Why Is My Tattoo Raised After Months?
A tattoo can become raised for a number of reasons. The most common factors that can cause tattoo raising are allergies, tissue damage, certain weather conditions, poor healing and rough tattoo artist work. Below as a complete list of potential causes:
- Bad healing
- Infections or allergic reactions
- Skin tissue damage
- Your unique body chemistry
- Certain weather conditions
- Skin conditions
- Absolutely no reason at all
The most common reason from the above list is the last point. Most of the time, tattoos remain raised for seemingly no reason at all. This is more common in newer tattoos, and as they get older, they normally settle down within several months to a year. However, if you wish to delve a little deeper, the below issues can also cause a tattoo to remain raised beyond the initial healing period. .
- 1 Why do my healed tattoos raise?
- 2 Why is my tattoo itchy and raised after a year?
- 3 Is it possible to over moisturize a tattoo?
- 4 Why does my tattoo swell up sometimes?
- 5 Why do my tattoos swell up?
Why do my healed tattoos raise?
Fellow tattooed folks, I’ve got a question for you. Do ever get very itchy, seemingly for no reason at all? When you scratch, do you feel like your tattoos are raised — like they’re trying to jump out of your skin? It happens to me all the time, and it’s a sensation that’s difficult to explain to people who don’t have tattoos (or, as I like to call them, blank canvases).
- Thankfully for us, we’re not losing our minds or doing anything wrong — for the most part, itchy tattoos are normal;
- Tattoos can be classified as a skin injury, even though they might not look like what you picture a skin injury to be (like a deep cut or burn or scrape);
And, as San Diego board-certified dermatologist Melanie Palm explains, a tattoo can result in a ” hypertrophic scar or keloid” as it heals. And that’s one of a few reasons tattoos can be perpetually itchy. Just take it from New York City board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein : “When the skin heals [from a tattoo] and scars, a particular inflammatory cell called a mast cell becomes more prominent in this area of the skin, and these cells can release histamine, the same substance which causes allergies, hives, and subsequent itchiness,” she says.
“This helps to explain why scars and areas of skin injury in general become itchy. ” And while tattoos can be itchy all on their own, they can also make us extra sensitive to other stuff. “Tattoos are a break in the skin barrier,” Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara says.
“Little ink particles set up residence between the usual bricks (skin cells) and mortar (nutritional lipids and proteins) that make up the barrier keeping irritants out and moisture in; this makes the skin in this area a smidge more reactive and vulnerable.
” Gohara and Marchbein both recommend that people with tattoos avoid putting products with common irritants or allergens — namely fragrance and alcohol — on their skin to prevent further inflammation. Tattoos are also extra sensitive to sun exposure (which also causes tattoos to fade ), so it’s important to frequently cover them with an SPF 30 or higher, like CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Body Lotion.
Staying moisturized, Gohara adds, is also key to keeping a tattooed skin barrier happy (my personal favorite for fresh-looking tattoos is Nécessaire’s unscented The Body Lotion ).
Why is my tattoo bumpy and raised after a year?
These bumps on older tattoos are caused primarily by things such as heat rash from the sun, and certain allergies that might develop, such as an allergy to the tattoo ink, which can take years to initially appear after getting a tattoo.
Why do old tattoos raise up and itch?
Allergic reaction to pigment – Some people have an allergic reaction to the actual ink used in tattooing. Tattoo pigments may be made from dyes that are made from plastic materials. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) , an allergic reaction can occur right away or even several years after getting your tattoo.
Why is my tattoo itchy and raised after a year?
Tattooing as a form of body art is increasing in popularity, especially among young adults. In fact, the Pew Research Center found that 36 percent of Americans ages 18-25 report getting a tattoo. As a result, dermatologists are seeing increased complications such as allergic reactions, serious infections and reactions to tattoo ink that can mimic skin cancer.
- Michi Shinohara, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle, provides the following information about risks related to newer tatoo inks;
The composition of tattoo ink has changed dramatically over the years. In the past, metal salts, lead, cobalt and carbon were used in inks. Today, many modern tattoo inks (especially intense reds and yellows) contain organic azo dyes with plastic-based pigments that also have industrial uses in printing, textiles and car paint.
- As a result, Shinohara explains that there are many unknowns about how these inks interact with the skin and within the body and if they are responsible for an increasing number of complications;
- One of the most common problems associated with tattooing is allergic reactions to the tattoo pigments;
Itching, bumps or rashes can occur days, months or even years after the initial tattoo. These reactions need to be treated with a topical steroid ointment. In cases where an allergic reaction occurs months or years later, the affected person might not suspect that the tattoo is the culprit.
