Why Does My Tattoo Still Feel Raised?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 21, 2019
    Last Updated: January 6, 2021

A tattoo can become raised for a number of reasons. The most common factors that can cause tattoo raising are allergies, tissue damage, certain weather conditions, poor healing and rough tattoo artist work.

Below as a complete list of potential causes:

  • Bad healing
  • Infections or allergic reactions
  • Skin tissue damage
  • Your unique body chemistry
  • Certain weather conditions
  • Skin conditions
  • Absolutely no reason at all

The most common reason from the above list is the last point. Most of the time, tattoos remain raised for seemingly no reason at all. This is more common in newer tattoos, and as they get older, they normally settle down within several months to a year.

However, if you wish to delve a little deeper, the below issues can also cause a tattoo to remain raised beyond the initial healing period.

Reasons It May Still Be Raised

Bad Healing

Tattooing is complex in itself. It involves an intricate process of penetration to the skin, and the tattoo needle pierces the skin up several thousand times a minute. This skin tissue damage will trigger a process called phagocytosis. 

Phagocyte cells try to engulf the foreign ink pigment. Remaining ink pigment will stay in the dermis layer, and your body has accepted the ink. From this point, a good tattoo aftercare regime will ensure the recovery process has gone to plan.

Once the dead skin cells from the needle penetration have peeled away, and the healing process is complete, if your skin is still raised, the healing hasn’t been efficient.

Have you scratched or consistently picked at the scarred tissue? If so, you may have damaged the skin tissue, leaving a raised tattoo and unhealed skin.

This type of raising is completely normal on a new tattoo. You can see that the scabbing is creating a 3D effect on the skin.

Infections and Reactions

The US Food and Drug Administration agency advises on good tattoo research practice; however, it states that it doesn’t regulate tattoo inks and parlors.

This makes it even more important that you carry out your due diligence when it comes to choosing a parlor. Doing so will reduce the risk of incurring any infections or reactions, which could be a sign of your tattooed skin still being raised.

Allergic Reaction

A raised tattoo could be a sign that you are having a delayed reaction to the ink’s ingredients. The area can have a swollen and scaly appearance and feel hot to the touch.

Medical attention may not be crucial, but the area can be treated with a topical steroid ointment such as triamcinolone cream to help with these symptoms.


Tattoo parlors and the equipment they use can pose some valid health risks. Serious issues can arise if this equipment is unsterilized. Bacteria will infiltrate your body, and you may not only feel your tattoo raised.

An infection often surpasses the tattooed area and affects the entire body. Note feelings of fever, shivering and abnormal body temperature. Seek a doctor immediately, if concerned!

Skin Tissue Damage

Your tattoo will undergo a complex and intricate healing process that’s invisible to the naked eye. As soon as the last needle pierce leaves your body, the skin begins to act.


We put complete trust in our tattoo artists, yet an amateur artist may work too forcefully, causing lasting deep tissue damage. You may be seeing raised areas of skin, discoloration of the ink, and distortion or pitting in the design. 

Scarring can also be caused by excessive picking at the tattoo too early on in the healing process, but it’s possible to soften their appearance over time. Opt for a care product like Bio-Oil. Its PurCellin Oil™ ingredient increases skin elasticity and tone. 

Body Chemistry 

High Blood Pressure

While the human body has its specific functions and ways of working, everyone is unique. Are you involved in an adrenaline-packed career? Are you often wrapped up in excitement? 

This could mean you frequently have high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension.

Exercise creates heat in the body, which causes blood to rush to the skin tissue. High blood pressure will cause a decrease in blood flow movement in the blood vessels, causing inflation. Resistance to blood flow in the blood vessels will create a build-up at the skin tissue. Thus, the tattoo pigment will inflate with the skin tissue.

Perhaps take a break from the adrenaline and let your body heal!


Swelling is often a build-up of excess fluid and blood. It can be common with tattoos placed on the lower area of the body, like the feet. Try to improve blood circulation in the area naturally by relaxing or raising the area.

Prolonged Itching

If you’re also experiencing other symptoms beyond swelling, such as prolonged itching, a more serious issue is at play. Autoimmune disorders like sarcoidosis can emerge post-inking. Notify your tattoo artist and visit a dermatologist.

The Weather

An increase in humidity or a general rise in temperature can cause the skin to swell. It triggers an increase in blood supply to the skin, which surges into the skin tissue. 

The tattoo pigment is embedded in the skin layers and will move with the increased blood supply. The result is raised skin and an uncomfortable feeling. Stay cool and out of direct sunlight to somewhat reverse the symptoms. 

Skin Condition

A tattoo that’s still raised could simply be a product of your natural skin condition. If you suffer from such things as eczema or psoriasis, your skin is likely to be more sensitive.

Consider taking a trip to the dermatologist. They’ll be able to assess your skin and prescribe the necessary products to get your skin in its best state.

Using a good tattoo lotion can also help to calm down the issue by combatting dryness and allowing nutrients to soak into the skin.

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.

Know Your Skin

Don’t let raised skin on an old tattoo ruin your experience. It could be due to the weather, a delayed reaction or infection, your skin condition, or natural body chemistry. It’s rare to experience serious symptoms in such a situation. As with anything to do with your body, if you feel unwell or are concerned, seek medical advice immediately.