When we think about the discomfort of a tattoo, most of us think about the actual process of getting inked. But there’s often a period with some discomfort during the tattoo healing process as well. This time can last one to several weeks, and can involve itching, redness, and irritation. You’ll feel better if you know how to soothe an irritated tattoo, and what products can help. Here are some frequently asked questions about how to soothe an irritated tattoo: Is it normal for a tattoo to be irritated? Yes, it is common to have some irritation for up to several weeks after getting your tattoo. You may not think of it this way, but a tattoo is actually a wound. During the tattooing process, needles puncture your skin thousands - even hundreds of thousands - of times. Of course these punctures are tiny, even smaller than the prick of a vaccine needle. But with so many pricks to the skin, it’s understandable that you’d feel like your tattoo is irritated for a couple of weeks. Why exactly does a tattoo get irritated? Although it can be annoying, the irritation you feel after you get a tattoo is generally a sign that your body is doing the right thing. Your immune system is supposed to fight off “invaders” and this is exactly what needles and tattoo ink are perceived as. Since your body thinks you’re being put at risk by the ink and the punctures, it sends cells to the site. White blood cells arrive, and their job is to project the wound, fight infection, and act as the supervisors of the healing process. Platelets work to form scabs, protecting the ‘injured’ area. You may feel itching while your tattoo is healing, which is especially irritating for some people. Why does a tattoo itch? The answer lies in your skin’s normal reaction to the dermis being punctured. To warn you that there may be trouble, nerve fibers that sense damage or irritation to your skin, send a signal to your spinal cord. This is interpreted as an itch. It’s frustrating - and that’s the point! Your body wants to make sure you know that something may be amiss. The reality is, even if you understand why your tattoo is irritated, and you appreciate the healthy functioning of your body in warning you about a wound, an irritated tattoo can be really annoying. Which leads us to our next question… How can you soothe an irritated tattoo? What’s great about understanding how your body reacts to a tattoo, and what to expect during the healing process, is that we can also give you steps to minimize the discomfort and irritation. Some people find that a cold compress helps to soothe an irritated tattoo. This is especially helpful if you’ve got some swelling. However, most find that the best way to soothe an irritated tattoo is with the right tattoo aftercare product. How do you pick the right aftercare product to soothe an irritated tattoo? Soothing your itchy, red, uncomfortable tattoo is a lot easier with the right products. There are a small number of high-quality products to help with an irritated tattoo. HUSH Anesthetics makes a line of body art products that are made specially to reduce and help prevent tattoo irritation. At the top of the list is CBD soap, which is particularly effective because of its ability to cleanse, reduce the risk of infection, soothe irritation, and promote long-term color retention. Is there any way to avoid tattoo irritation? While it may not be possible to avoid all irritation, there are certainly steps you can take during and after your tattoo process to minimize itching, swelling, redness, and the risk of infection. HUSH makes several products that can be used before and during the tattoo process, which are formulated to numb the skin, improve tattoo healing time, and reduce redness and itching. Specifically, HUSH gel with lidocaine is great for use about 30 minutes before your tattoo starts. Additionally, HUSH spray with lidocaine is best used after the tattoo outline is done. You can apply as needed, and the active ingredients provide relief to most people in about 10 minutes. You can learn more about HUSH tattoo aftercare products here.