tattoo Itching

Mild tattoo itching can be normal as the tattoo repairs but you must be very keen with unsympathetic tattoo itching, this can be a sign of a serious tattoo infection or different problem. Let begin by looking at the causes of tattoo itching.

Itchy Tattoo Causes

Having an itchy tattoo during its healing period can just be usual, but cases where the itching is severe and persistent even before the tattoo heals can convey a certain message-the tattoo may have been infected or there may be serious body allergic reaction to the tattoo. So below are the major causes of tattoo itching before or after healing.

1. Allergic reactions

Itchy tattoo caused by allergic reaction

Itchy tattoo caused by allergic reaction

Most tattoo allergic reactions are mild and sometimes don’t require any medical treatment. The relief of such itching can be hastened by the use of some common home products e.g. aloe vera. Occasionally, severe situations like anaphylactic shock can occur during the tattooing process. Such cases requires immediate medical attention from a doctor and not tattoo artist.

Many people do think that allergic reaction to tattoo ink is always the route of tattoo itching but possibly this is the least likely to be the situation. Don’t forget as we will see later that tattoo itching has several other causes other than allergic reaction. However, it also beneficial to understand that allergic reactions to tattoo ink can and do happen sometimes.

These allergic reactions are most common with red and yellow ink or generally colors that contain red or yellow. We should note that having your tattoo. They can as well occur after years of receiving tattoo.

An ink allergy will tend to be itchy and raised in spots of specific colors. They are in many cases likely to lead to constant irritations that takes time before they vanish. So for such cases, topical ointments made for allergic reaction may assist to relieve the mild irritations. Some cases will require prescription of drugs or even tattoo removal for terrible cases.

2. Peeling Skin

Tatttoo skin peeling can cause itchiness

Tatttoo skin peeling can cause itchiness

Peeling of the skin during tattoo healing process may lead to extreme itching. The skin will also probably become more sensitive due to inking. When the peeling process of tattoo arises, some parts will start coming off and if it is in parts that rub against each other, itching may worsen.

3. Growth of Shaven Hair

Normally, before a tattoo artist beings tattooing process, he/she will first shave the area involved. This is to help prevent the needles from getting caught in the hairs existent in the area. This can also prevent hair from being pushed back into the skin by the tattoo needle.

This is a very critical stage of tattooing process due to the fact that hairs pushed down into the skin could cause infection because of resulting ingrown hairs. Again, by the time these hairs will be trying to rise back onto the skin surface, they might push out the tattooing ink leading to patchy healing of the tattoo.

When the shaven hair in the tattoo site will start to emerge again, one can possibly experience an itchy tattoo.

4. Existent Skin Conditions

An alternative factor that can cause itching of your tattoo is the existence of skin conditions. Skin condition sometimes may exist without your knowledge; they may only manifest themselves upon having your tattoo.

Once a certain area is tattooed, it will become very sensitive making any hidden skin condition to get unmasked. Some of the skin conditions may include eczema and psoriasis. When any new symptom arises you should bring the same to your dermatologist`s attention.

5. Body chemistry

It is very important to note that, changes inside your body will affect the external parts of your body too. Some changes inside your body e.g. increased adrenaline, change in your body temperature, increased blood pressure will potentially affect you tattoo especially during the healing stages.

Increased temperature and humidity for example, can cause your tattoo to swell slightly and this will a bit stretch the skin leading to itching. Therefore, it would be ideal to avoid various activities that would lead to the mentioned body changes.

Occasionally, weather variations can lead to these body changes, which will therefore trigger consistent irritation. Nevertheless, the influence of weather on a tattoo will vary from one person to another.

In case of severe itching, bumps or infection

Infected tattoo can cause itching

Infected tattoo can cause itching

Infection can be another cause of tattoo itching. Kindly note that in cases where the itching is severe, bumps or infections can develop, so what your need to do in such situations is to get the medicinal attention of your dermatologist as immediate as possible. Do not seek any medical service from the tattoo artist in such severe circumstances.

