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Question of the Week: Leaking Tattoo

By November 22, 2003

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Q: I just got my first tattoo, it's leaking clear puss!! What should I do?

A: First, relax. It's not puss, it's not an infection. Sometimes a tattoo will leak plasma - the clearish fluid in your blood - if you had a particularly long session. You didn't mention how long ago you got your tattoo, but if you really just got it then it is possible that you are "leaking" plasma. This is a signal that your body went beyond its threshold and that you need to take it easy for a couple of days and let your body catch up with healing itself.

However, if it's been a couple of days and you're leaking, that is more likely a signal that you're using way too much ointment on your tattoo. Certain ointments tend to cause more leakage on some people than others - ease up on whatever you're using. You should only be adding a tiny amount, barely enough to give the tattoo a bit of a shine. If it feels wet after application, you're using way too much. If decreasing the amount doesn't help, stop the ointment altogether and switch to another product or just keep your tattoo clean and forget the ointment for a couple days and then switch to lotion.


June 4, 2009 at 3:44 am
(1) Jo Davie says:

Thank you, I just read through this because mine seems really bad and by the sound of it im putting wayyy too much lotion on as i have been covering it until it is white. Mine was a 2 hour tattoo as well so im guessin ill get more ‘leakage’ anyway. Thank you for this advice it has been very helpful:)

June 10, 2009 at 7:21 am
(2) Roxie says:

Mine is also leaking a clear but it also has some red tint to it due to the ink. It is not red or sore around it, but mine is only the size of a quarter. (It only took about 2 minutes to do) Could this still be an infection?

November 28, 2009 at 6:20 am
(3) Kitty says:

Thankyou for this! I got my tattoo done yesterday and although it isn’t very big, it’s solid colour and took a while, and also it was my first. I was really worried about the clear fluid! I think i’m applying too much lotion too, thanks for the great advice!

July 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(4) cameron hart says:

Mine is a crest on the arm. Its been leeking for a week (plasma). I have tattoos but this on is the most painfull and is leeking plasma like crazy. Any clues?

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