Tattoo Not Healing Properly.

msrsimpkin

Premium
28 May 2011
55
Stoke on Trent
First Name
Rachael
Hi guys. I've been practicing tattooing on pig skin everyday since I got my machines about 2 weeks ago, and last week my husband managed to talk me into trying it out on real skin. I was very nervous at the idea, but he thought it would give me some good practice. I did a small tattoo on his outer calf, and he was really happy with it. But, it isn't healing properly now.

Initially it looked great, but he kept knocking it on things, since he's not used to having a tattoo on his leg, and it started to feel really tight and sore and it was very red around the outline. So he put a little tiny bit of Bepanthen on it before he went to bed a few days ago and when he woke up it was really gungy and wet, and the scabs had just gone to mush. He washed it and most of the scab-mush came off and it looked as if he'd completely lost the colour underneath. He's made sure to keep it clean, and hasn't put anymore lotions or ointment on it since, but it just won't scab up or heal. There's no puss or infection in it, but it's still quite red and sore.

Just to note, everything I used when I did the tattoo was disposable and I made sure to use fresh gloves, ink, cups, etc. The only thing I know now that I did do wrong is that I had to voltage too high (10.5 ish), but I can't imagine it would cause this. I've done other colour touch ups on his previous tattoos since and he said it's less painful and healing better than when he first had it done.

It might also be worth noting that he had a bad case of twitchy-leg when I was doing the tattoo and had to keep stopping every few seconds to let his leg calm down. So the full tattoo took about 4 hours (the design is about 2.5" x 2.5").

So, basically I'm just wondering if anyone has any idea what could have caused it. Could it be something as simple as the voltage being too high, or overworking the area, or him knocking it a lot, or a combination of them all? Or something completely different?
And does anyone have any advice on what to do with it to help it heal? I'm not even bothered if he looses the ink from it at the moment, I'm just interested it getting it healed up.

As I said, I've done more touchups on him since with no problems whatsoever, but ideally I'd like to try and find out what could have caused it so prevent it from happening in the future.

Thanks in advance for any help :D
 

marked 4 life

Premium Gold
31 May 2011
1,478
Media
49
Stoke on Trent
First Name
Andy
Gender
Male
It has happened to me many times and I couldnt understand why so I lined a piece and that healed fine with no soreness at all then when I coloured I had what you describe, still running clear fluid after even 2 days, bright red around the tattoo and very, very sore with a soft mushy scab.

I tried a different machine which I use as a colour packer with less rear spring tension on it running at a lower voltage and that did the trick, I would say that it is probably a combination of a badly adjusted machine, over working the area because the machine isnt putting in the ink correctly, possibly your technique on how to put colour in also.

Regarding colours, some fly in the skin, others have to be worked gently, I used to find white, yellow, light blue and some light greens difficult to apply as they always looked as if they were not going in so you go over them again, and again, before you know where you are you have over worked the skin.

With colour packing you need to get your technique right, bang in the colour and leave it, 10 mins later it may look more solid, or in the case of yellow or white too much blood coming through may hide the actual colour but it is there.
 

ASH13

Basic
28 May 2011
730
USA
First Name
TWM
Have any pics of it?

What type of ointment/lotion did he use?

It could have got infected when he hit it maybe.
 

tattytone

Premium
9 Jun 2011
234
sunny essex
First Name
Tony
i bet it worried you, i am new to all this and it worries me lol

i hope its nothing major and it sounds like you did all the right things, maybe its just worked to long on it or somthing silly like that, i really dont have a clue but i am sure somone will soon tell you where you went wrong

Post a photo up to show the pros
 

X DEBS X

Basic
1 Jun 2011
183
First Name
Debbie
Can i ask what design you did? if it was only 2.5" by 2.5" small, how come it took 4 hours to complete?? Did you have problems getting the ink in? Maybe you have overworked the skin if it took you so long.
 

WilD

Premium
13 Jan 2011
451
UK
First Name
Dawn
Hi,

sounds like you have major over worked the skin if I am understanding how small it is - and the time you spent on it! - seems you have badly damaged the surface layers & you will find when it heals that the skin will be lumpy & bumpy i.e. scarred. I would suggest if it persists in weeping that he goes along to the docs and gets a course of anti-biotics. (it's no big deal).

Not being funny here - we are all different - and learn at different paces etc - but only 2 weeks and onto skin I think is a pretty bold step! Had you been working on pig? - and if so - did you cause any damage to the skin? You can tell if its over worked because it takes the top layer off - which sounds like thats what you did to hubby!!

