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How to Prevent Yourself From Scratching Your Tattoo In Your Sleep

scratching tattoo

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During our waking time, we can consciously keep ourselves from scratching. But our tattoos may be so itchy we actually scratch in our sleep. The easiest and fastest way to prevent yourself from scratching in your sleep is to cover your tattoo. Depending on the location of the tattoo, you can either cover it with clothes or wrap it at night. If you choose to wrap it, do so with an easily breathable t-shirt or comparable material.

How to Sleep With an Itchy Tattoo

It’s completely safe to sleep on a fresh tattoo. If it worries you, make sure you have a layer of clothes to prevent getting any blood or fluid from your tattoo on your bed.

If you have a hard time falling asleep because it itches so much, there are a few things you can try. Moisturizing your tattoo should provide at least a temporary relief from the itching, so lotion up your tattoo right before falling asleep. Some people find that taking a shower can provide some itching relief, so showering shortly before bed may help as well.

Can You Scratch a Tattoo Over Clothes?

Ideally, you shouldn’t scratch or rub a tattoo at all. Many people find that they can get a nice scratch through actually slapping their tattoo. Depending on how old your tattoo is, this could hurt a decent amount – but it would also distract you from the itching! If you must scratch, doing so very gently over clothes isn’t the worst thing in the world.

How Bad is it To Accidentally Scratch a Healing Tattoo?

You should never scratch a healing tattoo. The most important reason is due to infection. The under side of your nails are incredibly dirty and while healing, your tattoo is still an open wound. Scratching your tattoo introduces all sorts of germs and debris into your wound, which could cause it to become infected. While it’s healing, your tattoo is still covered in fresh skin cells as it hasn’t yet built up its outer layer of dead skin cells to protect it. Scratching your tattoo could injure these fragile skin cells and cause your tattoo to heal improperly.

If you accidentally scratched once, there’s nothing you can do except monitor for signs of infection and avoid scratching it again in the future. If you do begin to notice any signs of infection, visit your doctor immediately. If your tattoo heals improperly due to scratching, you can visit your tattoo artist once it’s fully healed to get a touch up.

Can You Rub a Tattoo When It’s Itchy?

You should avoid rubbing a tattoo. While it’s scratching with fingernails that can lead to infection, rubbing a healing tattoo can still cause it to heal improperly. Instead of rubbing, try slapping your tattoo to relieve the itchy feeling. If you have to rub your tattoo, you can use a soft cloth to very gently rub it, similar to how you might in the shower.


If you find yourself scratching your tattoo in your sleep, wear clothes that cover your tattoo or wrap it in cloth to prevent yourself from doing any damage. If your tattoo is too itchy and preventing you from getting any sleep, try taking a shower before bed or moisturizing right before you fall asleep. Instead of scratching or rubbing your tattoo, try slapping it to relieve the itchiness.