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

You may find a surprise like irritation or swelling after getting a tattoo. Even the smallest treatment can become large if you do not care about it.

Treatment does not appear just like that, it always has reasons. In general, ink triggers allergic reactions.

Ink can cause dermatitis or photosensitivity. You can cure this at home if it is not serious. However, symptoms are a call you should consult a specialist.

How To Determine You Have An Allergic Reaction?

Usually, an allergy is immediately noticeable. Itching, rash, redness, irritation accompanies an allergy. You may notice flaking of the skin, swelling, “scratching” around the tattoo. It is also a symptom of an allergy.

Your task is to ensure the allergy is not deep. Allergies to the upper layers of the skin can go away in a few days.

Problems begin when allergies affect the deeper layers of the skin. Such a serious allergy can cause a serious reaction in your body.

Tattoo Rash

What Symptoms Tell You To Go To The Doctor Right Now?

Firstly, the appearance of the tattoo will be terrible. Also, there may be severe itching and hurting around the tattoo, pus may leak from the tattoo, and hard tissue may form on the tattoo.

Chills and fever, swelling around the eyes, will accompany the terrifying appearance of the tattoo. You better not wait for such a condition and go to the doctor as soon as possible.

Or Maybe It Is An Infection?

There is a possibility you have an infection. The symptoms of allergies and infections are very similar. You can take it apart.

An allergy has the following symptoms:

  • All symptoms affect the skin near the tattoos.
  • Itching, burning, swelling, and redness occurs in the area of the skin with a tattoo.
  • If an allergy is due to ink, symptoms will be around the pigment. Red ink is the strongest allergen of all pigments.
  • Allergy symptoms last several days or several weeks, and disappear if you try to cure it.

The infection has the following symptoms:

  • Symptoms of infection appear everywhere, outside a tattoo.
  • The main symptoms of infection are redness, irritation, itching. You will find these symptoms in any part of the body.
  • Localized symptoms may occur with exposure to the entire body.
  • Symptoms of infection last a very long time. It may be more than a few weeks.

What Are The Types Of Allergic Reactions?

If you find allergy symptoms, rejoice early. Allergies come in many forms. You do not need to relax because allergies can be caused by a reaction of the immune system, skin condition, ink, and so on.

There are several types of allergies:

Acute Inflammatory Allergy

This type of allergy does not occur due to ink or another allergen. This allergy is due to skin irritation when you got a tattoo.

Acute inflammatory allergy is the mildest and happens to almost everyone after getting a tattoo. Allergy symptoms go away after a while.


This treatment is due to the ink. Ink components respond to sunlight and light from a lamp. Swelling, redness, or itching occur as a result of this reaction. Photosensitivity appears due to the ink of red, yellow, black and blue colors.


An allergic reaction caused by ink is contact dermatitis. This type of allergy is accompanied by swelling itching and peeling of the skin.


Granulomas appear due to some of the ink ingredients.It can be mercury salts, iron oxides, cobalt chloride and manganese. Again the trigger is red ink.

Lichenoid Allergy

The appearance of discolored irregularities around the ink characterizes the treatment of this type.  The reason is usually red ink.

Lichenoid allergy does not cause irritation and itching in the tattoo area. These symptoms may occur in other parts of the body.

Pseudolymphomatous Allergy

This treatment does not appear immediately, but after you get a tattoo. Most of the time, the cause of this allergy is red ink.

A few months after you get a tattoo there may be a rash, redness and other irritations. Such a delay indicates that this is a pseudolymphomatous allergy.

What Is An Allergy Trigger?

At first glance, it may seem that red ink is the main cause of any allergy. It is not true.

Most often, ink components cause allergies. It can be pigments, dyes, and metallic substances.

Red ink is the most common trigger for allergies. But if a tattoo artist did not use red ink when tattooing, it does not mean that you will not get allergies.

Many inks contain dyes that are identical to those found in automotive or commercial ink. The skin is a more sensitive material than paper or metal, so a reaction will necessarily occur in such cases.

Immunity responds to the use of “unusual” components. The body tries to remove ink, so it manifests an allergy.

Why does ink contain all sorts of rubbish? FDA does not regulate ink production. Therefore, manufacturers do what they want and do not give you accurate information about the compound of the ink.

The FDA tries to keep the situation under control and keeps track of negative reviews of individual inks and its components.

You can avoid getting ink with bad ingredients. Ask the tattoo artist to find components in ink that can cause allergies or what are harmful.

Which Components Are Harmful?

Avoid any ink that contains aluminum, aminoazobenzene, cesalpinium, cadmium sulfide, carbon, chromium oxide, cobalt aluminate, cobalt chloride, iron hydride, and iron oxide.

Lead chromate, manganese, mercury sulfite, phthalocyanine dyes, sandalwood, titanium oxide, and zinc oxide are also harmful components.

What to do if you received treatment before you learned about the harmful ingredients?

When Should You See A Doctor?

The best time to see a doctor (or at least a tattoo artist) is when you notice the first swelling, pus and other symptoms of irritation.

Be sure to ask the tattoo artist about the ink they used when making the tattoo. Do this before you go to the doctor. Such information can help your doctor determine what caused the allergy.

Do not hide that you received a tattoo and any information that you received from a tattoo artist. Tell your doctor the truth and show allergies.

Can You Cure This?

Fortunately, modern medicine is not so hopeless and can eliminate allergies.

Doctors usually advise using medicines to get rid of not strong symptoms and get relief.

Some ointments soothe inflammation like hydrocortisone or triamcinolone. Antihistamines may also help reduce general symptoms.

What if you used everything but nothing helped? Doctors prescribe strong antihistamines when all else fails.

Important: be in contact with your doctor if you want to get rid of allergies.


Do not panic if you received treatment with a tattoo. You do not have to remove the tattoo. Go to the doctor right away, so your tattoo can stay free of scars.

And be aware of what is inside the ink the next time you get a tattoo.

Also Read:

1. Can You Use Numbing Cream Before Tattoo : How to Guide
2. Tattoo Touch Ups: What to Do to Get an Effective Touch-Up

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!

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