Fresh tattoos typically form scabs which, if left uncared for or picked off, can remove tattoo ink. The scab forms to protect the newly tattooed skin. Picking at tattoo scabs, whether light or heavy, keeps the wound from healing correctly, exposes the wound to bacteria and may result in scarring.
Taking care of tattoo scabs can help minimize the risk of damaging the tattoo itself. Scabs should be kept clean without rubbing the tattoo. Moist compresses should be kept on the scab to keep the skin soft while regenerating. Lotion and antibiotic ointment help keep the scabs soft as well. The scab should heal on its own, at which point it begins to peel and fall off without help.