Tattoo Bleeding - What To Do If Your New Tattoo Bleeds A Lot

So nobody particularly enjoys the site of their own blood, but sometimes it cannot be helped - and the process of tattooing is one of these times unfortunately - bleeding tattoos cannot be helped. It is also true that some tattoos can bleed much more that others.

Read on to discover the truths of tattoo bleeding and what to do if you bleed more than the average person while getting inked.


Do All New Tattoos Bleed And How Long Do They Bleed For?

There will definitely be blood, but how much exactly depends on a few different factors - this is also true when it comes to the length of time in which a tattoo may bleed after the tattoo has already finished.

Normally, your tattoo will continue to leak a mixture of blood, ink and plasma for between 12-36 hours (24 hours average) after your tattoo is completed. After this length of time, your skin will begin to heal enough for the scabbing process to effectively stop the leakages.

Your tattoo can bleed more though, for example, if you consume alcohol or take painkillers/Ibuprofen shortly before your tattooing appointment as these products all produce blood-thinning effects.

These effects will not only allow more blood to leak out of the tiny needle holes made during your tattoo appointment, but they can also prevent clots/scabs from forming as effectively, meaning that your tattoo may take longer to stop bleeding.

The same is also true if you take prescription blood thinning medicine.

Can You Drink Alcohol Before Or After Getting Tattoos

You must also remember that everybody is different, and some people will just bleed more or less depending on the makeup of their genetics and blood.

Being tattooed on certain body parts can also cause more bleeding depending on blood pressure in each specific area.

An example of this is my shoulders; I’ve had both shoulders tattooed and for whatever reason, they bled so much more than the rest of my arms (although this was no problem and everything worked out fine).

Everybody is different though, so your shoulder tattoos may not cause hardly any blood compared to mine.

What To Do If A New Tattoo Doesn’t Stop Bleeding

So we’ve established that everybody will bleed during a tattoo, and continue to bleed for a little while afterwards - but what happens if for whatever reason your tattoo bleeds for longer than you think it should do?

Tattoo Bleeding

Don't get worried if you see a site like this - blood pooling under the wrap is normal

Firstly - don’t panic. Some people will just naturally continue to leak small amount of blood and plasma for longer than the 36 hours stated at the start of this article. However, if after 48 hours your tattoo is still bleeding then there may be a couple of reason why.

As mentioned above, various products and medicines can prevent blood from effectively clotting and scabbing. If you’ve continued to take alcohol, painkillers/Ibuprofen or blood thinners straight after your tattoo was finished then there’s a change that these could be interfering with the tattoo healing process.

Remember - if you’re taking any sort of blood thinning drugs for medical purposes then it’s extremely important to consult a doctor before you decide to stop taking them for the sake of getting a new tattoo.

Another reason for continuous tattoo bleeding is your activity levels after you get inked.

If you finish your tattoo and then jump straight into intense exercise then this may disrupt your body's natural healing processes which in turn can cause your body to take slightly longer to complete the clotting & scabbing of your tattoo.

Finally, the last main reason why your tattoo may be taking longer to stop bleeding is infection.

Although tattoo infections are relatively rare these days due to more sterile tattooing environments and more detailed tattoo aftercare instructions given to customers, they can still happen if you’re not careful about ensuring that your new tattoo remains clean and bacteria-free during the initial healing stages.

Infected Tattoo

An infected tattoo

Tattooing infections can present themselves in many ways, and one of the symptoms can be excessive bleeding/oozing/weeping from the area of the wound.

If you suspect that your tattoo may be infected then see a doctor as soon as possible as some can become extremely nasty if left untreated.

My Tattoo Is Bleeding Ink - Is This Normal?

This is completely normal. A good artist will always pack as much ink into the area as possible to ensure that the majority of ink ends up staying where it should within your skin.

Most of the time though, too much excess ink has been inserted for your body/skin to handle, so some of this is pushed out along with the initial tattoo bleeding - again this is normal.​

While it may look worrying that your new tattoo is bleeding ink while it's supposed to be healing, this is absolutely nothing to worry about in mostly all cases. Just carefully wash any dried blood away and apply a good lotion to the area afterward to keep the skin hydrated and 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 long a tattoo bleeds for varies from person-to-person, but it will generally bleed for around day or two once you’ve left the tattoo shop. If you suspect any problems with the healing of your tattoo then speak to your artist or a doctor to make sure that there is nothing serious that could be making your tattoo bleed more than it should be.

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