What is tattoo blowout and can I fix it? [Information Guide 2021] (2023)

We've all seen it before: tattoos that look smudged or smudged; Lines that blend together making a tattoo look unprofessional at best and completely ruined at worst. This tattoo complication is called an “explosion” and is no one’s friend.

Keep reading to learn more about tattoo overflows, how it looks on the skin, and why it happens. Explore the options available to replace, repair, or eliminate your exploding tattoo problem.

What is tattoo blowout and can I fix it? [Information Guide 2021] (1)

What is a burst tattoo?

Blowout is when parts appear blurred, smudged or runny because the tattoo artist used the tattoo machine improperly or inefficiently.

While anyone who's seen a friend's DIY tattoos is likely familiar with the blown-up look, many people still aren't sure what causes those unsightly smudges in supposedly professionally applied tattoo ink.

While there are numerous factors that can increase the likelihood of a tattoo popping, inexperience is responsible for 90% of tattoo popping.

This is not to say that an experienced tattoo artist is immune to explosions, but it can greatly reduce the risk of a tattoo being ruined by an explosion.

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(Video) Tattooing Blowouts On My Own Skin! *!GRAPHIC!* + How To Tattoo & Fix A Blowout! LIVE SKIN DEMO!

What are the causes of tattoo bursting?

heavy handsÖthe wrong angle

Pushing ink too deep into the skin is the number one cause of breakouts. A heavy-handed artist can apply the paint with too much pressure, causing the paint to seep into unwanted tissue and bleed into adjacent areas.

On the other end of the spectrum, if an artist doesn't go deep enough and apply tattoo ink to the upper layers of the skin, a burst can also occur when the ink seeps into the surrounding skin.

A (mostly) inexperienced artist can also apply the machine at the wrong angle, causing the paint to leak onto the surrounding fabric and cause an explosion. This happens more often with black than color ink.

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thin skin

Another common cause of tattoo overflow, much more difficult to control, occurs when a design is applied to areas of the body where the skin is particularly thin. This is because these body parts have less tissue under the skin, making it much more likely that the needle will go deeper than intended and cause a burst.

Areas like the tops of the feet, hands, wrists and ankles, toes or finger tattoos are particularly prone to these types of breakouts. Again, experienced artists are less likely to cause a blowout, but even talented artists can have trouble skinning these thin areas.

excessive extension

When applying a tattoo, an artist will typically stretch the client's skin to ensure the area is flat and the design has the correct proportions. However, if the artist is a little rough and overzealous in stretching the client's skin, this could result in the needle entering at an awkward angle, possibly injecting ink into the surrounding tissue and causing an explosion.

Most experienced artists understand how elastic a person's skin is and how to properly stretch it to apply a tattoo without bursting, but sometimes it happens anyway.

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(Video) Blowout Healing Process

Can I fix an explosion?

Unfortunately, after an explosion, there is little you can do to reverse the process.

The only real way to fix a blowout is to go to a tattoo artist, preferably not the one who applied the original failed piece, and consult with them on how to cover it up. While this may not be the perfect solution for a small piece (a tattoo artist may recommend using a white ink application for small black ink or dark pigment issues), the final product will likely look better than a blown design.

What is tattoo blowout and can I fix it? [Information Guide 2021] (2)


If the inking experience that led to your tattoo has left you completely dissatisfied with your tattoos, laser removal may be your most effective treatment option.

Laser removal works by using the high-energy beams of light from a laser and bombarding the tattoo with these charged light particles. The laser penetrates under the epidermis, where it slowly breaks down the ink into tiny particles, which are then absorbed into the body.

Older laser removal treatment technologies would have a hard time completely removing a burst tattoo, but nowadays an entire tattoo can be repaired in just a session or two (depending on size and depth).

Laser removal is a relatively quick process, but it can be expensive, especially for larger tattoos or when compared to cover-up options.

