Tattoo Ink Sacks [When Should You Be Worried?]

A lot of people do not know about tattoo ink sacks, especially those with their first tattoos. Many get panicked seeing it, not knowing how to treat it or what it even is. But it is nothing malignant, not at least primarily.

You should be worried about your tattoo ink sack when it looks too heavy or fluid. That is a sign that your tattoo is on the verge of an ink leakage, which can lead to severe skin issues if left unattended.

This article will tell you all about an ink sack – from what it is to when you should be concerned and how to look after it. Have a go at it.

What Is An Ink Sack?

An ink sack refers to a stock of fluid formed over a tattoo, which stays beneath a film placed on a freshly laid tattoo. The name of the film is Saniderm. Your tattoo artist puts it over your tattoo and protects your skin by preventing infections.

The principal function of Saniderm is to heal your tattoo without scabbing by keeping the wounded skin safe from harmful bacteria.

Why Do Tattoo Artists Use An Ink Sack?

Using an ink sack has many advantages. Here are some of them.

  • It promotes the tattooed skin close faster.
  • It prevents excessive bleeding and spilling of ink.
  • Your skin will not have any contamination issues.
  • There will be no scabbing or interference of germs and dirt.

Saniderm is helpful because it protects your tattoo while allowing your skin to breathe and heal. Consequently, the additional ink stays stuck to it, letting the ink sack build up. Otherwise, the ink would have leaked out and caused undesirable ramifications.

Many people are scared of ink sacks, but they should not be. The occurrence of an ink sack is totally natural. You will be clear about it when you know what makes it occur in the first place.

What Is Responsible For The Occurrence Of An Ink Sack?

When we experience an injury, our body reacts and begins the healing procedure immediately. To do so, it sends plasma to the injured skin surface. Plasma is the transparent fluid part of our blood, an inflammatory liquid.

So, plasma reaches your tattoo and comes in contact with the ink, developing a liquid sack beneath the layer together. It is an entirely safe, normal, and natural process carried out by our internal system.

Traditional wraps were used to replace Saniderm once. But Saniderm treats your skin better than them. When it seals in, it makes way for the buildup of an ink sack.

Will It Destroy Your Tattoo Design? 

An ink sack will not destroy your tattoo design. It moistens it and keeps it from cracking and bleeding. So your chances of suffering from scabbing, skin irritation, and itching will be much lower. Having the ink sack makes the adhesive stick to your skin, which can potentially ruin your tattoo.

Blankets, sheets, and loose clothing can irritate a tattoo in recovery and slow the process. When you have Saniderm, it deters that from happening, paces up the healing, and ensures a healthy outcome.

Artists usually prefer Saniderm to put on a new tattoo. You may have also seen people using saran wraps. But they are not suitable for an ink sack to form, as they are not sealed adhesives. In addition, Saniderm is the better choice because of its absorbent properties and ability to let the tattoo breathe, contributing vitally to the appearance of your tattoo with darker shades and livelier colors.

Now, while Saniderm cannot directly destroy your tattoo design, you might make it do so by using it wrong. Not checking the ink sack size can have detrimental effects on your skin. If it is too large, it can burst and leak out the excess portion of the ink. That will expose your tattoo to bacterial contamination and, eventually, severe infections.

The infections could destroy your tattoo design. You should monitor the sack regularly and check it daily at least once.

When Can You Remove It?

If the sack starts to get heavy with fluid, that will be your signal to remove it. It happens more frequently with colorful and highly saturated tattoos. When the sack is as thick as a quarter, you should remove and clean it. Delaying can result in ink leakage and skin diseases.

Nevertheless, you should have it removed, regardless of the thickness, within 8 to 24 hours of getting your tattoo done. The Saniderm has to be there for 6 days if another sack does not grow in your tattoo. If it does, you have to clean it again after a day.

To be on the safe side, experts suggest that you treat the ink sack each day irrespective of its fullness. If you wait too long, it may become too heavy and cause your tattoo ink to discharge.

I keep mentioning infections because they can be extremely alarming, lowering your health conditions. Experiencing itching, redness, and skin discomfort are their primary signs. Other signs vary from one person to another, namely pus discharge, fever, blisters, severe pain, touch sensitivity, deformation of the design, and foul odor.

Be alert when your tattoo is in recovery, and look for the signs. Should you notice something unusual, contact your doctor ASAP. The earlier you take care of it, the less severe the repercussions will be.

How Can You Remove It?

Follow the following steps to remove an ink sack.

  • First, remove the film in a descending direction. Do not just take it off, lest you should leak the sack or detach any scabbing if it is already underneath the Saniderm. You should give the scabs enough time to fall off spontaneously. If you remove them manually, they will expose the fresh layer of skin beneath. Since it is still in recovery, it will delay the healing.
  • Then rinse the tattooed skin properly with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Avoid submerging your tattoo in the water. It can moisten the area and invite detrimental bacteria to populate there. The risk is higher if you reuse the Saniderm film. So, use the water lightly and gently over your tattoo and take a soft piece of cloth or towel to pat it dry afterward.
  • When the skin has dried fully, put a thin coating of the recommended tattoo moisturizer on it to prepare it for the subsequent recovery phases. However, do not apply it if the tattoo has not passed the first 1 or 2 days.
  • If necessary, you can put the Saniderm on your tattoo again after removing it when necessary. But you can do without it by carrying on with the regular tattoo aftercare procedure.

What If You Burst An Ink Sack?

Ideally, you should not burst an ink sack when your tattoo is recovering. That does not mean you cannot remove, clean, and replace it. You should take care of it as suggested.

But if you pop it open on purpose or by accident, it will open the door for bacteria to get in and do their job – causing infection. When that happens, make sure to clean and dry your tattoo immediately and place a new film over it.

How Can You Keep An Ink Sack From Appearing?

You cannot stop an ink sack from appearing. It is the natural consequence of your body reacting during the recovery phase of your tattoo. Understand that a freshly made tattoo is nothing less than a wound. So when you have it on your skin, your internal system will tend to do whatever it needs to take care of the intruding object. In this case, it is the tattoo ink.

Anyway, not every tattoo forms an ink sack. Your tattoo will not develop it if you do not use Saniderm.

Then the other option is to go with conventional tattoo aftercare. It will heal your tattoo as well as using the Saniderm film. Should you feel any discomfort maintaining the traditional routine, like skin irritation, red skin, bleeding, etc., consult your tattooist and get medical attention soon.

Otherwise, let Saniderm take over and give you a smooth healing process.

Final Words

You may be unwilling to use Saniderm because of the ink sack. But remember that it is not unhealthy despite its appearance. When you spot it under the Saniderm layer, do not get nervous. It is a natural occurrence and necessary for ideal healing.

However, anyone preferring not to use Saniderm can always choose traditional tattoo aftercare. Although that will be one hell of a ‘do’s and don’ts’ list, you should pick whichever you find more comfortable. And regardless of the options, always remember to knock your doctor when something does not seem right.

That is all from here. Good luck with your tattoo.

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