Getting a tattoo isn't like a walk in the park. Your choice of where to get it and how to care for it afterwards are major factors.
Cleanliness of materials used and tattoo aftercare is crucial. And if not properly cared for, can lead to infections and progress into life-threatening illnesses. So educate yourself. Think before you ink. And read on. Here are photos of Infected Tattoos: Signs, symptoms and what you need to know. Good luck with your new tattoo!
As you may know, tattooing is a process that breaks the outer layer of the skin. The skin is our first line of defense against bacterial invasion. And getting body modifications such as tattoos or scarification technically makes your skin an open wound to invite all the germs in. This is the reason why sanitation and proper tattoo aftercare is important! Otherwise, it would turn into these....
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF AN INFECTION
INFLAMMATION: Generally, a fresh tattoo would have a bit of swelling accompanied with a pinkish color around it as the skin got traumatized. However, if it starts to look uncannily pinkish to red, lay your clean hand over it and check to see if it's significantly warmer than the rest of the skin. Does it seem to radiate heat? Has it been that way even after 3 days? If yes, this could be a sign of a developing problem. SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ADVICE!
SWELLING: A slight amount of swelling is typical for a fresh tattoo. But if swelling becomes excessive, uncomfortable and you feel the pain radiating beyond the site of the tattoo, then this is a sign of infection. If left untreated, swelling may begin to spread out. Seek immediate medical attention!
DISCHARGE: All fresh tattoos ooze as the skin begins to heal itself thus producing a clear liquid that normally dries up to re-cover the open wound.. all thanks to our very helpful blood cells. If oozing doesn't stop for more than 48 hours and begins producing yellow or greenish pus, then BINGO: You got an infected tattoo. Don't try to self-medicate as this may aggravate it. Seek medical help immediately!
FOUL ODOR: Anaerobic (a.k.a. Bad Bacteria) emit a foul smell. If your tattoo begins to stink, don't hesitate to have it looked at by a professional.
FEVER: Fever is a symptom of an underlying condition...which is most often an infection. Take note though, that fever is common to those whose bodies were tired, stressed and are generally not in good condition prior to getting the tattoo. It is best to observe first and not make assumptions. If fever won't go away until after 48 hours it's best to seek medical help.
RED STREAKS: Red streaks that radiate outward the original tattoo site could indicate blood poisoning. SEEK IMMEDIATE HELP! It could be fatal if left untreated.
SWOLLEN LYMPH NODES: Any time that the lymph nodes swell means that the immune system is fighting an intruder. Check for swelling in the nodes that are closest to the tattoo.
ALLERGIC REACTIONS: Some people have mild to severe allergic reactions to certain tattoo inks so it is best to take an allergy test prior to getting a tattoo. Intense allergic reactions such as in the image above (swollen and with pus, yikes!) require removal by a medical professional before it grows and spreads bigger.
What you need to know: Infected tattoo symptoms have the potential to become life-threatening. So no matter how embarrassing, NEVER HESITATE to bring any of these issues to the attention of your tattoo artist as well as your doctor. This is the reason why not everyone can just have tattoos. Sadly, some people's skins are just not for it. Having tattoos is a commitment of lifetime aftercare and living a healthy lifestyle to ward off illnesses to make your skin eligible for a good tattoo canvas. So love your body, love your tattoos and treat 'em right...and it shall do the same.