Tattoo Blowout Prevention: Crucial Tips and Tricks

In the world of tattoos, a little prevention for a tattoo blowout goes a long way. This form of body art is as permanent as it gets, so when mistakes happen, there’s no quick undoing them. Tattoo blowouts are one of those mistakes that can drastically affect the look and feel of a tattoo. When excess ink just spreads outwards creating a blurred appearance around the the tattooing lines, it decreases their visual sharpness and overall beauty. Knowing how to prevent tattoo blowouts means understanding all the different factors that cause them while also learning how to stop them in their tracks.

1. Understanding Tattoo Blowout

tattoo blowout
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When ink seeps into layers of skin it wasn’t intended to go in, a tattoo blowout occurs. This causes your tattoo lines either to come out blurry or spread out across the skin instead of staying put where they were drawn. Anyone can get these tattoo blowouts no matter what size or location their tattoo may be.

1.1. What is a Tattoo Blowout?

A simple way to explain this phenomenon is by calling it ink migration below the surface of your skin. The reasons why this happens vary from person to person but some factors include too much pressure being applied when injecting ink into the top layer of skin or even your own personal healing process. It’s easier for this mishap to occur if you’re getting tatted up on thinner parts of your body like joints, necks, and inner arms.

2. Blowout Causes

tattoo blowout
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2.1. Needle Depth and Angle

The depth at which your needle enters your skin as well as its angle play massive roles in determining whether or not you’ll experience a blowout later down the line. Too deep or a wrong angle can have you run the risk of depositing precious ink where it doesn’t belong, which could lead to more pain during the healing process for you. An incorrect angle will push ink sideways through layers upon layers under your flesh until eventually, it spreads wide enough that nothing looks clear anymore.

2.2. Tattoo Ink Pressure and Volume

One more cause of blowouts is the pressure at which the tattoo ink is pushed into the skin1 and how much of it there is. Too much ink spreading under pressure will force the tattoo ink to disperse all higgledy-piggledy within your flesh and it will simply overflow from its intended area, creating an even bigger mess than what’s already been done. A tattoo artist with skill knows just how much ink and pressure to use based on the size, location, and complexity of your design.

2.3. Skin Types and Thickness

Not everyone has the same type of skin or thickness to it. This makes a considerable difference in whether or not you risk a tattoo blowout happening during your session. Thin skin means less protection against ink migration because there’s not enough barrier physically blocking other layers. thicker skin These areas require utmost care so that the ink doesn’t go too far underneath them. Thick skin might need some added adjustments due to its capability to absorb more than thinner skin does. For these clients, the tattoo artist really will have to manage their technique as their volume and make sure that they’re providing exactly what their client needs.

2.4. Healing and Aftercare Practices

The recovery process and the aftercare practices are crucial to the final look of your tattoo, including the likelihood of a tattoo blowout. If you don’t know, a tattoo blowout mishap is when ink spreads beneath your skin. Improper care can either prevent a tattoo blowout or make it worse. For example, rubbing too much or applying pressure on your new inked area during recovery can encourage the ink to spread outside its boundaries. Also, if you fail to moisturize enough before scabs start forming, it could pull some of the ink away.

2.5. Environmental Conditions

Other problems include environmental factors such as extreme temperatures and sunlight exposure. As we all should know by now, excessive heat can cause the fat layer of skin to stretch and swell, leaving room for more of ink particles to travel beneath the surface. The same goes for ultra-violet rays from the sun which damage skin and make it easier for ink particles to migrate.

2.6. Experience and Technique of the Tattoo Artist

Lack of experience can also be a huge factor in why tattoo blowouts happen. They must know how different skin types react to their needles since everyone’s skin is different… But one thing they do know is how deep their needle should go in the skin layer in order to avoid a tattoo blowout from happening.

3. Prevention Techniques for Tattoo Blowouts

tattoo blowout
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

3.1. Choosing a Reputable Tattoo Artist

Before anything else please choose a tattoo artist that knows what they’re doing! Look at their work… We mean really study it! Don’t just look at something pretty then drop all caution. Make sure the tattoo shop or artist has experience with tattoos similar to yours and feel free to ask them about any concerns.

