What Happens If I Get A Pimple Or Spot On My New Tattoo?

Due to the millions of acne sufferers around the world, it’s only natural that sometimes these spots and pimples develop over the area of a tattoo. When this happens, many people naturally become concerned that the spots and pimples on their tattoos will be able to permanently damage the appearance of the ink - especially if lots of them appear at once.


Will Spots & Pimples Damage My New Tattoo?

Although big, angry, pussy looking pimples on your new tattoo may look like they’re going to completely mess up your ink, this is very unlikely, and in fact you shouldn’t worry about this happening at all in most circumstances.

pimples on new tattoo

Spots and pimples actually usually form above where the tattoo ink resides, meaning that the ink usually stays damage free when a breakout of acne occurs over the tattoo.

However, popping and picking at the spots and pimples on your tattoo can have a worse outcome.

Although innocent-looking enough, popping a pimple here and there on your ink can create a couple of problems.

Firstly, if your tattoo is brand new, the skin is going to essentially be a big open wound, and the ink will likely not have completely set in place.

Because of this - picking, popping or scratching at a pimple can quite easily displace any unsettled ink and cause it to be pulled out and away from the skin.

acne on new tattoo

This kind of damage can eventually lead to your tattoo looking patchy and faded in certain areas, and can even lead to tattoo scarring in extreme cases.

Secondly, as the tattoo is an open wound, it is very susceptible to nasty germs and bacteria, and if a popped spot becomes infected then it can cause a lot of appearance-altering damage to your ink - so refrain from popping and keep the tattooed area as clean as possible.

How to clean a new tattoo:

How Should I Treat & Get Rid Of Spots & Acne On A Tattoo?

The first step, as mentioned above is to steer clear from popping or picking at the spots - doing this is never a good idea and will not improve the situation in any way.

Another thing you should avoid doing is applying/rubbing any harsh chemicals/products over the area (like most acne treatment lotions).

These chemicals can be very strong, and because your skin will be so sensitive in the weeks after getting a new tattoo, these chemicals can cause potentially extreme irritation and inflammation around the tattooed skin, not to mention possible delayed healing times.

Instead, make sure to clean the area regularly to prevent further spreading and outbreaks of spots/acne, and apply a good skin-sensitive tattoo lotion afterwards to help soothe the area and hydrate the skin.

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.

If any spots or moderate acne do affect the healing process of your tattoo, and end up creating permanent blemishes/fading around the area, your artist should be happy to book you in for a touch-up, which is normally free.

What About Spots On An Older Tattoo

The advice for spots and pimples on older tattoos is much the same as above, except that your tattooed skin will generally be less sensitive and delicate as it gets older, meaning that it should be a bit more durable against various skin conditions such as acne.

spots on new tattoo

However, it’s still best to refrain from popping any spots in the area just to be safe, and in order to completely minimize the risk of potentially causing an infection or otherwise damaging the tattoo.

It’s still also advisable to stay away from harsh chemicals, even when you’re tattoo is well-aged. This is because these products can still cause irritation to the area (tattooed skin is always more sensitive than regular skin), and can actually cause the tattoo to fade over time if applied regularly.

If your acne over the tattoo is moderate and stubborn; instead of using a cream, explain the situation to your doctor and ask them if they’re be able to supply an oral medication for the acne/pimples, as this form of medication is much less likely to negatively affect the appearance of your tattoo when compared to applying strong creams and ointments directly to the skin.


Spots, pimples and acne on a new tattoo shouldn’t cause too much of a problem during the healing process, and shouldn’t create any lasting damage to older tattoo either as long as you refrain from popping and picking at the pimples. Remember - don’t try to clear the area up using any harsh products or chemicals, and by allowing the spots to disappear on their own, your ink is much more likely to remain problem free for many years to come.

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