Which moisturizer is best for your new tattoo?

By Vlad Barikhin, Vlad Blad Irons CEO
March 22, 2024
Table of contents:


Tattooing is an art form and a mode of self-expression that dates back thousands of years, serving various cultural, personal, and aesthetic purposes. Beyond its visual appeal, a tattoo is a commitment to carrying an emblem or a memory on one's body for life. However, the beauty and clarity of a tattoo are not only determined by the skill of the artist but also by the care the tattoo receives during the healing process.

The healing process of a tattoo is intricate, involving the repair of the top layers of skin that have been punctured to insert the ink. This process typically spans about two weeks but can vary depending on the size and location of the tattoo, as well as the individual's skin type and overall health. Proper care during this time is crucial to avoid infection, ensure optimal healing, and maintain the tattoo's vibrancy and definition.
«Let's say these are recommendations from an artist to other artists. Let's start with the classics.»
Vlad Barikhin
Vlad Blad Irons CEO

Basics of tattoo healing

Tattoo healing can be broken down into several stages. Initially, the tattooed area may display redness, swelling, and a slight oozing of plasma and excess ink, which is normal. This is followed by a period of itching and flaking as the skin regenerates and the upper layers peel away. Finally, the tattooed skin will start to normalize, though the deeper layers continue to heal beneath the surface.

The importance of proper tattoo care cannot be overstated. It not only accelerates healing but also preserves the vibrancy and detail of the design. Neglecting tattoo aftercare can lead to fading, blurring, and even infection, compromising the artwork and potentially causing long-term damage to the skin.

Choosing a product for tattoo care

When it comes to tattoo aftercare, the choice between specialized and natural products, as well as between thick and thin lotions, can significantly impact the healing process.

Specialized vs. Natural Products:

  • Specialized products are formulated specifically for tattoo aftercare, containing ingredients that promote skin healing, reduce inflammation, and minimize the risk of infection. These often include panthenol (provitamin B5), hyaluronic acid, and various peptides;

  • Natural products, such as coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera, offer gentle, chemical-free alternatives that soothe and moisturize the skin. However, they may lack the targeted healing agents found in specialized formulas.

Thick vs. Thin Lotions:

  • Thick lotions create a barrier that locks in moisture, which can be beneficial for extremely dry skin. However, they may also clog pores and trap heat, potentially hindering the tattoo's ability to breathe and heal;

  • Thin lotions are lighter and absorb more quickly into the skin, providing hydration without the risk of clogging pores. They are generally recommended for normal to oily skin types and for those who prefer a non-greasy feel.

Key Components in Healing Products:

The effectiveness of a tattoo care product largely depends on its ingredients. Key components to look for include:

  • Aloe Vera, soothes irritation and reduces redness, with hydrating properties;

  • Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps repair damaged skin and accelerates cell regeneration;

  • Jojoba Oil, mimics the skin's natural oils, promoting moisture retention without blocking pores;

  • Hyaluronic Acid, enhances moisture content beyond comparison with other ingredients and helps in the skin's healing process.

In conclusion, choosing the right aftercare product is essential for the healing and longevity of your tattoo. Consider the specific needs of your skin, the ingredients and properties of the lotion, and the advice of your tattoo artist to ensure your tattoo heals beautifully and maintains its vibrancy for years to come.

Personalized tattoo care

Caring for a new tattoo requires a personalized approach that takes into account the individual's skin type. Whether your skin is dry, oily, or a combination, tailoring your aftercare routine can help ensure optimal healing and maintain the integrity of the tattoo.

For dry skin

Moisturizing is key. Opt for richer, thicker lotions or creams that can provide intense hydration without irritating the tattoo. Products containing hyaluronic acid, shea butter, or coconut oil are particularly beneficial as they help to lock in moisture and prevent the tattooed area from drying out and cracking, which can affect the healing process.

For oily skin

Choose lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizers that hydrate the skin without adding excess oil. Gel-based products or those with aloe vera can soothe and moisturize the skin effectively without clogging pores or causing breakouts.

