Tattoo Scabbing: Unveiling the Truth and Top Care Tips

Tattoo Scabbing - Omnia Tattoo's Luke Dyson carefully working at his art

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Tattoo scabbing is a common and essential part of the healing process after getting tattooed.

As a new tattoo heals, the body’s natural response is to form a protective layer over the wounded area, resulting in scabbing.

While it might be tempting to pick or scratch at these scabs, it’s crucial to resist the urge and allow them to heal properly to ensure your tattoo looks its best.

Is Tattoo Scabbing Normal?

Yes, tattoo scabbing is a completely normal and expected part of the healing process.

When you get a tattoo, the needle penetrates the skin hundreds of times per minute, creating a wound that triggers your body’s natural healing response.

As your body works to heal this wound, it forms scabs to protect the area from bacteria, dirt, and other external factors that could cause infection or damage to the tattoo.

The tattoo scabbing stage typically occurs a few days after getting your tattoo and can last for up to two weeks, depending on factors such as the size and location of the tattoo, your individual healing rate, and how well you follow aftercare instructions.

What Does Tattoo Scabbing Look Like?

Tattoo scabbing can vary in appearance depending on the size and location of your tattoo, as well as your body’s individual healing process.

Typically, they will appear as dark, raised, and slightly textured patches over the tattooed area.

The scabs may feel tight, itchy, or slightly uncomfortable as they form and begin to dry out. As the scabs heal, they will begin to flake and peel away, revealing the healed tattoo beneath.

It’s important to note that some tattoo scabs may be thicker or more pronounced than others, particularly in areas with more detail or shading.

However, as long as the scabs are not excessively thick, yellow, or green, and there are no signs of infection, this is considered a normal part of the healing process.

Omnia Tattoo Studio Reception Area

Tattoo Scabbing Stages

The tattoo scabbing healing process can be broken down into several stages, with scabbing being a key phase. Here’s what you can expect:

Days 1-3:

Immediately after getting your tattoo, the area will appear bright and vibrant, with some redness, swelling, and oozing of ink and plasma. Your tattoo artist will cover the area with a thin layer of ointment and a protective bandage.

Days 3-7:

As your tattoo begins to heal, it will start to scab over, forming a dark, dry layer. The scabs may feel tight, itchy, and slightly raised. Some flaking and peeling of the scabs may occur, but it’s important not to pick or scratch at them.

Days 7-14:

During this stage, the scabs will start to peel and flake away more significantly, revealing the healed tattoo underneath. Itching may subside, but it’s still crucial to keep the area moisturized and avoid picking at any remaining scabs.

Days 14-30:

The tattoo continues to heal and settle into the skin, with the colour becoming more vibrant and the texture becoming smoother. While the tattoo may appear fully healed, it’s important to continue with aftercare practices and protect the area from sun exposure.

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Tattoo Scabbing Aftercare Tips

Proper aftercare is essential for managing tattoo scabbing and ensuring your ink heals beautifully. Follow these tips to support the healing process and minimise the risk of complications:

    1. Gently wash your tattoo with fragrance-free, antimicrobial soap and lukewarm water twice a day, patting it dry with a clean, soft towel. Avoid using washcloths or loofahs, which can harbour bacteria and cause irritation.

2.  Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated and prevent excessive scabbing. Look for products specifically designed for tattoo aftercare, or opt for a gentle, non-comedogenic lotion.

3. Avoid picking, scratching, or peeling the scabs, as this can lead to ink loss, scarring, and infection. Allow the scabs to naturally flake and peel away on their own, even if they feel itchy or tight.

4. Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight and avoid soaking it in water (e.g., swimming, baths, hot tubs) until fully healed. Sun exposure can cause the tattoo to fade or blur, while soaking can soften the scabs and lead to premature peeling.

5. Wear loose, breathable clothing to prevent irritation and friction on the tattooed area. Avoid tight-fitting garments or materials that may rub against the tattoo and cause discomfort or damage to the scabs.

For more detailed information on tattoo aftercare, including tips for each stage of the healing process, visit our comprehensive guide: Tattoo Aftercare Secrets: Proven Tips for Optimal Healing.


When to Be Concerned About Tattoo Scabbing

While some scabbing is normal, excessive scabbing or signs of infection should be addressed promptly to prevent potential complications. Consult your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional if you notice any of the following:

  • Excessive redness, swelling, or pain around the tattoo that persists or worsens after a few days.


  • Thick, yellow, or green discharge from the scabs, indicating a possible infection.


  • Fever or chills accompanied by a rash or red streaks around the tattoo, which may signify a more serious infection.


  • Excessive scabbing that feels raised, lumpy, or significantly thicker than the surrounding skin.


  • Scabs that do not seem to be healing or peeling away after 2-3 weeks, or that reform after peeling


By understanding the tattoo scabbing process, recognising the signs of normal healing, and following proper aftercare guidelines, you can support your body’s natural healing response and ensure your new ink looks vibrant, crisp, and flawless for years to come.

Remember, patience and care are key during this crucial stage of tattoo healing.


Omnia Tattoo is Melbourne’s premier tattoo studio, where artistic vision meets world-class craftsmanship. Our team of talented tattoo artists specializes in a wide range of styles, from intricate fine line work to bold traditional designs. We’re committed to creating tattoos that reflect your unique story and style.

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