Tattoo Bleeding – What To Do If Your New Tattoo Bleeds

Fretting about your new tattoo bleeding? Then just keep reading!

To be very honest, there are quite a few shocking things that you’ll experience when you get tattooed. Some can feel alarming for some people which is why it’s recommended for people to do some research first before heading to a tattoo salon. This way, you can be prepared and knowledgeable of the things that come with a beautiful piece of skin art.

Tattoo bleeding is one of the many things that may shock some folks. Since bleeding, in general, can be quite shocking, this is quite understandable. However, if you’ll think about it, it’s easy to see why it happens.

To help you better understand why people experience tattoo bleeding, allow us to elaborate below.

Why Tattoos Bleed: What You Need to Know

Tattoo Bleeding

Tattoo bleeding can be a bit unsettling, because who wants to bleed willingly, right? However, since tattoos are made by repeatedly piercing the skin, it shouldn’t be surprising that it will cause some bleeding.

Tattoo machines work by piercing through the topmost layer of the skin known as the epidermis in order to deposit the tattoo ink on the lower layer of the skin which is the dermis. Doing this breaks the skin which can then lead to bleeding. Sure, the needle used is small and the action is done quickly but it doesn’t change the fact that it still breaks the skin in the process.

Because of this, you can expect to bleed during the tattoo process. The tattoo shouldn’t draw a lot of blood, however, since the skin is only pierced. It may be several piercings in one go but the holes made are very small and not too deep so the bleeding should be minimal.

However, those who consumed alcohol, coffee, and even pain relievers before their tattoo session can expect some heavier bleeding while they’re getting tattooed. Why? These are blood thinners which can make your blood seep more easily into the small openings created by the tattoo machine.

Blood thinners also prevent the ability of the blood to clot effectively. So not only will it make you bleed more easily, but the bleeding can also take a while to stop.

It’s also normal for the tattoo to bleed a little after the session. It will bleed quite a bit once it’s wrapped because of the movement in and pressure put on the tattooed area. This shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, however.

When Is Bleeding Normal?

You need to wait for the next if you are going to get a tattoo: there will be bleeding during the tattoo and after you get the tattoo.

The blood will be regardless of whether you want it or not. Usually bleeding along with ink and plasma lasts 24 hours. This average time can vary from 12 to 36 hours.

Bleeding will continue after the tattoo artist already completed the work. After the conditional 36 hours of the eruption, the tattoo will begin to heal.

The tattoo will bleed while receiving the tattoo because the tattoo artist creates an open wound. Bleeding is a normal reaction of the body.

Wash the tattoo using a mild antibacterial soap and dry instead of being frustrated about bleeding.

Apply a tattoo care product on dried skin and observe the condition of the tattoo.

When to Worry about Tattoo Bleeding

Like with redness, swelling, pain, and other similar things that one can experience after getting inked, it’s also possible that the bleeding is a sign of a complication. This is why you should monitor the duration of your bleeding.

It’s normal for the tattoo to bleed some for up to 36 hours after the tattoo is completed. If yours exceed that, there might be some reason to worry. If you’re not taking any blood-thinning medication or beverages and not straining your body through physical activities, you might need to see a doctor soon.

An infection can also be the very reason for your bleeding, so try to assess the tattoo for any signs of contamination. If it’s excessively red or swollen as well as itchy, there’s a good chance that it can be infected.

It should still be noted that people heal at a different pace, so try to wait until 48 hours have passed to really gauge the situation. If you’re still bleeding then, go see a healthcare provider.

Bleeding Triggers

Tattoo artist often does not recommend taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or drinking alcohol. These factors cause bleeding tattoos.

Painkillers and alcohol inhibit clot formation. It prevents the tattoo from healing. Therefore, it is impossible to stop bleeding effectively if you take these methods.

Many people take medications prescribed by their doctor to thin the blood. The health status of these people depends on these drugs. However, such medicine can also trigger increased bleeding.

Genetics also determines how the bleeding will be.

Have you decided on where the tattoo will be? The power of bleeding depends on parts of the body you got the tattoo.

Blood pressure can be high in this part of the body. Therefore, bleeding increases if the tattoo artist begins to work there. Shoulders usually bleed harder than arms.

