Free Delivery over £100*
Same Day Dispatch before 4pm*
Price Match Guarantee

What You Should Know About Tattoo Blowout


Tattoo blowouts are an unwanted side effect of poor technique that can be a source of frustration for both tattoo artists and clients. The final result is usually a distorted tattoo with blurry lines and a smudged appearance.

Fortunately, there are steps that can prevent blowouts from occurring. This article will explore the causes of tattoo blowouts and discuss how to avoid or fix ink mishaps like these, if they do occur.


Tattoo sign


What are Tattoo Blowouts?

A tattoo blowout happens when a tattoo artist applies ink too deeply into the skin. Within these deeper layers of skin, the ink spreads more easily and disperses the pigment in unintended and unpredictable ways. This subcutaneous fat layer causes line work or shading to appear smudged or blurred because the ink has diffused outside of its original boundaries.


Cleaning tattoo needle in water


Blowouts can vary in severity, with some individuals experiencing mild cases and others seeing more extreme results. Luckily, a blowout tattoo does not pose any serious risks to your health. However, it will affect the overall aesthetic of your tattoo.

Why do They Happen?

There are a few different factors that can cause tattoo blowouts. Insufficient knowledge or experience on the part of the tattoo artist, as well as poor set-up and equipment are common causes.


Tattoo artist holding machine with needle


It is essential to use the correct needle depth to ensure the ink is placed only in the dermal layer (the epidermis) and not too far into the deeper layer of subcutaneous tissue. Choosing a high-quality tattoo machine with proper needle depth settings and other adjustments will also help.


Tattoo pen machine with cartridge


The angle at which the tattoo needle enters the client's skin is also a contributing factor. Artists can create darker lines by tilting the tattoo machine so that it is at a slight angle. However, when this angle is too intense, the farther the ink is pushed across rather than down into the skin. This 'sideways' insertion is another reason tattoo blowouts occur.

Read more about how a tattoo works here: Are Tattoos Permanent? An Explanation

When do Blowouts Appear?

Tattoo blowouts are usually apparent almost immediately but may become more noticeable as the tattoo heals. It is important to remember that some swelling and scabbing are completely normal during the tattoo healing process.


Person tattooing a client's arm


Listen carefully to your artist's aftercare advice. If you notice any changes to your newly-inked skin that concern you, it's best to consult with them for further advice.

How to Prevent Tattoo Blowout as a Tattoo Artist

One of the most effective ways to prevent a tattoo blowout is to ensure you are adequately educated and experienced in the craft.

A professional tattoo artist should have a thorough understanding of needle depth, as well as the correct angle for inserting the needle. If an artist has doubts about their technique, they can ask another experienced tattoo artist for advice or practise on artificial skin first.


Tattoo ink set up


If you are quite new to tattooing, a good tip is to avoid tattooing body parts prone to a tattoo blowout. Tattoo artists usually find that areas of thin skin, such as the foot or ankle, are more susceptible to an ink mishap.


Tattoo on foot


Remember that tattoo blowouts happen to artists of all abilities. No matter how experienced you are, try not to rush the process to avoid mistakes.

Fixing a Tattoo Blowout

Cover Up Tattoo

One of the easiest ways to fix a tattoo blowout is to get your tattoo adjusted by an experienced tattoo artist (make sure to let your tattoo heal properly first). Most of the time, if the blowout is only minor, the area can be retouched and readjusted to hide the blown-out ink.


Tattoo master drawing custom design


However, in more severe cases, an entirely new tattoo may need to be applied over the tattooed skin, known as a blowout 'cover up'. If you do decide to go down the route of a tattoo cover-up, find a tattoo artist who is experienced enough to deal with a cover-up design over traumatised skin.

Laser Treatment

Another option to fix a tattoo blowout is laser tattoo removal. Laser therapy breaks down the excess ink particles. This laser treatment can target the blown-out tattoo lines while leaving the rest of the original tattoo intact. The blowout effect will gradually fade and eventually disappear altogether.


Laser tattoo removal


Surgical Tattoo Removal

In very extreme cases, some people opt for surgical tattoo removal if they are unhappy with the results. The removal typically involves cutting away the affected area before stitching the skin back together. It's important to note that the procedure does have risks of scarring attached, and larger tattoos will have longer recovery times.

Final Thoughts

Blowouts can be an unwanted side effect of getting a tattoo. It's important to understand the causes in order to better avoid tattoo blowout from occurring. Tattoo artists should ensure they are adequately educated, experienced, and take their time throughout the tattoo procedure to help prevent mistakes.

Clients should also properly research their chosen artist (especially their healed work) and listen closely to their aftercare advice. Remember that even the most professional tattoo may require a touch-up further down the line to correct natural signs of fading.

Previous Post Next Post

  • Sarah Crookes