What Does an Infected Tattoo Look Like

What does an infected tattoo look like? If you've been recently inked, odds are good you're on the lookout for any negative side effects. You want your new body art to look its best, and infection can lead to both aesthetic issues and health risks. Any new tattoo is open to infection, as it's really nothing more than a self-inflicted wound. If you care for your tattoo properly, keeping it clean and dry, you should be okay, but it's good to learn the difference between a healthy tattoo and one with signs of infection-just in case.

A Normal Tattoo
Most likely, no one has to tell you that a tattoo is going to hurt a little, so if it continues to hurt even after you've left the tattoo parlor, that's natural. You can also expect a new tat to be inflamed and red. Often, your tattoo will also be itchy at first. It may even bleed or leak ink. That said, these normal symptoms should only last a few days. At that point, the swelling should go down and the red should fade away.

An Infected Tattoo
If your normal tattoo symptoms-that itchiness, bleeding, leaking ink, pain or inflammation-continues for more than a few days after you get it, you may have an infection. A clear infection sign is pus. If your tat is oozing yellow, green or white pus, you've got trouble. If swelling and redness increase rather than decrease, that's also another bad sign in determining whether or not you have an infection. If you see red streaks or smell a foul odor, your tattoo probably isn't in good shape. If it feels warm or hot when you touch it, you probably have an infection. Even symptoms not associated with your skin can be a sign of infection, including a fever, muscle aches and general weakness. 

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