Itchy Tattoo after years

It is important to understand that tattoo healing occur in stages. There is no specific healing period for tattoo. The period your tattoo will take to heal will depend on after-care strategies you put in place. It will also depend on whether your tattoo is infected or not. Tattoo healing process can therefore range from weeks to two months to one year.

In cases where itchy tattoo is experienced after several years, then that will be an issue of concern. Factually, itchy tattoo may be triggered by any of the causes we have seen including cancer which we are going to discuss afterword. Sometimes the itchiness may be accompanied with bumps.

If you have a tattoo itching after years, it is recommended you see your doctor to be certain whether your tattoo itching is caused by something serious or not. Sometimes in severe cases, itchy tattoo removal can also help.

Tattoo Itching and cancer

As we have indicated before, tattoo itching can develop due to infections, sometimes the itching may be due to cancer.­ Tattoo ink contains benzo pyrene, nanoparticales and other cancer-inducing components.

Some studies have shown that tattoo inks contained cancer-causing chemicals that damages collagen, which is a vital protein that forms approximately 30% of the protein content of the human body.

Collagen is a foundation for connective tissue that holds us together. So whenever the tattoo itching stays for several months after leaving the studio or after tattoos have healed, you should be able see your doctor as soon as the itching triggers.

Generally, there is a link between having a tattoo and cancer, the development of itching can therefore signify the cancer problem. However, this is very rare.

Itchy Tattoo Relief and Removal

A fact that many people have to know is that all tattoos have reaction. This will make the tattoo site to be a bit inflamed, form a scab or even sometimes shed fluid.

During the tattoo healing process, the tattoo wound should be treated just like any other wound. Cases where itchy tattoo develops after healing have also been reported. So under this section we are going to discuss about some of the possible relief and remedies for itchy tattoos.

Caring for an itchy tattoo

Before we proceed to the relief and remedies for itchy tattoo, let us explore some of the tips on how to deal with an itchy tattoo:

  • Don’t ever scratch your new tattoo to prevent some of the infections
  • Make sure that you always use approved tattoo after care products and follow the manufacturer instructions to the latter
  • You should take short warm shower during the healing period of your tattoo
  • You should avoid swimming, this would help you to avoid too much water on your tattoo

Instant itchy tattoo relief

Keeping your skin well hydrated will help you to keep your tattoo secure from potential infections. In addition, it will be a pretty idea to put in place remedies for itchy tattoo to help hasten the relief of itching. So here are some simple-to-apply relief preferences you can try at home in case your tattoo is itching.

a. Diverting your attention

Trying to engage yourself in other things will divert your attention from the itching conditions. It will help to keep your mind off the itchy tattoo. This can be attained by engaging is some activities like chewing gum, typing, playing video game or musical instruments, crocheting or knitting, running or playing football for fun and even visiting social media. This is due to the fact that passive and physical nature will help keep your brain engaged. So engaging in other activities when your tattoo is itching will help divert your brain hence the itching can be assumed.

b. Try patting the area

Sometimes there are cases where trying to divert your attention may not work and there may be that urge to scratch the area. Remember that scratching of the tattooed area may lead to infections so patting the area could be employed instead.

It is advised that patting should be done over a clean piece of cloth to avoid infections as well. Note that direct hand contact with tattoo should be also avoided. You will relief the itching by patting the area. The skin around the tattoo will be as well soothed.

c. Application of the ice

This is a very simple home remedy. Since ice is numbing agent, it can be used to stop tattoo itch. However, we should remember that the use of ice will only help to stop tattoo itching and pain temporarily.

The ice should be wrapped in a towel (should be placed in Ziploc) and then applied on the tattoo, direct contact of the ice and the tattoo is somewhat risky even after the tattoo healed because it can lead to frostbites. The wrapped ice should be held on the tattoo for up to around 10 minutes and the process should be repeated as frequent as the situation may demand.