How much does tattoo removal cost? [Information Guide 2020]

What is tattoo blowout and can I fix it? [Information Guide 2021] (3)

How can I prevent tattoo breakouts?

The first and most important step to avoid this unpleasant result is research and care in choosing the original tattoo. By finding an experienced artist and looking through their portfolio, you can get a better idea of ​​their skill and style and reduce the risk of blowout.

(Video) TATTOO BLOWOUTS | What Are They, Avoiding & Correcting Them

It is also important to be aware of the risks associated with traditional tattoos.difficultLocations. Areas like fingers and hands are more prone to cracking and scarring because they are thin areas with little flesh under the skin. Areas such as the shoulder and inner arm, traditionally the most popular places for a first tattoo, offer natural advantages against tattoo complications.

Also, proper aftercare is essential. In the first two days after a new tattoo is applied, additional stress or trauma to the area can cause a subsequent flare-up. It is also important to be careful not to stretch, scar or bump the tattooed area until the skin has fully healed.

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modern tattoo machines

While the technology used to apply tattoos has come a long way from the sharp rods or simple needles used in the past, tattoo machines haven't evolved that much in the last hundred years. In fact, the overall design isn't all that different from the predecessor of modern tattoo machines, the electric pen, which Edison patented in 1891.

Because they are so much more common, this article will use coil machines in this quick look at how tattoo machines work.

Every tattoo machine has a few essentials that allow it to quickly inject ink under the skin. At the heart of the coil machine is a series of coils that work like electromagnets, quickly switching their current on and off, causing them to move.

These coils are connected to a spring and armature rod that moves up and down when current flows through the magnets. The tattoo needle is attached to the anchor rod and moves with it, and when attached to the skin it creates hundreds of tiny punctures. These perforations are filled with ink, creating a permanent design.

What is tattoo blowout and can I fix it? [Information Guide 2021] (5)

precision process tattoo

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While scratching with a tattoo machine or a single needle may seem easy, it's a precise process that takes years of dedication to master. An aspiring artist used to do an internship as a tattoo artist, but more and more people are taking a different path these days. Regardless, one of the first but most important skills a tattoo artist must acquire is learning how to naturally find the perfect depth to apply ink with the tattoo needle.

It's the depth of ink application that makes a tattoo permanent. In order for a new tattoo to stand the test of time, the ink must be injected beyond the outer layer of skin (epidermis) into the deeper layer (dermis). This is due to the body's immune system and the fact that the human body views ink as a foreign invader during healing.

Due to the traumatic nature of tattoos, the body actively tries to expel and absorb the ink during the healing process and any tattoos not applied deep enough will fade as the body parts replace the epidermis through the natural process of cell regeneration. .

At the end of the day, nobody wants a new tattoo, but the truth is, they are part of the tattoo reality and anyone with more than a few traditional tattoos is likely to have a piece that has suffered a tattoo complication in one way or another. other. While they aren't the prettiest and can take away from the overall appeal of a piece, having bangs isn't a death sentence.

At worst, they're an excuse to get back in your chair and come up with a bigger, bolder design to cover yourself up with.

What is tattoo blowout and can I fix it? [Information Guide 2021] (6)

Frequently asked questions about tattooing

What is a burst tattoo?

A blown tattoo occurs when parts appear to have faded, smudged, or oozed because an artist used the tattoo machine improperly or inefficiently.

How can I fix a cracked tattoo?

The only real way to fix a blowout is to go to a tattoo artist and consult with him about the possibility of a cover-up. Another option to consider is laser treatment, but it can be prohibitively expensive for larger tattoos.

How can I prevent tattoo breakouts?

The first and most important step to avoid this unpleasant result is research and care in choosing the original tattoo.It's also important to be aware of the risks associated with traditional tattooing in difficult places, such as the hand or finger.

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(Video) Does Your Tattoo Have Blowouts?

