Hey everyone! I’m new to this forum and got my first tattoo last Saturday (the 26th). I have some questions/ concerns I thought someone might be able to help me out with. I apologize in advance for the long post but I am very worried.

First, let me go through the instructions my tattoo artist gave me:
– wait 2-4 hours before removing the bandage (which I did)
– wash with unperfumed soap (I’m using Dove) two to three times a day, NO SCRUBBING (which I am doing)
– start to use ointment (Afterinked) on Monday, very little to make a thin layer, 2-3 times a day after cleaning it and letting it dry for 10-15 minutes; pat dry (which I am doing)
– DO NOT PICK SCABS (which I am certainly NOT doing for fear of bad consequences!!)

Here is the tattoo after I removed the bandage (click to enlarge):


I have been following my artist’s instructions exactly as she gave them to me. Sunday/ Monday I began to get a hard crust-like coating over the letters. I made sure not to fuss with it or pick at it, only washing it very gently… no scrubbing, only putting soap on and washing it off with my clean hands (no cloths).

I am starting to become concerned. As the hard, crust-like top is flaking off (I am not pulling it off), the tattoo underneath is not only fading (which, as I have read, is expected as the skin is healing), but it LOOKS like my artist has missed some spots. The little card my artist gave me as I left the parlour said that yes, sometimes they miss spots (they are only human, after all) and will gladly touch up anything missed – but that there is a big, noticeable difference between a missed spot and a scab picked.

I swear on my life I have NOT picked any scabs. But my tattoo is looking blotchy (e.g. white patches) and the ends of the Q and the R don’t seem to be filled in completely. And the little triangles seem to only be outlined, not filled in at all, but I have no way of knowing if she actually DID fill them and then these white blotches appeared.

I phoned the parlour this evening and my artist was not there. I spoke to another guy and told him that I got my tattoo last Saturday and that I see white dots/ patches. He asked me how often I am using my ointment – I told him 2-3 times a day, as my artist told me and as the aftercare card which that parlour gives to its clients directs. He said this is too often (WTF? Why publish this on your cards then?) and that I should only do it once a day. He asked me, “Do you have little white dots like pimples?” I said to him, “I can’t see up close since it’s on my upper back, but I don’t think they’re pimples.” He just repeated that I should do the ointment only once per day until Monday, and kind of rushed me off the phone.

I don’t know what to do. The logical thing is to just wait until it heals and then go for a touch up, right? But I am scared that they will insist I have not been taking care of my tattoo properly and charge me an exorbitant amount of money to fix it. Also, would my artist be offended if I go in saying that she missed spots?!?

Here is a photo of it now (click to enlarge):

It looks more awful in the photo than it does physically, but maybe this gives some indication. There’s a lot of dry skin left to peel, and there is still a bit of the crusty black left on the Q.

Can someone tell me what’s happening here? Did my clothes rip off scabs or something??? Is this what it looks like when scabs have been pulled off? How could they have come off when I did not pick them? I really mean it when I say I made sure I did not touch this tattoo unless I was cleaning it. I have followed everything I was told. Is this irreversible? Will it cost a lot to touch up? This tattoo means quite a lot to me and I want it to look good, especially as it will be with me forever.

Thank you!!
– Leah


Holy crap. Never go near that “artist again”. Looks like he went waaayyy too deep. but I’m no expert. The faded/light areas can be fixed easliy, no so sure about the q.

ljfran2383;70614 wrote:
Holy crap. Never go near that “artist again”. Looks like he went waaayyy too deep. but I’m no expert. The faded/light areas can be fixed easliy, no so sure about the q.

🙁 Great, now I’m even more worried haha. Why would the Q not be able to be fixed though?


You should be able to fix all of that with some shading and line work by an artist who isn’t a 5th grader. This is really poor work and to be honest I think I would ask for my money back IF everything you are saying is true. Go out and find a good artist and BEG them to unfuck this holy mess! And next time make sure you research your artist before they put needle to skin.

not trying to be cruel but this is really bad.


I’m being completely honest here – I haven’t picked anything. I guess there’s a chance that my shirts might have interfered with the healing but I would totally admit my own fault if I had been picking at it. I’d have no reason to – it hasn’t been itchy or bothersome at all.

The place was recommended to me by my cousin whose tattoo came out beautifully, but I found out that a different guy did his tattoo. I wasn’t really given an option as to who would be doing mine, the owner just kind of placed me with someone. The artist was really nice, she’s been tattooing for seven years, her other work looks great I thought she was wonderful and the tattoo looked fantastic when it was first done… now I’m not so sure… it does look so much worse in the photo than it does on my back right now though!

One thought I had was to go to my cousin’s brother-in-law – he is a pretty good tattoo artist, but we live kind of far and he is very busy with his tattooing and his night job, which are the reasons why I did not go to him in the first place. But, on second thought, I should not have to go to him and expect his charity because we know each other well. I should be able to go to the place at which I was tattooed and get the corrections done, yes?

I don’t know much about tattoo etiquette. The card I was given states that any missed spots will be gladly touched up, but that touch ups due to mis-care will not be done free of charge. How do they evaluate this “mis-care”? What if they just say I didn’t take care of it to make extra money? Can anyone tell me if it looks like I’ve been treating this badly? Maybe the fabric of my clothes??? Should I have left the bandage on longer? Use different soap? But surely the other tattoo artists (who