Tattoo Scarring: What Causes It, How To Treat it, and How To Prevent It

Written by: Jason White

Tattooing is associated with severe skin injuries, hence caring for a new tattoo should be approached seriously and responsibly. Otherwise, the result of a trip to the tattoo artist may not be the dream pattern adorning your body, but ugly scars, infections, or redness!

Tattoo scarring can occur for several reasons. A newly-inked tattoo is a large, open wound that needs to be cared for until it heals completely. Any damage to the surface of tattooed skin, such as infection, dryness, or scratching, can lead to scarring.

Let’s look at what you should do to ensure that your tattoo does NOT scar, so you can go home with a beautiful, bright, evenly done tattoo without any complications.

Let’s look at what you should do to ensure that your tattoo does NOT scar, so you can go home with a beautiful, bright, evenly done tattoo without any complications.


Beginners, non-professional, and irresponsible tattoo artists often make one of the biggest tattooing mistakes—needling at the wrong depth. If the needle penetrates too deeply into the skin, it can cause serious and deep damage to the superficial and sensitive skin layers.

As a result, healing takes much longer and is more complicated. One of our body’s tools for healing after sustaining injuries is tissue repair. However, a genetic predisposition can lead to the development of keloid scars or keloids. Keloids are usually elevated and take up a larger area than the tattooed region. Also, they do not disappear with time.

Be careful when choosing a tattoo artist. Find someone with more than a year’s practice. Check all their previous work and see if they look good. Entrust your skin only to artists with a good track record. Otherwise, you are just as much to blame as a faulty artist when scarring does occur!

However, tattoo scars don’t just result from improper tattooing practices. There are several other important reasons, as we discuss below.


improper aftercare.

As we said before, a still-healing tattoo is a wound requiring attentive care. A few simple rules will help reduce the risk of scars to zero. A professional tattoo artist should instruct you on what to do and what you can’t do with the tattoo at first.

Tattoo care begins with preparation: you need to get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious diet to be healthy and strong. You should avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, and doing drugs as these can slow the healing process. After the session, you should pay very close attention to the tattoo, protect it with a plastic film, do not wet it, apply a healing or soothing agent, or use a special healing film for approximately five days after filling. Doing so during this period helps avoid contaminating your tattoo. Avoid participating in strenuous physical activity, and exposure to direct sunlight.

Failure to follow these simple rules leads to longer healing times and the risk of scarring. Your goal at this stage is to help your body cope with the stress inflicted by the tattoo.

Check out our guide for the best tattoo aftercare products


The appearance of scabs on the tattoo is perfectly normal. This crusted blood acts to protect your wound from dirt and germs. Don’t peel or scratch off the scab as you can risk damaging the skin beneath it.


Each torn scab is a new micro-injury, which means there is a risk of scarring despite a virtually healed tattoo. The more cells your body has to renew, the higher the risk of unsightly scars. Don’t interrupt your body when it has begun the process of skin regeneration!


tattoo damage.

After the first stage of recovery, the skin will itch persistently on days three and four.. Despite the unpleasant sensation, the tattoo area must not be scratched. Doing so can damage the scab layer forming and cause more damage, which can lead to scarring.


all equipment is sterile.

Let’s return to the issue of inexperienced and unprofessional tattoo artists. Before your tattoo artist starts the session, make sure that all equipment is sterile. When choosing a tattoo artist, make sure that they have the right license and authority to practice their craft.

If you develop an infection on the tattoo site, the affected skin can become very red and swollen. Infections significantly slow down the healing process, making the wound more complex and serious, hence the possibility of scarring. If you suspect that your tattoo has become infected, see a doctor immediately—the earlier, the better.


In general, scars are difficult to treat, especially keloids. Usually, scars fade away by themselves over time, but keloids rarely do. Learn more about keloid scars and tattoos.

Here are some methods to reduce/eliminate the tattoo scar:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Ointment (Bio-Oil or Mederma)
  • Tattooing over the scar (This is not always possible)
  • Permanent humidification
  • Makeup


You can prevent your tattoo by choosing a professional tattoo artist and practicing proper aftercare by keeping your tattoo away from dirt, avoiding scratching it, keeping it from sun exposure, and avoiding getting the area wet (at least for the first few days). In short, do what your tattoo artist instructs on tattoo care to avoid scarring.

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