Can Tattoos Smudge? Is That So?

So, can tattoos smudge? Yes, tattoos can smudge and there is also an opportunity of them fading too. Actually, many things can happen to a new tattoo including infection or, perhaps even a blur or potentially a smudge. Let’s investigate further.

Smudging can occur if the ink goes beyond the second layer of the skin, tattoos smudge because of what we call an ink blowout. The skin art appears blurry as it heals & this can emerge during the healing process.

Read on to find out more.

can tattoos smudge

What Is a Tattoo Blowout?

A tattoo blowout happens when the ink expands, It can reach the fatty layers or even the veins as it happens. When a tattoo smudges it will exhibit a blurry appearance. Such adverse effects are not caused by bad ink, but rather, by an inexperienced artist. 

A blowout is not related to a tattoo infection, however, it can cause scarring and unwanted ink spread. While tattoo infections are mainly a result of allergic reactions, they can also be a blowout that a tattoo artist can cause. 

How Does Tattoo Blowout Happen?

A tattoo blows out because of poor tattooing techniques, often the artist might have pressed ink pigments deeper than the target layer. Typically, ink pigments are stationed in the second layer, the dermis. 

tattoo artist doing dotwork tattoo

When the ink reaches the hypodermis, which is the third layer of skin, there is a slight chance of a tattoo blowout happening. The hypodermis functions as the fat reservoir that also connects the epidermis which is the top layer. While, the dermis which is the second layer connects to the bones, nerves, blood vessels, and cartilage. The dermis layer is where the ink should be.

A tattoo blowout causes trauma to the hypodermis which results in ink spreading in any direction.  Thus, the tattoo appears blurry during and after the healing period. 

How Tattoo Blowout Can Be Fixed?

A Cover-Up

There’s no other way to fix a tattoo blowout visually but to cover it up. Saving the image of the tattoo from smudge will demand more tattoos that could somehow lead to full coverage. The expense can add up because tattoos aren’t cheap and cover-ups can even be more expensive.

Finding an appropriate tattoo artist will be crucial. Working with fuzzy, blurry messy lines is hard, only an experienced artist can do it. An artist that’ll do the cover-up must know how to navigate traumatized areas to remedy the blurry edges.

The tattoo cover-up will be bolder, darker, and larger and it is ideal that the design must flow along with what’s already on the canvas. Instead of creating a new design, the cover-up plan should be able to complement the blurry lines. 

Laser Tattoo Blowout Fix 

You might hate the tattoo if it ends up blurry, so the first thing that might come to your mind is to remove it completely. However, if the design is still worth keeping, cleaning up the mess with laser treatments can be an option. 

By simply targeting the areas that cause the tattoo to blur, the tattoo will see a new light. After a few laser sessions, the tattoo can flaunt a crisp and defined image. There’s nothing technology can’t fix nowadays, well just about. I mean even ink pigments embedded in the fat are removable!

How to Prevent a Tattoo Blowout?

Picking the Right The Tattoo Artist 

Boom, this is the most important thing when getting a tattoo! We cannot stress it enough!

female tattoo artist

It all boils down to the skills of the artist because tattooing requires precision as well as steady hands and science, of course! The artist must know where to inject the ink strategically and it has to hit the right sweet spot. 

Only an experienced tattoo artist can prevent tattoo blowout. The same goes with the fact that the artist is the only one who can also cause it. Finding the best artist in your area can be overwhelming, however, necessary if you want to stray away from blurry tattoos.

Every artist has their unique tattooing style, and finding the one that can mimic your design perfectly and do it professionally is ideal. Because regardless of how amazing the design is if it doesn’t get into the right skin layers, tattoo smudges can be possible.

Follow Aftercare Instructions

Tattoo aftercare can impact how the tattoo heals and the healing process is crucial to the end product. Ignoring aftercare routines may lead to several adverse effects such as tattoo infections. Another possible thing that can happen is the healing process can be longer. Some even experience tattoo fading due to friction from clothes during workouts.

Additionally, what can possibly cause tattoo smudges are intense pulling and stretching. Doing excessive exercise with fresh tattoos can create a blowout effect. Also, it can increase the chances of infection especially when the tattoo is located in high-friction areas. 

Body Parts Prone to Blowout

  • Elbow
  • Feet
  • Palms
  • Lips
  • Fingers

What Causes Tattoos Smudge?

Tattoo smudges are a rare case and it doesn’t just happen on a normal basis. The root cause of tattoo blowout is simply poor tattooing techniques. If the ink pigments are placed on the right skin layer, blowouts have no way of appearing. 

However, there are still a few factors that can create a blurry tattoo. It has very minimal odds but can be possible. Here are a few tips you can consider before getting a tattoo.

