According to the experts, which are the best tattoo aftercare products?
I know you want to enjoy your new ink and show it off.
Therefore, we’ll discuss the best products to use on a healing tattoo.
These include soap and lotion for tattoo aftercare.
The idea is to prevent infection, reduce redness and itching, and keep the ink settled and vibrant.
Let’s begin with the basics of how to take care of a tattoo.
How to take care of a new tattoo
I hope you receive instructions from the artist. Feel free to discuss these tips with them.
First, don’t peel off the bandage right after you leave the shop. Wait at least a few hours. Then wash your hands first.
If the bandage is stuck to the skin, pour a little cold water on it to help you pull it off gently. (Don’t hold it under the faucet, though).
Next, wash the tattoo with soap and lukewarm water.
Use your fingers and don’t scrub or scratch. Rinse carefully, but don’t hold it under running water or soak it in the tub.
Pat the skin dry with a clean cloth or paper towel, then moisturize. Use a different towel each time to avoid transferring bacteria.
When you moisturize, you can use a tattoo balm or ointment for the first few days. But once it begins to scab, you can switch to lotion.
A tattoo is a wound, and it will heal faster if it doesn’t dry up. Keep the skin well-hydrated to prevent scabs (1).
After the tattoo has healed (which may take a month or longer), wear sunscreen outdoors to keep the ink bright.
Best Tattoo Aftercare Products
Now, let’s begin with reviews of tattoo aftercare soap.
Keep new tattoos clean
Never touch your fresh tattoo with dirty hands. If you get sweaty or grimy, cleanse it right away. Otherwise, plan on washing the skin morning and night to prevent infection.
The tattoo artist may recommend antibacterial soap or a specialized product. In any case, try to avoid alcohol and fragrances as they may irritate sensitive skin.
H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap
H2Ocean developed this antibacterial foam for washing new tattoos. The active ingredient is benzalkonium chloride, an effective antimicrobial agent.
The formula also has aloe to soothe itching and reduce redness.
Reviewers say it doesn’t sting or burn. It cleanses well and leaves the skin soft.
The only downside is that it’s a small bottle that might only last a couple of weeks.
Provon Antimicrobial Lotion Soap
Many tattoo artists prefer medical soap like this one used in hospitals and clinics.
It never causes irritation or dryness, even with repeated washing. That’s probably due to the skin conditioners like aloe and vitamin E.
Use it to cleanse your hands before caring for your tattoo. Then, use it on the inked skin. It’s also useful for taking care of piercings.
It features PCMX, also known as chloroxylenol. It’s a safe and effective germ killer.
Micro-Scientific Opti-Scrub Antimicrobial Liquid Soap
Opti-Scrub is also recommended for helping new tattoos heal. It’s suitable for washing any part of your body, including the face and scalp.
The non-drying soap uses PCMX to kill germs and ward off infection.
It’s also enriched with moisturizing ingredients to keep the skin comfortable.
Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap, Gold
This is the soap recommended by artists who don’t like to fuss with fancy products.
Dial’s classic antibacterial formula has been altered to use benzalkonium chloride instead of triclosan. It’s safer now.
Although it’s recommended for washing hands, you can use it anywhere on your body as long as you’re not sensitive to fragrances or dyes.
Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser
However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to use a fragrance-free, mild soap like this one.
It doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients at all. It’s gentle enough for babies, yet effective enough for adults.
Use it anywhere on your body, including your face. It shouldn’t leave the skin tight or dry.
Please don’t skip the moisturizer. It’s an essential part of tattoo aftercare.
It prevents the scab formation that could damage your new ink. It also keeps the skin comfortable to speed up healing.
There’s quite a debate over whether it’s good to use petroleum-based products or not. I’ll show you both kinds of tattoo balms below.
Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Roll-On Balm
Here’s a tattoo balm that’s straightforward to use. There’s no mess when you apply it.
It comes in a twist-up tube applicator so that you don’t even need to get your hands greasy. It’s almost like putting Chapstick on your ink.
After you wash, roll-on a thin layer of the balm, and you’re done.
It’s also handy for other situations, like treating psoriasis, eczema, cuts, and bug bites.
It has a naturally hydrating formula that smooths and soothes the skin. It features seabuckthorn and coconut oil that are rich in Omega-7. They help the skin heal rapidly.
There are no parabens or artificial preservatives, either.
If you try it and don’t love it, Sanibalm offers a full refund.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Aquaphor is a classic choice for treating new tattoos. It’s petrolatum-based, and that causes some controversy.
Artists who swear by it explained that it keeps the skin moist. At the same time, it creates a barrier to prevent infection. This combination promotes faster healing.
Those who are critical of petroleum-based products complain that they don’t allow the skin to breathe.
Honestly, this is a product recommended by the medical profession, too. If it didn’t work as well as it does, I believe that tattoo artists would stop recommending it.
A+D First Aid Ointment
You’ll find vitamins A and D in this healing ointment. It creates a protective layer over the new tattoo to prevent dryness and relieve irritated skin.
It keeps germs out, although it has no antibacterial properties of its own.
Yes, it’s greasy. But you don’t need to use a lot.
It’s also handy for chapped skin, damaged cuticles, and diaper rash.
CeraVe Healing Ointment
CeraVe makes a variety of fragrance-free products that are recognized by the National Eczema Association.
Besides lotion, they make this healing ointment that was developed by dermatologists. It’s soothing and moisturizing.
