the challenging love story between tattoos and hypochondriacs


I know… the world installs a lot of paranoia in our heads, and the cordless phone is one of the greatest tragedies of human existence


the world of tattoos is a dark one, and legendsand consequently, anxietiesproliferate like mushrooms


amidst all this chaos, however, here I am: a tattoo artist with a hobby of “WHY?!?” asking a thousand questions about everything I hear and trying to find out if the legends are true or false, and above all… WHY?!?


so, here’s a compilation of answers to questions that we’ve all heard at some point, either floating in the ether or just buzzing in our heads

Let’s start with complex questions that deserve their own mini-series, like:

can I wash a fresh tattoo?

can I do sports with a fresh tattoo?

how much cream should I apply to heal the tattoo?

can I go to the sea?

can I sunbathe on a fresh tattoo?


and then, let’s move on to the great classics of mental movies:

how long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

how do I know if the tattoo is infected?

if the tattoo turns red, is it infected?

do I need to touch up the tattoo?

can I have an MRI if I have a tattoo?

can I get an epidural if I have a tattoo on my spine?

can I donate blood after a tattoo?

do tattoos get ruined with the needle used for blood tests?

what happens to tattoos if I gain weight? If I lose weight? If I do gym and bulk up?


if you’re in PRE-TATTOO PANIC, you’re in the wrong article, READ HERE

very well, let’s get started

now showing:


a film about anxieties and how to resolve them:

the Sequel

how long does it take for a tattoo to heal?

normally, in 7/10 days, most of it is done, and you can stop constantly monitoring it
but in reality, the body needs at least a complete cycle of 28 days to restore the skin to the same thickness as before


how do I know if the tattoo is infected?

first of all, I would like to tell you that in 17 years of working in this industry, I have never seen an infected tattoo
it is very difficult for it to get infected unless:

  • you got a tattoo from an unlicensed tattoo artist, in the kitchen, with the cat roaming around above and below the table, or something like that
  • you rolled in the sand with a fresh tattoo


otherwise, infection is very unlikely
but if it were, the infection would present itself like any other infection: with greenish pus, foul-smelling


in this case, contact a doctor immediately or go to the pharmacy, and most likely, they will prescribe an antibiotic cream for a few days


it’s much more likely, instead, that there is skin irritation due to hypersensitivity to some component, even just to the healing cream used or the bandage or the razor for pre-tattoo depilation or gloves

in this case, you will see the tattoo with a widespread redness, an elevation of some parts of the tattoo, sometimes even small water bubbles, burning, and heat

in this case, contact a doctor or go to the pharmacy, and most likely, they will prescribe a cream with a bit of cortisone to reduce inflammation in the area

or, it is more likely that the tattoo has formed scabs or holes due to difficulties in healing


this happens in small portions of the tattoo, where the tattoo artist probably had to insist more during the tattooing phase

in this case, you will see the tattoo with large scabs or deep holes, sometimes even with a bit of yellowish liquid

it’s not an infection; it’s an accumulation of lymph, platelets, and healing agents

in this case, contact a doctor or go to the pharmacy, and most likely, they will prescribe a healing cream to aid in the required areas’ healing

you can and should also help by washing the tattoo twice a day, massaging it gently to help dissolve excess dead skin or lymph


if the tattoo turns red, is it infected?

no, no, no, it’s just irritated

see the previous answer


do I need to touch up the tattoo?

it depends on how the tattoo has healed


yhe touch-up of the tattoo is recommended only 4-6 weeks after the tattoo is done in case the healing process didn’t go smoothly, and some parts of the design got lost along the way

if the tattoo has healed well, it absolutely doesn’t need a touch-up; it wouldn’t make any sense

(a different case is that of PMU, cosmetic tattooing, which is not my expertise, and I won’t comment on it)


I am often asked if a tattoo needs a touch-up years after it was done because the colors have faded or to add something a bit fresher “because it’s not complete, and I don’t like it anymore”

I am completely against this for two very good reasons:


