How to Remove Tattoo Scars

Tattoos permanently etch images beneath the top layer of the skin, which can result in sores and bleeding. If the tattoo becomes infected as it heals, scars may form, which can damage the skin and ruin the look of the tattoo. Laser tattoo removal can also cause scarring. The scarring, whether from the initial tattoo or tattoo removal, should be considered permanent. Some medical procedures may remove the scars, and home remedies can help prevent and reduce the appearance of scarring.

Two women working for a tattoo removal service talk while in a booth at a trade show. (Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

New Tattoo Scarring

Step 1

Keep the area clean and wash your hands thoroughly, before touching the tattoo. Apply an antibiotic ointment, to prevent infection, for approximately five days after receiving the tattoo.

Step 2

Resist scratching at scabs or pulling off any peeling skin during the healing process. Per Go Ask Alice, it should take seven days for the skin to peel away naturally.

Step 3

Limit sun exposure and keep the tattoo dry. Use sunscreen when outdoors, void swimming for at least two weeks and shower no longer than 10 minutes.

Tattoo Removal Scarring

Step 1

Follow aftercare instructions, as prescribed by the tattoo removal clinic. Post-removal care is similar to post-tattoo care. Keep the area clean and dry, avoid direct sunlight, and avoid picking at scabs or peeling skin.

Step 2

Use scar minimizing cream on existing scars. While these products do not remove the scars, they can reduce their appearance. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use, which may include applying the product several times a day over several weeks.

Step 3

Consult your doctor about surgical or laser scar removal. Laser and surgical treatments are expensive, and only available in a medical setting, however they are most effective on severe scars, per MedlinePlus.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Sunscreen

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