How To Scratch A New Tattoo Without Damaging It – Yes It Is Possible!

by Tori Jones
taking care of tattoo

Ever found yourself fresh off the needle, rocking a gorgeous new masterpiece, only to be besieged by an itch more maddening than a loose thread on a cashmere sweater? Today, we’ll be diving into the delicate art of scratching a new tattoo without causing an ink disaster.

Damage Tattoo
@kvtphotographynyc Via Instagram – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

How does one maintain this symbiotic relationship between itch relief and tattoo health? Well, that’s the secret sauce we’re going to dissect today. From understanding why the devilish itch happens, to uncovering professional hacks to scratch without sabotage, we’re going on a journey to ensure that your body art remains unscathed and your sanity stays intact. So let’s embark on this exploration together, leaving no stone unturned and no itch unscratched. Join me in decoding the fascinating art of maintaining our personal canvases in the face of an ancient and relentless adversary: the itch!

The Great Itch Conundrum

Damage Tattoo
@blackkom Via Instagram – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

When your tattoo starts itching like a summer mosquito bite, you’ve stepped into the restoration period. But hold off those scratching instincts! Scratching could slow down healing and invite a whole host of skin issues. Here’s an interesting fact: you can scratch a tattoo without causing damage after about three to four weeks, once the healing process has finished, and all those gnarly scabs have said their goodbyes.

Why Do Tattoos Itch? 

Tattooing involves a needle—quite a bit more elegant than your grandma’s knitting ones—piercing your skin, creating a wound that’s not gory but enough to trigger a bodily reaction. The ink needs to hit the dermis tissue, and that means getting past five layers of epidermis. With the tattoo machine making between 50 and 3,000 skin penetrations a minute, your body goes on red alert. Your natural healing process kicks in, resulting in some mild symptoms including that pesky itching.

Week One

In the first week, you might experience some inflammation, a bit of sting, and an uncanny resemblance to a plasma-exuding, ink-bleeding modern art masterpiece. As scabs form, resist the itch! Remember, scratching can transfer bacteria from your fingernails into the fresh wound. A little bit like dropping a chili cheese dog on your new white carpet—trust me, you don’t want that.

Week Two

Damage Tattoo
@alex_savage Via Instagram – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Healing starts to get serious in week two. As the damaged epidermis starts to flake away, you’ll feel the itch intensify, the same way you crave another episode of your favorite show at 3 am. But remember, don’t give in! Collagen growth will soon mend the skin, and the mild itch is a sign that healing is underway.

Week Three 

By the third week, the tattoo should be looking fresh and vibrant, like the bloom of a new flower in spring. Although it’s safer to scratch now, the deeper layers are still in regenerative mode, so it’s best to wait another week.

Ease The Irritation 


A good ointment or lotion can be a savior. I’ve found great success with After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion—a vegan-friendly product that soothes itching while keeping your tattoo well hydrated. It’s like giving your skin a nice, refreshing smoothie.


Lotion Tattoo
@sorrymomtattoo Via Instagram – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Drinking plenty of water keeps your skin hydrated from within. Consider it a sort of internal lotion that helps ease the itchy sensation.


Consistent cleaning of your new tattoo and protecting it from bacteria is crucial. Look for antimicrobial and unscented soaps to do the job right.

Showers: Your New Best Friend

Tattoo shower
@carlosbeitiatattoo Via Instagram – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

A quick, low-temperature shower can provide immediate relief without hindering the healing process. Just avoid submerging the tattoo—too much water can slow down healing.

Cause For Concern

While a mild itch is normal, prolonged or severe itching could be a sign that something’s amiss. The FDA doesn’t regulate tattoo ink, and some inks may contain substances like lead. As a result, rigorous aftercare becomes even more essential to keep your tattoo looking fabulous and your skin healthy.

In the end, your tattoo is more than just body art—it’s a part of you, a narrative of your journey. As we navigate through the challenging, itchy stages of aftercare together, remember: good things take time. And trust me, that well-healed, vibrant tattoo is worth every moment of patience!

