The Tattoo Ink Sack : Is it normal? Can you pop it?
Please read our disclaimer for more info.
Tattoo ink sacks are a common concern for many people with a fresh tattoo. They can be alarming to see, but they are normal and don’t necessarily require medical attention or professional help. Tattoo ink sacks occur when fluidand ink become trapped under the tattoo dressing and form a sack-like bubble on the skin. You must not pop them for risk of infection.
In this blog post, we will explore what causes these sacks to appear, and how to fix them. We will also discuss what you SHOULDN’T do and which can cause infection.
With this information in hand, you should feel more confident about understanding and managing your own tattoo ink sack situation!
If you need more information about looking after your new tattoo check out this detailed post.
Tattoo Care. What To Do In The First 24 Hours Of Getting A Tattoo.
or this one
After Tattoo Care – Everything You Need To Know
Bepanthen For Tattoos – Is it still good?
What is a Tattoo Ink Sack?
Tattoo ink sacks are a common occurrence if your Tattoo Artist uses Saniderm, Plastic Tattoo Bandage or adhesive bandage to dress the tattoo. They are a fluid-filled sack and can vary in size and shape but usually appear as round or oval bubbles containing fluid and the pigment of the tattoo ink.
A pocket of fluid and ink forms under the dressing which then creates a Tattoo Ink Sack on the surface of your skin. The Tattoo Ink Sack may appear in the first 24 hours after getting your new ink.
What Causes A Tattoo Ink Sack?
Tattoo ink sacks are most commonly caused by the use of Saniderm or Plastic Tattoo Bandage, which are non-permeable dressings used to cover a fresh tattoo. These dressings have become an important part of the Tattoo Healing Process in recent years and are used by most professional tattoo artists.
They are much more hygienic than traditional tattoo aftercare with household plastic wrap. The traditional wrap with cling film or Saran Wrap..
However, When applied, these dressings can trap fluid and ink between the skin and the dressing, causing a Tattoo Ink Sack on the surface of your skin.
What is the fluid trapped in your Tattoo Ink Sack?
The fluid that your body is weeping is lymph or blood plasma. Tattoo ink sacks are usually caused by a buildup of this lymphatic fluid, which is produced in the body and typically helps defend against infection. The bodies defence systems are activated by the tattoo process.
This inflammatory fluid or lymph is drawn out of the skin when the Tattoo Ink Sack forms and can appear as a clear yellow or greenish-yellow liquid.
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The ink sack may also contain blood mixed with rejected ink.
This is a normal natural reaction to breaking the skin barrier with the tattooing process and is nothing to worry about.
However, if you have excess bleeding get in touch with your tattooist for advice.
Do tattoos bleed or release ink the next day?
Tattoos can often bleed ink the next day, especially if they are located in an area where there is a lot of movement.
A certain amount of ink will always be rejected and pushed out of the skin by the body. This just is more obvious if you have a tattoo wrap or bandage over the tattoo as the ink is captured by the dressing.
Highly colored and densely packed color tattoos may leak more ink over the initial first 24 hours.
All the ink trapped under the dressing can look alarming if this is your first tattoo. It can make the tattoo look blurred.
However, it’s perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
You can find out more if you are worried in this post My Tattoo Looks Smudged Under Saniderm. Help – What Do I Do?
Is A Tattoo Ink Sack Normal?
The answer to the question, “Is a Tattoo Ink Sack Normal?” is a resounding yes! Tattoo ink sacks are a natural reaction to breaking the skin barrier with the tattoo needle while getting inked and they are nothing to worry about. Tattoo ink sacks can look alarming, especially if large, but they are completely normal. Don’t worry.
Can You Pop Tattoo Ink Sacks?
No, you should never try to pop Tattoo Ink Sacks. Tattoo ink sacks should never be popped by hand or with any type of instrument.
Popping a Tattoo Ink Sack could lead to infection and can damage the tattoo itself, leading to scarring, color loss, and a distorted look.
What should you do instead of popping?
There are a couple of options here, depending on if you have spare dressing and when your tattooist has told you to change the dressing. .
IMPORTANT – Make sure you have washed and sanitized hands before doing anything.
1 – Change the dressing.
Your tattooist will probably have told you to change the dressing after around 24 hours. This is the point at which the ink sack is most likely to happen.
Wash your hands first and then remove the dressing. Its easiest to do this in the shower. Wash down the tattoo with gentle soap and water to remove all the plasma fluid and ink.
Then pat dry with absorbent paper and replace the dressing with a new piece.
