COVID Vaccination, COVID-19 Infection And Scheduling Your Next Tattoo

This pandemic has hit our industry hard. Tattoo shops closed for months last year, and things still haven’t returned to normal. As we maneuver through this pandemic together, we have tried to keep you up to date on every detail of our reopening process. New information has come up that will again affect the way we do business in the interest of your safety and out of an abundance of caution.

How Long To Wait To Get Tattooed After A COVID Diagnosis

It’s important to also discuss how long a person should wait after a COVID diagnosis to get tattooed. There is no official guidance on how long you should wait after a COVID diagnosis to get tattooed though.

For your safety, we would like to remain ahead of the curve here. Since research suggests that patients should wait seven weeks after a COVID diagnosis for elective surgery, we suggest the same for tattooing.

Dr. William Li, the co-founder and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, told Healthline that since COVID-19 can affect blood vessels that are critical for healing and cause inflammation through an autoimmune phenomenon, it can affect non-COVID-related healing too. It’s not a stretch that if COVID infection can affect the general healing following an elective surgery that it could also affect the healing of a tattoo.

We want your tattoo to heal well.

Not everyone will have trouble healing from their tattoo after a COVID diagnosis, but improper healing post-COVID is possible. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous seven weeks, we ask that you reschedule your tattoo appointment. This is just a suggestion, but our waiver will be updated to include this suggestion.

Your deposit can be transferred to your new appointment.

How Long To Wait To Get Tattooed After COVID Vaccination

New preliminary reports suggest we might consider leaving a window of time between getting tattooed and getting the COVID vaccine. We are joining other cautious tattoo shops in recommending that our clients leave a window of 14 days between getting tattooed and getting the COVID vaccine.

Deborah Fuller, a microbiologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told Huffington Post that because of the normal, expected immune system stimulation involved with vaccination, people who get tattooed could see an adverse immune response in their tattoo healing process if they are tattooed around the same time they are vaccinated. Additionally, experts told Allure that you should avoid getting the COVID vaccine around the same time as getting tattooed and that a two week window is preferred.

Our health department is not aware of increased risks in tattooing after COVID vaccination, but a casual survey of artists has suggested that the increased immune responses might include greater swelling and even ink rejection. We request that you leave a window of at least 14 days. Not everyone will experience an immune reaction, but an immune reaction in your tattoo is possible if you have been tattooed close to when you’ve been vaccinated. Our waiver will be updated to include this suggestion.

If you have paid a deposit, it can be transferred to a new appointment spot if you choose to reschedule.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association’s website states that it’s normal to see some redness and swelling, to feel sore, to ooze clear fluid, and for your skin to itch and flake. Scabs may form, they say, and all of this can be part of your normal healing process. People often feel exhausted, get the chills and experience moderate soreness in the immediate days following a large tattoo, just as they would with a sunburn. Be aware of other types of unwanted reactions though:

Allergic Reactions & Hyper-Immune Responses

Allergic reactions can be recognized in tattoos in the form of the following, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association:

  • Greater inflammation
  • Scaly patches that are mistaken for dried plasma but don’t wash off
  • Small bumps that look like tiny pimples
  • Ink rejection
  • Deep lumps
  • Clear watery discharge
  • Exhaustion

If you were to get a heightened immune response from your tattoo after getting vaccinated or after COVID infection, it could be similar to the allergic reaction skin response. We have not received guidance on what you should do if you have an immune response to your tattoo following vaccination or COVID infection, so we will cite our best sources about other reactions to provide you with our best, interim suggestions based on non-COVID and non-vaccine related reactions.

MILD OR MODERATE REACTION – The American Academy of Dermatology Association advises that if a mild or moderate reaction lasts longer than one or two weeks, you should seek the advice of a physician such as a dermatologist, a general practitioner, an allergist or an immunologist. Over-the-counter topical ointments that can treat mild to moderate reactions include Tattoo Goo, because of the anti-inflammatory qualities of rosemary oil, or Medihoney, because of the anti-inflammatory qualities of medical grade honey.

SERIOUS REACTION- Signs of a serious hyper-immune or allergic reaction include trouble breathing, a racing heart, tightness in your chest, dizziness, lightheadedness, swift intense swelling, hives or flushing of your skin. Seek immediate medical care.

Increased Risk Of Infections Possible Amid Pandemic:

Infections are an entirely different topic, unrelated directly to COVID vaccination and probably unrelated directly to COVID infection. However, there is a commonly undiscussed phenomenon that we feel we must mention. The pandemic has brought about a drastic surge in hand sanitizer use. Topical alcohol use is known to increase MRSA biofilm on the hands. You should never use your bare hands to touch a healing tattoo, but this is especially important now. Do not touch your healing tattoo with bare, unwashed hands. Do not use hand sanitizer as a replacement for proper hand washing if at all possible. Leave your Saniderm bandage on as long as instructed when possible. Follow our aftercare instructions to the letter.

Any infections should be treated by medical professionals. Symptoms of an infection in a tattoo, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association include:

  • Redness that grows progressively darker and spreads
  • Painful sores in the tattoo
  • Pus in the tattoo
  • Red streaks extending out of the tattoo
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever

If your tattoo becomes infected, you should seek medical advice. While you wait to be seen, clean the tattoo thoroughly and consider applying an antibacterial cream such as Medi-Honey or Curad Silver Solution Antimicrobial Gel to your tattoo. These both are generally more effective antimicrobials than older antimicrobials like Neosporin.

*Note: All of our artists have been trained in proper handwashing techniques, educated on hand sanitizer’s connection to biofilm formation, and instructed that hand sanitizers are never an acceptable replacement for handwashing in the tattoo setting. We have ample access to sinks in every area of our shop.


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