Tattoo Bruising: Is it Normal to Bruise After a Tattoo [Complete Guide 2023]

If you had got inked for the first time and see bruising after tattoo, you might start wondering whether it is normal and should you get worried. Read further to learn about tattoo bruising and what you can do about it.

Is Tattoo Bruising Normal and Why Do New Tattoos Bruise

When you get a tattoo inked, the area around it undergoes many changes and processes. The skin is trying to heal itself after the stress caused by the tattoo needles. Tattoo bruising is often one of the skin healing processes that occur.

Normal tattoo bruising is not something that you need to worry about. A tattoo bruised skin is not unusual, and it often subsides within a few days. The bruise on the tattoo will not affect the skin or the final appearance or outcome.

In some isolated cases, the bruising after tattoo or swelling might not come down even after a week or fortnight. Extreme scabbing (looks yellow or green), bad smell and pus, and white haze over some tattoo areas indicate infection.

It is always advisable to consult a doctor so that you can start the treatment process to cure the condition and bring down the swelling.  

Also read: best wireless tattoo machines

Is it normal for a tattoo to bruise? During the tattoo process, needles pierce the skin multiple times, and the ink gets deposited in the dermis layer of the skin. The top layers of the skin tend to shed with time, but the dermis layer doesn’t shed, which ensures that the ink stays there permanently.

When the tattoo needles penetrate the skin, many tiny capillaries can get damaged, and this causes blood to come out. The surface blood that comes out dries quickly, but the internal damage to the capillaries might take longer to heal.

Due to this, the bruising around the tattoo looks red and swollen. The body slowly starts the healing process, and within a few days, the tattoo bruising comes down.

The most common reasons why new tattoos tend to bruise often include:

Location of the Tattoo

Some parts of the body are more prone to bruising. Areas such as the ankles and feet tend to bruise more. Thin skin areas such as the wrist and inner thighs are also susceptible to tattoo bruising.

The technique of the Tattoo Artist

A tattoo artist with experience and skills will be gentle on the skin. They will know to position the machine and which technique to use so that the skin has the least amount of damage.

An inexperienced tattoo artist will put too much pressure on the skin. It might result in substantial damage to the capillaries leading to bruising.


If you want to get inked, you should avoid blood-thinning medications before the session. Even though these medications help prevent blood clots, they can cause considerable damage if they get taken before the tattoo session. The medicines will slow down the healing process and make you more prone to tattoo bruising.

Prone to Bruising

Some individuals are prone to bruising. People with medical conditions such as haemophilia, leukaemia, diabetes, and anaemia usually get tattoo bruised.

How to Treat a Bruised Tattoo

Treating a bruised tattoo is often different from any other bruise on your body. It would help if you were more careful when treating bruising around a new tattoo.

Adequate Rest

The human body needs to rest to heal. The healing process will quicken when you get more rest, reducing the bruising. During the resting period, it is best to avoid any exercise. Avoid overworking the body to ensure quick healing.


If the new tattoo gets done on the lower part of the body, like the legs, you need to elevate it to speed up healing. The elevation will help keep the blood flowing back to the affected area. Keeping the tattooed area elevated for the initial 24 hours will enable you to recover fast.

Cold Compression

Applying ice to the bruised area can help reduce swelling. Cold compression restricts blood flow, which effectively treats minor bruises. Avoid placing the ice directly on the skin. Wrap the ice cubes in a clean cloth and put them on the affected area for at least 30 minutes. It will reduce blood flow under the skin and ensure quick healing.

Add Vitamin C and Iron to Diet

Adding vitamin C and iron to your daily diet will help speed up the healing process. Individuals who are iron deficient are more prone to tattoo bruising, and this can get avoided when you add iron-rich foods to the diet. You should avoid eating processed food that may slow your healing.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking can mess up the healing process as it delays tissue repair. Blood supply also gets delayed when you smoke daily. It is best to skip smoking cigarettes for at least a week before and after you get inked.

Take Ibuprofen

If the bruising is painful and affects your ability to do daily activities, you can choose to take ibuprofen medication. It will help ease the bruising pain and speed up healing. But remember, it is best to consult a doctor before taking any medication.

How to Minimize Tattoo Bruising if You’re worried

If you want to minimize the chances of getting bruised when you get inked, there are a few things that you can do.

Choose A Reputed and Experienced Tattoo Artist

A reputed tattoo artist with many years of experience is less likely to cause harm to your skin surface. The skilled artist will know different techniques to reduce the chances of bruising. They will also be aware of many aftercare methods that will help speed up the healing process.

The tattoo artist will share these simple tips that will enable you to recover fast. The best tattoo artist is expensive, but they will help you avoid the pain and suffering you might have to undergo at the hands of an inexperienced artist.

Avoid Alcohol Before the Tattoo Session

Alcohol thins the blood, and it is best to stay away from it for at least 24 – 48 hours before the tattoo session starts. Even the most skilled tattoo artist would not be able to prevent bruising if you had alcohol before you came for the appointment.

Get Adequate Rest Before Appointment

Avoid any strenuous activity or exercise before you seek an appointment with the tattoo artist. If you are a gym enthusiast, it is best to take a day off before a tattoo session.

If you indulge in any physical activity such as running or other similar activities, it will increase the likelihood of tattoo bruising. If you take a rest before and after the tattoo session, it will help the skin heal fast.

Add Iron and Vitamins to Your Daily Diet

A daily diet rich in vitamins and iron will help you minimize tattoo bruising to a large extent. A vitamin and iron-rich diet will also enable faster healing. It is best to start having such foods at least a week before your tattoo appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tattoo Bruising

1. Will A Bruise Ruin Your New Tattoo?

Tattoo bruising is standard and will disappear within a week. The new tattoo you got inked will not get damaged due to the bruising on the skin. After the bruising and swelling come down, the new tattoo will look beautiful. You don’t have to worry that the bruises will spoil the appearance of the tattoo.

2. Can You Tattoo Over a Bruise?

Even though you can get a tattoo over a bruised area of the skin, it is best if you can avoid such a thing. The injured skin is tender, and this will cause excess pain during the tattoo process.

Apart from the pain, the ink might also get rejected by the body. The risk of infection also increases significantly as the blood is close to the skin surface.

Most experienced tattoo artists refrain from inking a tattoo on the bruised areas as discolouration will affect their ability to choose the right colours.

How to Tell a Tattoo Blowout from Tattoo Bruising?

Most often, a tattoo bruise and a tattoo blowout will look similar. The bruise will disappear within a few days. When the healing process starts, you will see the bruising change colour from red to blue to yellow, and finally, the skin becomes normal.

In case of a tattoo blowout, the skin will not get back to normal. The ink gets deeper than the dermis layer and will stay there permanently. When the ink reaches the hypodermis layer, it spreads to the surrounding areas,  resulting in a permanent mark on the skin.


Before you get inked, you need to understand that normal tattoo bruising is common, and you don’t have to worry about this. Even if bruising after tattoo appears, you can take the treatment steps mentioned above to speed up the healing process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *