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Tattoo blowouts – The Tattooed Way

Tattoo blowouts

Is there a bluish haze around your tattoo, even though it is completely healed? Then you probably have a blowout. Blowouts are caused by ink that starts migrating from where it is supposed to be to surrounding skin space.

First and foremost a word of explanation about what a blowout looks like. Certainly at the beginning of the healing process (and this can even take a month or longer if you are a slow healer), a bruise is often confused with a blowout. A bruise, unlike a blowout, is not permanent and is caused by a small bleeding under the skin. People who easily suffer from bruising will often develop a bruise in tattoos in more sensitive areas. This bruise can have all colors and often goes from a dark color to a yellowish color before disappearing. A blowout, on the other hand, will, after some luck, become lighter after some time, but then we are talking about a few years instead of a month.

Don’t be too worried in the beginning of the healing of your tattoo if you see a bluish edge around your tattoo, this is not necessarily a blowout.


The creation of a blowout can happen in two ways.

By the tattoo artist

The most commonly accepted reason for the occurrence of a blowout is the technique of the tattoo artist. A tattoo artist can easily create a blowout by using the wrong angle, pushing too hard or letting the needles go too deep, especially in sensitive areas such as the inside of the elbow fold, the inside of the upper arm and the wrist. He then ensures the ink ending up in the wrong skin layer or that too much ink gets under the skin. This excess ink then comes into nearby skin parts and will create a bluish haze that we call the blowout.

These types of blowouts can generally be avoided by selecting only good, experienced tattoo artists. These have already mastered their technique for some time and also have much more experience with different skin types.

I would like to add a small but here. Even experienced tattoo artists cause blowouts from time to time, whether they want to admit it or not. By experience they have learned to conceal them by adding shadow, dotwork or color, but that doesn’t mean that the blowout was not there in the first place. In reality, there are just difficult skin types. Especially people with extremely pale skin develop a blowout very easily, migrated ink will be quickly visible due to the light skin, even if it is minimal. This also explains why people with dark skin types will rarely or never have blowouts (or so they wouldn’t notice it anyway).

Blowouts that were produced by the artist are usually immediately visible.

By the customer himself

Although no one likes to admit it, and it is always easier to put the blame on the artist, blowouts can also develop after you have walked out of the shop. Body parts where a high amount of movement takes place, such as in the elbow fold, knee cavity or fingers are often the most sensitive for blowouts to develop. By moving freshly tattooed body parts too much, the ink, which is not yet settled at that moment, can begin to migrate and thus create a blowout.

In addition to these places that naturally move a lot, you can also create a possible blowout in other places. If you constantly pull nearby skin to show the tattoo as good as possible to friends (I often see this with tattoos that were for example tattooed on the inside of the upper arm), you can also create a blowout yourself.

Blowouts that the customer generates themselves often become visible in the first few days in the healing.


I’m not going to say that it is always the fault of the customer, often the cause lies with the artist, but it happens regularly that people are the cause of their blowout.

If you have a developed a blowout, it is obviously too late. All the ink that is on that piece of skin will remain there. In most cases, a blowout will be a lot lighter after a few years, but most of the time, especially if the tattoo consists of a simple line drawing, most of them do not want to wait. Then you have 3 options.

  • To cover. Do take into account the fact that you will have to go a whole lot bigger, read all about it in my post Reworks and cover ups.
  • To add shadow or color. You then only ‘cover’ the part that you hate.
  • To laser. I never recommend this technique, since it is painful and expensive, but if you really do not consider another option, lasering will cause the ink particles of the blowout to disappear.

Blowouts are a pain in the ass, but sometimes unavoidable. If I can use my own body as an example, I am a pale fool who never enters the sun, and I am very slow to heal. In many of my tattoos I have a piece of blowout somewhere or a line that starts to get expanding in time. All my tattoos are done by artists with a name and even these people have trouble making a tattoo without a blowout. Reverse side of the story, I only take color tattoos, so people don’t really notice and I don’t really care about it. The more tattoos you have, the less you notice it and I’m just not someone who zooms in on my tattoos with a microscope. No tattoo is perfect, at the end of the day it is all manual work.

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