Problems after getting a stick and poke tattoo

Tattoos and permanent makeup have been used by most cultures for centuries and recently have become very popular with both men and women

A tattoo is a series of puncture wounds that carry dye into the different levels of the skin. At first, the tattoo may be swollen and there may be some crusting on the surface. It is normal for the tattoo to ooze small amounts of blood for up to 24 hours, and it may ooze clear, yellow, or blood-tinged fluid for several days.

Most people who have stick and poke tattoos (done safely) do not develop any problems. Home treatment can help speed healing and prevent problems such as:

  • Infection at the tattoo site
  • Minor skin reactions (contact dermatitis) or serious allergic reactions to the tattooing method or dye
  • Scarring, which can include raised scar tissue (keloids)
  • Spread of infectious disease, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), if a dirty method or equipment is used

Be sure to consider all aspects of getting a stick and poke tattoo. A tattoo should be considered permanent. Tattoo removal is hard and painful, and may cause scarring. It may not be possible to completely remove a tattoo and restore your normal skin color and texture. If you have not yet made a decision about tattooing, see the Prevention section for information about tattooing

We encourage everyone to report adverse reactions to permanent tattoos to their local health unit.