Here's Why Tattoos Get Blown Out

Getting a tattoo isn't as simple as just rocking up to your local studio and getting the first thing that crosses your mind. Well, on occasion it can be, but the majority of the time a lot of planning goes into having something permanently inked onto your skin. From the design to the placement, the shop and the experience of its artists, tattooing is a highly-skilled art form that can look very messy when something goes wrong.

One of the most common mistakes that can arise from getting a tattoo is a blowout. When you get a tattoo, the ink is deposited in the dermis – the middle layer of your skin. This is because the epidermis (the outer layer) sheds every few weeks (via Tattoo Moisturiser), and the hypodermis is where all the large blood vessels, nerves, and fat cells lie.

But if a tattoo artist is inexperienced, holds the needle at the wrong angle, or goes too deep, some of the ink can accidentally be deposited into the hypodermis (via Sorry Mom Shop). When ink is deposited into the fattier part of the skin, it can spread and cause what looks to be a bruise but is actually the ink spreading out under the dermis and into the fat tissue within the hypodermis.

Tattoo blowouts aren't always the fault of an inexperienced artist

And contrary to what you might think, a blowout isn't always the artist's fault. Blame can also be attributed to the client, especially if they've moved around during the session either through nerves, fidgeting, or twitching (via Demi Love).

Blowouts can also be a result of incorrect placement, as the skin isn't the same thickness all over the body and everyone's skin is different. Blowouts tend to occur more frequently on parts of the body with thinner skin, including wrists, hands, ankles, and the inner parts of your elbow and knees. And if an artist needs to stretch and tighten the skin more in these areas, skin pulled too tightly can lead to a blowout due to the angle of the needle (via Authority Tattoo).

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do with a major blowout. However, if it's viable you can get it covered up with another tattoo (via Healthline), or even remove the blown out portions with laser removal. In a worst-case scenario, you can have the entire tattoo surgically removed, but this can cause major scarring as a surgeon will have to cut the tattoo from the dermis and stitch the remaining skin back together.