Conversely, you can put a wet wash cloth in a freezer for some few minute and then apply it on the itching tattoo.

d. Use of over the counter products (creams and lotions)

When your itching tattoo is still in its inflammation phase of the healing process, itching relief can be enhanced by the use of some over the counter anti-bacterial ointments. A good tattooist will recommend one for you. Through application of such products, your skin will be soothed and infections will not find their root to your tattoo.

At some points during the healing process, your skin will start to become dry, so you will be required to replace the ointment with some lotions. Lotions will enhance your skin hydration hence the dead skin around your tattoo will be lubricated and therefore come off smoothly with no itching or pain.

Tattoo Removal Businesses on the Rise

Not all tattoos are created equal and not all of them are remembered fondly. A large number barely survive being sober. However, others lose favor because of different reasons from heartbreak to tragedy or simply by wanting to grow up and get a proper job or settle down without a partner being reminded of an ex. Whatever the reason, the once thought permanent tattoo is now changeable and removable.

The rise of removals is not surprising because tattoos are at their most popular. Something once associated with gangs and criminals, is not linked to popular culture. Thanks to this rise there is naturally more buyers remorse and a greater investment in technology to remove or cover over tattoos. Now surgery is not always needed and there are other ways to dull and remove unwanted inkings.

Business reports suggest that the tattoo removal industry is on the rise. By 2015, over 8,000 companies offered these services and this aspect of the tattoo sector alone is thought to be growing toward $83 million in value by 2018. With the business booming it means there are not only opportunities for ventures, but more of a chance for those who wish to remove a tattoo. To find out more, read more here about the tattoo removal business

Itchy tattoo removal processes

In severe cases where the itching is persistent due to serious infection or otherwise, your doctor may recommend for tattoo removal. There are several ways of tattoo removal including some home-based procedures but these can take quite longer before the tattoo disappear. So let us explore some types of tattoo removal procedures.

a. Laser tattoo removal

Laser tattoo removal - Q- Switch laser

Laser tattoo removal – Q- Switch laser

In this method, the lasers are used to separate and fade the tattoo ink in the site. Different kinds of lasers can be used but we must note that some will be more effective than others. Some tattoo inks contain some colours that the lasers may not get rid of in one session in this case, your clinician will advise you about the number of sessions you should attend. Though lasers cannot be 100% effective, it is considered more effective and least painful tattoo removal procedure.

b. Surgical method

This method involves numbing the area before your surgeon could begin cutting out minor sections of your tattoo. During the whole process, your surgeon will be cutting small section of the tattoo and will remove each section once the previous section has healed. The duration of the process will depend upon the size of your tattoo-the smaller the tattoo, the faster the process.

c. Tattoo removal creams

There are several available creams for tattoo removal, but before you could jump into the application of these creams, you should consult professional medical officer to help you define the best cream for your tattoo removal. Sometimes you may find yourself into a situation where your tattoo has some inks that cannot be totally removed. Some creams can also be injected in the tattoo area. They will force the ink to come to the surface, scab and then drop off.

Apart from the mentioned tattoo removal procedures, there are other procedures that could be used to remove a tattoo but what is crucial is to contact your doctor to define the best procedure for your tattoo removal because the above cited tattoo removal techniques will have their variant benefits and side-effects.


What we should comprehend is that, itching tattoo after the first few weeks may be just usual and should not trouble us, but itching duration also should be deemed. Persistent itching could have a message of potential infections no matter what period after being tattooed. Another case is when the tattoo starts to itch after it had healed-this too can be a sign of infection. So we should be very responsive with itching tattoo and keep close contact with our medical professionals.

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Our References
  1. Three Healing Stages of Tattoo:
  2. Itchy, Raised Tattoos:
  3. Itchy Tattoo Causes, Relief and Remedies after Healing, Years, Removal:
  4. Dealing with itching:
  5. Itchy Tattoo Remedy:
  6. Tattoo Problems – Home Treatment:
  7. Itchy, raised tattoos-Awareness:
  8. Why Do Tattoo Itch:
  9. How to stop tattoo itch:
  10. Is there a Link between Tattoo Ink & Cancer:

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