Tattoo Bleeding: When Should You Begin To Worry?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on August 12, 2019
    Last Updated: November 28, 2020

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. It is also true that some tattoos can bleed much more than 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 begins, as these products all produce blood-thinning effects. The same is also true if you take prescription blood-thinning medicine.

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

You must remember, though, 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 region.

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 will continue to bleed for a little while afterward; but what happens if for whatever reason your tattoo bleeds for longer than you think it should do?

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 amounts of blood and plasma for longer than the average person. However, if after 48 hours your tattoo is still bleeding, then there may be a couple of reasons 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 chance that these could be interfering with the 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 jump straight into intense exercise, 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 occur.

An infected tattoo

Tattoo infections can present themselves in many ways, and one of the symptoms can be excessive bleeding/oozing/weeping from the area of the wound, especially if it begins to blister.

If you suspect your tattoo may be infected, 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 the majority of ink ends up staying where it should within your skin.

Most of the time, though, too much ink has been inserted for your body/skin to handle, so some of this is pushed out along with the blood. 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 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 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 there’s nothing serious that could be making your tattoo bleed more than it should be.

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