Hi, I had a Tattoo done in November09 and after a couple of weeks noticed some red pin prick type spots in certain areas. They got bigger but less of them. Went to see doctor who after a couple of creams referred me to Dermatology at the Hospital. The spots toned down with the cream but never go. As soon as I stop using it they come back(not worse but not better). The cream I am on is Dermovate Ointment.

After a biopsy they have suggested I get it removed as I MAY be allergic to the ink(Kuro sumi tattoo ink). Now only the bottom half of the tattoo has these spots not the top half at all so seems strnge if I am allergic it only affected the bottom half of the tattoo. The worst areas are the shaded areas in the legs but the top half has plenty of shading too????? The Dermatologist said I must be allergic to the shading ink but it is the same ink used all over??

The Tattoo shop had just moved premisis and said they may have had a few problems with the water? This is what they used to water down the ink for the shaded areas.

They seem to not know that and have no real info to compare it to so I thought someone might be able to help or confirm what they are saying(I am happy for people to be honest) even if its bad news.

I have added some pictures in my album, Please ask any futher questions, advise, solutions.



It looks kind of like contact dermatitis. do the bumps have clear fluid in them and does that area itch? What kind of other lotions or creams are you putting on top of the tattoo?


It looks to me, like it wasn’t shaved when they did the tattoo, and you got an inection in there from hairs being pushed back into the skin, but don’t listen to me, I’m not expert.


The bumps seem to have clear fluid in them although I have never popped one to find out.

After the Tattoo was done I used Bepanthen(nappy rash cream) and I think at the time I put far too much on.

4 weeks ago I had my biopsy and could not put any cream on it at all and it dried but never went, and then didnt get worse or better. I did then start getting a few pussed up spots as you can see in the photos(taken today).

Itched like crazy when the Tattoo was 1st done but after a couple of weeks no itching at all and thats still the case now. However bad it gets I have had no itching at all.

Betnovate cream is one other I was prescribed a few months ago but no real improvement!!

Thank you


It was definatley shaved when it was done but im not sure as to how well?


A bic razor was used so im sure that was fine!!



First of all you need to go back to your Dr and find out the results of the biopsy and check whether they have done any tests for Staphylococcal folliculitis.

This is an infection of the hair follicles and causes the skin to form itchy red spots filled with pus – similar to what you have.

This an result from fresh tattoos or tattoos less than 12 mths old – it is not an allergy to ink as such but caused by the infection getting into the wound and breeding there.

It can be as simple as picking your nose and wiping it on your fresh tattoo for transfer.

Or the hairs being forced back into the skin if badly shaved.

The treatment is variable and I would suggest by getting a 10 day course of antibacterial soap and wash the effected area at least 2-3 times a day.

There are also corticosteroid creams which will help reduce the swelling such as Betnovate – this is a slow process you need to keep at a full course.

Then there is also antibiotics that might help.

That said there can be a allergy reaction to pigment – this is because the concentration of the pigment in the effected area being extremely high and the body is trying to flush out the affected region and failing resulting in dead white blood cells and the spots you have.

Pigment rejection can occur at any time during the lifetime of a tattoo but is quite rare however if it is that laser or scalpel surgery is the only option.

I would do that as a last resort though. Scrupulous hygiene and antibac wash will prob help.

Take Care


Thanks so much Matthew, I will make an appointment with my Doc Monday to find out Biopsy results.

Any other info/opinions from others is still very much appreciated.


Water from the tap was used to water down the ink for the shading areas and the studio has told me they may have had a problem with the water as they had just relocated to a brand new built unit.

As the heavily inked areas have no problem and the top half of the tattoo is fine, is it still possible im allergic to the ink?? seems strange if so but that is what the dermatoligist has told me(he actually said im only allergic to to ink they used to shade, even though its the same ink throughout the tattoo).

It has also been suggested to get some fucidin cream and use e45. Does that sound like a good idea??

Sorry to keep asking things but I have had more help in the last 4 days on this and another site than ive had in 6 months from medics!!

Any sugestions/advice would be great.

Thanks everyone that has tried to help on this site.


Just to let anyone know, it all healed in the end. I was given a course of oral antibiotics and within a couple of weeks it was fine.

I believe all the creams I was being give was just keeping whatever the problem was alive!!! No creams and oral antibiotics and jobs a goodun. Thanks


thanks for the update……………

i hate when we never get closure…………plus, now i learnt something……


Your artist shouldn’t be using tap water for grey-washes. There is a much higher risk of bad foreign stuff lurking in tap water to be completely safe. I won’t go into further detail for fear of having my reply removed by the mods. Suffice it to say there are standard ways to make grey-wash and tap water isn’t the best way.

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