- In people with psoriasis and eczema, tattoos may cause the chronic skin conditions to flare;
- Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by swelling and itching that can occur in a tattoo decades after the procedure and can involve other organs, such as the lungs or eyes;
This type of reaction is not directly caused by the original tattoo, but can show up within the tattoo. Treatments include topical creams and, in severe cases, immunosuppressant medications. Some tattoo-related infections can pose serious health implications.
Common infections linked to tattooing include localized bacterial infections. In addition, there have been reports of syphilis and hepatitis B and C being transmitted due to non-sterile tattooing practices.
However, Shinohara notes that outbreaks can also stem from the tattoo ink rather than the tools used in the procedure. Â A recent outbreak of atypical mycobacterial infections has been traced to contaminated tattoo ink, which cause itchy, painful pustules and red bumps within a tattoo during the first month of the procedure.
With this type of infection, a biopsy of the tattoo is taken and the bacteria cultured. This type of bacteria is harder to treat than regular staph bacteria and can require a several-month course of oral antibiotics to clear the infection.
Skin cancer can occur within a tattoo, and for that reason Shinohara explains that tattoo artists need to be careful not to place a tattoo over an existing mole. However, one reaction that can result is a bump that mimics skin cancer, which can ruin the tattoo.
- This type of bump or lesion that can occur within a tattoo looks like a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma;
- Since the bump is so hard to distinguish from this skin cancer, it requires a biopsy and, in some cases, may need to be treated as a skin cancer, with additional surgery;
Shinohara notes that this unusual reaction is thought to stem from tattoo ink and can result in potentially unnecessary and expensive skin cancer treatment. Shinohara offers the following tips for those who insist on getting tattoos: Be sure to go to a professional tattoo parlor and to a tattoo artist who is licensed based on a states requirements.
Insist on seeing equipment in sterile packaging. Let the tattoo artist know if you have a reaction. If a problem lasts more than one to two weeks, see a board-certified dermatologist. Those with a chronic skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema or a tendency toward keloid scarring should check with a board-certified dermatologist before getting a tattoo.
Avoid tattooing over a mole, as it will make it more difficult to diagnose a problem if the mole changes in the future. Since tattoos are not regulated in any way, there are many unknowns that could pose potential problems for consumers in terms of the inks and tools used, says Shinohara.
What does a tattoo allergy look like?
You may have a sun allergy on your inked skin if you notice any of the following: Swelling and redness around a tattoo. Itchy rash of tiny bumps. Blisters or hives.
How long should a tattoo feel raised?
– It’s important to know the signs that your tattoo isn’t healing properly or has become infected. Symptoms of improper healing include:
- Fever or chills. A fever may indicate that your tattoo has become infected, and you should see a doctor right away.
- Prolonged redness. All tattoos will be somewhat red for a few days after the procedure, but if the redness doesn’t subside , it’s a sign that your tattoo isn’t healing well.
- Oozing fluid. If fluid or pus is still coming out from your tattoo after 2 or 3 days, it may be infected. See a doctor.
- Swollen, puffy skin. It’s normal for the tattoo to be raised for a few days, but the surrounding skin shouldn’t be puffy. This may indicate that you’re allergic to the ink.
- Severe itching or hives. Itchy tattoos can also be a sign that your body is allergic to the ink. The allergic reaction to a tattoo can happen right after, or as much as several years after getting the tattoo.
- Scarring. Your tattoo will scab over because it’s a wound, but a properly healed tattoo shouldn’t scar. Signs of scarring include raised, puffy skin, redness that doesn’t fade, distorted colors within the tattoo, or pitted skin.
Is it possible to over moisturize a tattoo?
What Are The Risks of Over Moisturizing a Tattoo? – By applying thicker layers of lotion or ointment, several times a day (or every hour or two as some people do), you’re risking over-moisturizing a tattoo. By over-moisturizing a tattoo, you can cause the following problems;
- Due to excess moisture, the tattoo won’t be able to dry and heal
- Excess moisture can create a perfect environment for bacteria and germ growth
- Over moisturizing can lead to tattoo inflammation and infection
- Excess moisture can cause clogged pores since the moisturizer prevents the skin from breathing
- Excess moisture can cause the tattooed skin to break out
To avoid these issues, make sure to follow the moisturizing rules we mentioned before. However, make sure to not under moisturizing your tattoo as well. Some people are afraid they might over-moisturize their tattoo, so they leave it dehydrated, which results in heavy scabbing and tattoo dryness. So, make sure to stay in the middle and simply apply a thin layer of lotion/ointment twice a day.
What does it mean when an old tattoo swells up?
It’s actually a form of an allergic reaction. Blame the pigment’s traces of cadmium sulfide, which can cause swelling and redness around the tattoo site when exposed to the sun, says Lortscher.
Why does my tattoo swell up sometimes?
There are several risks to consider before subjecting your skin to a tattoo needle, not the least of which is the possibility of infection from viruses like hepatitis and HIV. But even if you choose a safe tattoo studio and the tattoo artist uses a sterile needle, you’re not out of the woods.
