Do Antibiotics Affect Tattoos?

Though it has its side-effects, antibiotics are one of the most effective types of medications to help fight off any bacterial infection. If your physician has prescribed antibiotics, you have to take them for a few weeks till you complete a certain course. Now, you may have the urge to go get a tattoo while you’re on antibiotics, but this isn’t a wise decision. You’re probably thinking that for some people, alcohol, drugs, and antibiotics have never induced side effects that cause a hindrance in getting a tattoo.

While this might sometimes work, getting a tattoo while you’re on antibiotics or under the influence of drugs and alcohol can have a bad outcome. Your antibiotics are definitely working to fight off the infection. However, the main question is if it is safe to get a tattoo while under the influence of antibiotics. To get answers to your questions, continue reading below.

Why Avoid Getting A Tattoo While on Antibiotics?

As soon as the tattoo artist injects ink into your skin, your immune system starts working at its fastest to get rid of it while preventing the risk of infections. The purpose of taking antibiotics is to fight the bacterial infection from spreading through your body, so if you get a tattoo while on antibiotics, your body will suffer from double the effects because the antibiotics and immune system are constantly working. This puts a lot of burden on the immune system, which might cause your body to reject the ink, delaying the tattoo healing process.

During the tattooing process, the artist makes a million tiny holes in your skin for the ink to pass through. These tiny holes are perfect for different germs, viruses, pathogens, and bacteria to enter. While the antibiotics will help fight off the bacteria, it won’t handle the other pathogens present, which is most likely to negatively affect your body’s internal workings. Ink rejection is also most likely to happen as there is an overload of energy from the immune system.

Since you’re taking antibiotics, your health is already at a vulnerable stage, which is one of the reasons you require such strong medication. You may make your health worse by going with your tattoo while on antibiotics. While some people may have successfully gotten a tattoo while on antibiotics, why would you want to take such a major risk that could lead to other complications? Tattoos are all about making you feel good and unique, and if you want to experience those feelings, then you must wait it out till your antibiotic course.

How Long After The Tattoo Can I Take Antibiotics?

As mentioned earlier, getting a tattoo while on antibiotics is a bad decision, especially if you want your tattoo to come out the right way. If you’re in dire need to take antibiotics, you can probably take them after your appointment. It would be best if you waited at least a few days before you start taking antibiotics. It would help if you allowed your tattoo to go through at least the first few healing stages without any interference.

Antibiotics may cause your body to reject ink from settling into your skin. This will ruin the outlook of your tattoo as the antibiotics are already at work, getting rid of any risk of bacterial infection. You may wish to take antibiotics after your tattoo appointment, but then you must also prepare for other complications you may have to deal with, for example, tattoo laser removal treatments.

What Medications Affect Tattoos?

Many people have a misconception about how painkillers help with the pain during their tattoo procedure. Painkillers actually make it worse and may cause you more pain. Painkillers make blood thinner, and when this happens, it becomes difficult for artists to tattoo their design freely and may require a bit more effort. In doing so, you will experience more pain, and in some cases, you might not be able to continue with the tattooing procedure.

One of the main medications that people commonly tend to take before their tattoo appointment, which leads to blood thinning, is ibuprofen and panadol. Other blood thinner medications include Apixban, Heparin, Edoxaban, Dabigatran, and Warfarin. In case you received a prescription to take any of these medications due to a medical condition, you must communicate this with your tattoo artist or wait till you finish the entire course of these medications.

If you have antibiotics in your system, this is more likely to affect your tattoo and ruin its whole outlook. Sometimes, antibiotics work without affecting your tattoo’s healing process, but you must talk to your tattoo artists about this. Some antibiotics usually make your skin hypertensive and may lead to severe skin reactions rather than getting in the way of your tattoo healing process.

Acne medications such as Minomycin, Accutane, and other prescription acne drugs may also affect your tattoo. These medications make the skin hypersensitive, leading to scarring and more pain. So instead of getting a tattoo while on these medications, wait till they are out of your system. This is a safer option as it ensures a smoother tattoo journey. Your health is much more important, and at the same time, you would want your preferred tattoo design to come out differently.

Can I Put Triple Antibiotic Cream On My New Tattoo?

Tattoo aftercare is one of the most important stages of your tattoo journey. One of the main factors your tattoo requires for a smooth healing process is the proper use of a moisturizer. Many people tend to take any cream lying around and apply it to their tattoo. It will help if you avoid this, as you could be using the wrong moisturizers that harm your tattoo instead of improving it. You should keep triple antibiotic creams far away from your tattoo.

Triple antibiotic creams such as Neosporin can ruin your tattoo’s healing as such products include a petroleum base that blocks the access of oxygen on your tattoo, leading to excessive dryness and may also cause stickiness in your tattoo if the cream is too thick for your skin. Sticky tattoos lead to dirt and bacterial accumulation on the tattoo, which leads to a faded look or even oozing. Triple antibiotic creams such as Neosporin help you avoid infections; however, this is the only benefit as the side-effects take greater weightage.

There are many risks of applying Neosporin to your tattoo. One of the worst side-effects is a loss of color. This will change the way your tattoo looks, especially if you’ve got a colored tattoo. But that’s not all, because a loss of color may result in tattoo scarring, which looks unappealing. You may most likely also experience an allergic reaction after applying the cream. This allergy could result in red bumps and rashness, increasing your urge to itch, which is a deterrent in the healing process.

Though triple antibiotic creams like Neosporin help prevent infections on a tattoo, they may also increase your chances of getting an infection at the same time. This is especially if you have antibiotics in your system. When you increase the intake of antibiotics, your body develops a resistance that may defeat the purpose of Neosporin. You will come across many other brand names or generic triple antibiotic ointments, but if you really want your tattoo to heal properly, stick to simple methods and keep the creams out of your sight and reach.

What to Do If I’m Already on Antibiotics?

Now that you’re aware of the risks involved with getting a tattoo while on antibiotics, you’ve probably changed your mind and are still confused. You will get your tattoo sooner or later, just maybe not now or until the antibiotics leave your system.  Sometimes, it’s hard to get hold of the best tattoo artist due to tight bookings, and canceling your appointment may disappoint you. But, you can call your tattoo artist and ask them to reschedule for another time, letting them know the reason.

This will give you more time to think about your tattoo design. You never know. You may come across a better design or placement for your tattoo, which will look even better than what you imagined originally. This will give you time to explore different types of tattoos. If you still haven’t started your antibiotic course and are about to, opt to get your tattoo first before starting a round of antibiotic medication. But, you should consult with your doctor first, as you may have to immediately start with the antibiotic course in case of a threatening infection.

Is It Possible to Get a Tattoo When Sick?

Sure, you can get a tattoo when you’re sick, but only if you really want to. Nevertheless, this decision comes with many risks. A proper healing process for your tattoo is necessary if you want it to come out looking great, and if that doesn’t go well, there is no point in getting a tattoo unless you want to deal with further complications. It’s best to get your health on track before booking an appointment with your artist.


You have the choice of sticking with your urge to get a tattoo while on antibiotics or wait till you’re off them. No matter your decision, it’s important to consult your tattoo artist first and let them know if you’re on antibiotics. Some tattoo artists aren’t usually comfortable with tattooing clients that may be sick or on heavy medications as they want you to receive the best tattoo results. With help from this article, you can make an informed decision and understand how antibiotics affect tattoos.