Tattoo Cracking: How To Deal With A Cracked Tattoo?

So you’ve finally taken the plunge and gotten that tattoo you’ve always wanted. But now, just a few short days or weeks after getting inked, your tattoo begins to look funny. You notice that your tattoo is starting to crack. What gives?

Tattoo cracking is a common problem, but one that can be avoided with a proper aftercare routine or seeking medical professional care.

In this article, we’ll discuss what causes tattoos to crack and how you can avoid them. We’ll also provide some tips on what to do if your tattoo does crack and how you can keep your tattoo properly moisturized.

What is a Cracked Tattoo?

tattoo cracking

Cracked tattoos are tattoos that have developed cracks in the ink. These cracking tattoos can occur due to many factors, including improper healing, excessive sun exposure, very dry skin, or even just the natural aging process.

Cracked tattoos are often very difficult to treat and can often lead to permanent damage to the tattoo. If you have a cracked tattoo, it is important to seek medical professional help immediately to avoid further damage.

What Causes New Tattoos to Crack?

There can be various reasons why tattoos crack. Tattoos can become cracked due to naturally dry skin, sun exposure, and aging. The areas of the tattoo that receive the most exposure tend to be the first to show signs of wear.

Tattoo cracking happens due to:

Lack of Hydration

One of the most common causes of tattoo cracking is a lack of hydration. When skin is dehydrated, it becomes dry and brittle, which can lead to the formation of cracks in the tattoo. If you have naturally dry skin, it is advisable to drink plenty of water, while moisturizing your skin with natural oils or lotion.

Sun Exposure

One of the most common causes of cracked tattoos is sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays can damage the skin and ink, leading to cracking, fading, and other problems. Make sure not to expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight, especially during the first two weeks. Wait until your tattoo stops weeping and itching and there is no scabbling or roughness. To help protect your tattooed skin, be sure to use sunscreen whenever you’re outside, and avoid sun exposure as much as possible.

Poor Healing Practices

One of the main reasons tattoos can crack is poor healing practices. If you don’t properly care for your new tattoo, it can start to crack and peel prematurely. Ensure your tattoo heals properly before applying any sensitive product to the area. To maintain a proper aftercare routine, do these;

  • Do not soak your new tattoos in water for a prolonged period of time.
  • Do not use hot water to clean your new tattoo, use lukewarm water instead.
  • Keep your healing tattoo hydrated with natural oils or lotion to prevent thick scabs.
  • If you have very dry skin and do not want to use much lotion, you can maintain a healthy diet that can nourish your skin. Foods like fatty fish, avocado, olive oil, and walnuts should be included in your diet.

Use of Inappropriate Products

Another main cause is using inappropriate products. When you first get your tattoo, it’s important to use a high-quality, unscented moisturizer to keep the area hydrated. This will help to keep your tattoo looking its best for years to come. Here are things to avoid:

  • Using petroleum or lanolin products that may clog your pores
  • Using too many moisturizers can lead to tattoo bubbling and other tattoo healing issues. 
  • Using harsh soaps and scrubs on your new tattoo, as these can also cause cracking and fading. Stick to gentle, unscented cleansers that are made for tattoos instead.

Allergic Reactions

One possible cause of tattoo cracks is an allergic reaction to the ink. If you start to experience cracking or peeling after getting a new tattoo, you may be allergic to one of the ingredients in the ink. If this is the case, you’ll likely see other symptoms as well, such as redness, itching, or swelling. If you think you might be experiencing an allergic reaction, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you’re noticing that your tattoo is starting to crack, make sure to take steps to protect it from the sun, use a high-quality lubricant when you’re healing it, and follow your artist’s aftercare instructions to the letter.

What are the Consequences of Tattoo Cracking?

If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo, it’s important to be aware of the potential consequences of cracking. Cracking can lead to infection, fading, and even loss of color in your tattoo. 

The most important thing you can do to avoid cracking is to make sure your tattoo artist uses high-quality ink and equipment. They should also use a new needle for each tattoo, as this helps to prevent any accumulation of ink and bacteria.

Once you’ve got your new tattoo, make sure to keep it clean and moisturized. Apply a thin layer of a fragrance-free lotion or cream that’s designed for tattoos, and apply it twice a day for the first two weeks. This will help to keep the skin hydrated, protect your healing skin, and minimize the chances of cracking.

