folliculitis and allergies

is it an allergic reaction, and infection, or irritation?

am not a doctor, and this is only my opinion on the matter. If you’re not sure, advise your client to see their doctor for help about these reactions.

those little bumps? Are zits from skin that hasn’t been sensitized to being shaved. Women’s legs, men’s necks, and armpits rarely, if ever, get folliculitis. And usually it heals just fine as long as you consistently wash the area, and after the tattoo itself heals, use a soft, gentle and mild facial scrub product to clean the area well. (or a loofah. But wait until it’s done healing first! then you can use it on any remaining zits.) It usually goes away on its own once the hair begins to grow back in.

Here’s another tidbit, about allergies:
“It should be noted that allergies can develop over time with exposure (which is why there are more rice allergies in Asia than North America; but those allergies don’t start occurring until fifty or so), and that they may not show up until years later (when the allergy develops). A tattoo artist wrote us to recount, “I am a 29 year old male tattoo artist. I have over 70 tattoos on myself. Recently I became allergic to the pigment of yellow ink. The tattoos were on over a year before the reaction began. So just because a tattoo looks good at first watch out for future problems. The artist him or herself cannot prevent a reaction regardless of experience or sterile environment. This is a painful and aggravating thing to go through.”

Note that allergies don’t show up as scabs, but as raised areas or sores around the tattoo. Serious allergies would be systemic reactions, including hives in other areas of the body. These milder forms are known as “reactions” not full-blown allergic responses, and steroid or antihistamine creams will make them go away right away. If there’s pus, though, it’s not allergies:

“An infection is generally characterized by inflammation, redness of the general area and/or increased temperature of the surrounding tissue.”

so if it’s been more than a day, and the area is hot to the touch or bright red and swollen, or if the scabs are thick or itchy, and you also see pus, it may be infected. If you aren’t using any antibiotics to begin with, you can then start to use triple-A or bacitracin on it, and this is usually enough to kill whatever bacteria are attacking you. If you’ve started out with antibiotic ointment, it means that any infection you get will be immune to antibiotics, and you’re pretty well fucked, and should hit the doctor.

Of course, some of these symtpoms can happen if you’re wearing tight clothes which rub hard against a fresh tattoo. Usually wearing loose clothing that breathes will get rid of any problems.