Tattoo Blowout: What Is It and What You Can Do About It

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Are you excited to show off your new tattoo, but something doesn’t look quite right? Perhaps the ink has spread beyond the lines, and now the image appears blurry. If you’re not familiar with tattoos, this can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Don’t worry, though – you’re likely experiencing a tattoo blowout, a problem that affects some tattoo enthusiasts like yourself.

But what exactly is a tattoo blowout, and how does it happen? Is there anything you can do to fix it? In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions and provide you with essential information about tattoo blowouts. Let’s dive in.

What Is a Tattoo Blowout?

Tattoo blowout is a common problem that occurs when the tattoo artist injects the ink too deeply into the skin, going beyond the top layer and into the fat layer underneath. This can cause the ink to spread out and blur the tattoo’s lines, resulting in an image that is less defined and not as sharp as intended.

Research conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery found that tattoo blowout is one of the most common tattoo complications, affecting approximately 2% of all tattoos. The study showed that tattoo blowout occurs more frequently in areas of the skin with thin dermis, such as the fingers, wrists, and ankles. Furthermore, the study found that tattoo blowout was more common in older individuals, possibly due to changes in skin elasticity and thickness with age.

– What does tattoo blowout look like

Tattoo blowout can vary in appearance depending on its severity and location.

  • Usually, it looks like a blurry or smudged image around the edges of the tattoo where the ink has spread beyond the intended design.
  • The lines may appear fuzzy or wavy.
  • The colors may blend into each other.

Overall, tattoo blowout can give your tattoo a less defined and less precise look than what you wanted.

– How long does it take for a tattoo blowout to appear?

It usually takes a few days after getting a tattoo for tattoo blowout to become noticeable. However, in some cases, tattoo blowout may not become fully apparent until several weeks or even months after getting the tattoo.

During the healing process, the ink may appear to spread or blur, causing the lines to look less defined. This can happen when the ink continues to spread beneath the skin as it heals.

If you are worried about a possible tattoo blowout, it’s best to talk to a professional tattoo artist or dermatologist who can give you an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment options.

Tattoo Blowout: Causes

Tattoo blowout can be caused by several factors, including poor tattooing techniques, which is one of the main reasons behind this issue.

Inexperienced tattoo artists are one of the leading causes of tattoo blowout. If your tattoo artist is new to the profession or lacks proper training, they may not know how to apply the ink correctly. When ink is inserted too deeply into the skin, it can cause blowouts, leading to blurry lines and an overall less defined tattoo.

Another reason behind tattoo blowout is the use of the wrong technique or pressing too hard with the tattooing tools. If a tattoo artist applies too much pressure or angles their tools incorrectly, the ink can penetrate deeper into the skin, causing it to spread out too much. This is particularly true in areas of the skin where there is more fat, leading to a smudged appearance. For more details on this topic, see our article on “How deep does a tattoo needle go?

In addition to these factors, certain skin types may be more prone to tattoo blowout. People with thinner or more delicate skin, for example, may be at a higher risk of experiencing blowouts. It is also possible that the size and design of the tattoo may play a role, as larger and more intricate tattoos may be more likely to experience blowouts.

Overall, understanding the causes of tattoo blowout can help you take steps to prevent this issue from occurring. By choosing an experienced and well-trained tattoo artist and taking proper care of your tattoo during the healing process, you can help ensure that your tattoo looks its best for years to come.

Is It Tattoo Blowout or Healing?

When you have a healing tattoo, it can be hard to tell if it’s going through the normal healing process or if there’s something more serious happening, such as a tattoo blowout.

While your tattoo is healing, it’s normal for it to look messy and blurry, and you may notice some ink leakage and blurry lines. This is all part of the skin’s natural repair process. However, if after the healing process is complete, you notice that the lines of your tattoo look imprecise and smudged, it’s possible that you have a tattoo blowout.

To properly assess your tattoo, it’s important to give it time to fully heal, which typically takes a few weeks. During this time, make sure to keep your tattoo moisturized and clean to promote proper healing. Once your tattoo has fully healed, you can better determine if there’s an issue with the lines or if it’s just part of the normal healing process.

If you do suspect a tattoo blowout, it’s best to consult with a professional tattoo artist or dermatologist who can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options. In the meantime, continue to properly care for your tattoo to ensure it looks its best.

