My New Tattoo Is Leaking Ink! Is This Normal?

After getting a new tattoo, it is often a time of great excitement. However, sometimes unexplained things can happen to your tattoo as it heals which can cause great worry amongst people who are newcomers to the tattooing world. One of these worries is seeing ink leaking out of your new tattoo.

This article aims to alleviate your fears and describe to you exactly what is normal when it comes to ink leaking out of a new tattoo.


Why Is Ink Leaking Out Of My New Tattoo? Is It Normal?

ink leaking from tattoo

First and foremost, having ink leaking and dripping out of your tattoo for a couple of days after getting a tattoo is completely normal and absolutely nothing to worry about.

If you choose a good, experienced tattoo artist, they will generally try to pack as much ink into your skin as they can. This is to ensure that as much ink sets properly within your skin as possible, which should hopefully make sure that the coloring and shading remains as solid and evenly distributed as possible once healing is complete.

Tattoo artists attempt to do this because the human body will naturally try to reject the ink and get rid as much of it as possible, and this sometimes leads to some of the ink getting taken away by our body’s immune systems and destroyed.

Therefore, the more ink that is tightly packed into the skin, the more likely that enough will be left in-place where it’s intended to be.

If instead, an artist done the opposite and failed to ‘fill up’ your skin with ink, then it is likely that the tattoo will heal patchy and faded as some areas will naturally have lost too much ink and there will not be enough ink in reserve to keep the colors looking as they should.

Normally when an artist has packed so much ink into your skin, it is normally more than what your body can handle.

Therefore, throughout the coming days once your tattoo has been completed, your body will begin to try and push out excess ink, and this process is further magnified by the fact that your tattoo will also continue to ooze blood and plasma for a couple of days.

As the blood and plasma rise to the surface of the skin as your body tries to begin the healing process by forming a thin layer of scabs over the tattoo, these fluids will get mixed with the excess ink that happens to sitting in the upper layers of skin, and will flush some of that out also.

In fact, it normally looks like there is much more ink coming out of your skin than what there actually is due to the fact that the ink is diluting in with various other bodily fluids as they seep out of your skin.

Bloody Tattoo Wrap

Don't get worried if you see a site like this

This leaking generally goes on for a couple of days after getting tattooed, although if you’re currently taking any blood thinning medication or suffer from any blood clotting or immune system disorders, it may take slightly longer for the blood and ink to stop leaking from the tattoo.

What Should I Do About Leaking Ink?

Generally, there is nothing you can really do to stop your tattoo from dripping ink and blood for a few days - this is just a natural process and your body simply needs to expel the excess ink in some way or another.

However, it is advisable to gently clean your tattoo regularly if it's leaking quite regularly. This is because the blood and plasma that has mixed with the ink will begin to harden on top of the skin and start to form heavy scabbing over the area if you're not careful.

Once cleaned, apply a good tattooing lotion to the area to keep it moisturized and well-nourished.

The best tattoo lotion I've ever personally used is a (vegan) tattoo aftercare product called Hustle Butter. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process - not only to keep your tattoo really well hydrated, but it's also very good at soothing that annoying itching and irritation.

How to clean a new tattoo:

new tattoo leaking ink

Whilst light scabbing is normal and encouraged when healing a tattoo, heavier scabs can form if you let too much plasma harden on the surface of the skin. 

These thicker scabs are more prone to drying, cracking, itching and eventually getting ripped off prematurely if they get caught on anything.

Because of this, it’s always best to try to wipe as much excess blood, plasma and ink away from your skin as possible within the first few days of healing.

Another minor issue with leaking ink is that when trying to sleep with a new tattoo for the first couple of nights, the ink and blood can seep out and dry against the bed sheets, and this poses a couple of problems:

Firstly, the pigment in the ink can be very tough to remove from various materials, and if your tattoo begins to leak ink during the night, it can stain bed sheets and pillow cases etc quite easily. Therefore it’s advisable to sleep with bedding that you don’t mind ruining and getting covered in ink and blood for one or two nights.

Secondly (and more importantly), as this ink/blood mixture leaks and dries as you sleep, it can cause your tattoo to become stuck to your bedding if you happen to press against it during the night.

Sleeping with new tattoo

Try to sleep in a position where you tattoo will not likely get stuck to any bedding

Any sudden twists and turns during the night can allow the skin to rip away from the bedding, potentially causing your tattoo to loose some internal ink in the process. This could then possibly lead to fading and patchiness in certain areas of the tattoo once the healing has finished.

It’s also worth knowing that if you wake up to find your tattoo has stuck to your bedding, you should never just pull the bedding away from your skin for the exact same reason as mentioned above.

Instead, you should take your bedding into the bathroom with you and gently rinse the area under lukewarm water until the bedding falls away from your skin freely. This prevents any damage from being caused to your tattoo.

Some artists recommend that you sleep in your tattoo wrap for the first night to prevent these problems from happening. This first night is when your tattoo will be leaking the most, and the second night is rarely as bad as the first when it comes to ink and blood leaking out (although minor leaking will likely still happen).


Hopefully you should now know that having ink ooze out of your tattoo for a couple of days is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

Your artist should hopefully have packed the area with as much ink as possible to ensure that your tattoo looks perfect once it has finished the healing process.

As long as you follow the advice above and ensure that the leaking tattoo ink doesn’t dry up and cause your skin to get stuck to any bedding or other materials, there is no reason why it should cause you or your tattoo any other problems whatsoever.

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