The best advice I can offer on how to properly care for a new tattoo is NOT TO USE LOTION ON A FRESH TATTOO! Most tattoo artists advise their clients to use a rich ointment for the first few days of healing, followed by unscented, colorless lotions to keep the skin moisturized, protected, and prevent color fading. These lotions are relatively cheap and available at your local drugstore. However, almost all of these lotions contain ingredients that are recently proven to be more harmful than beneficial for tattoo health. Here are 5 tips for tattoo aftercare:
1. Gently Cleanse, Stay out of the sun, and away from heat- During the healing and aftercare process, which may take several weeks, gently cleanse the tattoo daily with fragrance-free, anti-bacterial body soap and luke warm water. For the first few days, no sun, swimming, sweating, or dirt. Keep your tattoo dry and clean. For the first 24 hours, try to ice the tattoo as often as you can, this will help reduce inflammation and also help with the pain.
2. Only oil or oil-based ointment for first 3 days- It is advised by some not to use lotion at all for the first few days because of the high risk of infection. However, there are safe, natural products that are very effective and actually speed up the healing process. For immediate tattoo aftercare, look for a light, oil-based product containing hemp seed oil, tea tree oil, aloe vera, and jojoba oil.
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. It is a very effective remedy against countless skin ailments, infections, cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and skin spots etc. Using tea tree oil combined with hemp seed oil will provide rich omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Using these oils will lightly moisturize, protect, and heal the skin without causing irritation or color loss.
3. Avoid plasma crusting on tattoo- For the first day, your tattoo will seep a clear liquid called plasma. Try not to let this crust on your skin, but if it does, gently wash it off with warm water.
4. After first 3 days, keep skin moisturized with all natural lotion- Keeping the skin hydrated during the peeling process and long after will help with itchiness, flakiness, and preserving the richness of your tattoo color. Like I said before, beware of lotions that contain harmful ingredients such as lanolin or petroleum. Instead use a lotion that is rich in fatty acids for free radical protection and non-greasy hydration. Hemp seed lotions are the best for this.
Hemp seed oil is rich in omega 3, 6, and 9 and it is easily absorbed into the skin. Hemp contains anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties that are healthy and non-irritating to the skin. Continue to use a hemp seed oil lotion long after your tattoo is healed and enjoy longer, truer tattoo color and skin health.
5. Watch the ingredients- Lanolin is an ingredient some will use, and lanolin causes allergic reactions in a lot of people. Lanolin is the natural oil that comes from sheep’s wool. Some tattoo aftercare also contain products such as bee’s wax or petroleum, which can clog pores and contain contaminants. These ingredients are widely popular in over-the-counter creams and lotions because they are cheap and easy to manufacture. The lanolin and mineral oil found in these lotions cause excessive seeping, clogging, scabbing, scarring and color loss. Stay away from products that contain mineral oil, dyes, propylene glycol, or parabens.
Earthly Body’s Tattoo Tonic preserves tattoo color, is non-fading, vegan, and free of petroleum, lanolin, and paraben. Works wonders on healing piercings as well.