Which are the best lotions and creams for tattoo aftercare?
Will they help a new tattoo heal faster?
And can they keep the ink from fading?
These are just some of the urgent questions we’ll answer today.
Below, you’ll find reviews of the best tattoo aftercare products, specifically moisturizers.
First, let’s discuss what to avoid after getting a tattoo.
Please don’t do this to your new tattoo
Unfortunately, not every artist or tattoo shop takes the time to teach their clients about proper tattoo aftercare.
Here are the things you shouldn’t do to your new tattoo.
For one, don’t soak the tattoo in the bath or a pool. It will leak ink.
When you wash it, clean your hands first. Then, don’t hold it under the faucet. It’s an open wound that needs gentle treatment.
After that, clean it with fragrance-free soap and your fingers. Use lukewarm or cool water to rinse and pat it dry with a clean towel.
Next, don’t scratch or pick at it. Not only can you damage the tattoo, but you might also cause an infection.
And finally, don’t try to “dry heal.” Anyone with experience in wound care will tell you that the skin heals faster when it’s hydrated (1).
Should you use tattoo aftercare cream with petrolatum?
If you ever want to get into an argument with a tattoo artist, bring up the topic of petrolatum in tattoo aftercare products. It’s a touchy subject because it’s possible to support both sides.
The pro-petrolatum view is that it creates a barrier over the wound. It prevents infection and seals in moisture. It doesn’t hydrate by itself – it only locks in whatever moisture is available beforehand. That’s why you have to apply ointment right after washing when the skin is damp.
But the anti-petrolatum case is that it doesn’t allow the wound to breathe. It doesn’t let moisture in or out. Worse, it’s difficult to wash a tattoo covered in petrolatum as the water rolls off without penetrating, and the dirt stays trapped.
I lean towards tattoo aftercare cream without petrolatum. However, you may find that A&D ointment or Aquaphor are helpful for the first 2 or 3 days. Then, you can switch to a lotion or balm instead.
I believe you should have all the facts to make the best decision about tattoo aftercare. That’s why we’ll begin with petrolatum-based products. Feel free to skip down if you’re not interested in them.
Best Lotions and Creams for Tattoo Aftercare
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Aquaphor’s ointment isn’t just for tattoo care. It’s also helpful for treating chapped hands and lips, cuticles, cracked heels, and diaper rash.
It’s not a waste if you purchase it as you can continue to use it for other purposes after your tattoo is healed.
I chose the version in a squeeze tube as it’s more sanitary than a jar.
On the bright side, it has no artificial fragrance and no preservatives. That’s good news for treating tattoos.
Plus, it contains panthenol and bisabolol that encourage healing and soothe irritation.
On the downside, the main ingredient is petrolatum, which forms the protective barrier. It also has mineral oil and lanolin, which may clog pores or (in rare cases) cause an allergic reaction.
A+D Original Ointment
A&D is also a diaper rash ointment and treatment for scrapes and chapped skin.
Some tattoo artists like to apply this tattoo cream right before they bandage you up and send you out the door.
Besides petrolatum, it features lanolin, cod liver oil, mineral oil, and paraffin. It’s thick and greasy and forms an effective protection over wounds.
On the other hand, it may stain your clothing.
Fortunately, it comes with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.
Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Roll-On Balm
Let’s switch gears to look at a product without petrolatum. Sanibalm comes in a no-mess stick applicator. With it, you don’t even need to touch your skin.
Admittedly, the stick is small, but it fits in a pocket. You’ll never have an excuse to forget to moisturize after washing your tattoo.
Reviewers say it doesn’t sting, but rather feels soothing. It calms itching and leaves the skin soft.
It’s based on natural ingredients like coconut oil and sea buckthorn. Coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial to fight infection. Sea buckthorn is rich in omega-7 to help the skin repair itself without scarring.
If you’re looking for a tattoo balm that’s effective and isn’t messy to deal with, stop right here. If you don’t love it, the manufacturer offers a full refund.
H2Ocean OCEAN FOAM Skin Moisturizing Foam
Once a numbing cream wears off, your skin may feel so sensitive you can barely stand to have anything touching it. That’s when you need this moisturizing foam.
Use it for the first few days instead of tattoo ointment, cream, or lotion. It’s very lightweight and gentle.
It calms the stinging and the itching while providing a protective barrier. It never leaves the skin greasy, and it won’t clog pores.
After you put it on, the foam will gradually absorb and disappear. You can use it up to 5 times per day.
Hustle Butter Deluxe
Hustle butter is another favorite aftercare product without petrolatum or parabens. Many artists prefer it to Vaseline while they’re inking. It serves as a glide, too.
The ingredients don’t just moisturize. They also reduce redness and swelling and slow down the bleeding. That’s crucial during the tattoo process.
While the artist is working, the tattoo butter helps the ink penetrate and stay put. Then, as the tattoo heals, it keeps the skin comfortable.
The label makes it sound tasty. It contains aloe, shea, and mango butter as well as green tea and mint.
I’m also happy to report that it’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve
Here’s an herbal tattoo treatment without petroleum or other synthetic ingredients. It doesn’t have perfume, dyes, mineral oil, parabens, lanolin, or gluten in it, either.
It’s made in small batches by a family business.
The formula features grape seed oil, calendula, comfrey, and other organic ingredients. They alleviate inflammation and guard against infection.
It’s not vegan, however, as it contains beeswax. And it has a natural scent from cedar, rosemary, and tea tree oil.
Since it comes in a jar, be sure to clean your hands before using it.