Your Tattooist should have given you some spare pieces of dressing in case this happens
If the dressing starts to fill up again with too much ink after a few days you can replace it again.
You can buy spare dressing for next-day delivery from Amazon if you are struggling.
2 – Remove the dressing fully.
If the ink sack has got too big you run the risk of it bursting. This would allow in air and bacteria and runs the risk of infection. If the ink sack is an unmanageable size and you don’t have more dressing, your only alternative may be to remove the dressing.
Speak to your Tattooist about what they suggest.
Make sure you have clean hands when you remove the dressing.
Wash down the tattoo with soap and water and pat it dry with clean absorbent paper.
Then cover with a THIN layer of Bepanthen Nappy care Cream
Is an Ink Sack Infected?
Tattoo ink sacks are usually not infected. They are a natural reaction to being tattooed and the actual tattoo is usually fine underneath.
However, they CAN sometimes become infected, especially if they are popped or messed with.
Signs of an infection include: –
- Pain and swelling
- Itchy or burning sensation
- Oozing pus
- Hot or red skin around the tattoo
- Feeling feverish
If you notice any of these signs, contact your tattooist immediately. They will be able to advise on the best course of action to take.
A tattoo infection is dangerous and can lead to death if not treated so do take action and see a Doctor if necessary.
Signs of an allergic reaction to the Saniderm or Tattoo Bandage.
One thing to be aware of is that some people develop an allergy or skin irritation to the dressing itself. This doesn’t mean that the tattoo is infected. However, it may mean that you need to remove the dressing to stop the adverse reaction from damaging the tattooed skin.
The main thing to look out for is that the skin along the edge of the dressing becomes red and intensely itchy.
If this happens you need to contact your Tattooist to ask for their advice about what to use in place of the dressing.
I advise my clients to use Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment as an alternative to Saniderm if they are allergic.
This is a good breathable alternative that will protect the healing tattoo. It will also help to soothe the allergic reaction.
- Clean your hands with mild soap and lukewarm water.
- Wash down the tattoo in water.
- Pat it dry with an absorbent clean towel.
- Apply a THIN layer of Bepanthen.
You may have adhesive residue leftover after you have removed the dressing film. This can mean you are still reacting to the dressing.
You can usually remove this with baby oil or coconut oil.
Can you Remove the Ink Sack and When to do it
If possible, it’s best to leave the ink Sack in place until the time your Tattooist has told you to change your dressing. You usually change the dressing after about 24 hours and replace it with a fresh dressing. This second dressing can usually be left on for 5 or 6 days. If possible, stick to the schedule your Tattooist told you. If the ink sack becomes too big you will want to change it to avoid the risk of it leaking and causing infection..
Will The Ink Sack Ruin your Tattoo?
No, Tattoo Ink Sacks won’t ruin your tattoo as long as you don’t pop them or mess with them too much. Tattoo Ink Sacks are nothing to worry about; they are just a natural part of the healing process. The tattoo will be healing nicely under the dressing and will most probably look just fine once you change the dressing or remove it fully.
Can You Prevent Ink Sacks From Forming?
No, there isn’t really anything you can do to prevent an ink sack from forming. Some people release more plasma lymphatic fluid than others. Some people bleed more than others. It also depends on the amount of tattoo ink packed into the skin. Densely packed color tattoos release more ink. The formation of the sack is down to lots of different factors beyond your control.
However, as we have seen, it’s not really a major problem if one forms, so don’t worry.
Can you shower with a tattoo ink sack?
Yes, you can shower with a Tattoo Ink Sack. Just keep the dressing out of the direct stream of water and pat it dry with a clean paper towel as soon as you get out of the shower. Don’t have a bath or soak the dressing in water.
Conclusion: Tattoo Ink Sacks
Tattoo ink sacks are a normal part of the healing process, and generally nothing to worry about. However, it is important to be aware that they can become infected if popped or messed with, so take care when dealing with them. It may also be possible for an allergic reaction to occur in response to a Tattoo Bandage or Saniderm dressing – watch out for redness and itching around the edges.
Remember, prevention is better than cure – so make sure you have clean hands before changing dressings
If you are worried at all about your tattoo and dressing you should contact your own Tattooist as soon as possible for their advice on how best to proceed.
PS – If you didn’t use dressing film you may find this post helpful. How Long Do You Keep Cling Film On A Tattoo?
The information on the site is for entertainment only. Anything you do is at your own risk. Consult with your own Tattooist, Piercer or Doctor for advice.
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