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Looking for coverup tattoo inspiration? Click on the links below to view some of our coverage galleries:

  • Designs to cover up chest tattoos
  • 59 best tattoo cover up ideas
  • 53 best cover ideas
  • 57 best tattoo cover up ideas


Is it possible to fix a blown out tattoo? ›

Unfortunately, once blowout occurs, there's nothing you can do to reverse it. In order to “fix” the blurry ink, you can try to correct it with additional tattooing.

Do tattoo blowouts fix themselves? ›

In some cases, a tattoo blowout may resolve itself as the tattoo heals. But if, after your new tattoo healing, it is still looking funky, you may need to have it removed by a specialist. It's often the best way to get rid of a tattoo blowout.

Can you fix tattoo blowout with white ink? ›

Yes, using white ink on top of a pre-existing tattoo will definitely help to lighten the area. While white ink is helpful in creating a cleaner canvas for a cover-up, artists are on the fence about whether or not it produces long-lasting results.

Does tattoo blowout ever fade? ›

How long does tattoo blowout last? Tattoo blowouts are usually permanent. If the blowout is small, the ink might spread out enough beneath the skin that it'll look like it's faded. However, that ink is still there.

Is a tattoo blowout my fault? ›

Tattoo blowout is an unfortunate and preventable mistake that can occur while getting a tattoo. If the artist is rushed, careless, or tattooing too deeply into the skin, the ink will begin to move around creating a blurred or hazy effect.

What does a tattoo blowout look like? ›

These lines are “blown out,” as you can see in the muddled edges and corners of this design. Additionally, because the tattoo needle went too deep, the skin looks scarred and raised. This is probably the most common type of tattoo blowout. Ink spreads out beneath the skin in a dark blur.

Can you get a refund for a tattoo blowout? ›

You could possibly get them to fix it, but you're not gonna get a refund or anything. It's important when getting a tattoo to do your research and look at the artist's work but blowouts do happen sometimes even with an experienced artist.

What happens when you have what is termed a tattoo blowout? ›

What is a tattoo blowout? Tattoo blowout occurs when the artist presses hard on the machine and the paint gets too deep into the skin. It penetrates immediately into the fat layer and spreads out there instead of getting fixed in the dermis. This creates the blur that is associated with a tattoo blowout.

Does Vaseline remove tattoo ink? ›

It's best to avoid products that are 100 percent petroleum-based, like Vaseline. The American Academy of Dermatology says that petroleum-based products can cause the ink to fade.

What does an overworked tattoo look like? ›

If your tattoo artist overworked you, your tattoo will scar up or show white spots in the overworked areas. This form of skin abuse can happen from running the machine too fast or just going over an area too many times to try to saturate filling.

Where are you prone to tattoo blowout? ›

Top of Hand - The tougher skin in this area tends to push ink out, is prone to blowouts and is difficult to heal. Back - This area typically has stretchy skin with multiple curves, including the boney spine. Ribs - Much slower to tattoo typically, the ribs have stretchy skin and are prone to blowouts.

Can you sue a tattoo artist for tattoo blowout? ›

If you have suffered any of these complications following a tattoo, and you feel that it was the fault of sub-standard care or practice on behalf of the tattoo artist or tattoo parlour, then you may be entitled to begin a tattoo injury claim.

Can over moisturizing a tattoo cause blowout? ›

Applying too much moisturizer restricts the skin's ability to breath, thus causing the pores to clog and can lead to consequent break outs. To avoid these symptoms, follow the aftercare instructions of your tattoo artist and apply the best tattoo aftercare moisturizer: your trusty Ink Nurse cream.

Why do all my tattoos blowout? ›

Tattoo blowouts, for the most part, occur when the tattoo artist penetrates their needle too deep into the skin that it spreads into the bottom layer, the hypodermis. As the hypodermis layer is made of fat tissue, the ink spreads out easier, creating those unwanted blurred lines in your design.

