Why was my tattoo raised?

So about a week ago, I had some itchy things on my forearm. Some sort of bite, in fact I still have them and they still itch. Anyways, one of them has half on and half off one of my tattoos. It was actually kinda neat looking. After a few minutes of scratching at it, I noticed that my entire tattoo had become raised. Now this isn’t like when you really work at a misquito bite and you have what amounts to a big giant welt, this was the actual lines of the tattoo raised up. In fact I noticed it because I rubbed my hand over the area and could feel the outline. It looked and felt like what a brand new tattoo feels like (without the pain). For those of you who don’t have one, a few hours after you get a tattoo, the welt is about half done and the scab is about half formed, that’s exactly what it looked like. I felt like I could have picked it off. Anyone else ever have this happen, or heard of it happening?

BTW, here’s the tattoo.

I can’t tell you why for sure, but I think it has to do with scar tissue and how scar tissue reacts to irritation differently from normal skin tissue. I can tell you that it happens to me occasionally. One of my tattoos is permanently raised, but if I rub it or scratch it, it raises even further. (It’s on my chest and was done by a beginning tattooist - it’s all scar tissue, really.) The one on my stomach, done by a 40-something tattooist with quite a name for himself, is not normally raised a noticeable amount, but once in a while it will raise, usually if I’ve been rubbing it or I wear a tight waistband over it. Only the one on my ankle, done by a tattooist older than God hisself, never seems to raise at all, no matter how I rub it.

So my guess is it might have something to do with how badly your skin scars, the experience and talent of your tattoo artist (more experience with the gun generally means less scaring on the client), and maybe even the placement on the body (some skin scars more readily than other). Rubbing it irritates the scar tissue within your tattoo lines and makes it temporarily swell more than the normal skin tissue around it.

I’ve had the same thing happen with my tattoo. Maybe once a year or so it kinda itches and raises as you described. Goes away in a day or so though.

Good, so it’s not just me. I was worried for a minute, it seemed like I could have just pulled it right off like a scab. I’ve never had it happen before. But this was the first time since I got it that I had any reason to scratch it for any length of time.