How To Scratch Your New Tattoo Carefully

Here are some handy tips to relieve the itch without damaging your new tattoo:

  1. Pat, Don’t Scratch: This is the golden rule! When that itch creeps up on you, resist the urge to scratch and instead gently pat the area. Scratching can damage the healing skin and ruin the tattoo, while patting can offer relief without the risk.
  2. Slap Technique: A little more unorthodox, but a light (emphasis on light) slap can provide momentary relief from the itching. Be very careful not to overdo it; the last thing you want is to cause more trauma to the healing skin.
  3. Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to the itchy area can help soothe the irritation. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a clean cloth works well, as it can mold to the shape of the tattoo. Do not apply ice directly to the skin, as it can cause frostbite and further damage.
  4. Moisturize: Dryness can exacerbate itching. Use a fragrance-free, alcohol-free lotion or tattoo aftercare product to keep your skin moisturized. Products containing aloe vera or coconut oil are especially soothing. Remember not to over-moisturize, as your skin needs to breathe for the tattoo to heal.
  5. Stay Hydrated: Drinking lots of water promotes overall skin health and can aid in the healing process, helping to reduce itching.
  6. Loose Clothing: Wearing tight clothing over a new tattoo can cause irritation. Loose, breathable fabrics like cotton will allow your skin to breathe and heal better, reducing itching and discomfort.
  7. Avoid Sun Exposure: The sun’s rays can not only cause your tattoo to fade, but they can also irritate the skin and make the itchiness worse. Keep your tattoo covered or apply a high-SPF, tattoo-friendly sunscreen if you’re going to be out in the sun.

Best Products You Can buy

Listed below are a few excellent products to available on Amazon that can significantly aid in tattoo aftercare and itch relief:

  1. After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion: This lotion is a personal favorite, packed with natural ingredients such as grape seed oil and vegan-friendly. It soothes the itch and promotes healing while keeping your tattoo hydrated.
  2. H2Ocean Ocean Care Tattoo Aftercare: H2Ocean is another excellent product. It’s water-based, meaning it won’t clog your pores, and it’ll keep your skin moisturized and healthy throughout the healing process.
  3. Aquaphor Healing Ointment: A dermatologist-recommended brand, Aquaphor is known for its healing properties. It can relieve itching and help prevent scabbing, thus preserving the clarity and color of your tattoo.
  4. Hustle Butter Deluxe: This all-natural, vegan-friendly product is a dream for soothing itchy, healing tattoos. It’s made with shea, mango, and aloe butter, and can be used before, during, and after the tattoo process.
  5. INK-EEZE Ink Enhance SPF 30 Cucumber Lavender Tattoo Sunscreen: It’s crucial to protect your healing tattoo from sun exposure. This SPF 30 tattoo sunscreen will not only help prevent fading but also nourish your skin with its botanical extracts.
  6. Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap: Keeping your tattoo clean is a crucial part of the healing process. This antibacterial soap can help ward off potential infections and soothe your skin.

Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works well for one person might not work as well for another. Always test a small amount of product first to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction. And, as always, follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice. They know your individual case best. Happy healing!


And there we have it, ink aficionados! That’s your deep dive into the intricate ballet of tattoo aftercare, where resisting the urge to scratch can seem tougher than choosing your next design. As your trusty guide, let me underscore that where you place your tattoo and how much you’re willing to shell out can significantly impact your tattoo journey. High-movement areas like elbows or feet can mean a more intense healing process, while splurging on a seasoned professional can ensure that you’re getting high-quality ink work.

Remember, every tattoo tells a story, but every story also comes with a cost—financial and otherwise. Be prepared for potential side effects like allergic reactions, infections, or MRI complications. I say this not to scare you but to make you aware, because being in the know is half the battle won. Tattoos are a lifetime commitment—much like getting a pet, only less furry and with fewer vet bills. And just like anything meaningful in life, they come with their fair share of challenges and risks. But armed with knowledge, patience, and the right care, you’ll find the journey as rewarding as the stunning piece of art you get to carry with you for life. Because, in the end, we’re not just creating art on our bodies, we’re etching our narratives into our very skin— and that’s a story worth telling right.

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