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Did Your Tattoo Scab Came Off And No Ink Underneath?

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  • 7 min read
tattoo scab came off and no ink underneath

Most tattoos will scab over as they heal. This is a normal process that helps protect the new tattoo from infection and further damage. However, the ink coming off with the scab is not.

I know how depressing it is to see a tattoo scab come off and there’s no ink underneath. Fortunately, it’s not a big problem! You can have that spot re-inked again.

How does it happen? POOR TECHNIQUE!

In this post, I’ll explain in detail how poor technique causes tattoo scabs to come off and no ink underneath and some of the most common misconceptions around this issue that some people think are true.

Also, read if you can baby lotion on the tattoo to lessen the effects here.

People often call this issue a tattoo peeling with no ink underneath as well. This guide applies to this too.

Table of Contents

Why Did My Tattoo Scab Came Off And There’s No Ink Underneath?

Here’s a detailed explanation of why your tattoo peeling with no ink underneath:

There are 3 layers to the skin, the Hypodermis (the bottom layer), the Dermis (the middle layer), and the Epidermis (the top layer).

I am pretty sure you are not interested in the science bit so I’ll get straight into why the tattoo scab came off and no ink. However, if are interested you can read it here.

For the perfect tattoo, the INK MUST GO into the Dermis.

If the tattoo artist goes too deep and gets ink into the Hypodermis or bottom layer, it initiates the scabbing process (not the normal flaking). During scabbing most of the ink will get trapped within the scab and will come out as a process of the scab healing.

There are a lot of other issues that arise if ink reaches this layer. Here are a few more:

The Hypodermis is full of fat, and cannot contain the ink because it doesn’t have the integrity as the dermis does so the ink will spread under the skin like BLOATING PAPER which will cause a BAD GREY MESS.

Another issue is that if you penetrate this layer the wound left behind is a FULL THICKNESS INJURY. You are breaching the body’s defenses and opening it up for infections! A bad overworked tattoo has a higher chance of getting infected. It also increases the healing time by weeks!

What if your tattoo artist didn’t go deep enough?

If the tattoo isn’t deep enough and only gets ink into the epidermis, the tattoo will look great for a couple of days but will DISAPPEAR within a month as the skin grows out. This is one of the reasons why ink would come out.

Poor skills and technique of the tattoo artist are why the tattoo scab came off and no ink underneath. If this has happened to you it’s already too late, go get it redone. But next time make sure you get your tattoos done by a professional who knows what he’s doing.

Common Misconceptions

In the world of tattoo artistry, several misconceptions abound, particularly regarding the phenomena of tattoo scabs coming off without any ink underneath and tattoos peeling with no ink underneath. It’s important to check facts about these myths.

1. Ink Rejection

One widespread fallacy is the notion of ‘Ink Rejection.’ Contrary to popular belief, our skin does not reject tattoo ink. This misunderstanding often leads to the advice of using only ‘reputable ink sources,’ which, while important for other reasons, has no bearing on this particular issue.

The reality is, that the skin’s interaction with tattoo ink is a complex process that doesn’t involve rejection as such.

2. Scratching/Rubbing the new tattoo

Another common misunderstanding revolves around scratching or rubbing new tattoos. While it’s true that these actions should be avoided due to the potential damage they can inflict on the healing skin, the formation of heavy scabs is not a direct result of them.

Heavy scabbing usually indicates that the ink has penetrated too deeply into the hypodermis layer of the skin. Remember, when dealing with an itch on a new tattoo, opt for a light slap rather than a scratch.

3. More aftercare BS

The blame often falls on aftercare when these issues arise, with many tattoo artists using it as a scapegoat to divert attention from their technique.

However, the truth lies in the depth at which the ink is applied. If it’s too deep or not deep enough, it can lead to the problems of heavy scabbing and peeling with no ink underneath.

4. Tattoo Wears Off

The idea that a tattoo can ‘wear off’ is another misconception. If a tattoo appears to have faded or disappeared, it’s likely because the ink was only applied to the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, which constantly renews itself.

How to take care of a peeling tattoo?

Taking care of a peeling tattoo is a process that demands diligence, attention to detail, and a profound understanding of the body’s healing mechanisms. 

Here are a few things you should take care of while peeling tattoos:

1. The Pinnacle of Cleanliness

Embrace the power of cleanliness. Remember, your hands are the first point of contact with your fresh tattoo, and they must be impeccably clean. This simple yet crucial step helps you to sidestep potential infections that can be introduced by bacteria on your hands.

2. The Art of Gentle Cleansing

Tattoo care is a delicate dance. Treat your tattoo with reverence, washing it tenderly with lukewarm water and mild, fragrance-free soap. Avoid scrubbing at all costs. Once done, show kindness to your skin by patting the area dry with a clean cloth or paper towel

3. Hydration and Moisturizing

Hydrate and moisturize, but remember, moderation is key. Apply a thin layer of a fragrance-free moisturizer to your cleansed tattoo. This crucial step wards off excessive drying and flaking, keeping your tattoo vibrant and healthy. But remember, over-moisturizing can lead to complications

4. Resisting the Itch

Yes, a peeling tattoo may itch, but resist the urge to scratch or pick at the flaking skin. This self-restraint can make all the difference between a beautifully healed tattoo and one that’s damaged.

5. Covering Up

If you’re venturing into potentially dirty environments, consider safeguarding your tattoo with a breathable bandage. Change it frequently, ensuring dirt and bacteria don’t find a home against your skin.

6. Sunlight

Sunlight, while essential for overall health, can be your tattoo’s arch-nemesis. It can cause fading and necessitate a color touch-up. So, during the initial healing phase, shield your new tattoo from the sun’s rays.

7. Stay Hydrated

Water is your ally in the healing process. Drinking plenty of it can help your skin heal faster. It’s a simple yet powerful step in your tattoo aftercare journey.

Can A Scab Pull Ink Out Of A Tattoo?

Not all tattoos will scab to the same degree. Some may form a light layer of scabbing while others may form heavy scabs.

While the lighter ones are a bit okay, if you pick or pull a heavy scab the scab will pull out the ink of the tattoo with it. Do not pick it, let it heal and fall off.


Why does my tattoo look like its missing ink?

Your tattoo looks like its missing ink because the tattoo ink didn’t go deep enough into the dermis. It has only penetrated the top skin layer, the epidermis. This layer constantly grows new cells from the bottom and sheds the cells on the top which means ink on this layer will grow out slowly. All the ink of your tattoo that’s in this layer will be gone within a month.

What happens if a scab on my new tattoo comes off?

Unfortunately there is a chance that the scab will pull out ink along with it causing blotchy patches of ink.

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