What’s the best body wash for tattoos? Should you be using antibacterial soap or is your regular shower gel okay? The answer depends on how fresh your ink is.
For example, if you have a brand-new tattoo, the best body wash would be fragrance-free, gentle, and hydrating to help the skin heal faster. But if you want to brighten up an old tattoo, try an exfoliating body wash to gradually remove layers of dull skin.
Some say the best antibacterial soap for tattoos is Dial Gold, but doctors have been saying that antibacterial soap isn’t necessary unless there is an infection (1). And veteran tattoo artists recommend mild soap with no irritants like perfumes or parabens (2).
Dr. Woo, the artist who inked Justin Bieber, Drake, and Miley Cyrus, started his own skincare line to provide the perfect tattoo aftercare products including bath soap that won’t strip natural moisture from the skin.
Which is the best body wash for a new tattoo?
When you get a new tattoo, it takes at least two to three weeks for the surface to heal. That’s when the skin is smooth and the scabs have fallen off. After all, a tattoo is a wound that has to close up, and the best way to take care of a wound is to keep the skin moist, comfortable, and pH-balanced. It’s smart to avoid irritating it with harsh ingredients.
Unfortunately, the typical body wash may dehydrate an open wound like a new tattoo and cause irritation with artificial fragrances, strong cleansers, and an alkaline formula with a high pH.
But a body wash made for sensitive skin respects the acid balance, avoids irritants, and restores moisture. It’s worth it to switch to a better bath product for the time it takes to heal a tattoo. It prevents the pain of getting a touch-up or dealing with an infection.
Pick a body wash that:
- is formulated for sensitive skin
- is fragrance-free
- is moisturizing
Check out the first five reviews below to see the top recommended body washes for new tattoos.
Which is the best body wash for an old tattoo?
Years down the road, your tattoo may not look as crisp and vibrant as it did when it was new. It helps if you’ve been using sunscreen to filter out UV rays that fade the ink. But sometimes old, dry skin builds up over top and makes the tat look dull.
Although you may need a touch-up to restore its full beauty, you might get some mileage out of an exfoliating body wash. We recommend ones with alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids as they remove dead skin without abrading the surface. Try one for a couple of weeks and see if your skin doesn’t look and feel smoother and your ink a little brighter. But don’t forget the moisturizer and sunscreen all the same. You can learn more about exfoliating body washes at the bottom of the reviews below.
|The best body washes for tattoo
|Why we love them
|WOO after/care treatment soap
|Aveeno Restorative Skin Therapy Sulfate-Free Body Wash
|Dove Irritation Care Body Wash for Sensitive Skin
|Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body and Face Cleanser
|Sheamoisture Hydrating Body Wash
|Billy Jealousy Make Your Mark Tattoo Wash
|Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash
Best Body Washes for Tattoo in 2024
WOO after/care treatment soap
Dr Woo is a world-renowned tattoo artist whose art decorates the bodies of Zoe Kravitz and other superstars. He worked with the experts to develop a complete tattoo aftercare line including this fragrance-free soap. It’s ultra-gentle and moisturizing for cleansing fresh tattoos.
The calming formula keeps the skin healthy to help you heal faster. It’s genius because it comes as a bar of soap instead of a liquid wash. Why does that matter? Because you can’t scrub a new tattoo with a washcloth or loofah anyway, plus you can take a bar of soap with you everywhere, even on a plane. There’s no excuse to not keep your new tattoo clean.
The soap features coconut oil, glycerin, shea butter, and chamomile to hydrate and reduce inflammation. It also has sesame seed oil and vitamin E to accelerate healing and ward off infection.
Moreover, it’s cruelty-free and contains no artificial fragrance, color, parabens, phthalates, or PEGs.
- Developed by a celebrity tattoo artist in collaboration with skincare experts
- Designed to care for new tattoos
- Moisturizes and accelerates healing
- Convenient bar of soap can travel with you
- Cruelty-free, with no artificial scent, color, parabens, PEGs, or phthalates
- Not the least expensive option
Aveeno Restorative Skin Therapy Sulfate-Free Body Wash
You don’t need drying sulfates or fancy ingredients to keep clean. Aveeno’s new body wash is specifically made without harsh sulfates, fragrances, or parabens. It was developed to care for stressed and dry skin, so it’s ideal for new tattoos.
You may already be familiar with this dermatologist-recommended brand and maybe you’ve tried their other sensitive skin body wash in the past –the one that relieves itchy skin. If that one works for you, go right ahead and continue with it. But this one is even better for healing new tattoos as it contains a hefty dose of antioxidants with pro-vitamin B5, aloe, and oat. In a clinical trial, 90% of the users were pleased that it got them clean without drying out their skin. And it helps calm itching, too.
- Suitable for cleansing new tattoos as it’s formulated for dry, distressed skin
- Free from sulfates, parabens, and perfumes
- 90% of trial users were pleased with results
- Conditions and moisturizes, promotes healing
- Features oat, aloe, antioxidants, and pro-vitamin B5
- Feels kind of like a lotion, doesn’t make much lather
Dove Irritation Care Body Wash for Sensitive Skin
Is Dove sensitive skin soap good for tattoos? As a matter of fact, it is. This is a new Dove body wash with a hypoallergenic formula that hydrates itchy skin. It’s so good that the National Eczema Association has given it the Seal of Acceptance. Reviewers say the unscented body wash makes a lot of lather and rinses clean.
