Can You Ice A Tattoo? Or Does It Damage Your Tattoo?

Applying ice to tattoos is not rare. Some believe that it hastens the healing process. But what’s the fact? Can you ice a tattoo or is there a safety issue?

Yes, you can ice a tattoo. Icing is even an excellent way to speed up the healing procedure of your newly done tattoo. It helps to reduce the swelling of your tattooed area, soothes discomfort and pain, and relieves itching.

Icing is an organic way to treat your tattooed area. As it has benefits, it has some drawbacks as well. Stick around to know everything regarding icing your tattoo.

Can You Ice A Tattoo? Is It Safe?

Yes, icing does help but when it comes to a freshly opened wound, we would always recommend a thorough aftercare routine provided by your tattoo artist. You should closely check what is going on on your skin.

You might get afraid after noticing swelling on your tattooed skin. But swelling happens when the blood vessels of your body are expanded and it brings the fluids containing white body cells. So in a way, the inflammatory process is a normal and healthy way for your healing procedure.

How Often Should I Ice a Tattoo?

Apply an icepack every two or three hours, it will help with the healing process of your tattooed area. To help soothe the tattooed area, it would be best if you could ice it for around 15 to 20 minutes. This may help your tattooed area to reduce pain and inflammation.

Worth mentioning that icing for more than 30 minutes may be quite harmful.

What’s The Right Way to Ice A Tattoo?

The only problem you may face if you ice your newly done tattoo in the wrong way is catching an infection. Using ice for a long time may result in a disfigured tattoo, when your tattoo is healed you may see that your tattoo isn’t looking the way you wanted.

Applying the ice directly on the tattooed area or applying it for way too long can frostbite your skin. So it is highly advised to apply icing in the proper way, as your tattoo artist advised you to do.

Speaking of the right way to ice a tattoo, here’s what you can do to get the best results.

Making a Cold Compress

Instead of placing the ice directly on your skin, you should make a cold compress. Before that, collect the things below.

  • Ice
  • Wash clothes
  • Plastic bag

Then, place the ice in a plastic bag after washing your hands. Instead of using ice, you might simply moisten a tiny face towel, freeze it, and then put the frozen cloth inside the plastic bag.

Wrap the bag with the washcloth after wetting it with cold water. Apply the homemade cold compress for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to your tattoo, and if necessary, repeat the procedure in two hours.

You need to dry the area always, to do that try patting the tattooed area with a fresh towel. You should never rub the tattoo dry.

Can You Ice An Infected Tattoo?

Yes, you can ice an infected tattoo. But first, you need to understand the symptoms of an infected tattoo. Icing is not always everything that you can rely on. There are different suggestions for individual skin conditions.

Infected tattoos are associated with pain, pus, swelling, redness, shivers, and fevers. Below is a table for making the water less muddy.

Infection SymptomsThe Right Thing to Do
Redness on skinIf the redness spreads and increases after 2 days, need to contact a tattoo artist.
Off-white, brown, or greenish-yellow dischargeThis kind of symptom indicates an infection. Need to contact a tattoo artist.
Pain or tendernessIf you are in a lot of pain, you should contact your doctor asap.
Aching muscle and feverConsult a doctor immediately.
PeelingNeeds to maintain aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist.

Although just Icing won’t fix your infected area easily (you have to follow a complete aftercare routine), it will surely help your infected area to heal properly. However, applying cold in combination with the appropriate medication will help the region recover with no harm to the tattoo ink.

Benefits Of Icing A New Tattoo

There are some compelling reasons why applying ice on newly done tattoos have been advised for so many years. Some of them are-

1. Relieves pain

When you place ice on your skin, it helps to numb the area, which is a great relief if you have pain in your tattooed area. Ice reduces blood circulation by making blood vessels constrict, which is how it operates.

Reduced blood flow reduces pain-causing swelling and inflammation. You can get through the first few days of discomfort while the skin heals by regularly icing the tattoo.

2. Ice cools the skin of your new tattoo

When you get a new tattoo, it’s normal for your tattooed area to be quite warm. The icing here comes as a great help. Using ice will help your tattooed area to decrease the discomfort while the healing procedure of your skin goes on.

3. Ice reduces the weeping of fluids

Ice can be helpful for a fresh tattoo that is dripping blood and fluids because it slows blood flow to the area. The weeping will be less if you regularly apply ice to the tattoo, allowing the bandages to stay fresh for longer. If the weeping doesn’t stop after a few days, always remember to check the region for infection.

4. Reduces Itching

A few days after receiving a new tattoo, they often start to itch. This is a positive sign that the tattoo is healing well. When you have a new tattoo and don’t want to scratch the area, itchiness might drive you insane.

