Why Is My Tattoo Raised? - Everything You Need To Know

Written by: Pete

At some point in your tattoo’s life, you may notice that it is slightly raised. There can be numerous reasons for why your tattoo may still be raised and, generally speaking, it’s pretty normal. Though in some circumstances, there may be cause for concern.

We’ll dive into every reason behind a raised tattoo and help you get a handle on minimizing this problem.

Reasons Your Tattoo May Still Be Raised

Before we look into the possible causes behind your raised tattoo, it’s important to mention that sometimes this can occur for absolutely no reason at all. With no triggers, no additional symptoms, and no external causes, these situations have no solutions and the raised sensation will fade in time. This is especially common in new tattoos within the first year of their life, so you merely need to give it time to pass.

In other situations, there may be reason for more concern.

Bad Healing

The aftercare of healing a tattoo should begin the moment you step out of an artist’s chair. A tattoo is an open wound and, as such, requires a meticulous regimen of care. This includes:

  • Leave the artist’s wrap on for four to six hours, then wash your hands to remove the wrap.
  • Use antibacterial soap to carefully but thoroughly scrub the tattoo.
  • Pat the tattoo dry (do not rub) with a fresh towel or paper towel.
  • Repeat these steps two to three times a day.
  • Add moisturizer to your aftercare regime on the third or fourth day, after the tattoo stops weeping; do not oversaturate the tattoo as this can cause scab bubbling.
  • Keep your hands off of the scabs, not picking or peeling the dry skin.
  • Avoid submerging your tattoo in water for at least a month.

If during the healing period you missed these steps, picked at the scab, or exposed the tattoo to bacteria prematurely, you may have compromised the healing process. This could lead to a raised tattoo.


Though less common due to the strict rules and regulations that apply to tattoo parlors these days, an infection can still occur if there are sterilization errors. In addition, an infection can happen to your tattoo further down the line if the skin is exposed to bacteria.

Common signs of infection include:

  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity
  • Oozing scabs
  • Pimples or white spots
  • Rashes
  • Redness around the outline of the tattoo

Infection is usually paired with a full-body reaction such as fever or chills, so you can rule this out as a reason for your raised tattoo if you don’t have them. If you are very concerned, you can always speak to your artist or a medical professional.

Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions to a tattoo’s ink can happen at any stage of its life - from the first month to months down the line as your body builds up immunity to the foreign objects.

Allergic reactions usually look like redness, swelling, and severe itchiness. Allergic reactions to ink are very rare, but the most common colors to cause reactions are red and yellow ink.

You could also have allergic reactions to aftercare products, which is why we recommend referencing our list of the Best Tattoo Aftercare Products - Our Favorites Reviewed.

This irritation may cause your tattoo to look lifted or raised.


Whether you got unlucky with an inexperienced and heavy-handed tattoo artist or perhaps you picked at some premature scabs, there are many reasons that a tattoo can cause severe scarring which leads to a raised tattoo.

Some people may also be prone to keloid scars which will lead to your tattoo looking raised and distorted.

tattoo raised from allergic reaction

Severe scarring due to an allergic reaction.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can be due to a variety of factors such as an intense, high adrenaline job, the food you eat, or genetics. High blood pressure causes fluid retention, which could manifest as swelling in numerous parts of your body. This can cause your tattoo to look raised. The only solution for this is assistance through medical recommendations or simply taking the time to cool down and relax!


Swelling of new tattoos is normal, but excessive swelling could be dangerous as it prevents oxygen from reaching the cells as they are healing the wounded area. For older tattoos, it may just be a reaction due to poor circulation, especially located on the lower parts of your body.

Lifting your feet or elevating your tattoo will help reduce swelling and the raised appearance of your ink.

Prolonged Itching

Unfortunately, there are some autoimmune illnesses that only reveal themselves following being tattooed which may be the cause of your raised tattoo. If you experienced symptoms of itchiness that started after your tattoo and continued beyond the one-month healing mark, you should speak to a medical professional to ensure you have not had a more serious reaction to the ink.

The Weather

Believe it or not, the weather can cause your ink to look swollen or raised, no matter how old it may be. When it is very humid or very dry, you may notice your tattoo looks different. This is normal and while it may be uncomfortable, it doesn’t cause any reason for concern and you just need to wait it out.

Body Chemistry

Everybody is different, and everyone’s unique immune system may react differently to the tattoo experience. Your tattoo may simply be more defined than someone else’s, but without any additional symptoms, it’s no cause for concern.

Skin Condition

If you have a prior skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, the symptoms of these skin issues may become inflamed due to a tattoo. It may help to speak to a dermatologist to select the best aftercare products, applicable to your skin type, to help minimize the raised or swollen appearance of your tattoo.

How Do You Fix a Raised Tattoo?

Fixing a raised tattoo depends on the factor influencing this issue. For problems such as the weather or body chemistry, you simply need to wait it out. For issues such as skin conditions, allergic reactions, or infections, you should speak to a medical professional to help manage the concern.

But for a brand new tattoo, raised ink is perfectly normal and may continue for up to a year; you just need to continue taking good care of your tattoo and monitor that the bumps of the ink are not paired with any additional symptoms.

In addition, keeping your skin healthy through proper moisturization and hydration will always help with the raised appearance of tattoos.

Why Is My Tattoo Raised And Itchy At The Same Time?

If your tattoo is in the first or second month of its healing process, this is completely normal and you should ensure that you keep your hands off your tattoo so you don’t compromise the process.

If your tattoo continues to be raised and itchy after two months or begins to look raised and get itchy further down the line, it may be best to speak to your artist about your concerns. They may direct you to a medical professional if you are having an allergic reaction or are experiencing an infection.

Our Final Thoughts

In the majority of cases, a raised tattoo is completely normal and has no cause for concern. It becomes an issue when it is paired with additional symptoms, and this is when you should discuss the problem with your artist or a dermatologist.

No one knows your body as well as you, and if you are still unsure, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Ra

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