Help! Why is My Tattoo Bleeding?

Blood is scary. It may be nerve racking to see your new tattoo weeping blood and ink. The first thing you need to do is to take a deep breath. This situation must be addressed calmly. Chances are, you have nothing to worry about as bleeding is part of the healing process. However, there are certain circumstances in which bleeding is a bad sign.

Below we’ve compiled an investigation into tattoo bleeding and the reasons behind it. It’s crucial for you to take into consideration the warning signs we’ve found.

Do All New Tattoos Bleed?

It’s no mystery why new tattoos bleed. The act of tattooing creates an open wound, which blood can seep through. Bleeding is to be expected, especially in the line work. Tattoo artists often put extra emphasis on making the lines bold, making more holes into the skin along the lines.

People are all different. Genetics play a huge role in the rate which one bleeds. If you are one to bleed at an abnormal rate, you would know before getting a tattoo. However, there can be even the smallest differences in the rate at which people bleed. One person may bleed rivers during and after getting a tattoo, where as another may only have a relatively small amount of bleeding.

Normally, a new tattoo will leak blood and ink for an average of 24 hours. A tattoo artist should make this known to the client to prevent worry. Certain conditions may extend the amount of time it takes for a tattoo to stop bleeding. Alcohol and painkillers can also extend this time.

Consumption of alcohol before and after getting a tattoo can greatly increase the amount of time that it takes for your skin to heal.

Consumption of alcohol prior to getting a tattoo can increase the amount of time that it bleeds. Alcohol is effectively a blood thinner, working against blood coagulation. Painkillers like aspirin or over-the-counter drugs can also be blood thinners, having similar effects to alcohol. Taking blood thinners or consuming alcohol before getting a tattoo can interfere with the healing process, increasing the time it takes your tattoo to heal.

In addition to alcohol and painkillers, surprisingly, being active after getting a tattoo can extend the healing time as well. Working out temporarily raises your blood pressure levels, putting internal force against your freshly inked skin. It is best to take a few days off from physically strenuous activities after getting a tattoo.

Physical activities in the days after getting a tattoo may interfere with your body’s healing process. Although many people do continue their workout regimen after getting a tattoo, it can create easily avoidable risks. It’s best just to take a couple days off to let your tattoo heal partially before continuing physical activities as normal.

How Long Does it Take for Bleeding to Stop?

As previously mentioned, everyone has unique genetics. Some people may bleed for longer than others. If you believe that your tattoo is bleeding longer than it should, take into consideration that different areas of your body may bleed at different rates. For the most part, most bleeding should stop within a couple hours after tattooing; the rest of the bleeding should stop within 24 hours.

It takes just a couple minutes for bleeding from basic cuts and scrapes to subside. Tattoos bleed for longer due to a much larger surface area than everyday cuts and scrapes.

Why is My Tattoo Bleeding Ink?

Commonly known as ‘ink weeping’, it is completely natural for tattoos to leak ink. In fact, a tattoo which leaks ink may be a sign that your tattoo artist did their job correctly. If you tattoo artist tried making your tattoo as bold and vibrant as possible, they would put as much ink as possible into the skin.

A tattoo artist will put more ink into the skin as a measure to achieve bolder and more vibrant images.

The artist often exceeds the limits of how much ink the skin can take. The skin then rejects some of this ink due to factors such as a pressure build up from too much ink. However, after this additional ink leaves the skin, there is still plenty left over. A beautiful image is often revealed after this extra ink leaves the skin!

My Tattoo Will Not Stop Bleeding! What to do if Your Tattoo Won’t Stop Bleeding:

What happens if a tattoo continues to bleed after the normal 24 hours? This can be a stressful situation to some. Continual bleeding of your brand new tattoo is worrisome and should be addressed properly.

The very first thing to do is stay calm and wait another 24 hours. During this time, monitor the bleeding of your tattoo. Your body may just be taking longer to heal than usual. It may be that your body just needed an entire extra day to heal properly.

Assess your medical history and medications that you’re currently taking. If you’re taking any medications that cause blood to thin or prevent blood from clotting, they may be keeping your tattoo from healing. WE ARE NOT MEDICAL EXPERTS; DO NOT TAKE MEDICAL ADVICE FROM US.

If you are taking drugs which cause your blood to thin, consult your doctor if you think you should stop taking them. Your doctor will give you the appropriate steps to take to allow for your tattoo to stop bleeding. It is imperative that you do not take medical advice from the internet regarding this.

It is also possible that your tattoo is infected. If you think you tattoo may be infected but you’re not completely sure, compare your tattoo to images of infected tattoos. This may help you get a better idea of the state of your tattoo.

If you believe that your tattoo is infected, it is crucial that you visit your doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the condition of your skin will become. It is important that a skin infection is treated before it gets wildly out of hand. If you don’t do this, your tattoo will be permanently messed up and you’ll have a painful skin infection.

It is extremely dangerous to leave a skin infection untreated. A skin infection will have more health consequences than just messing up your tattoo.

Tips and Closing Remarks

Remember that your tattoo is an open wound. Open wounds tend to bleed, that is that nature of them. Follow advice to keep your skin clean and your tattoo healthy.

Do not pick at scabs when they form. This will continue the bleeding and will distort the image of your tattoo. If you pick at a scab, it may bring out a decent chunk of ink from the tattoo.

And finally, tattoo bleeding is normal! It usually lasts 24 hours. If it lasts for more than 48 hours, it is important to figure out what is interfering with the healing process.


MedlinePlus, “Blood Thinners” (Note: Used as a reputable source about blood thinning products so that I could write about them.)