It contains hyaluronic acid to revive dehydrated skin and ceramides to strengthen it against infection and dryness.
Happily, it’s not as greasy as other appointments. It also won’t clog pores.
H2Ocean OCEAN FOAM Skin Moisturizing Foam
No, it’s not soap. It’s a moisturizer. But it’s unlike any lotion you’ve ever use.
It’s a protective foam that leaves a barrier over your new tattoo. Plus, it’s packed with minerals, vitamins, and kelp to create the most healing environment possible.
It has no artificial fragrance, and it’s water-based. There’s no petroleum or harsh ingredients.
Users say it calms inflammation and itching.
Put it on up to 5 times per day to keep your skin happy.
Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
Here’s tattoo balm from a Canadian manufacturer. It’s 99.5% natural, with sunflower, coconut, jojoba, and shea butter.
This delicious blend of conditioners is rich in antioxidants and vitamins for optimal healing. Thankfully, it’s not greasy, and it won’t stain clothing.
Also, the formula is free of parabens and soy. It has a citrus scent.
Hustle Butter Deluxe
Hustle Butter is the tattoo artist’s friend. It’s a luxury care for your tattoo.
It serves as a glide during inking, yet it’s also a moisturizer afterward.
With aloe butter, mango, coconut, and mint oil, it’s formulated to reduce swelling and itching. It also has rosemary, green tea, and vitamin E for speedy healing.
There’s no petroleum, and it’s entirely vegan.
Ed Hardy INK Tattoo & Color Fade Moisturizer
Here’s a crossover product made for the tanning and the tattoo industries. It’s a tan extender lotion that keeps ink vibrant.
There’s no sunscreen in it – it’s simply a moisturizer. It’s a way to treat yourself once your skin has healed.
The lightweight texture keeps the skin soft and supple for hours. It’s never greasy, and it feels like silk.
It features a hypoallergenic formula with vitamins, lotus extract, and shea butter. Therefore, it’s loaded with anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants. They are essential when tanning as a keep the skin young and healthy.
It’s also formulated to make cellulite less noticeable.
The scent is bourbon and honey.
Any tattoo ink can fade, which is why the artist will tell you to wear sunscreen once your skin is healed.
But red and white inks are notorious for fading. Some red pigments may break down into carcinogenic particles if they are exposed to UV light.
It’s smart to avoid sunburn, premature aging, and other potential problems by simply slapping on some sunscreen before you go outside.
Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
Coppertone is a well-known brand among sunscreens. Did you know that they make a hypoallergenic lotion? It’s full of natural goodness and provides all-mineral protection.
Mineral sunscreen is excellent for sensitive skin as it reflects harmful rays and doesn’t absorb them. There’s no chemical filter to irritate your eyes or your skin. It won’t trigger acne, either.
This sunscreen has safe ingredients, and it’s been dermatologically-tested. It has no artificial fragrance, parabens, color, alcohol, or phthalates. It’s mild enough to use on your face and goes well underneath makeup.
Botanicals like lotus, kelp, and tea leaf allow it to boost the skin’s firmness and moisture. Plus, users say it’s non-greasy, and it leaves no or minimal white cast.
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
CeraVe’s sunscreen is Hawaii-compliant. That means it has no chemical sunscreen filters that could harm wildlife in waterways.
It’s also mild enough for sensitive skin and for children to use. It has no parabens, artificial fragrance, oil in it. With that said, you still can’t use it until your tattoo is healed.
The protection is all-mineral, based on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They reflect UV rays to keep your skin safe.
The high level of protection prevents tattoos from fading and lets you enjoy plenty of sunshine.
Like other products from this manufacturer, it has 3 essential ceramides. They keep the skin hydrated.
Users say it takes a bit of effort to rub in, but you’ll never know it’s there once it absorbs. There’s no residue and no extra oiliness.
Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen – No Chemical Actives – SPF 50+
Blue Lizard has a cute gimmick where the sunscreen bottle turns blue in bright sunlight. It’s supposed remind you to apply more sunscreen.
Like CeraVe’s sunscreen, their formula is reef-safe. It has no oxybenzone or octinoxate in it. (Those are the chemical sunscreen filters that poison wildlife).
Instead, invisible minerals reflect the dangerous rays away from your skin. They continue to work for up to 80 minutes while you swim or sweat.
There’s no artificial fragrance, and there are no parabens. Reviewers say they like it because it isn’t greasy, either.
CannaSmack Ink Guard SPF 30
This sunscreen comes in a no-mess stick applicator. It was created especially for protecting small tattoos or micro-bladed eyebrows.
Since it’s water-resistant, it’s okay if you sweat or go swimming. Just remember to reapply when you dry off.
Some reviewers like it for when they go tanning.
The formula is based on hemp seed oil, which is full of vitamins and omega fatty acids. They strengthen and heal the skin from damage caused by UV light.
The formula won’t clog pores, and it has no parabens, perfume, or gluten in it. It’s also Leaping Bunny-certified.
The experts agree: it’s essential to keep your new tattoo clean and moisturized. It will heal faster, itch less, and look better when you take good care of it.
Get the tattoo products you know you’ll use. Then, it will be easy to follow through on proper aftercare.
Once you’ve found your favorite antibacterial soap and tattoo cream, come back and tell us about your experience. It will help others decide on what might work best for them.
1. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-take-care-of-a-tattoo by Emma Sarran Webster, published July 9, 2018, accessed September 19, 2020