The tattoo ink can potentially cause an allergic reaction. A tattoo allergy can result in swelling, irritation, a rash , or some other skin abnormality at or around the site of the tattoo. What Causes a Tattoo Allergy? Tattoo ink contains several ingredients and chemicals, and you may be allergic to any one of them.
Substances like iron oxide, mercury sulfide, ferric hydrate, aluminum, and manganese are only a few of the ingredients that may be included in the ink, depending on the color. An allergy to any of these substances can cause an allergic reaction once the ink gets into your skin. Types of Tattoo Allergic Reaction A tattoo allergy can take a number of different forms:
- Acute inflammatory allergic reaction. Many people who get tattoos experience what’s called an acute inflammatory reaction — the skin becomes red, slightly swollen, and irritated at the site of the tattoo. This occurs because of the irritation caused by the tattoo needle and the tattoo ink. It’s not serious, and generally subsides within about two or three weeks.
- Photosensitivity. Tattoos that are exposed to the sun may result in an allergic reaction, particularly those that contain yellow tattoo ink. Yellow and some red pigments contain cadmium sulfide, which can cause an allergic reaction when exposed to the sun.
- Dermatitis. Some of the most common tattoo allergies include types of dermatitis — photoallergic and allergic contact dermatitis. Most often, these types of allergic reactions are caused by mercury sulfide, which is found in red tattoo ink.
- Lichenoid allergic reaction. This is rare, but is typically related to red tattoo ink, and characterized by small bumps that appear around the red ink areas.
- Pseudolymphomatous allergic reaction. Caused by sensitivity to a substance in the tattoo ink, this is a delayed reaction — it doesn’t occur right after getting the tattoo. Red tattoo ink is usually to blame, but it can result from blue and green as well.
- Granulomas. These are small bumps that can appear as a result of an allergic reaction. Red tattoo ink is most often the culprit, but purple, green, or blue tattoo ink may also cause these bumps to form around the site of the tattoo.
How do you know if your body is rejecting a tattoo?
Why do my tattoos swell up?
Researchers have found that inks used to create tattoos and permanent makeup can spread inside your body, causing long-term swelling in nearby lymph nodes. When it’s likely to appear: Ink usually spreads to the lymph nodes as your skin heals from getting the tattoo.
Why do tattoos get bumps?
– Tattoo pimples can develop when a hair follicle becomes clogged with oil, dirt, or skin cells. Most tattoo pimples will clear up without causing permanent damage or color loss. However, picking or popping a pimple can lead to skin infections and patches of faded ink.
Can a tattoo get infected years later?
So, you finally got inked. You chose a design, picked out a parlor, and “sat” like a champ. (That’s tattoo artist-speak for grinning and bearing it through hours of pain. ) Then you spent a few weeks diligently washing and moisturizing it while it healed. Now, save for moments you catch a glimpse of the design in the mirror, you usually forget the whole thing happened.
- What’s done is done, right? Not always;
- In fact, skin irritation or a full-blown condition can develop months, years, even decades after the initial tattooing process;
- “Tattoos breach the protective layer of the skin, increasing your risk of skin complications,” says David Lortscher, a dermatologist based in San Diego and San Francisco and co-founder of Curology;
If you start to see redness, bumps, or even burns on or around a long-healed tattoo, one of these issues could be the culprit, and you should see your physician or dermatologist as soon as possible. Your tattoo is infected. You’ve heard horror stories of peoples’ ink getting infected and warping the appearance of the design.
But while this typically occurs during the initial healing process, an infection is still possible even months later, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Some signs to look out for: pain or redness that gets worse rather than better; a rash with itchy, red bumps; open sores; pus; and a fever with chills.
You’ve developed an allergy to the ink. “Though it’s rare, a reaction called a pseudolymphomatous reaction can occur in response to red ink,” says plastic surgeon David L. Cangello of Cangello Plastic Surgery in New York City. Essentially, this is a delayed hypersensitivity to the ink.
“The exact etiology is unknown, but it’s thought that the red ink acts as an antigen, or something that stimulates an immune response from the body,” says Cangello. “Cells called lymphocytes infiltrate the skin in the area of the antigen — or red pigment in this case — and cause an inflammatory reaction.
” Likely, the response has been developing for some time but took months or years to appear on the surface of the skin. You’re predisposed to a skin condition. Shockingly, tattoos can cause skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and even vitiligo to crop up for the first time.
“This centers around something called the Koebner phenomenon,” says Dhaval Bhanusali , a dermatologist in New York City. “Particularly with psoriasis and vitiligo, the idea is that any epidermal disruption can trigger disease, including a tattoo.
Eczema is probably more reflective of an allergic reaction.