An overworked tattoo isn’t a pleasant sight, and it’s normal to have concerns about how your ink will heal or whether this could cause greater health issues. A tattoo is a lifetime investment, and overworked skin can introduce problems and complicate the experience. In this guide, we tell you everything you need to know about overworked tattoos and how to handle it if you have one.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Signs of an Overworked Tattoo
There are many problems and concerns that can arise during the healing of a tattoo, but the telltale signs of an overworked tattoo will discern to you immediately that there is an issue with the skin being overworked.
Common signs include:
- A Change in Appearance - If the tattoo looks faded, pale, cloudy, blurry, or heavily distorted, this could be a sign of overworked skin.This may also appear as ink distortion and blurring. During a tattoo, ink needs to be deposited in your dermis so the pigment stays put. In an overworked tattoo, your artist may have gone too deep, causing significant blowout in your tattoo. This makes the appearance of your tattoo look blurry, cloudy, or smudged.
- Excessive Secretion of Fluids - Your tattoo continues to weep even after the third day, especially excessive amounts of blood, plasma, or ink, then your tattoo may be overworked. This complicates the scabbing process and indicates that some significant trauma has been done to the skin.
- A Change in Physicality - Scarring takes a strange turn in an overworked tattoo. You may notice raised lining that doesn't dissipate with time, or significant scarring that creates pits or holes in the tattoo.
Why is The Tattoo Overworked?
Simply put, an overworked tattoo is the result of an inexperienced and unprofessional artist. They occur when you are working with a tattoo artist who does not understand skin and needle depth and best professional practices.
Whether they’re depositing the ink in the wrong layer of skin, or if they’re going over the same region multiple times, causing your skin to go raw from the trauma, both are the result of poor practice.
Rectifying an Overworked Tattoo
Fixing an overworked tattoo requires time and patience. It’s not something that should be rushed, because the trauma could lead to other complications such as infections. Here are a few methods you can consider for rectifying your overworked tattoo:
Rework the Tattoo
This can only be done after your overworked tattoo has been given ample time to heal. Essentially, it means going over the tattoo that likely looks faded, blurry, cloudy, or of poor quality. This can be in the form of a touch up, a cover up, or even a blastover of your old tattoo.
What the artist will need to do to rework the tattoo will depend on the severity of the state of your overworked tattoo. In addition, this will require an additional cost and because you are reworking pretty vulnerable skin, it could be exceptionally painful.
Proficient aftercare will not completely stop the damage of your overworked tattoo but it will accelerate your healing process, which could be extended due to the trauma. For our complete aftercare guide, check out, Tattoo Aftercare Advice - How Do I Care For My Tattoo?
For your overworked tattoo, some key aftercare points include:
- Washing with antibacterial soap twice a day, at minimum.
- Beginning to apply moisturizer to the wound after it has been given a significant amount of time to weep out excess ink, plasma, or blood.
How to Prevent an Overworked Tattoo
The only way to ensure you don’t put your skin at risk of getting an overworked tattoo is to invest in a high-quality and professional artist. Going into your friend’s basement to be tatted by their at-home kit will likely bring with it some overworked issues!
You should be sure to look at an artist’s portfolio of healed work they’ve done on clients to get an idea of what to expect with your own ink. Do extensive research and read reviews on the shop and the artist, and make sure they’re up to code with safety laws and regulations.
Our Final Thoughts
Discovering that your tattoo has been overworked can be a heartbreaking moment during what is meant to be an exciting time and experience. Continue to provide your wound with extensive aftercare, and start to talk to more professional and qualified artists about any plans for rectifying your overworked tattoo.