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What is a Tattoo Blowout and How to fix it with the best possible ideas?

Have you recently started experiencing a tattoo blowout? As much as I hate to break the news to you that the blowout might not be a transient side-effect, you are still not beyond saving.

Yes, you read that right! A tattoo blowout, despite being a tear-jerking condition, is still fixable. Plus, it doesn’t usually have adverse effects on your health, which is still a win, considering how strangely the ink reserves act up in time, during a tattoo blowout.

Moving ahead, I will enlist the best strategies to fix tattoo blowouts whilst putting together certain preventive measures to keep these unfortunate incidents to a minimum. Before that, let us see what it is?

What is a Tattoo Blowout?

Are your tattooed lines getting blurrier with time or are the colors unintentionally bleeding into one another, thereby making the entire design look way too messy for your liking? This is what a tattoo blowout is all about and it certainly isn’t a pretty sight to behold.

A tattoo blowout isn’t simply a bad tattoo. It is a lot more. Imagine drawing a portrait with crisp lines and distinct shades, only to find the lines blurring and getting smudged after a certain period. This is exactly what happens with a tattoo that’s either wrongly done or has the ink injected way too deep into the skin surface.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to infer that the misguided usage of a tattoo machine and the needle is what causes the blowout, in the first place. With the ink looking blurry, runny, and smudged, finding a way out of this rut isn’t as straightforward and requires guided insights.

What causes a tattoo blowout?

Now that you know what to tattoo blowouts look like, it is important to understand the causes leading to this anomaly.

1. Heavy Hands

Tattoo artists with heavy hands are more inclined towards pushing the ink farther into the skin surface, thereby causing the ink to bleed out. The ink might penetrate deep into the fat deposits on the skin surface and might start blowing out into the surrounding areas.

Also, a heavy-handed tattoo artist often gets the angle wrong, causing the ink to seep into the adjacent skin tissue. In some cases, not going too deep can also make the tattoo prone to blowouts.

2. Thin Skin

Unlike tattooing on ankles or the torsos, thighs and the inner part of the arms are more vulnerable to the blowout effect. The susceptible areas have thinner skin, which makes the ink seep directly into the fat deposits. As the tattoo ink starts penetrating the fatty layers of skin, the same ink spreads outwards and causes a blowout.

Therefore, it is necessary to keep the freshly-inked skin surface under observation for a certain period, just to see if the ink bleeds out or not. However, blown-out ink should be confused with the excess ink that oozes out of the tattooed region while it heals.

Some of the more at-risk areas include the thinner regions of the ankle and wrist, where the skin is exceedingly thin and the machine doesn’t get enough power to cut through.

3. Overstretching

Human skin is akin to a paintable canvas and often needs to be stretched to make it more supple and elastic while tattooing. Also, if you have thick skin, the tattoo artist needs to stretch it a fair bit while designing, precisely to ensure proper coverage.

However, the likes of stretching, pulling, and testing skin elasticity should be in moderation. In most cases, overstretching the skin can make the machine hit the surface at weird angles, which then botches up the entire concept of the design and gets tattoo ink infused into the adjoining issues. Therefore, artists must avoid stretching the skin beyond the usual limits.

4. Obsolete Machines

Regardless of the reasons I put forth for blowouts, it eventually comes down to faulty depth analysis and execution. Inexperienced artists using machines that aren’t in sync with their hand size often goof up the entire tattooing process. Also, as many tattoo blowout cases show up after a few days or even weeks of getting inked, it isn’t always possible to connect with professionals.

Therefore, if you are planning to get a tattoo done, check the type of machine that the artist might be using. While most professional tattoo salons use coil tattoo machines, with the armature driving the electromagnet, spring, and other facets of the machine, certain tattoo artists with smaller hands might even opt for pen-like rotary machines that are easy to hold and manage.

How to Fix Tattoo Blowouts?