I'd slow down the machine - and have a bit more practice - it's nerve racking enough at the start - but thankfully it was a family member!!
 

msrsimpkin

Premium
28 May 2011
55
Stoke on Trent
First Name
Rachael
Andy, thank you so much for putting my mind at rest. I was sure I'd done something terribly wrong. It's good to know I'm not the only one that's had the same problem. It would seem that it's probably a combination of a few things that's caused it.

The reason it took so long is because his leg kept twitching. Apparently, it's a fairly common problem that some people get when being tattooed on the leg (or so he read). He had to keep telling me to stop every few seconds cos he could feel a twitch coming on. And we kept taking breaks, and repositioning his leg to try and calm it down. The ink went in pretty well, so I didn't keep hammering at a single area for a long time, I just had to keep stopping and going back to it.

I agree that it was very soon to be tattooing on human skin, and I really didn't want to at first. But he managed to talk me into it, and assured me that he wouldn't hold it against me if anything went wrong because he practically begged me to do it. Hehe. And yes, I had been practicing on pig skin almost daily, and still am.

I'll try and get him to get a picture of it. And thanks for all the help, all of you :)
 

WilD

Premium
13 Jan 2011
451
UK
First Name
Dawn
Hey Rachael,

Sorry - wasn't having a go - just assumed from the time you'd spent that it sounded like an over-work.
I also know it's tempting to get onto skin once you get going, - and also, how people badger you to give them ink!!:icon_wink:
 

msrsimpkin

Premium
28 May 2011
55
Stoke on Trent
First Name
Rachael
Hehe. Dawn, I didn't think for a minute that you were being rude or having a go, I just wanted to set everyone's mind at rest ;)
I might also note that, although I've only have my setup a few weeks, I've been researching a reading up about the machines and tattoo techniques, etc. for much longer.
 

schwartzy

Premium Plus
20 Mar 2011
337
Media
50
London, England
First Name
Rachel
Gender
Female
Hi, I have a similar problem. A week ago I did a tattoo on my boyfriend's ankle and it is not healing well. It has gone very scabby and red around the edges, with a bit of swelling. This is the first time that this has happened in any of the tattoos that I have done on people and everything that I used was sterile and there was no difference in any of the set-up. Rachael- how is the tattoo that you were having problems with, has it healed ok now and what did he put on it?
Thanks,
Rachel
 

msrsimpkin

Premium
28 May 2011
55
Stoke on Trent
First Name
Rachael
Schwartzy, his tattoo is fully healed now, although he has lost colour in some places where it scabbed particularly badly. He didn't put anything else on it, other than just keeping it clean with soap and water and patting dry with a clean towel. It did take a while to heal and scabbed up pretty badly, but we're just glad it's healed now and can be redone once the scarring's gone down.

I'm almost certain from reading what people have said here, and fiddling around since, that it was a combination of having the power supply too high, overworking it and probably a badly tuned machine.

I hope your boyfriend's tattoo heals okay, Rachel. Personally, I would advise just keeping it clean and if it gets dry and tight, just rub a little bit of Bepanthen on it. Make sure it is just a little bit, though. As I've found from experience, less is most definietly more when it comes to Bepanthen. Too much can be worse than nothing at all.
 

schwartzy

Premium Plus
20 Mar 2011
337
Media
50
London, England
First Name
Rachel
Gender
Female
Thanks. It doesn't look quite so red this morning and at least it is dry and scabby rather than gooey! I've been doing a bit of looking around on the internet, just putting in 'infected tattoo' on search forums and it is interesting that calves and ankles seem to come up a lot, this area seems to get infected easily probably from dirt and dust coming up from the pavement (or in my boyfriend's case the road as he cycles to work in central London every day). he's going to make sure that it is loosely covered when cycling so hopefully it is on the mend now.
 

heritage74

Premium
23 May 2011
9
watford
First Name
lee heritage
hi there i done a big dragon on my thigh all went ok but had a few spotty areas come up this was because the legs are not as hard wearing as other parts of the body and the skin can be very sensitive there also is your husband allergic to the ink at all have heard some colour react differant to others
 

schwartzy

Premium Plus
20 Mar 2011
337
Media
50
London, England
First Name
Rachel
Gender
Female
Hi, It seems to be healing nicely now and where the scabs have fallen off all the colour seems to be intact. I don't think it was an allergic reaction. He reminded me that it was raining heavily the day after he had it done and so dirty rain water would have been splashing up from the road onto his ankle as he cycled which probably caused the infection. This has been a learning experience for me, I'll know now in future how to advise people on extra careful aftercare when tattooing this area.



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