How To Prevent Tattoo Cracking?

Now that you know the causes of tattoo cracking, it’s time to talk about how to prevent it. There are several ways to prevent tattoo cracking:

  • Use a good quality tattoo aftercare balm to keep your tattoo moisturized and protected.
  • Avoid swimming or soaking in water for the first few weeks.
  • Avoid scrubbing your tattoo with harsh soaps or abrasive towels.
  • Let the skin surrounding your tattoo heal fully before applying any makeup.
  • Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to the tattoo every day.
  • Avoid picking at the cracks or tattoo scabs.
  • Avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when outside.

How to Treat A Cracked Tattoo?

So you’ve had your new tattoo for a while now and you’re noticing that it’s starting to crack. What can you do? The good news is that there are ways to treat tattoo cracking. A vitamin E oil or cream can be helpful, as can an aloe vera gel. There are a few other things you can do to treat cracked tattoos:

  • Apply a cold compress to the area. This will help to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Apply a topical ointment or cream to the area. This will help to soothe and moisturize the skin.
  • Take ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you and make the healing process more difficult.

If the cracking is severe, you may need to seek medical help. Your tattoo artist may be able to refer you to a dermatologist who can offer proper medical or professional advice.

Should I See a Doctor if My Tattoo Cracks?

If your tattoo cracks, the first thing you should do is determine the cause. If it’s due to dehydration, you can usually treat it at home by increasing your water intake and using a moisturizer. If it’s due to sun exposure, you’ll need to apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day. Other things to look out for are:

  • If the cracking is severe, or if it doesn’t improve after a week or two of home treatment, then you should see a doctor. They may prescribe a topical ointment or cream to help heal the tattoo and prevent further cracking 
  • If there is a severe infection in the tattooed area. If you notice  redness, swelling, or a foul odor coming from the tattooed area, you should see a doctor
  • Other signs or multiple symptoms of an infection or allergic reaction.

How to Choose the Right Tattoo Aftercare Products?

The best way to avoid cracking is by using the right aftercare products.

There are a lot of different aftercare products on the market, so it can be tricky to decide which ones to buy. The most important thing is to make sure that your chosen products are free from alcohol, soap, and other harsh chemicals. Look for products that are made with natural ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, and lavender oil.

If your tattoo starts to crack, you can treat it with a healing balm or ointment. These products are specifically designed to soothe and protect tattooed skin. The tattoo healing process might be slow, but you need to be patient and keep applying the ointment to the spot. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Tattoo Cracking

Is it Normal For a Tattoo to Crack?

Yes, it is normal for a tattoo to crack. Your healing tattoos can crack, especially if you are not careful. The most common cause of tattoo cracking is improper care. If you do not clean the tattoo properly, the ink will not be able to stick to the skin properly. If this happens, the ink will start to crack and peel off the skin. You may notice some thick tattoo scabs forming over your tattoo too. 

It is also possible that the tattoo is not properly placed on your skin. If this is the case, you will see that the ink is coming off the skin in small pieces. This is known as peeling skin.

The last thing you want to do is have a tattoo that cracks because you did not take care of it properly. So, make sure to take care of your tattoo properly and you will be fine!

Do Old Tattoos Crack Too?

Yes, even old tattoos can start to crack over time. This is usually due to the natural process of aging and the loss of elasticity in the skin. 

Is it Normal for a Tattoo to Look Dry and Wrinkled?

It is normal for a tattoo to look dry and wrinkled at first. This is because the ink is still drying on the skin, and it takes time for the ink to absorb into the skin. As the ink dries, it shrinks and wrinkles up.

However, if you are worried about if your tattoo looks wrinkled and cracked, it is best to wait until it has fully absorbed into the skin before applying any makeup.

Final Words

It’s important to take good care of your tattoos to avoid any problems down the line. This means avoiding excessive sun exposure, using SPF if you’re going to be outside, and keeping your tattoos clean and dry.

If you do experience cracking or other problems with your tattoos, there are ways to treat them. Talk to your tattoo artist about the best way to care for your tattoos, and they may be able to provide you with some special treatment cream or ointment.

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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