Firstly, you need to understand that a blown-out tattoo cannot be undone, and fixing the same can also be quite tricky and cost-intensive. However, if you are still willing to go that extra mile to fix a tattoo blowout, here are the options to consider:

1. A Bigger Tattoo

Don’t get me wrong as I don’t intend on patronizing the blowout experience. Instead, I feel that if you want to fix the issue at an affordable rate, it is better to get a bigger tattoo, as a part of the tattoo cover-up.

However, this approach isn’t expected to work on the freshly inked skin surface as the new tattoo cover-ups require the first one to heal completely. When it comes to healing, you must wait for a minimum of 2 months before trying to get a new tattoo to cover up the blowout, depending on the size of the first tattoo.

If done right, the larger tattoos can help minimize the blowout appearance of the botched-up small tattoo. Also, the whole tattoo, including the newer portion, is expected to look a lot better than a blown-out design, provided you are focused extensively on tattoo healing.

2. Laser Therapy

This is probably one of the costliest methods to fix a tattoo blowout. Laser tattoo removal or simply laser removal redirects energy waves to the concerned skin surface, which are then absorbed by the existing ink particles.

Therefore, the residual ink bleeding into the adjacent tissues or the ink beneath the skin surface i.e. the one in the fat layer is diffused and rendered ineffective, thereby reducing the signs of a blowout.

However, you should take good care of the fixed tattoo, precisely by minimizing sun exposure. Also, if you plan on undergoing laser correction, it might take you a few sessions to mitigate a majority of blowout effects.

Finally, laser correction is a costly process with each session priced at over 200 dollars. Also, you must check whether your insurance company provides for the same, as some might consider laser therapy as a cosmetic job.

3. Surgical Tattoo Removal

Surgical tattoo removal is strictly invasive and doesn’t only fix the blowout but gets the entire tattoo obliterated. In simpler words, the process involves cutting out the tattooed skin and eventually sticking back the remaining skin.

While your insurance company is more likely to cover this procedure, you might have to deal with extended recovery time and scarring, when opting for this complete removal procedure.

How to Prevent Blowouts?

Managing a tattoo blowout can be an overwhelming experience. However, if you are careful enough, you can avoid most reasons why tattoo blowouts occur in the first place.

1. Get the Placement Right

This is the point where you need to work in tandem with the artist. While a good artist understands that certain body parts or specific areas of the body are more prone to a tattoo blowout, it is your responsibility to suggest the frequently used body parts for getting things underway.

Also, instead of being way too adventurous with the design placements, you should try getting a tattoo made on the legs, chest, and other portions with thick skin surfaces.

2. Opt for Experienced Tattoo Artist

If you have made up your mind about getting a new tattoo, it is necessary to invest time and money in a credible and experienced tattoo artist. Also, it is your prerogative to check the tattoo needle and machine used by the tattoo artist. Not just that, it is the artist who helps you with the preventive aftercare methods. 

Aftercare Ideas to avoid a Blowout tattoo

1. Medical Considerations

Regardless of the tattoo artist, you choose to pair with, taking good care of the tattoo whilst giving it ample time to heal properly is equally important. There are quite a few tattoo blowout cases that occur when enthusiasts stop taking good care of the region, ascertaining it as a minor medical procedure. Starting from applying lotion for the first few weeks to safeguarding the tattoo from water and sunlight, tattoo aftercare is one of the more important ways to avoid a tattoo blowout.

2. Physical Considerations

The entire tattooed area needs proper aftercare, more so if you are a physically active person, which then requires you to avoid frequent pulls, stretches, and other activities that might bleed ink into the surrounding areas.

3. Tattoo Healing

Also, tattoo healing is quite important if you want to avoid a tattoo blowout that is caused by sun exposure or uncalled stretching. 

Is a Tattoo Blowout Permanent?

A tattoo blowout regardless of its mild or flared-up nature is a permanent condition and cannot be typically reversed. However, if you have started experiencing blowouts at specific places, there are certain strategies to ensure that it get pacified in time.

