Why Is My Tattoo Raised and Itchy?

After getting a tattoo, it is completely normal to feel some pain and discomfort. After all, you are dealing with a type of open wound that needs time to heal properly. Now the healing process is where the pain and discomfort should subside. Usually healing involves general discomfort from itching, peeling of the skin, formation of a new layer of skin, etc.

But what happens when the pain persists and the tattooed skin starts to lift, hurt and itch? Is it a common part of the healing process or a sign of trouble?

Well, that’s why we’re here; to explore all possible causes and reasons why your skin is itchy and itchy after your tattoo. So, without further ado, let’s explore and answer!

6 reasons why your tattoo is raised and itchy

1. Tattoo infection

Tattoo infections can appear between a few days and 2 to 3 weeks after being tattooed. Infection can occur for many reasons including;

  • Contaminated tattoo tools (tattoo gun, needle, etc.)
  • Contaminated tattoo environment
  • A reckless tattoo artist (working without gloves, using contaminated tools, not working in a clean and disinfected environment, etc.)
  • Bad follow-up routine
  • Using petroleum-based products on the tattoo
  • Sharing sleeping space with pets
  • Not keeping the tattoo dry (taking baths, swimming, exercising and sweating)
  • Do not wear loose clothing (sticky fabrics on the tattoo)

These are some of the most common causes that you might encounter for a tattoo infection. In addition to raised skin and itching, symptoms of a tattoo infection also include redness, increased pain levels, swelling, rash, oozing and pus, and fever.

If you experience any of the following symptoms and believe you have been exposed to any of the above situations and environment, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You will be prescribed antibiotics and proper treatment, so always be sure to speak to a medical professional.

2. Ink allergy

It may come as a surprise, but you might be allergic to tattoo ink and not know it. Unfortunately, we become aware of the allergy when it is already too late; the tattoo has been done, and now you are dealing with a raised, painful and itchy tattoo.

Now, ink allergy occurs due to several reasons like;

  • The ink has been contaminated – studies have shown that more than 10% of unopened ink bottles already contain harmful bacteria. Because the ink is considered a cosmetic product, it can freely enter the market without any regulation or verification of ingredients. It is not known if the ink is completely 100% safe until it is too late.
  • Ink contains toxic metals and plastic – because tattoo inks are unregulated and have no listed ingredients, many manufacturers have used toxic metals and even plastic to enhance the consistency and pigmentation of their product. This particularly applies to yellow, green, red and blue inks. These pigments are the most allergenic, and sources show that these inks usually contain harmful ingredients.
  • You are usually allergic to ink – most of the time, even when tattoo artists use high quality ink, people get allergic reactions. The reasons for a general allergy can be many; from the ingredients in tattoo ink to your body’s immune response to a foreign invader, in this case, the ink.
  • Your tattoo has been exposed to the sun – some ink allergies occur due to photosensitivity. Some inks, when exposed to bright lights, especially sunlight, tend to react mainly due to the ingredients in the ink. As a result, the skin becomes raised, red and itchy, forming bumps and rashes. Yellow, blue and red inks react the most with sunlight.

As you can see, the majority of ink allergies result from unknown ink ingredients and the overall poor quality of the pigment itself. Unfortunately, aside from toxic metals and plastics, many inks contain colorants made from the same components used to create paint or car prints.

No tattoo ink is regulated by the FDA, so there is no idea what the components of tattoo ink are in the United States. However, ingredients in the ink known to cause allergic reactions include aluminum, manganese, cobalt aluminate and chloride, carbon or India ink, lead chromate, zinc oxide and many more.

3. Skin condition(s)

Skin conditions are among the most common causes of a raised, itchy tattoo. Whether you have dry or sensitive skin, or suffer from eczema and dermatitis, any type of skin change can be considered a skin condition. Many people are unaware of this and think that if they simply have dry or sensitive skin, they are good to go for a tattoo.

It is essential to consult a dermatologist and have your skin checked before a tattoo appointment. A dermatologist will provide you with a detailed overview of the condition and condition of your skin and clear you for a tattoo if all goes well.

A dermatologist can even predict if you might get skin cancer in the future and recommend that you don’t get a tattoo. The ink can cover up skin cancer symptoms and visible signs, which can be a serious problem in itself.

However, if you experience itching and raised skin after the tattoo process, you should go check the problem with your dermatologist. They will check your skin type and possible conditions, investigate itching, observe skin swelling, and provide proper treatment.

4. Go through an MRI

It may come as a surprise to many, but having an MRI while tattooed can cause the tattoo to lift and itch. You may wonder why?

Well, remember when we said inks contain metals? Such metal-based ink may react during an MRI examination, due to magnetic forces. Because the metals in the skin are pulled, the skin swells and the tattoos become raised, itchy and even burn.

There was one particular case of a man going through an MRI and suffering a second degree burn from the reaction between the ink and the magnetic resonance. Her tattoos contained iron oxide, which is a metallic compound. The compound reacted with the electromagnetic waves, causing terrible burns.

So if you had an MRI and soon after you started feeling tattoo swelling and itching, chances are your ink reacted with an MRI. Consult a doctor in this case and explain what led you to such a state; you will receive proper treatment and hopefully recover soon.

5. Weather changes

As the seasons change, your tattoo can also change. Even if it is completely healed, your tattoo may become a little raised and itchy due to irritation caused by temperature fluctuations, increased humidity, and other similar events.

For example, during the summer you may experience slight swelling of the skin due to temperature changes. As a result, your tattooed skin may stretch a little and cause irritation and itching. It’s best to avoid scratching your skin, as you could damage the skin and introduce bacteria.

On the other hand, during the winter, you may experience increased tattoo itchiness. Indeed, the cold tends to irritate and dry out the skin. As a result, you may also experience rashes and peeling skin in extreme cases. It is best to keep the skin hydrated and protected from the cold during these times.

6. The tattoo simply heals

If you’re dealing with a new tattoo and wondering about the lifting and itching, chances are your tattoo is just going through a healing process. Because a new tattoo is actually an open wound, it’s completely normal for the skin to lift and swell a little.

As the swelling subsides, your tattoo will begin to dry out as part of the healing process. During the drying phase, it will start to itch and peel. It is a sign that the new layer of skin is forming and the body is shedding the old damaged skin layer.

If this is your case, you need to resist the urge to touch, scratch and peel the tattoo. If you do, you risk prolonging the healing process, introducing bacteria and germs into the tattoo, and unintentionally causing the tattoo to become infected.

You can just try to keep the tattoo clean and moisturized. Moisturize it up to twice a day to relieve itching and flaking.

If the swelling and itching persists for more than a few days, talk to a healthcare professional and have your tattoo evaluated by a doctor. Chances are you are dealing with an infection, which can be treated fairly easily with antibiotic treatment.

Final Thoughts

If your tattoo is raised and itchy, chances are there is something wrong. However, you must first determine whether your tattoo is in such a condition due to external factors or because it could be infected.

Either way, visit your doctor or a dermatologist and have a professional take a look. It’s best to get your tattoo checked in time, then risk serious infection and health issues. I hope our information has been helpful and informative to you, but you still need medical advice to be 100% sure that your skin and tattoo are okay.

Also read: What happens if you scratch an itchy tattoo?

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