The Artist’s Skill Level

As was mentioned, it all boils down to the artist’s execution and tattooing techniques. Choosing an artist that can maneuver a rotating needle piercing up to 50,000 punctures per minute will save you the worries of ending up with a blurry tattoo. 

male tattoo artist giving arm tattoo

The tattoo artist must also know the anatomy of the skin because knowing where to station the ink is the most crucial part. A slight lapse in the angle and depth will bleed out ink to the wrong skin layers resulting in a blurry tattoo.

Ink Pigment Quality

The ink impacts how the tattoo heals, however, it does not directly contribute to tattoo blowout. Although high-quality ink pigments look better than poor-quality ones, in terms of blowouts, any ink will smudge if it hits the wrong layer. 

The Tattoo’s Location

Some parts are prone to tattoo fading especially the thin-skinned areas. Thus, most people choose the area with thin skin because not only it is not prone to fading but also less painful.

Moreover, high-friction areas are not recommended either. Areas often experience rubbing from clothing are more prone to tattoo smudges. 

The tattoos prone to smudging are usually located at parts prone to wear and tear. Parts that are often exposed to liquids react to tattoos just the same. Thus, picking the right place can minimize the possibility of smudging. 

Improper Aftercare Routine

Aftercare is essential for keeping the tattoo bright because the quality of your skin influences how the tattoo appears. New tattoos demand proper aftercare to help with the healing process as well as to ensure aesthetically appealing skin art.

Applying moisturizers will prevent the skin from scaling. At a certain stage during the healing process, tattoos peel and will then start to itch. At this point, scabs may appear, and discomfort will be experienced. 

Soothing the skin with moisturizers can ease the itch and aid with peeling, thus, you can avoid the odds of irritation. Hydration is another trick that helps with keeping the skin healthy. Drinking plenty of water will hydrate the skin on the inside, as a result, you earn bright skin and a good-looking tattoo. 

Tips for Taking Care of New Tattoos

girl with new hand tattoo

Follow Your Tattoo Artist’s Aftercare Instructions

Asking for recommendations will help you do the right aftercare and your tattoo artist is the best one to ask. Knowing the right products that contain very minimal chemicals can give you options away from products containing harsh compounds. Hence, for best results, ask your artist for suggestions. 

Never Pick the Scabs

Picking the scabs can cause scars because it is one of the major causes of ruining the visual image of tattoos. Let the scabs fall out naturally like a normal wound.

I know it can be tempting, but don’t do it!

Avoid Sleeping On It

Sleeping on fresh tattoos can potentially damage them due to friction. As much as possible, lay on to the side where the tattoo lies on top. 

Avoid Swimming

Submerging fresh tattoos in water can possibly fade them. Fresh tattoos are still open wounds waiting to close and with that said, it is likely for the water to penetrate and mix with ink pigments. 

Keep It Covered

After the tattoo session, it is essential to cover the tattoo with a bandage or plastic wrap. Dirt can seep through the new tattoo and can cause skin irritations. So, ideally, keep it covered for 24 hours, after, you can let it in the open to dry. 

Avoid Direct Sun Exposure

UV rays can damage tattoos by causing them to fade quickly. Direct sun exposure might even prolong the healing period and might cause sunburns and irritation. Thus, it is highly recommended to keep new tattoos away from sunlight. 

Wear Sunscreen 

Note that sunscreen is not for healing tattoos, but rather for a fully healed skin art. If you want to increase the longevity of your tattoo, it is best to wear sunscreen whenever you are outdoors.

Resist the Urge to Scratch

When the tattoo starts to itch, it can be a sure-fire sign that it is almost healed. The itch, on the other hand, brings a lot of discomforts. It is quite hard to resist it not scratch them. The best solution is, to apply soothing creams, which can help with easing the itch.

girl with new tattoo at tattoo parlour

Delay Skin Aging

Tattoos are embedded on the skin, thus, how the skin ages will directly affect the tattoo. By delaying skin aging, you are also delaying tattoo aging. Skincare, hydration, and a balanced diet are the keys to healthy skin and beaming tattoos!

So, can tattoos smudge? – Conclusion

Tattoo smudges aren’t at all a common occurrence. It only happens when you pick a newbie artist. An artist with no very little experience still has a lot of room for mistakes. Since tattoo skills can’t be acquired overnight, picking an artist with years of experience is important. Getting inked for the first time? These practical tips can help you not to make mistakes.

The artist’s technical skills will reflect on the end results. Knowing exactly where to puncture and leave the ink comes easy if the tattoo artist is highly skilled. As for tattoo neophytes, navigating the dermis can be quite challenging. Hence, never mind how many dollars you will need to add to hire a professional.

At the end of the day, a blurry tattoo on your skin can never satisfy you.