What happens if a tattoo artist messes up a tattoo? ›

Usually, if the tattoo is small, your tattoo artist will offer a quick fix and rework that will quickly patch up the mistake as if it was never there. The other methods require more engagement and can include covering the tattoo up with another tattoo, and in worst case scenario a laser removal.

Will tattoo artists fix others work? ›

Yes, a good tattoo artist will finish someone else's work if necessary. Make sure there is a good reason for changing artists though. Changing artists can affect the continuity of a design.

Does Aquaphor fade tattoos? ›

Using Aquaphor for tattoo aftercare, poses a risk of damaging your tattoo by causing premature fading. It has also been found that petrolatum and mineral oil can pull fresh tattoo ink from the skin. Again, another reason to avoid products that contain petrolatum and or mineral oil ingredients.

What's the best moisturizer for tattoos? ›

Lubriderm Daily Moisture Body Lotion

For at least a month after getting a tattoo, it's important to use a moisturizing lotion, says Nomy. "It helps the tattoo settle into your skin and look like it's a part of you," he says. "Look for a lotion that's unscented, like Lubriderm."

Is Aquaphor or Vaseline better for tattoos? ›

Aquaphor is recommended for tattoos

In the first few days after getting a tattoo, you'll need to keep it moisturized and bandaged. Aquaphor is recommended for tattoos because of its anti-inflammatory properties, while Vaseline is not, as it can block air from getting to the tattoo, which is needed for healing.

What is the most overused tattoo? ›

Here Are 25 Tattoo Designs That — According To Tattoo Artists — Are Totally Overdone
  • The Deathly Hallows symbol. ...
  • Anchors — usually accompanied by the words "Don't sink." ...
  • Chemistry formulas. ...
  • Big cats in crowns. ...
  • Forests around people's arms. ...
  • The entire Bible. ...
  • Little sun/moon combos. ...
  • Palm trees.
Feb 15, 2020

Is my tattoo blowout or healing? ›

Sometimes, at the beginning of the healing of your tattoo, you will see a bluish edge around your new body art, this is not necessarily a blowout. If after the healing process has come to an end, the lines are blurry or the various colors of ink have bled into each other, you most likely have a tattoo blowout.

How many times should you moisturize your tattoo a day? ›

The rule of thumb is to moisturize your new tattoo at least 2-3 times per day for the first two weeks (or until the healing process is complete). Many tattoo enthusiasts continue to moisturize their tattoos every day! As for what type of moisturizer to use, lotion is generally the best.

Can slapping a tattoo cause blowout? ›

Suggested Tattoo Aftercare

-DO NOT let anyone touch or slap your healing tattoo. Dirty hands cause infection. Slapping it can blow out the lines. -DO NOT scratch or scrub your healing tattoo.

What is the hardest spot to tattoo? ›

The armpit is among the most painful places, if not the most painful place, to get tattooed. The pain you'll experience getting tattooed here is very severe. In fact, most tattoo artists advise against people getting armpit tattoos.

How do you tell if a tattoo is blown out? ›

These lines are “blown out,” as you can see in the muddled edges and corners of this design. Additionally, because the tattoo needle went too deep, the skin looks scarred and raised.
Blowouts can appear as:
  1. Rough lines.
  2. Green-blue blurring around the entire tattoo.
  3. “Veins” of ink flowing through the skin's capillaries.

Does Vaseline heal tattoos? ›

Vaseline isn't the best choice for tattoo aftercare. Petroleum jelly traps moisture and bacteria, which can lead to infections and scarring if your tattoo doesn't get enough air while it's healing. You may be able to use Vaseline on old tattoos if your skin is dry.

Why is my tattoo bulging out? ›

Older tattoos may be raised due to scar tissue

Thicker lines, and more pressure applied during tattooing, can cause some scarring. It's nothing to be concerned about, but it can sometimes raise up, and this is generally caused by changes in body temperature or weather conditions, as well as general health.


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