How To Get Rid Of Pimples On Tattoo? (Treatment)

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How To Get Rid of Pimples on Your Tattoo

Tattoo Pimples are more common than expected for various reasons before or after the tattooing procedure in a professional setting. It’s not unexpected when you realize that a tattoo machine is consistently piercing through your skin with a small and fast needle. The micro-wounds on the skin after getting a tattoo leave room for potential threats like infection and acne. Similarly, when the tattoo is healed, a lack of skincare and hygiene routine could cause acne and pimples on the skin. Dermatologists and tattooing experts thoroughly study all of these, and their combined efforts have provided us with How To Get Rid Of Pimples On Tattoos? (Treatment). 

The most frequently asked question among the tattooing community is, “Can you tattoo over acne scars?”. Some people try to avoid reasoning and give a one-word statement, which is not helpful for general people. The factual information is that tattooing on acne is not impossible, but there are many complications and details you should know about. So, once you have all the information regarding acne and tattoos, you can easily decide which way you would carry on. 

Table Of Content:

What are Tattoo Pimples?

Tattoo pimples are small, raised bumps that can appear on tattooed skin. The tattoo can be fresh and fully healed, but most people mistake it for regular acne. Some tattoo artists have concluded that some amount of acne or pimples around the tattoo are linked to the ink procedure and later healing stages. When a tattoo machine inks the skin and leaves holes in it, it often comes in contact with dirt or germs from the surroundings. That’s how most acne infections start on a healing tattoo skin which can also lead to tattoo flu.   

Best Treatment of Pimples on Tattoo:

We have talked a lot about the pimples on tattoos, why they are caused, and how we can prevent them. But there is still a specific question unanswered; what is the best treatment for a pimple on a tattoo? But don’t worry; we also researched and found the answer for two different healing levels. Yes, you heard it right; there are different treatments for tattoo pimples based on the healing phase of the skin.

Fresh and Healing Tattoo:

  1. Avoid Chemicals: If your tattoo is fairly new and still healing, you should mainly avoid using harsh chemicals on the skin to prevent acne on tattoos.
  2. Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid: Chemicals like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid should be avoided because they dry the tattooed skin abnormally. That does more damage than benefit and slows down the healing process.
  3. Clean Water: Instead of using harsh chemicals, you can use clean water at a lukewarm temperature with an antibacterial soap.
  4. Tap Dry: Remember to softly tap dry the tattoo with acne and use a soft towel to pat the skin.

Healed and Old Tattoo:

  1. Easy To Tackle: Older and healed tattoos are not as sensitive as healing fresh tattoos, so there are many more options to tackle acne on old tattoos.
  2. Anti-Acne Cleanser: You can use an anti-acne cleanser or other products that contain a safe amount of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
  3. Acne Cream: Ask a doctor to advise you of suitable acne cream or ointment while tattoo pimples heal.
  4. Essential Oil Supplements: If your medical experts allow you and you don’t have allergies to any of them, you can try aloe vera gel, tea tree oil, essential oil supplement, etc.
  5. Organic Products: These natural products would help you keep the skin nourished and moisturized for faster healing of tattoo skin.

How To Prevent Pimples on Tattoos:

While we have emphasized enough the treatment of acne on tattoos, according to professional and skin experts, we can prevent it from happening in the first place. This means you would know how to get rid of tattoo pimples fast since you also know the prevention measures. All we have to do is follow these valuable instructions to prevent pimples on tattoos:

  • Proper Cleaning (You can clean tattoos with antibacterial soap, and lukewarm water is most important. )
  • Moisturization (using chemical-free, comfortable, and pleasant on-skin tattoo lotions and creams like the Aquaphor tattoo pimples cream)
  • Keeping Them Dry (during the healing stages, after cleansing or moisturizing)
  • Reduction of Outdoor Interaction (Intense UV rays of sun, rainfall, polluted air, etc., are harmful to healing tattoos)
  • Don’t Pick or Pop (even if acne pimples occur on a tattoo, don’t pick or pop them as it would further extend the acne infection)

Reason For Tattoo Acne:

There can be many reasons for pimples on tattoos, but researchers have found some common patterns in most infections on tattoos. You can learn about the reasoning that leads to acne problems on new and older tattoos as follows:

  • Pores Blockage: it’s the number one reason for acne and pimples on tattoos since infection starts developing soon after it. 
  • Ingrown Hairs: mostly after shaving hairs can regrow and cause acne once infectious bodies reside in the tattoo. 
  • Over Moisturization: when you put extra tattoo balm or lotion on a healing tattoo, it can also block pores to cause acne and pimples on the tattoo sensitive skin. 
  • Unhygienic Practice: every little detail matters, whether an unhygienic tattoo needle is used on you, poor quality tattoo ink, even a lack of cleansing, or using low-quality tattoo aftercare products. 

Causes of Tattoo Pimples:

Pimples on tattoos may appear due to several reasons. Some of the most common causes of tattoo pimples are discussed here to help you discover the reason for your problem.

1. Exposure to the sun

Increased exposure to the sun can cause blisters, rashes, and pimples on your tattoo. The incisions made on the skin during tattoo making are not healed properly. Therefore, during bad weather, high exposure to UV rays from the sun may delay the healing process and lead to pimples on the tattoo.

2. Clogged pores and acne problem

Acne is mostly developed when the sebaceous gland in the skin produces excess sebum. The sebum moisturizes the skin. But when produced in excess amounts, it can trap dirt particles and bacteria and clog the skin pores. Fresh tattoos become highly prone to pimples when interacting with these infectious agents. In addition to that, you can also get pimples on your tattoo if you already have acne issues.

3. Excess use of ointments

Our skin requires proper care that can be provided by applying different skin-care products. However, excess use of ointments on tattoos provides a suitable environment for the bacteria to grow on the epidermis. This also leads to inflammation and pimples around and on the tattoo.

4. Moisture

It is advised to keep the new tattoo dry during the healing process. We all know it is mandatory to moisturize the skin, but if you over-moisturize the tattoo area, it becomes more prone to bacterial infection. This will lead to the tattoo’s discoloration and contribute to acne and pimples.

Pimple Free Tattoo Tips:

Dealing with acne and minor skin infections on a tattoo can be tricky, but there are several strategies to ensure the best possible results. We aim to eliminate pimples on tattoo while minimizing damage to the healing skin. So, the following few tips would be helpful for you if you also want to get rid of tattoo pimples:

1. Maintain Proper Hygiene:

Clean the tattoo with warm water and an unscented and organic cleanser. This would be beneficial in removing excess oil, dirt particles, and infectious germs, which mainly cause pimple formation. But, avoid harsh scrubbing or using highly toxic products as they would damage the skin and tattoo ink.

2. Sun Protection:

It’s one of the most neglected skincare factors, but you must protect your tattoo from prolonged sun exposure. According to experts, UV rays can cause burning and itchiness to the skin, leading to fading and discoloration by long exposure. So, the best solution is to use 30+ SPF sunscreen to protect your tattoo on sunny days. 

3. Salicylic Acid Treatment: 

Acne Body Wash with salicylic acid is a great way to reduce acne and pimples on healing tattoos. Salicylic acid is a form of beta hydroxy acid that helps unclog skin pores to treat acne precisely. Softly apply it to the affected skin, and don’t overdo it to prevent harm to the tattoo.

4. Benzoyl Peroxide Alternative:

Benzoyl peroxide is used by some people who are concerned about using chemical exfoliants on their tattoos. It is a great alternative for acne-fighting without causing damage to your tattoo’s appearance.

How To Treat Pimple On Tattoos Completely:

If you want to treat pimples on tattoos completely, the hands-down best solution is to visit a dermatologist. Once you visit the doctor and discuss your problem in detail, they will advise you on an applicable routine and aftercare plan. If you keep following the guidelines given by the medical doctor, you will see the most effective and significant treatment for acne over tattoos. 

However, there are some fundamental protocols and guidelines on how to treat pimple on tattoos:

1. Avoid Touching Skin:

We all strongly desire to touch the itching skin, but it’s not a good idea. Especially when you have pimples on a healing tattoo, you must avoid touching your skin with untidy hands or objects. This would allow the skin to heal in the natural order without any forced itching or skin rupture due to touching the tattoo with the hands frequently. 

2. Gentle Cleaning:

Dermatologists advise a few gentle and easy-on-healing skin cleansing products. You should opt for those gentle cleaning solutions for acne over tattoos and avoid using anything harsh, toxic, or chemically active. This would ensure that you don’t go through unnecessary pain and suffering while cleaning your tattoo, and the healing is also easier. 

3. Don’t Use Anything Extra:

While the tattoos with pimples are healing, some people make the mistake of using tattoo ointments and balms on the skin. According to most dermatologists, when there is acne on a tattoo, the first goal should be the healthy recovery of the skin, not the vibrancy or colors of your tattoo design. So, use the prescribed antibiotic cream on tattooed skin as advised by the tattooing expert. There’s always the option to revisit the tattoo artist after the acne heals for color retouching. But if acne infection increases, it will not only destroy your tattoo idea and design but also cause significant damage to your skin and overall health. 

When Do Pimples on Tattoo Happen?

Encountering a pimple in the same area can be a separate issue after the tattoo’s healing process has been completed. Generally, once the tattoo has passed through the beginner stages of healing, a new pimple doesn’t affect the overall appearance of the tattoo. But it would temporarily swell the appearance of the tattoo for a few days. It can seem devastating to healing tattoos but the tattoo ink has already been integrated in epidermal skin layers. 