1) it’s a mistake

I can’t quite explain it in a few lines, but the effect you desire is not what you’ll get
it’s like putting a patch on ripped jeans; it will always be noticeable
it becomes a mishmash; the colors underneath remain, and you’re just adding more on top
if the colors underneath are a bit dull, the colors on top will be dull as well


2) it’s clearly a mistake

take a 94-year-old granny and give her a facelift: she might appear a bit younger in the face, but her neck and body still show her age, and how she dresses… she still obviously looks like a 94-year-old granny, made ridiculous by a facelift

and that’s how your old tribal tattoo on your lower back from ’94 will look if you try to modernize it


it might look like a beaten-up 4×4 Panda, but colored in matte black smoke

it’s like driving around in 2022 with a ’94 Fornarina (a type of shoe) – definitely out of date

it’s better to let the tattoo age gracefully and not make it seem like you got a tribal tattoo that was in style in ’94 – people might think you’re a bit foolish


can you get an MRI if you have a tattoo?

it depends, it depends on when the tattoo was done

before the early ’90s, there were no specific pigments for tattoos, so India ink was used. India ink is rich in heavy metals that “resonate” with the radiation during an MRI, becoming hot and potentially burning you from the inside

not good

in the ’90s, they began producing inks specifically for insertion into
the body, and heavy metals are, of course, banned

IF YOU GET TATTOOED BY AN ETHICAL AND COMPLIANT TATTOO ARTIST, you can rest assured because they are regulated by authorities, and the inks they use comply with EU standards

as for an underground tattoo artist… who knows!

I myself am tattooed on about 80% of my body, roughly, and I’ve had several MRIs with absolutely no side effects

if you have more questions about inks, READ HERE


in any case, if the tattoo is on your shoulder and you need an MRI on your knee, you can be absolutely calm; there are no issues whatsoever

if, on the other hand, the tattoo is on your shoulder and the MRI is on your shoulder, and you have some doubts about the tattoo artist and the inks used, well, know that the burning process is not immediate, from 0 to 100 in half a second… during the MRI, you have a bell to ring in case of problems, and the machine stops, so if you feel heat in the area and something doesn’t add up: ring the bell ^_^


Can you get an epidural/spinal anesthesia if you have a tattoo on your spine?

it depends, it depends on the anesthetist


old-school anesthetists may think that it could be dangerous for small ink particles to enter the spinal cord, but the new generation knows that such a minimal amount of ink – complying with EU standards – does not cause any issues.

I myself have had spinal anesthesia, and my spine is TOTALLY black


on the flip side, a dear tattoo artist friend was denied an epidural during childbirth because of a tattoo on her spine

I’ve asked several anesthetists I’ve come across, and they all said they are in favor. But, of course, you decide; look around for more opinions if your anesthetist is not willing


can you donate blood after a tattoo?

not immediately


during the tattoo, your skin is damaged, and even if everything is done in a sterile and compliant environment, something could still enter the wound during or after the tattooing process in the following days

as a precaution, the local health authority (Ausl) prohibits blood donation for a few months after getting a tattoo

every local health authority has its own opinion, so in Italy, it varies from 4 to 6 months, depending on the region

it’s a common practice applied for many other situations, not just for tattoos, of course

do tattoos get damaged during blood tests?

no, no, I swear, no

unfortunately, I have a subscription to analysis laboratories in recent years, and my tattoos are perfect and clear despite the worst things and the thickest needles. like those for genetic mutation tests, or electromyography needles, or intravenous needles, or arterial draws

absolutely nothing

as much as these needles might seem gigantic, the skin is a very intelligent organ and makes room for the needle to avoid damaging itself too much


What happens to tattoos if I gain weight? If I lose weight? If I do gym and gain muscle?

nothing, absolutely nothing


to cause damage, the change must be truly EPIC!

like the change in your belly during pregnancy or for those who lose 70-80kg and lose skin tone

in that case, yes

after pregnancy, everything returns to normal, at most with a few stretch marks

after significant weight loss, the skin will need some adjustments, and the tattoo will deform

if, on the other hand, you go to the gym and become Jason Momoa, relax, everything is okay


I think I’m done with anxieties

I can’t think of any more right now, but if you have any, write to me, and I’ll update the article



With love, but always irreverent