How to Fix Tattoo Blowout

There are three main ways to fix a tattoo blowout: correcting it with more tattooing, using a laser, or surgically removing the tattoo. Correcting a blowout with more tattooing or with a laser can reduce its appearance, but surgical removal is the only way to completely remove it. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to take good care of your fixed tattoo to ensure proper healing.

Correct with more tattooing

The least expensive way to minimize the appearance of a tattoo blowout is to camouflage the blowout with more tattooing. You might pay $50 to $400 for a blowout cover-up, depending on the size of your tattoo and the extent of the blowout. However, you’ll have to wait up to two months for the tattoo to heal before getting a cover-up. It’s important to be diligent with your tattoo aftercare routine to make sure your tattoo heals properly. A good cover-up is that you can generally keep the look of your tattoo while reducing the appearance of a blowout.

Correct with laser therapy

Laser therapy can also help reduce the appearance of a tattoo blowout. Q-switched lasers send out waves of energy absorbed by ink particles in the skin. The energy diffuses the ink further in the skin so it’s less noticeable. This method should leave you with the tattoo you intended, with little to no signs of a tattoo blowout. While Q-switched laser therapy doesn’t work for everyone, many people find it effective at fading blowouts. You may need five or more sessions to reduce the appearance of the blowout so it’s not noticeable. The number of sessions you need depends on the extent of the blowout and your body’s reaction to laser therapy.

Surgical tattoo removal

Surgical tattoo removal is the most invasive way to get rid of a tattoo blowout. It requires getting rid of your tattoo. During surgical, or excision, tattoo removal, a surgeon will cut off your tattooed skin and sew your remaining skin back together. This procedure is the only way to totally remove a blown-out tattoo. As with laser treatment, insurance companies usually do not cover the costs of surgical tattoo removal. Other considerations with surgical tattoo removal include scarring and recovery time. The smaller the removed tattoo, the less scarring you’ll notice.

Bottom Line

Tattoo blowouts can be an unfortunate outcome of the tattooing process, but they are not always preventable. Factors such as the artist’s experience, techniques used, and the area of the body being tattooed can all contribute to the risk of a blowout. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as choosing an experienced and skilled artist, following proper aftercare instructions, and avoiding tattooing delicate areas of the body.

If you do experience a blowout, it’s important to consult with your tattoo artist to determine the best course of action.

Remember, a tattoo blowout is not a badge of honor or a rite of passage, so take steps to minimize your risk! And if all else fails, just tell people it’s a new avant-garde style of tattooing that they’re not cool enough to understand.

Ultimately, being informed and taking preventative measures can help ensure a successful and enjoyable tattooing experience.


Is it rare to get a tattoo blowout?

Tattoo blowouts aren’t super common nowadays with the advanced equipment and techniques used by most tattoo artists, but they can still happen during the process. A blowout is when the needle goes too deep into the skin, making the ink spread beyond the design’s intended lines, causing a blurry or smudged look. It’s important to choose a reputable artist who uses proper techniques and equipment to reduce the risk of a blowout. While not always avoidable, a skilled artist can help minimize the chance of this happening.

Does tattoo blowout go away?

Tattoo blowouts usually won’t go away by themselves and can be permanent. If the blowout is minor, it may fade or disappear on its own after a year. However, most serious blowouts need to be corrected by professionals. It’s important to choose a skilled and experienced tattoo artist who can help minimize the risk of a blowout and offer solutions if one occurs.

Does tattoo blowout get worse?

Yes, tattoo blowouts can get worse over time as the ink continues to spread under the skin, making it more noticeable. While blowouts are not always preventable, choosing an experienced artist who uses proper techniques and equipment can help minimize the risk. If you experience a blowout, consult with your artist to determine the best course of action, which may include a touch-up or other options to improve its appearance.

Is tattoo blowout my fault?

It’s not necessarily your fault if you experience a blowout. Instead, it is more often due to the artist’s lack of experience, carelessness, or simply having a bad day. That being said, there are still some things you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing a blowout. One important step is to choose an experienced and skilled tattoo artist who uses proper techniques and equipment to minimize the risk. Additionally, following proper aftercare instructions and avoiding tattooing certain delicate areas of the body, like the hands and feet, can also help reduce the risk of blowouts.

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