Can Tattoos Bruise? Is It Normal?

Tattooing is an invasive procedure. Injecting ink with a rotating needle running up to 50,000 punctures every minute can be too much for the dermis. So, can tattoos bruise? Yes they can, It is not an uncommon occurrence.

A tattoo bruise is not something major. It can disappear within a week. Bruises on tattoos can’t do any visual damage to new tattoos. A bruise is generally harmless, It’s just that some people are just simply prone to bruising. 

Why Do New Tattoos Bruise?

The process of tattooing can cause bruising. Depositing ink into the dermis may disrupt the skin’s composition. Ink pigments are foreign compounds, the body needs to adjust and adapt to them. 

can tattoos bruise

The dermis, which is the second layer of the skin, holds multiple structures. Hair follicles, sweat glands, blood capillaries, oil glands, etc., are just a few it houses. As the needle pierces through the skin, many of the tiny capillaries are disturbed. 

The capillaries can cause red blood cells to leak. Some of the blood can exit the skin, and some pool around the tissue. It really depends on how your unique body composition reacts. 

How Do Tattoo Bruises Develop?

The blood that exits dries up quickly. The blood that pools underneath, however, disappears differently. Internal bleeding clings a little bit longer. It depends on how much blood is trapped, as well as how much tiny capillaries were broken. 

Tattoo bruises first appear reddish in color. However, as oxygen becomes limited in that area, it will then start to turn red blood cells into bluish hues. Naturally, the body will break the blood cells down. Eventually, it will be absorbed back into circulation. The process typically takes a week. 

How Can New Tattoos Bruise You?

Tattoo bruising happens, but not to everyone. Some people experience them, some don’t.

The bruising can be caused by several external factors. While other people are just simply prone to bruising, some can bruise because of these reasons:

The Technical Skills of the Artist

tattoo artist doing arm tattoo

Experienced tattoo artists know how to minimize damage to capillaries. Having refined tattooing techniques, they can prevent tattoo bruises. How the tattoo artist executes the method greatly matters. Thus, opting for one with years of tattoo experience can avoid tattoo bruising. 

Some People Simply Bruise Easily

Individuals with anemia, diabetes, hemophilia, leukemia, and malnutrition are the ones prone to tattoo bruising. Others, without any underlying medical conditions, may or may not bruise easily too. It depends on how your body reacts to the invasive punctures of the needle. 

The Tattoo’s Location

There are parts of the body that is quick to bruise. Even with mild pressure, bruises occur. Fatty areas typically bruise quickly for some. Others get bruised easily around boney areas. Bruising again is relative to your body’s unique structure. 

Blood-Thinning Medication Intake

blood-thinning medicines

Taking medications such as aspirin can trigger tattoo bruising. Although blood-thinning medicines can be an aid in preventing blood clots, however, they can cause adverse effects on tattoos. Taking blood-thinning meds before the tattoo session makes one susceptible to bruising. On top of that, tattoo healing could take much longer. 

Bruising Can Be an Early Sign of Tattoo Infection

Tattoo bruises are just one of the signs of a tattoo infection. But that doesn’t mean your tattoo is infected. It has to come along with intense pain, swelling, fever, pus, and a pungent bad smell. Yes, gross, but it can happen!!

How To Heal Bruised Tattoo?

Tattoo bruises heal naturally, skin trauma generally takes a few days to heal. You can do a few things to heal it faster on a brighter note.

Ice Compress

A Cold compress is one way to heal bruises. Ironically, you are meant to keep new tattoos dry, so put cling film over the tattoo, before doing anything.

New tattoos are open wounds, they are likely to absorb moisture easily. Thus, when applying an ice compress to your bruising tattoo, never make direct contact with the skin.

Keep the Bruised Area Elevated

Elevating the bruised area above your heart can help restore the blood flow. It also helps in preventing the blood from pooling in the same area. If the tattoo is located in your lower extremities, you can raise your legs. You can also prop a pillow, towel, or blanket in your sleep. 