The key factor about having a pimple on tattoo is maintaining hygiene and an aftercare routine so it doesn’t spread. If you overlook the acne on a tattoo, it can lead to a major infection and potentially harm the ink in the future. Most tattoo professionals and dermatologists agree that you must treat these pimples with care to minimize any potential threat to your tattoo design. 

Should You Tattoo On Acne:

Following are a few very important points regarding tattooing on acne:

  • It’s the professional ethics of tattoo artist to inform their client about the possible risks, challenges, and complications that can occur once they get a tattoo over pimples. Once you are fully informed via a tattooing expert, you can further discuss it with your loved ones or other reliable sources to make the final decision. 
  • The most common risk and complication with tattoo on pimples is that it usually leads to infection. The basic reason for acne is infection under the epidermal skin layers. So, needling tattoo ink into the infected skin makes it more sensitive to infection and health risks. 
  • Moreover, the tattoos on acne can delay the healing time and cause additional pain and suffering to you. The pus or infected skin tissues and blood vessels already cause enough pain and inflammation. Now, combine that with the healing pain of tattoos, which is usually unbreakable and irritating for most people. 
  • The best way is to ask your dermatologist and tattoo expert, “Can you tattoo over acne scars?”. Once they have allowed you, then you should proceed or else wait for the acne-prone infection to end on the skin. 
  • Even if you are persistent enough to get a tattoo on pimple skin, then at least make sure to follow the aftercare advice given to you by your doctor or professional tattoo artist. Following their advice would reduce the chance of major infection and help you achieve more successful results once the tattoo heals. 

Why is My Tattoo Raised and Fix 

Another related question is why is my tattoo raised. According to most tattoo experts, if you have a raised tattoo, there are several reasons. Mostly a raised tattoo is divided into two main categories. Fiesta is a healing tattoo; these are usually swollen and raised. Other ones are old and already healed tattoos; they are rarely raised. 

Any unfortunate situation, injury, or infection can cause swelling on your skin, leading to a raised tattoo. Each type of raised tattoo demands a separate healing procedure. If your raised tattoo is healing and new, let it run naturally. Keep the skin cleansed; it will flatten and seem normal after healing. If your tattoo is old and yet raised, you should immediately consult a tattoo artist or medical expert. They would properly analyze and let you know what’s the reason for inflammation. Then you can use related aftercare products to heal it. 

What’s Tattoo Bubbling 

Tattoo bubbling is simply a phenomenon in which a healing tattoo has a layer of scab and becomes moist. Keeping your healing tattoo too much into the water during swimming and showering can turn the dry scab into a moist surface leading to tattoo bubbling. But you don’t have to worry as it has a simple solution to fix. 

Cure for Tattoo Bubbling

  • If your tattoo is bubbling, you should dry and reduce moisture as fast as you can. Avoid being too harsh, or it might worsen the condition. 
  • Once you gently remove extra water from the skin, let it stay in its natural condition. Please avoid using any aftercare product on it for a few days. 
  • Once the scab loses its bubbly appearance and returns to its dried-out condition, you can treat it as your tattooing expert prescribes. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I get rid of pimples on my tattoo?

Although it is best to see a dermatologist, there are some things you can do to treat pimples on your tattoo. First, make sure to keep the area clean and dry. Wash your tattoo twice a day with antibacterial soap and warm water—Pat the area and dry afterward.

How To Get Rid Of Pimples On Tattoo more easily?

Practicing good skin care habits is the best way to avoid getting pimples on your tattoo. Cleanse your skin regularly with a gentle, non-irritating cleanser, and use a light moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

 What are some home remedies for pimples on tattoos?

Before using, any remedy, consult with your doctor
Applying a warm compress: Soak a clean cloth in warm water and apply it to the tattooed area for 10 minutes at a time.
Tea tree oil: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply them to the affected area.
Aloe Vera: Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area to reduce redness and inflammation.

Can pimples cause patchy tattoos?

Yes, pimples can cause patchy tattoos if you don’t follow the instructions of a professional doctor. The acne on tattooed skin is mostly resolved if you use the prescribed products and follow the advised routine by a dermatologist or your tattooing expert. However, in the worst-case scenario, if you don’t follow any credible guidelines and the acne infection on the tattoo worsens, it can lead to patchy tattoos and scars on the skin. 

What are white dots on tattoo?

The white dots on tattoos result from different things and situations during the tattooing procedures. They are usually caused by scabbing and flaking on the skin during tattoo healing phases. However, the white dots are caused by unequal deposit and saturation of tattoo ink during the tattooing process. So, mostly, it’s not significantly damaging to tattoos, but it’s better to see the expert. 


Pimples on a tattoo are normal and can easily heal through the body’s natural defense system. Do not let the pimples or blemishes destroy your tattoo, making it patchy and faded. However, if you efficiently follow the aftercare, the chances of getting pimples are near zero. But if you do not take proper precautionary measures, you must face this problem. Anyhow, if you get pimples, use proper methods to get rid of pimples on the tattoo.

 Read More: Best Tattoo Ointment 2024

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