Do’s and Don’ts of Icing a New Tattoo

Remember the things below while icing your tattoo.


  • It is highly recommended that you wash your hands every time before you touch your tattoo or tattooed area. Also, wash the towel which you will use for your tattooed area.
  • After having a tattoo, you can cover the bandage with ice wrapped in a compress.
  • If the tattoo artist used wraps over your tattoo, there should be no issue regarding applying ice over the wraps. It’s better to use a towel between the ice and the dressing.
  • When your tattooed area will not require any more bandages, you should make sure to clean the area with proper measurements before applying the ice compress.
  • Make sure the towels, compresses, or other materials you are using to ice are fresh from the cabinet. Do not use a standard bathroom towel.
  • Before applying the ice bag to the skin, ensure the cloth or towel you want to wrap it in is a little moist. Due to the stickiness brought on by weeping fluids like blood plasma, dry towels or cloths may become stuck on freshly tattooed skin.
  • When using the ice, keep the tattooed area elevated. This process of directing the extra fluid will help the swelling decrease faster.
  • To avoid developing frostbite in the area, rotate the icepack gently in circular motions during icing.


  • Before washing your hands, avoid handling any towels or ice that you want to use on the tattooed skin.
  • Never use an ice bag on an open cut on tattooed skin since doing so increases the risk of infection.
  • When using ice, avoid getting the tattooed skin sopping wet since this may hinder the wound’s ability to heal. Always squeeze the ice and stop when it begins to melt and seep through the cloth.
  • When you are icing the tattoo, avoid applying too much pressure because this harms the skin and might increase inflammation and swelling.

After-Ink Safety

The first week of aftercare for your new tattoo is the most vital phase. Because this aftercare routine will set up how good your tattoo will look after being healed. So you should follow ink safety properly-

1. After leaving the shop

Your tattoo was likely wrapped by when it was the most vulnerable stage by your tattoo artist. Unless your artist instructs you to do otherwise, leave the wrap on for four to six hours. Just before you take off the wrap, wash your hands.

2. Washing the tattoo

Carefully wash your tattoo with antibacterial soap. To completely stop the weeping of your new tattoo and remove any blood, plasma, or extra ink from the incision, you have to be careful and gentle throughout this whole process.

3. Dry the tattoo

To avoid getting your tattoo in contact with any bacteria during the first three weeks, use a clean towel or a paper towel that doesn’t leave any product residue.

If required, apply ice to the skin after the initial wash. To ensure that you are doing something safely, keep in mind to follow our detailed instructions.

4. Re-drying the area

You should pat the area dry after applying ice to your tattoo.

Apply ointment if necessary. Unlike lotions or creams, which may create problems for your tattoo to dry and heal properly, ointment can be used during the first three days after getting a tattoo. Applying an ointment can help you to ease the pain. But make sure you washed the tattooed area, applying it in an unwashed area will be harmful.

5. Moisturize your tattoo

On days three or four after it stops bleeding, you can start including a moisturizer in your aftercare routine. This aids in reducing itching, redness, and irritation, as well as developing healthy scabs.

6. Avoid touching or poking your scabs

Around the first week, you will notice the formation of your first scabs or peeling skin. Leave them alone to fall off on their own.


Can ice ruin a fresh tattoo?

The tattoo ink inside the skin won’t change if you apply ice to a fresh tattoo. Ice will have an impact on the skin’s temperature and reduce swelling at the location of an accident, but nothing will change the ink’s color or consistency. So you may apply ice on the new tattoo without fear and benefit from its calming effects without difficulty!

Can you use a sponge for your new tattoo?

The answer is negative. Avoid cleaning your fresh tattoo with a loofah, sponge, washcloth, or any other abrasive materials. You must treat a new tattoo like a wound because it is one.
Loofahs that are scratchy and harsh might exfoliate the skin and possibly infect or hemorrhage the tattooed region. With clean hands and a tattoo foam soap, gently wash the tattoo, then pat it dry with a lint-free towel.

What should you not put on a new tattoo?

Applying petroleum-based products to your tattoos, such as A+D Ointment or Bepanthen, is generally not advised. These six products have a distinct purpose from tattoo aftercare or healing.


Did you find the answer you were looking for?

A newly done tattoo needs the utmost care and safety procedure for proper healing. A tattoo owner wants his or her tattoo to be perfect, so this phase is the most important for them. As we have said, icing your tattoo is very normal and very beneficial for your tattoo also.

So you should not worry much while icing your tattoo. Just follow the steps we have mentioned in this article and you are good to go. Good luck!

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