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Can I Slap My Tattoo if It Itches?

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can I slap my tattoo if it itches

You just got a new tattoo a couple of days ago and now it’s starting to itch? Yep, that’s pretty normal! 

Your tattoo artist probably warned you not to scratch it right? So now you might be wondering, can I slap my tattoo if it itches?  

Yes, you can slap your tattoo if it itches but do it gently and carefully. I wouldn’t recommend it but if you can’t take it, slapping it will reduce the itching and is much better than scratching or rubbing it. 

In this article, I’ll dig deeper into this and will cover most of the common questions newbies might have. 

Table of Contents

Let’s get started!

Why Do People Want to Slap Their Tattoos?

People often slap their tattoos when they get itchy. The tattoo gets itchy because the skin around your tattoo gets irritated due to several reasons which we will discuss in a different post. 

Sometimes the tattoo artist might slap the tattoo once they finish the piece as some tend to believe it will bring good luck. Ridiculous right? Saw this somewhere on the internet. 

Also read: Can You Tattoo Over A Mosquito Bite?

However, the artist might slap the tattoo to show you how to do it if the tattoo gets itchy.

What Does Slapping a Tattoo Do?

Slapping a tattoo will reduce the itchiness and make you relieved. How does this happen? Here’s the science:

Slapping will block or interrupt the continuous flow of nervous signals to the brain that tells the brain that this part of the skin is itchy. 

Cool right? This tricks the brain and the tattoo and skin around it soothes in a few seconds. 

However, if you slap a new tattoo it may blow out the lines. 

Is Slapping Better Than Itching a New Tattoo?

Yep! Slapping is 100 times better than scratching a tattoo. 

Scratching a tattoo will cause more irritation and might lead to infections. It will also most certainly remove the (wound) scabs which will interfere with the ink and distort the tattoo and ruin the piece. Scratching can also cause scars on the tattoo and will damage the surrounding skin.

Slapping or tapping on the other hand doesn’t do much damage and if you do it gently there are no issues at all. But it will cause some pain because you are slapping a wound which is not yet healed.

If you don’t do it carefully, slapping too can cause irritation and infections and might even blow out the tattoo lines.

Can I Slap My Tattoo if It Itches?

Slapping a tattoo that itches seems like the obvious solution. And yes, you can slap your tattoo if it itches like crazy and you can’t bear it. We also know why slapping is much better than scratching it.

But is it the solution for an itchy tattoo? Turns out, this might not be the best idea.

Because the skin around the tattoo is relatively very sensitive, slapping might cause some damage and this will also increase the time it takes to heal.

One of the most common problems with tattoos is that people often forget that they are wounds and as such, should be treated in the same way as any other wound on the body.

Slapping the tattoo frequently will also cause infections as you will be introducing bacteria into the wound every time you touch it.  

When Can I Start Sapping My Tattoo?

You can start gently slapping the tattoo as soon as it starts itching which is probably in a few days after you get the tattoo. If you can bear the itchiness, wait until the tattoo is fully healed. It takes some time for the skin to recover and to heal the wounds. This healing process usually takes about 2-3 months.

Below is a mini guide on how long the itchiness would last and how long it takes to heal. Bit out of topic but you’ll find it helpful.

How Long Does the Itching Last for a Tattoo?

Itching lasts until your tattoo is COMPLETELY HEALED. How do you know it’s healed? 

The tattoo is healed when there are no scabs, when the texture of the skin looks the same as normal skin, and when the colors on your tattoo are no longer faded.

Healing time differs from person to person based on medical history, age, etc. There are many ways to identify how well your tattoo has healed and three of them are discussed below.


It takes about 5-6 weeks to completely heal your tattoo unless you have a medical condition affecting the healing rate of a wound such as diabetics.

Time also depends from person to person as some people heal faster while others will take more than 6 weeks to completely heal.


If your tattoo still hurts then it is not yet healed. Pain is a main sign that signals the healing process is still ongoing. It is normal to have pain in your tattoo for the first couple of weeks since it is a new wound.

It is even normal for the tattoo to feel sensitive to sunlight within these weeks. When you no longer feel pain around your tattoo then it is completely healed.


When your tattoo has stopped peeling, it is completely healed. If there are scabs remaining on your tattoo signs that the tattoo isn’t healed yet. Tattoo scab came off and no ink underneath is also a common you faced during the peeling stages.

How to Stop Tattoo Itching?

To alleviate itching from a new tattoo, it’s important to avoid scratching it. Instead, try these methods:

  • Apply a bandage: Covering the tattoo can prevent scratching.
  • Moisturize: Use unscented ointments or petroleum jelly to soothe the skin.
  • Keep the tattoo clean: Use lukewarm water and mild soap for washing, and avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep the skin from getting dry and itchy.
  • Wear loose clothing: This prevents irritation from tight fabrics.
  • Avoid swimming: Stay out of chlorine, salt water, and public water spaces until the tattoo is fully healed.

These tips help in managing the itchiness and protect the tattoo during the healing process.


What happens if I hit my new tattoo?

Hitting the tattoo causes the new wound to get more damaged and this causes the healing time to become longer. This in turn increases the itchiness around the wound and it might get unbearable. Hitting the tattoo might cause pain and sometimes make you bleed depending on how hard you hit. Messing up the ink in your tattoo is another hazard caused by hitting the new tattoo. Hitting can cause the scabs to remove early and cause scars on your tattoo and to shade away the ink in your tattoo.

What happens if you slap a new tattoo?

Slapping a new fresh tattoo might blow out the lines on the tattoo. It will cause pain and even irritation and might lead to infections.


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