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What Causes Tattoo Blowout and How Can You Fix This?

A tattoo blowout is not a pleasant thing, especially because tattoos are permanent. It is not a threat to your health, and luckily, in this day and age, there are solutions to this, as we explained all in detail below.

When we get tattoos, we have to be ready for any unexpected side effects, or more precisely, unexpected or unwanted effects.

For example, tattoo blowout is one of them, and it is not the most pleasant thing in the world when it is permanently under your skin. Do not despair, this is not life-threatening at all, however it affects the visual aspect of the tattoo only.

With this in mind, you probably wonder what is a tattoo blowout and how can you fix this? Let’s find out below what this is, and its solutions.

What Is a Tattoo Blowout?

A tattoo blowout is when the ink of the tattoo looks blurred and ‘spilled’ outside of the contours and tattoo borders, resembling a smudge, and not a precise image. This happens when the tattoo artist uses too much pressure with the machine over the skin, and the link goes much deeper than intended.

The tattoo blowout can be fixed in 3 ways: a touch-up correction, a full cover-up of the tattoo, or finally, a tattoo removal altogether.

How to recognize if the tattoo will result in a blowout?

One certain way to recognize that there could be a blowout is the pain level you feel. Of course, this is not a sign written in stone, but it can tell you a lot about the final result. You have to take into consideration the placement, i.e., the body part of the tattoo.

recognize tattoo blowout

Certain body parts hurt a lot, and some not so much. However, if throughout the session you feel tremendous pain, almost unbearable, and you feel and hear the needle ‘drilling’ onto your skin (almost in your bones), it means the artist goes too deep and uses too much pressure. This will be a recognizable pain, and the chances of a blowout are 50:50.

Will a touch-up do a difference, and how?

Of course, a touch up can make a difference and improve the blowout, but this might be complicated. It depends largely on what the tattoo image is. For example, if the tattoo is too tiny, with delicate lines, elegant letters, or similar, not much can be done in such a small area and delicate art. Another artist can try to add whites or other colors to change the original image, but don’t have too high hopes with this.

If the blowout tattoo is large and the image itself allows for more additions and ink, then there is hope for correcting it from scratch. It is best to consult a very good artist and see what the advice is.

Will the cover-up hurt way more than the blowout?

This is a grey area, so the answer is yes, kind of. This is not a scary pain, it will be almost like getting a fresh, new tattoo on clean skin, but perhaps a bit more tender. This is because you will receive more ink on previously tattooed skin. If you ever covered scars with a tattoo, this will feel similar – tender, sensitive, but overall, bearable. The pain difference is brought to a minimum in comparison.

If all above fails, is the last resort tattoo removal?

Unfortunately, yes. If you dislike the touch-up, and then if you dislike the cover-up (impossible), the last resort is laser tattoo removal.

There is a chance that the touch-up will make almost no difference – you can still try it, though. It is not harmful to try if the new artist promises better changes in the image. However, most artists would recommend a cover-up, of course, if the blowout is too severe and too blurry to correct it with minor ink additions. For the cover-up, you’ll have the chance to choose a fully new image that will cover the blowout perfectly, so you’ll surely love it!

But, if not, there is the advantage of laser removal, unlike in the past when people wore the badly done tattoos! Of course, a laser will cost you more money, and there will be some pain in those removal sessions, but at least it would be better than a bad tattoo forever under your skin!

Can tattoo blowout be prevented?

The answer here is yes, it can be prevented, but only if you choose a very good and renowned artist in time. Once the ‘damage’ is done, there is no prevention. So, it is best to research well for great artists in your area/city (or abroad if given the chance), and rest assured that you will get the best service possible.

It is of no use to tell the artist to have ‘easier’ and ‘lighter’ pressure.

Will some ink colors go through more visible blowouts than others?

It is a clear answer that all colors can manifest a blowout, but minimally, almost none. However, the black color is the scariest to consider when we talk about a blowout. It is darkest, most visible, and makes total sense that only the black color will look drastically bad with a blowout. The other colors, like brights (pink, yellow, red, green, blue, etc) will not look as disastrous as a black ink blowout, and they would also fade much faster than the black one anyway.

How can I trust another tattoo artist again with my skin?

It’s a no brainer that you have to think well and research well before you just hop to a salon and trust someone with your health, body, and looks. You need to research well because you invest your looks and money to get something permanent. Better be safe than sorry! Sometimes it doesn’t pay off to help out a friend who just started tattooing.

Or maybe, you want to get a cheaper tattoo, and it could result in something worse than a blowout too! Be smart with your time, health, and finances. A tattoo is under your skin forever – unless you are ok with laser sessions and additional expenses.

Will too much cream for the aftercare cause a blowout?

No. when a tattoo is done, it is done. Ink is ‘injected’ or ‘poked’ into/under your skin, and what is done in the session, is what you get. After the peeling and healing, the tattoo could look a bit faded and this is normal for every tattoo, but frequent applications of cream/ointments for aftercare cannot make the tattoo look ‘spilled’ and with a blowout.

Related: Best Tattoo Numbing Cream

Will tanning a lot cause a tattoo blowout after some time?

tanning tattoo blowout

No. Tanning can fade your tattoos and age your skin prematurely if you do it a lot and you don’t use sunscreen, but it cannot cause a blowout.

Will the passing of time make a blowout? If the tattoo ages, is there a risk of a blowout?

No. As time passes, the tattoo will fade, as skin ages and renews itself, as skin tans, and so on. A blowout is not the effect of aging or anything similar.

Can I ask the tattoo artist to correct its blowout that I wear? Is there a chance for a refund or a free appointment?

This is a tricky one. The tattoo artist could feel offended and refuse to cooperate, and blame it on you and bad aftercare (which is not the case, as we stated above). It is worth a try though, to give it a shot and ask for a correction, but it wouldn’t make much sense to go to the same artist who did the damage.

Use this example; would you go back to an ex to heal you emotionally after wrecking you previously? Of course not. So, you need to go elsewhere for a new service, a better one, for proven quality and corrections. Usually, artists who do a bad job might refuse refunds, almost always, but for corrections, they could agree. Still, the final verdict is to go to a new place, never the same salon where you got a blowout!


In conclusion, the tattoo blowout is a result of the artist and his hands. In other words, the skills of the artist tell a lot about whether there will be a blowout or not. Too much pressing will create a badly done tattoo, and this has little to do with the equipment, but more and foremost with the hand pressure of your tattoo artist.

There is always a chance of correcting this or fully covering it with a new tattoo, and in most, if not all cases, this is enough and turns out perfectly. But, be prepared for laser removal if all corrections, or God forbid the cover-up do not turn out well. Good luck, and next time, pick the best artist you can find!

Read also: Best Antibacterial Soaps for Tattoos & Best Lotion for Tattoo Aftercare