My New Tattoo Is Leaking Ink! Is This Normal?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 19, 2017
    Last Updated: May 17, 2023

Getting a new tattoo 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 from your new tattoo.

This article aims to alleviate your concerns and describe to you exactly what it means when you see ink leaking out of a new tattoo.

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

First and foremost, having ink leaking and dripping out of your tattoo for a couple of days after getting it 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 as much ink sets properly within your skin as possible, making sure that the coloring and shading remain solid and evenly distributed 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 small amounts 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 did the opposite and failed to ‘fill up’ your skin with ink, then it’s likely the tattoo may heal patchy and faded.

Normally, when an artist has packed so much ink into your skin, it is slightly 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 begins the healing process, these fluids will get mixed with the excess ink that happens to be sitting in the upper layers of skin, and will naturally flush some of this out.

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 from your skin.

ink leaking from tattoo

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 area.

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 often. 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. If this isn’t gently removed, it is a set up for infection and poor healing.

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 aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.

How to clean a new tattoo:

new tattoo leaking ink

While 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 bedsheets, and this poses a couple of problems:

Firstly, the pigments 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 pillowcases 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.

Any sudden twists and turns during the night can allow the skin to rip away from the bedding, potentially causing your tattoo to lose 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.

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.

Most artists recommend 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).


Having ink ooze out of your tattoo for a couple of days is completely normal and nothing to worry about. It will just mean your tattoo looks slightly wet and gooey for a while. You may also stain clothing or bedding by accident if you’re not careful.

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

As long as you follow the advice above and ensure 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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