If it's your first tattoo or your 100th proper aftercare is always crucial for a healthy, healing tattoo. Here are three indicators your tattoo might be infected, keep in mind every skin type is different and with that, every healing process is unique for the individual.  

3. Swelling

Swelling can be a normal part of the healing process, considering your skin is technically healing from trauma. Not everyone experiences swelling, but for those that do, it should only last 5-7 days, especially in the first 24 to 48 hours. Beyond that time frame, it's best to get it checked by a dermatologist or your doctor. 

Cover image by Charley Pangus

Three Signs Your Tattoo Might Be Infected

2. Fever

Some might feel a range of hot and cold if they're dealing with early signs of infection, though this can also occur if you're dehydrated - so make sure you drink lots of water before and after a tattoo. 

Three Signs Your Tattoo Might Be Infected

1. Seeing Red (red lesions)

The most common symptom of a tattoo infection is a lingering rash or red, risen skin around the area of the tattoo. Skin can become irritated because of sensitive skin, in that scenario, this symptom should fade after a couple of days. But if the redness or rash continues for more than a week, it's best to consult your doctor.

Three Signs Your Tattoo Might Be Infected

One of the best things you can do to prevent infection is to ask your artist for proper cleaning instructions (which most of them will provide you with anyway). And don't be shy about asking questions!