For instance, once the ink starts bleeding out, which you will know for sure, twisting or frequent movement of the concerned area should be avoided. Also, if you aren’t willing to spend additional money to fix the blowout, I would advise giving the tattoo some time as it would then lead to fading blowouts with the affected area becoming less pronounced with time.

Ink seeping into the deeper layer of the skin starts drying out and the blurring lines are no longer visible if you allow the tattoo to fade with time. While this might not qualify as professional advice, it still makes sense as it concerns the cell structure and how it gets back to normal after a few weeks, months, or years.

8 Things to Know about Tattoo Blowouts

Despite talking at length about the blowout effect, I would still want to reiterate 8 essential points that you need to know, if and when you witness a blowout happen.

  • There is no substitute for a highly skilled artist if you want to avoid the blotchy mess, blurry lines, or a precariously designed tattooed area.
  • Most experienced artists offer great follow-up plans when you get a tattoo, which validates their credibility.
  • The inner arm, shoulder, chest, and inner thigh are some of the more preferred regions to get a tattoo if you want to avoid blowouts.
  • Even the blowout tattoo needs to be fully healed if you want to cover it up with a bigger tattoo.
  • Tattoo blowout isn’t always an artist’s fault even if he or she stretches the skin slightly as several blowouts also happen due to subpar aftercare strategies.
  • If you are getting your first tattoo, you should always go for experienced artists as they avoid odd angles and wrong layers while introducing ink inside the skin surfaces.
  • Even if you end up getting a tattoo on thin skin or body parts prone to tattoo blowout, you must keep looking for blurry lines the next day onwards, specifically to follow it up with the artist before he or she disappears.
  • If you have decided to go for laser treatment to diffuse the residual ink residing in the deepest layers of skin, it is advisable to focus on healing before bombarding the tattoos with switched beams.


How long does a tattoo blowout last?

If it is a fresh tattoo made on thin skin, you can expect it to last for a long time unless you take medical or professional advice. 

How do you prevent tattoo blowout?

If you want to prevent issues that can cause a blowout, it is better to avoid getting the design on thin areas, concentrate more on tattoo healing, implement aftercare measures to the affected areas, and only connect with an experienced artist to get the tattoos made.

Can a healing tattoo look like a tattoo blowout?

A tattoo undergoing a healing process doesn’t look like a blowout. However, if you find the redness and discoloration to be worrisome, extend the healing process by a few days and you can see the issues disappearing. 

How do I know if my tattoo artist went too deep?

Firstly, if there is way too much blood, you can be assured that the artist went too deep or at the wrong angle. Also, if the pain persists even after the tattooing session, you should take immediate precautions to avoid infection and even a blowout. 

Are all tattoo artists at fault?

Not exactly as tattoo blowouts aren’t common and you shouldn’t be skeptical when it comes to realizing your dream of getting something designed on the bodily canvas. However, for those who have experienced blowouts or are planning to get a new tattoo from a relatively inexperienced tattoo artist, this discussion seems most relevant.

Are there any Health-Based Concerns?

Once again, tattoo blowouts aren’t health-based concerns but can easily disfigure the envisioned design; something that you might have paid hundreds of dollars for getting etched.


While I have enlisted every important point that might concern tattoo blowouts, I feel the highest levels of empathy for someone who has had to face this after getting a design inked.  Regardless of the problems, solutions, and even the preventive measures enlisted in the aforementioned sections, it is still important to connect with the best set of professionals, get proper aftercare, and avoid a wide enough area for getting a design in, if you are unsure about the quality of the tattoo artist.

Robert Green

Robert Green, the brain and brawn behind TattooLous is a tattoo enthusiast and a raging bullbat. After getting 20 tattoos made and even working as a professional tattoo artist for almost 5 years at a stretch, Robert chose to contribute towards the tattooing community in a different yet rewarding manner. Robert believes that the tattoo-making industry is rife with possibilities and, therefore, strives towards educating budding tattoo artists about the choice of kits, machines, aftercare products, and more. Moreover, each of Robert’s drafts is even relevant to the professional tattoo experts who are seeking additional insights into exclusive products and accessories.

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