What To Do If The Tattoo Bleeds Longer Than Usual?

Sometimes a tattoo bleeds longer than usual. And people have a bleeding tattoo for 36 to 48 hours. For more than 48 hours, bleeding necessarily has a cause.

Clean the Tattoo and Make Sure to Remove the Blood

Bodily fluids can contaminate the tattoo wound, so it’s crucial that you remove them. You shouldn’t wait for them to dry, too, because that will complicate the cleanup process.

Use a damp, paper towel to blot out the blood from the tattoo. Do not rub on the tattooed area or put a lot of pressure on the actual tattoo. Just pat down gently so the towel can sop up the fluid effectively. Don’t use cloth or towels to do this because those things harbor bacteria and might further contaminate your wound.

You can also opt to just wash the area with mild soap using cool water and clean hands. Dry the washed area then apply some ointment or moisturizer after. It would also help to rest it by not moving much or putting any pressure on the area.

To further avoid bleeding, take better care of your new tattoo. Keep it clean, dry, and moisturized and you don’t have to worry about complications.

Alcohol Or Medicine

It can be different products, painkillers or blood thinners, activity level, and much more.

You need to see a doctor so as not to risk your health and not lose blood for so long. It is especially necessary if you are taking medications that thin the blood. Ask your doctor if you need to stop taking medicines while you receive and heal the tattoo.

Sport And Physical Activity

Bleeding can continue even if painkillers and blood thinners are not your stories. You may have been very active.

Tattoo artists and doctors contraindicated physical activity and sports after you get a tattoo. Intense exercise disrupts the healing process. Your body needs more time to stop the blood and heal the wound.

It is better to leave the sport and training while receiving a tattoo. I think you will not gain extra pounds during this time. However, giving up sports at this time can protect your health.


Did you not to do any of the above and bleeding continue? It may be a sign of infection.

The last main reason why your tattoo may take longer to stop bleeding is an infection.

It is rare to get an infection in modern tattoo shops where the process of creating a tattoo has become very sterile. Even though everything is according to the instructions, improper care of a tattoo can cause an infection.

For example, you did not leave the tattoo clean enough, so the bacteria did the trick.

Bleeding is one of the symptoms of infection. You should see a doctor immediately if you suspect an infection. Do this as soon as possible to avoid more unpleasant consequences.

Bleeding + Ink = What?

Sometimes bleeding occurs with ink. It is very scary, but it is a normal situation.

It is because the tattoo artist has packed enough ink. This amount of ink is sufficient or insufficient for your body requirements.

If this amount of ink turned out to be too much for your body, the skin ejects ink during the initial bleeding. It is not a cause for concern. Just the body is getting ready for healing.

Wash dried blood off with water and use lotion on the tattoo area. It will make the skin moisturized. After all, the skin healing process will go well.

FAQs on Tattoo Bleeding

What else should you know about tattoo bleeding? Here are a few more points that you might want to learn about:

Why did my tattoo bleed so much?

There are two common reasons why some folks bleed a lot. One is that you might have taken blood thinners prior to the tattoo session. The other is you might have an ailment that makes you bleed a lot. The first one is the most common reason, however, so it’s highly recommended that you don’t consume any blood thinners prior to a tattoo appointment.

Why is my tattoo bleeding after a week?

A week into your healing period, tattoos should already start to scab. With proper aftercare measures, you should already see signs of healing on your skin. However, if you don’t adequately moisturize, the skin and scab can get dry. This will lead to cracking and splitting which can then lead to bleeding.

However, on some occasions, if the wounds are not healing properly and the scabbing is very thick, bleeding can also be expected in case the scabs split, crack, or get bumped into. Infections can cause thicker scabbing and significantly slow down the healing process, so the wounds can stay fresh for much longer in such cases. If they get injured, they’ll surely bleed.


Bleeding upon receipt of a tattoo and after is a normal reaction of the body to injuries. It should bleed more than 12 hours after you got a tattoo.

Contact a specialist (doctor or artist) if your bleeding looks abnormal. It will help you avoid unpleasant consequences such as irritation.

Take care of the tattoo like a newborn baby if you do not want to get an infection and damage the skin.

Also Read:

1. Tattoo Rash – What To Do If You Get A Rash Around Tattoo

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

Leave a Comment