Getting a new tattoo is always exciting, especially if it’s your first tattoo. You just can’t wait for it to heal so you can show it off. However, what many seem to forget amongst all the excitement is that the healing process is a pretty demanding task.
You will go through super uncomfortable stages of the tattoo leaking and oozing, as well as scabbing and itching. Oy of all the things, scabbing and itching seem to be the most difficult to deal with since they awake this urge in us to pick and scratch the tattoo.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, that your new tattoo is at the stage where it’s forming scabs and it’s starting to itch. Before you do anything rash, it is always a good idea to first educate yourself and find reliable answers to the things that are bothering you. So, in this case, the question is; can I scratch my new, itchy tattoo?
To find out, let’s keep on reading. We’ve provided a detailed insight into the itching and scratching of new tattoos, so let’s get started!
Itchy Tattoo: Why It Happens and How to Find Relief
Why Are New Tattoos Itchy?
Before we get into the whole scratch-the-itch ordeal, we need to understand why the itchiness even occurs.
Let’s simply start by saying that a new, fresh tattoo is considered to be a wound. And, it technically is one. Why? Well, your skin just underwent consequent needle ‘stabbing’ at a rate of up to 3000 times per minute, which obviously creates numerous tiny wholes in the skin. Together, all these whole create a big wound that your body focuses on healing right away.
In the beginning, the tattoo is still fresh, which means it may be oozing, leaking, and bleeding for the next 24 hours. That is your body trying to get rid of the ‘foreign objects’, aka the tattoo ink. Once everything has calmed down, the tattoo will start to go through different healing stages, which include the closing of the wound, forming a new protective barrier, and finally healing completely, which is often recognized by the mattifying of the tattoo.
During the halfway period of healing, the tattooed skin will start creating a protective barrier, which is known as the process of scabbing. Now, this doesn’t have to occur, but some scabbing generally appear in most cases. This is a clear sign that the tattoo is healing, so there is no reason to panic. However, as the scabs form and the skin dries up, it will start getting itchy, which is, again, supernormal.
However, this kind of itchiness should never be addressed by scratching. Remember, under the scabbing, the skin is still ‘wounded’ and trying to heal. By removing the protective barrier, or the scabs, you’re exposing the sensitive skin and potentially introducing bacteria via your nails.
Read More: Why Is My Tattoo Raised and Itchy?
Can I Scratch an Itchy Tattoo? What Happens If You Scratch a Itchy Tattoo?
Well, technically, you can scratch it. But, should you do it? Most definitely NOT!
As we mentioned in the previous paragraphs, scratching a new tattoo can lead to the following issues;
- Exposing the sensitive tattooed skin (no protective barrier)
- Undermining the healing process (the skin has to create a new protective barrier all over again)
- Prolonged healing process
- Introduction of microorganisms, bacteria, and germs to the healing tattoo via nails
- Higher chance of inflammation and infection development
- Potential messing up of the tattoo (should you develop an infection)
- The potential destruction of ink placement
- Potential oozing and leaking in the area that you scratched
- The potential of having to touch up the tattoo once it heals, will increase the overall cost of the tattoo, quite significantly
So, do these risks sound worthy of that one scratch you’re craving so much? Surely not! You just got tattooed, which means, that ink is meant to sta yin your body for a lifetime. So, messing up something that’s meant to be there with you forever isn’t really a good idea.
When it comes to fresh, healing tattoos, infections can happen really easily. That is why tattoo artists always emphasize the importance of a proper aftercare routine. The routine most definitely includes things like not scratching, picking, or peeling the tattoo.
How To Handle an Itchy Tattoo?
So, now that you know that scratching an itchy tattoo is a big no-no, you’re probably asking yourself; well, then how do I deal with the itchiness?
Before we get into the actual recommendations, we want to emphasize how important it is to stay calm and resist scratching. Try to distract yourself from the scratch. Now, if that seems impossible for you, here are some tips and tricks you can util