Take a Rest

After the tattoo session, take it easy for a couple of days. Doing intense activities can cause tattoo bruising. Physical activities make the heart pump harder. As a result, more blood will be gushing through the veins. Moreover, it hinders the natural healing process of your body.

Allowing your body to heal traumatized skin can alleviate the bruise. 

Take a Pause From Smoking

Smoking, in general, is not good for the body. It leads to multiple adverse effects on your holistic health. Smoking can delay body tissue repair. Additionally, it can decrease blood supply. Hence, smoking before, during, and after the tattoo session can lengthen the healing process. 

tattooed guy smoking

Pop Some Pills

A dose of pain reliever can help with the bruise. It can also relieve the pain while reducing swelling and bruising. Not all bruises hurt. However, if you have iron deficiency, iron supplements can give your body a little bit of boost. 

How Do You Know If a Tattoo Has a Blowout or is Bruising?

A tattoo blowout is nothing like a bruise, although it may first appear like one. However, unlike a bruise, it doesn’t get any better after a few days, it gets worst. 

An ineffective needle puncture can cause a blowout as the needle may have been injected too deep. It causes the ink pigments to get buried into the third layer of the skin. Thus, the tattoo will show negative images after the healing process. 

Can a Bruise Ruin a Tattoo?

A bruise can’t ruin a tattoo. It is a typical occurrence due to the trauma caused by piercing needles. In a week or two, tattoo bruises will heal, with or without medication. It is a natural process the body undergoes. Once the tattoo bruise is fully healed, you will see no discoloration or any signs of the bruise. 

How to Minimize Tattoo Bruising?

Hand-Pick An Experienced Tattoo Artist

The chances of getting tattoo bruises in the hands of an expert are minimal. An artist with years of practice knows better than those who are just new to the craft. Although a good artist charges more, the end results will be worth it. Whether or not the tattoo is machine-made or by stick and poke method, bruising can be possible if the artist doesn’t have the skills.

Remember, tattoos are permanent and it is always recommended to see an experienced tattoo artist. An experienced tattoo artist will not only give you a quality tattoo, but will also minimize the risk of any adverse effects of tattooing.

Often, throwing in a few more dollars will reward you with peace of mind and a far better outcome.

tattoo artist doing back tattoo

Rest Prior to the Appointment

Doing an intense workout before the tattoo session can trigger tattoo bruising. It is best to take a rest to prepare your body. Your holistic physical condition can help prevent any detrimental effects of tattoos.  

Stray Away From Alcohol

Alcohol causes blood thinning. Avoid drinking alcohol two days prior to the engagement. Despite how skilled the artist is, your blood is intoxicated, tattoo bruising can still be possible.

Load Up on Iron

Replenishing your body with iron can avoid tattoo bruises. Eating food rich in iron can also minimize the possibility of bruises. Iron supplements might help avoid traumatizing the dermis for someone prone to bruising. 

A traumatized dermis will not cause any visual effects to tattoos. It may hurt a little, but it is nothing major. But how about tattooing over an existing bruise?

Is It Okay to Tattoo Over a Bruise?

You can tattoo over a bruise if you are up to a more painful tattoo session. However, it is never an ideal situation & the artist may not even allow it. Bruised skin is more tender, so so puncturing it with a needle could cause even more trauma. 

As for the tattoo artist, imagine painting on a dirty canvas. The same goes with tattooing on bruised skin. The artist may barely see where the ink was rooted. As a possible result, the tattoo may not look as pristine as you expected. 

tattoo artist doing arm tattoos

On top of the pain, the bruised skin does not absorb the ink. Thus, it will require the artist to puncture more. Tattooing over bruised skin can be a series of painful punctures. Also, higher chances of infection followed by skin discoloration can happen. 

The best thing to do is to let the bruise subside, I mean what’s another week of waiting if it only means better results and less pain?

Can Tattoos Bruise? – Conclusion

Sure, tattoos can bruise the skin, although selecting an experienced professional tattoo artist will minimize the chances of this happening.

More often than not it is worth spending the extra money and choosing an artist who has a lot of experience, remember a tattoo is for life!

Happy Tattooing!