Why Isn’t My New Tattoo Scabbing?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 7, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Your tattoo likely isn’t scabbing because it’s still too new. Remember that tattoos are essentially open wounds, and it takes time for them to heal. Even so, if your tattoo hasn’t scabbed for a couple of weeks, something else could be happening.

Getting a tattoo is only the first part of the process. Taking care of your tattoo is the next critical stage. It determines whether your skin art would remain beautiful and healthy. If you aren’t up to speed with tattoo scabbing and healing, come and fill your boots.

How Do Tattoos Heal?

While would-healing is different for everyone, there are four general stages of tattoo-healing:

  1. Week 1: This stage lasts anywhere from three days to a week. Expect to see some bleeding and weeping.
  2. Week 2: Expect a lot of itching. By this time, scabs have formed, and you’ll be tempted to scratch and itch, but this could only lead to infection and scarring. This should last for about a week.
  3. Week 3–4: This is where the skin should dry out, and your tattoo becomes more prominent.
  4. Week 4–6: These last weeks complete the healing process. By this time, you should be good to go without any restrictions.

Reasons for Not Healing

  • Infection: Infections are the primary cause for a non-healing tattoo Excessive swelling, redness and pain are common signs of this
  • Irritation: Various irritants, such as clothes and bedsheets, can disrupt the healing by rubbing the skin

Reasons for No Scabbing

As you can see, scabbing is a key part of the process. They’re perfectly normal, and you should expect them after a week, at the most. In less than two weeks, the scabs should fall off. However, this depends on the depth and size of the wound.

This tattoo is scabbing quite heavily, so will probably peel away in larger flakes

In some cases, however, you may find that no scabbing occurs. This could be due to the following reasons:

  • You’re just not meant to scab
  • Extremely light scabbing not seen by the human eye
  • Excellent aftercare routine
  • The skin isn’t healing
  • It’s already healed

Scabbing Differs From Person to Person

Based on your skin and the skincare you’ve adopted over the years, your skin may scab very little. If you’ve been taking good care of your skin, you’re less likely to scab as much.

Also, if, after your tattoo, the artist gave you an effective aftercare process, you’re less likely to scab. Generally, the healthier you are, the less scabbing you can expect.

Your Tattoo Artist Plays an Important Role in Scabbing

A light-handed artist won’t cause as much trauma to the skin, meaning that there’s less to scab. This usually comes with experience but isn’t a guarantee.

Some artists prefer to get the job done and make sure the ink goes deep enough, and so are heavier with the process.

Excellent Aftercare Routine

If you see no scabs or very little scabs, the chances are you’re doing a great job taking care of your tattoo. However, if the lack of scabbing is accompanied by telltale warning signs of infection, such as pus or a nasty odor, you may have a problem on your hands. A tattoo that’s not being cared for has the likelihood of producing more scars.

Here are a few pointers on taking good care of your tattoo:

Keep Tattoos Out of Sunlight

The reason is simple: the skin absorbs UV rays from the sun, and this breaks up the particles of the tattoo, leading to fading or damaging. 

Protect Tattoos

Keep your tattoos away from anything that might prevent healing and cause an infection. This includes debris, fluff, and even clothes and bedsheets. That is why most artists recommend wrapping tattoos.

Allow Scabs to Naturally Fall Off

Avoid picking at peeling scabs even when they feel dry — they’re meant to be this way and will eventually peel off without intervention.

If you pick at scabs, you’ll deepen the wound and lengthen the healing time of the tattoo. Think of them as a protective barrier that can’t do its job if interfered with. You can still moisturize around the scab if the skin gets too dry and itchy there. 

Use Essential Oils

Use essential oils, such as coconut, lemon, and myrrh. Such oils help tattoos heal fast without adding complications. 

Non-Healing Wound

In the medical world, non-healing wounds can be caused by infections, poor diet or malnutrition, and diseases, such as diabetes. Also known as chronic wounds, a non-healing wound may not heal for up to five to eight weeks. In such cases, no scabbing will occur. 

However, such a condition would manifest with all other wounds and not just your tattoo. You can safely rule this out if you’ve never experienced a non-healing wound. If you still have doubts, contact a dermatologist. 

No Scabbing Isn’t Dangerous

While you should expect your tattoo to scab, if it doesn’t, there’s no reason to panic. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your body will heal the area much faster than someone who’s unhealthy, so you may not even see scabbing.

Also, excellent aftercare could minimize the appearance of scabs, even though scabbing is a part of healing. Unless you have a condition that causes non-healing wounds, non-scabbing tattoos aren’t a big deal.

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