3.2. Proper Aftercare and Healing Process

Following proper healing instructions given by your artist is crucial for many reasons, including avoiding blowout risk. Keep everything clean and moisturized while avoiding picking at anything on your already tattooed skin during this time of the healing period.

3.3. Avoiding Allergic Reactions

Making sure that the ink is high quality and you’re not having an allergic reaction to it is crucial. An allergic reaction to fresh ink2 could cause swelling and affect how the ink moves throughout the whole tattooing process, which could lead to a blowout.

3.4. Using the Right Ink

The right ink and tattoo machine can prevent a tattoo blowout from happening. Professional tattoo artists know which ink is good for different skin types and tattoo designs. They also know that using fresh tattoo ink and proper techniques can help avoid blowouts.

4. What To Do With Blowouts

tattoo blowout
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

4.1. Fixing Blown Out Tattoos

If you’ve ended up with a blown-out tattoo, there are ways to fix it. Sometimes, an artist will be able to rework the original tattoo to hide or avoid a tattoo blowout or incorporate the blowout into the design. Other times, experienced tattoo artists will fix the tattoo blowouts by putting new designs over them strategically to cover them up.

4.1.1. Surgical Tattoo Removal Options

Surgical Tattoo Removal can be used to solve blowout complications, though it can be more intrusive and expensive. A person who wants their tattoo removed in this way usually has to cut out the stained skin and then sew it back up again, afterward leaving a pretty pronounced scar. Laser tattoo removal breaks down the ink of the tattoo into tiny particles that your body eventually gets rid of on its own. This process takes multiple sessions depending on how big and filled the tattoo is.

Even if the laser treatment or tattoo removal treatment is less invasive than surgery3, it can still get uncomfortable and your skin will temporarily turn different colors.

4.1.2. Tattoo Removal Creams and Lotions

Another thing you could try are those creams or lotions that are meant to fade away your blowout tattoos. Unfortunately, these don’t tend to work well enough to actually fade blown-out tattoos entirely. As much as they might help slightly over time they won’t do it completely so you should probably look for a different solution.

4.1.3. Prevention Is Key

Of course, the best way to deal with blowouts is by avoiding them altogether. If you go to an experienced tattoo artist who knows what they’re doing and follows their instructions on how to take care of your tattoo after it’s done then there shouldn’t be any blowout issues.

4.2. Cover-Up Strategies for Distorted Tattoos

When preventing blowouts doesn’t work or when an old one goes bad & develops blowouts Cover-Up Strategies play an important role in fixing distorted tattoos. Skilled tattoo artists can come up with creative ways to blend new designs with existing ones or cover them completely if necessary. Not only does this fix any aesthetic issues but cover-ups often also add another layer of personal meaning behind someone’s ink.

If you need a cover-up done to fix a tattoo blowout, make sure you talk to a tattoo artist who knows what they’re doing so that nothing goes wrong in the process. They’ll evaluate how bad the original is, discuss some options & plan out sizes, colors, shading, etc that will help hide the blowout. Cover-ups to fix a tattoo blowout almost always have to be bigger & darker than what’s already there, which takes a lot of creativity and skill from the artist.

Additionally, it’s important to know that your design choices may be limited due to the need for good coverage.

5. Final Thoughts on Preventing Tattoo Blowouts

When it comes to not blowing out your new tattoo, pick a good artist, understand how your skin will heal properly, and take proper care of it afterward. Thanks for reading!

Sources

  1. Karadagli SS, Cansever I, Armagan G, Sogut O. Are Some Metals in Tattoo Inks Harmful to Health? An Analytical Approach. Chem Res Toxicol. 2023 Jan 16;36(1):104-111. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.2c00323. Epub 2022 Dec 30. PMID: 36584178; PMCID: PMC9846827.C9846827/ ↩︎
  2. Treatment of tattoo allergy with ablative fractional resurfacing: A novel paradigm for tattoo removal
    Ibrahimi, Omar A. et al.
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 64, Issue 6, 1111 – 1114 ↩︎
  3. Khalkhal E, Rezaei-Tavirani M, Zali MR, Akbari Z. The Evaluation of Laser Application in Surgery: A Review Article. J Lasers Med Sci. 2019 Fall;10(Suppl 1):S104-S111. doi: 10.15171/jlms.2019.S18. Epub 2019 Dec 1. PMID: 32021682; PMCID: PMC6983859. ↩︎

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