The creamy formula soothes and conditions the skin, reducing redness and irritation, making it perfect for new tattoos. It contains no sulfates or parabens, plus it’s cruelty-free. The brand has even moved to using 100% recycled plastic bottles.
- Affordable hypoallergenic, moisturizing body wash
- Has the Seal of Acceptance from the NEA as it’s safe for eczema-prone skin
- Alleviates redness, itchiness, and irritation
- Cruelty-free with no parabens or sulfates
- Packaged in 100% recycled plastic
Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body and Face Cleanser
The bottle isn’t sexy although it’s recognizable with its bright red top. This drugstore body wash is a great choice for keeping new tattoos clean. It’s non-drying and mild. The only downfall is that it seems to take a little more soap than usual to make enough lather.
However, the clean-rinsing formula contains no artificial fragrances, drying sulfates, or dyes, plus it’s pH-balanced and non-comedogenic. In other words, it won’t cause acne or irritate the skin.
It doesn’t contain cocamidopropyl betaine, either. This fallback ingredient is often used as a replacement cleanser in sulfate-free soaps, but it’s an allergen that can dehydrate the skin.
To get the most from it, take short showers and use lukewarm water. That’s because hot water will dry out the skin, and if your skin stays wet for too long, it gets prune-like, and that’s bad news for new tattoos.
- Made without irritants and drying ingredients to protect sensitive skin
- Non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic
- Fragrance-free, with no dyes, sulfates, or cocamidopropyl betaine
- May take a little more soap than usual to make enough lather
Sheamoisture Hydrating Body Wash
Here’s a delicious recipe for your skin: raw shea butter, frankincense, and myrrh. Those are the key ingredients in this moisturizing body wash. The enticing aroma alone is going to make you want to try it. But once you feel how silky your skin feels afterward, you’ll be hooked.
This isn’t the best body wash for recent ink, but it’s perfect for keeping a healed tattoo vibrant. It hydrates and soothes the skin, providing a luxurious experience. Furthermore, it’s made without sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
- Conditioning body wash keeps ink vibrant by moisturizing the skin
- Features Fair Trade Shea butter, frankincense, and myrrh
- Delicious aroma and luxurious lather
- Not fragrance-free, but the scent comes from natural ingredients
Billy Jealousy Make Your Mark Tattoo Wash
Many of the best tattoo aftercare soaps are little bitty bottles made for spot-cleansing a new tattoo, not for washing your entire body. Although they may keep a recent tattoo hydrated and clean, it would be an expensive habit to use them as shower gel.
This brand of tattoo body wash is packaged in a sixteen-ounce bottle with a pump top. Press the pump down halfway and you’ll get enough soap for a sleeve tattoo. It’s still more pricey than drugstore body wash, but if you have a lot of ink, it’s a good deal.
The rosemary-scented gel is best to use after the skin over a new tattoo has healed and the scabs are gone. That’s because it contains glycolic acid to exfoliate dead skin and renew the surface, letting your ink shine through. If you use it on a fresh tattoo, it will sting. But once your skin has healed, the soothing gel helps it retain moisture with cucumber and oat protein.
- Exfoliates dead cells to leave ink vibrant and skin smooth
- Fortified with rosemary, cucumber, and oat protein
- Sixteen-ounce bottle with a pump top
- Not for new tattoos
Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash
If you have acne-prone skin or keratosis pilaris (bumpy, rough “chicken skin”), glycolic acid body wash is a godsend. It’s generally more moisturizing than salicylic acid body wash and excellent for renewing dry skin and keeping pores clear. Use this one to keep all your tattoos looking their best. It also helps smooth fine lines and fade hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars or sun damage.
The formula has a low pH of 4.5 to keep it acidic enough for the glycolic acid to do its job. The high acidity also keeps it from dehydrating the skin. Plus, it’s reinforced with pea protein, vitamins, and aloe to keep the skin healthy.
The only downside is that we don’t recommend this for sensitive skin unless you do a patch test first. Take a tiny bit and wash a small spot, then wait a day or two to see if there’s a reaction. It’s because the formula has a few less desirable ingredients like cocamidopropyl betaine (which was Allergen of the Year).
- Keeps tattoo ink vibrant by exfoliating dead skin with glycolic acid
- Has aloe, pea protein, and vitamins to renew the skin
- Also helps combat signs of aging, clear up KP, and prevent acne
- May contain allergens or irritants for sensitive skin
Certain kinds of soap are better for your tattoos. Choose a moisturizing formula to show off the ink under smooth, soft skin.
We hope our reviews helped you find the best tattoo aftercare products today. Be sure to check our other articles to learn more about caring for a new tattoo and more.
1. https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/relieving-wound-pain How Should I Clean a Wound? Medically Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on April 18, 2021
2. https://tatring.com/fixing-hiding-tattoos/How-to-Make-an-Old-Tattoo-Look-Fresh-Again How to Make Your Old Tattoo Look Good Again, by Anne, published December 17, 2020