Todays post is going to be about tattoo infections, how they happen, the problems they cause and how best to avoid it.
The first thing we want to explain is that a tattoo is a tattoo is a process where the skin is broken by a bunch of tiny needles, and inherently anytime you undertake a process of this type there is a risk of infection. Generally, infections will have one or multiple of the following symptoms and issues
- Consistent pain in the area
- A rash
- Redness over that normally seen in a fresh tattoo
- Skin which is really hot.
- Really uncomfortable and itchy
- A unusual discharge
- Generally angry appearance
If your tattoo is showing these symptoms it could be that you have an infection, A tattoo infection is nasty and as is the case with everything there are more and less severe levels to tattoo infections and they can go from mild discomfort, with the tattoo maybe needing a touch up all the way to a really big issue.
Ok, first thing to note is that it’s really common for people to assume that if you have a tattoo and it ends up getting infected that the studio you got it done must have done something wrong, it must have been unhygienic, the process itself was done incorrectly or contaminated or unsterile equipment must have been used, and that is most certainly a potential way for a tattoo to end up infected, but it is not the complete story and not even the most likely way to get a tattoo infection.
Another crucial and often unrecognised aspect of tattoo infection is the aftercare process, aftercare is the correct way to care for your tattoo immediately after and in the days and weeks following your tattoo, aftercare is absolutely critical in making sure the tattoo remains free from contaminants and potential infection risks.
Lets break these down a little further, so we have the process and the aftercare, lets go with the process first.
The elements which can cause infections during the tattoo process are relatively strait forward, it would be from using contaminated equipment, this could be ink which is contaminated, single use items being used multiple times, and general un-clinical practises. There are horror stories about this kind of thing, especially from days gone by when the industry was not as advanced as it is now. The great thing is Vivid Ink tattoo studios and all professional tattoo shops this risk should be completely mitigated, all professional studios will undoubtably be taking multiple essential steps to care for your health and hygiene, these will include, only using sterile equipment, single use items being used once and discarded safely, a clinically clean environment and everyone within the premises to have a great understanding of all cross contamination principles as well as multiple other ways to make the process safe for you and themselves also.
Ok so lets get onto the way tattoos can end up infected and that aftercare.
Ok so typically when anybody hears the word tattoo infection they pretty much always jump to the conclusion something must have gone wrong in the studio but its actually much more common for the infection to happen once the artist has finished their end of the bargain, this can be really unfair on artists who most likely have done everything correctly in the process and have literally had nothing to do with the customer ending up with an infection.
A tattoo is essentially a controlled open wound and it has to be cared for in this way. let’s say for example you have a tattoo and decide a few days later to get back to work, and your job is a sewer inspector, well the potential hazards in that environment which could enter that fresh tattoo would be horrendous, it would be more than likely that your going to end up with a infected tattoo. I understand this is a pretty extreme example but there are absolutely loads of situations like this in real life, it could be going to a swimming pools, touching a tattoo with dirty hands, not cleaning it properly or drying it dirty towels, unclean bed sheets, and just loads of to her examples or it may come down to pure bad luck, completely out of your control and you never know what contaminated it, because as we all know not everything that can cause an infection is visible. Now the point that I’m making is that all of these elements happen once your tattoo is finished, is that your artists fault, unless they haven’t explained proper aftercare to you then not at all.
What to do if you end up with a tattoo infections, firstly don’t panic speak to your artist and studio to check that it’s not just normal reactions to a tattoo, and if it’s not and its looking like an infection make sure you follow their guidance, they may tell you to make some changes to the aftercare process or maybe tell you to get in touch with your GP who might prescribe some treatments or antibiotics.
Now that all probably sounded a bit of doom and gloom but the good news it is actually incredibly rare to get a tattoo infected and the other good news is its mostly something you’re in control of, and now you know, hopefully you will be really vigilant with your aftercare and make sure you doing everything in your power to get that risk factor as close to zero as possible.
If you do have any questions please feel free to get in touch, we are happy to help and answer any questions.