Microblading Infection Symptoms and What to Do

By Katarina V.| Last updated on July 14, 2022
How to handle microblading infection
⏱️ 4 min read

Microblading is a form of tattooing – the skin is opened and the pigment is inserted. So some clients may be worried about the risk of infection, especially if they’ve seen horror pictures of infected eyebrows after a brow tattoo.

The truth is that there is actually no need to worry so much, although infections are possible. We are going to explain all about a microblading infection – how common it is, how to prevent it, and how to recognize and react if it happens.

How Common Is Microblading Infection?

Microblading infections are actually very rare. On average, there is only a 1% risk of developing a minor infection, and even less of developing a serious one.

It’s important to know what to do to prevent microblading infection and what to do if you think you developed one.

Why Does Microblading Infection Happen?

There are 2 main reasons why microblading infection can happen: the artist does something wrong during the treatment, or the client doesn’t follow aftercare instructions closely enough.

Poor Choice of Microblading Artist

Microblading is not properly regulated in most US states as well as around the world, which results in a great number of under-trained and unlicensed microblading technicians.

If your microblading artist doesn’t work in sterile conditions, and hasn’t been trained in health and safety protocols properly, the chance of getting an infection is higher.

Poor Aftercare

Microbladed eyebrows need some time to heal and proper aftercare is crucial in the first 2 weeks. Bear in mind that your brows are a fresh wound and not treating them properly can lead to an infection.

Remember to clean the brows regularly. That way you will remove the bacteria and oils, as well as ointment buildup, before applying a new, thin layer of ointment. The wound needs to breathe in order to heal properly, and using too much ointment and not cleaning the brows will suffocate the skin and lead to an infection.

How to Recognize a Microblading Infection?

Microblading entails some side effects, which are completely normal, but you need to know when your skin is acting unusual. So here are 2 lists that will help you:

Normal – Common Side-Effects

  • Some swelling and redness (up to 3 days)
  • Mild tenderness (up to 3 days)
  • Scabbing is a completely normal and usual part of the healing process. It appears 3-5 days after the treatment and lasts up to 7 days. If the scabbing lasts longer than 3 weeks after the treatment, contact your microblading artist. Heavy scabbing is problematic.

Not Normal – Signs of a Microblading Infection

  • Swelling, extreme redness, and tenderness after day 3 (early signs of an infection)
  • Green, yellow or brownish, usually thick discharge
  • Odor coming from the brow area
  • Swelling that spreads to the eyelids and other areas (more serious infection)
  • The affected area feels warmer than normal
  • Thick raised scabs, crusty texture
  • Fever

Microblading infectionImage source: YouTube Inside Edition

What To Do In Case of a Microblading Infection?

If you suspect you developed a microblading infection, the first thing you need to do is to contact your microblading artists. Inform them what is happening and send pictures of your eyebrows, so they can assess the situation.

If it’s a mild infection, they will probably prescribe an action plan – what to do first. They will probably recommend some over-the-counter antibiotic cream to help you fight the infection.

If the condition is more serious (which is very rare), you should visit your doctor. They may prescribe suitable oral antibiotics.

If you have thick scabs on your brows that cause the infection by suffocating the skin, most artists will recommend going under the shower, water splashing on the face for the scabs to fall out. Then you should gently rub the scabs, to enable them to fall off and the skin to breathe.

Over-the-counter solutions such as antibiotic ointment and putting a cold pack in the affected area could help, while you are waiting for your doctor.

How to Know the Difference Between Microblading Infection and Allergy?

The symptoms of allergy and early infection are very similar – swelling, extreme tenderness, and pain to the touch, but the allergic reaction will look like a mini-burn and there won’t be any odor or green/yellow discharge.

But how do you know if you are allergic to pigment and other products used during the microblading session?

Most microblading pigments contain nickel and if you have allergies to this metal or in general, ask for a patch test in advance. There are also some ingredients in numbing creams people can be allergic to, so if you are prone to allergies, consult your doctor first or insist on a patch test.

Signs of microblading infectionImage source: Instagram @microbladingfails

How to Prevent Microblading Infection?

Even though they are very rare, better safe than sorry. So here’s what you should do to avoid any complications and prevent microblading infection:

  • Choose your microblading artist carefully. Check if they have a certificate and a license as well as a Bloodborne training certificate. Find someone experienced and make sure they use pre-sterilized, disposable tools. Each microblading artist should have a plan of action on how to approach a possible infection.
  • Make sure you follow aftercare instructions. Wash your eyebrows regularly so they are always clean and able to heal. The wound needs oxygen and if the skin is suffocated with lymph and ointment build-up, it cannot breathe.
  • Use your ointment sparingly. Apply only a small amount so you don’t clog the skin.

Learn more about proper microblading aftercare in this guide.

To Sum Up

Microblading infection is really not that common and it can easily be avoided if you find the right artist and follow the aftercare instructions. If it does happen, you need to know what to do, but don’t do anything on your own, without consulting your microblading artists, or even better, a doctor. The infection will affect the results of the microblading treatment, but health comes first.

Cover image source: Freepik



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