Tattoo Goo Original Mini Balm
Tattoo Goo comes in a small metal tin. You only need to apply enough to make the skin look shiny.
It contains no petrolatum, and it’s dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin.
It provides various benefits to tattoo collectors.
In the first place, it fights infection while moisturizing the skin. It’s designed to absorb quickly without leaving a sticky residue.
Next, it’s rich in antioxidants from wheat germ oil and rosemary. These promote faster healing.
Lastly, when the tattoo is healed, the balm continues to keep the colors vibrant.
Redemption Tattoo Care Aftercare
Here’s another reason to take a pass on petroleum jelly for tattoos. This tattoo balm is (as far as I can tell) the only USDA-certified petroleum replacement available.
This organic product was created for tattoo artists and tattoo collectors. It acts as a lubricant during the tattooing process, and a moisturizer for healing afterward.
It contains castor and coconut oil, beeswax, calendula, arnica, chamomile, rosemary, and more goodies.
Enjoy comfortable, healthy skin by applying a thin layer up to 3 times per day.
Platinum Rose Tattoo Butter
This tattoo aftercare balm claims to radically accelerate healing time for new tattoos. Then, you can continue to use it to treat sunburn, cuts, and dry skin.
As a moisturizer, it keeps tattoos vibrant by moisturizing the skin. Healthy skin retains ink better.
If you’re an artist and use it as glide, it won’t remove stencils or clog tubes. It also prevents redness and swelling. This helps avoid overworking the skin.
What’s in it? There’s definitely no petrolatum or parabens. Instead, it has shea and cocoa butter, aloe, and avocado oil. The natural floral scent comes from genuine English Rose oil.
Urban ReLeaf TATTOO SKIN SILK
There’s no petroleum or lanolin in this product, either. It’s vegan and packed with vitamins.
The base is raw shea butter, one of nature’s best moisturizers. Shea is breathable and doesn’t clog pores, yet it’s rich in amino acids and lipids that restore the skin to health.
It also has essential oils like tea tree, lavender, and rosemary. All of these are antibacterial.
TatWax has no petroleum, lanolin, or alcohol in it.
It creates a protective barrier with natural oils, not chemicals. These keep the skin soft to calm itching and prevent infection. Just a thin layer allows the skin to breathe while keeping it hydrated.
Vitamin-rich ingredients like grapeseed oil and cocoa butter encourage healing without lifting the ink.
Urban Nomads Tattoo Aftercare Oil
If you’ve ever used beard oil, this Barcelona-made product is quite similar. It’s based on argan oil, one of the world’s finest plant-based moisturizers. It’s excellent for both skin and hair.
It smells fabulous as it contains bergamot, chamomile, rosemary, and lemon essential oils. They are excellent for healing the skin.
They don’t just add fragrance, but they also disinfect and reduce irritation.
H2Ocean Ocean Care Tattoo Aftercare
Now, let’s move on to tattoo aftercare lotion. One of the most popular is made by H2Ocean. It’s petroleum-free and vegan.
It has no artificial fragrance, and it won’t trigger acne. Just a little bit goes a long way. Plus, you can apply it up to 5 times per day to reduce itching.
After the ink is healed, the moisturizer helps keep the colors bright.
Tattoo Goo Aftercare Lotion
Tattoo Goo’s lotion combines vitamins A and D with panthenol to hurry up healing.
Instead of a greasy ointment, it’s a water-based product. It has no lanolin, mineral oil, or petroleum.
The formula sinks in quickly but leaves the skin soft. It won’t stain clothing or feel sticky.
One of the main benefits is that it prevents scabbing if you use it often enough.
After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer
Don’t be afraid to apply this vegan moisturizer on new or old tattoos. It has no artificial fragrance, gluten, petroleum, or parabens.
Moreover, it’s been clinically tested to be safe for all skin types. Feel free to use it on your face after cosmetic procedures like permanent makeup. It also helps heal the skin after tattoo removal.
The formula is blended and packaged in an FDA-registered facility in the USA.
Lubriderm Daily Moisture Unscented Body Lotion
Lubriderm’s unscented lotion is sometimes recommended by artists to their clients. I struggle with it as it contains mineral oil and parabens.
On the other hand, both of those ingredients have been cleared by the FDA for cosmetics use.
Furthermore, the lotion isn’t greasy at all. It only takes seconds to absorb before it leaves the skin soft.
With the help of vitamin B5, it can maintain a healthy moisture level for up to 24 hours.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
I prefer CeraVe’s lotion to Lubriderm as it’s oil-free as well as fragrance-free. It’s very lightweight and soothing on irritated skin.
Like all of the products from this company, it features ceramides. This essential ingredient helps the skin stay hydrated by restoring its natural barrier.
It also has hyaluronic acid, a superior moisturizer.
Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion
Don’t look now, but Aveeno’s lotion has petrolatum in it. On the plus side, it’s water-based, which allows it to provide moisture anyway.
Its beneficial effects last up to 24 hours after it’s applied. But as a new tattoo owner, you’ll want to use every time you wash the skin regardless.
It comes in a pump bottle, which keeps it sanitary.
After all the work you went through to get that new tattoo, it’s worth a little more effort to keep it beautiful.
Be sure to apply tattoo aftercare lotion every time you wash. It will keep the skin from getting dehydrated and scabby. It will also help with the itching and pain.
Then, once your ink is healed, tattoo aftercare cream will keep it looking fabulous.
1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/taking-care-of-your-tattoo accessed September 21, 2020