For combination skin

You might need to use a combination of products, applying a lighter moisturizer over oily areas and a more hydrating product on dry patches. Always ensure the products are fragrance-free and designed for sensitive skin to avoid irritation.

For sensitive skin

Look for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products that are less likely to cause irritation. Natural ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile can offer soothing effects without harsh chemicals. Performing a patch test before applying any new product to your tattoo can help prevent adverse reactions.

Personalized tattoo care

Sun protection

Keeping the tattooed area well-hydrated is essential for healing. Apply a suitable moisturizer 2-3 times a day, or as recommended by your tattoo artist, ensuring the skin remains supple and hydrated without becoming overly saturated.

Regular moisturizing

UV rays can significantly fade and damage tattoos over time. Once your tattoo has healed, applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is crucial when exposing your tattoo to sunlight. For the initial healing phase, keep the tattoo covered and out of direct sunlight to prevent damage.

Impact of external factors

The environment and lifestyle choices can greatly affect the healing process of a tattoo. Exposure to dirt, excessive sweating, swimming, and tight clothing can introduce bacteria to the healing tattoo or irritate the skin. Maintain a clean environment, wear loose, breathable clothing, and avoid submerging the tattoo in water (such as in pools or hot tubs) until fully healed. Additionally, a healthy diet and staying hydrated can support skin health and aid in the healing process.

By adapting your tattoo aftercare routine to your specific skin type and being mindful of environmental and lifestyle factors, you can help ensure that your tattoo heals properly and remains vibrant and clear for years to come.

Common Issues and Solutions

Redness, itching, and swelling are common reactions as the skin heals from the tattooing process. To alleviate these symptoms, apply a thin layer of a recommended aftercare product that is free from irritants like fragrance and alcohol. Keep the tattooed area clean and dry, and avoid scratching or picking at the skin. If the itching is severe, a cold compress can provide temporary relief. However, if these symptoms persist beyond a couple of weeks, it might be a sign of infection or an allergic reaction, and you should consult a healthcare professional.

Preventing and treating infections

Infection prevention starts with proper tattoo aftercare. Keep the tattooed area clean by gently washing it with mild, fragrance-free soap and water, then patting it dry with a clean towel. Avoid touching the tattoo with dirty hands, and ensure any clothing that comes into contact with it is clean and soft. If you suspect an infection (signs include excessive redness, swelling, warmth, or pus), seek medical advice immediately. Treating an infection typically involves antibiotics, so it's important to address it early to prevent complications.

Caring for a healing tattoo

Long-term care for color and clarity preservation

Maintaining the vibrancy and clarity of your tattoo over time requires ongoing care. Once healed, regularly moisturize the tattoo with a quality lotion to keep the skin hydrated. Sun exposure can significantly fade tattoo ink, so apply a high SPF sunscreen to the tattooed area whenever it's exposed to sunlight. Additionally, consider wearing protective clothing or seeking shade during peak sun hours.

The Role of nutrition and hydration in skin and tattoo health

A healthy diet and adequate hydration play a crucial role in maintaining the health of your skin and the appearance of your tattoo. Nutrients such as vitamins C and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can support skin health and aid in the healing process. These nutrients can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. Staying hydrated helps maintain skin elasticity and moisture, which is beneficial for the long-term appearance of your tattoo. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and reduce consumption of dehydrating beverages such as alcohol and caffeine.

By addressing common issues promptly, practicing diligent aftercare, and supporting skin health through good nutrition and hydration, you can enjoy a beautifully healed tattoo and preserve its quality for years to come.


The journey of getting a tattoo does not end with the artist's final stroke; it extends into the comprehensive care that follows. The significance of a holistic approach to tattoo aftercare cannot be overstated. It encompasses not only the initial healing phase but also long-term practices that maintain the tattoo's vibrancy, clarity, and overall integrity. Proper aftercare, tailored to individual skin types and needs, mitigates common issues such as infection, excessive itching, and swelling, ensuring the tattoo heals correctly and retains its intended design and coloration.

The connection between the quality of care and the longevity of a tattoo is undeniable. Immediate and diligent aftercare practices lay the foundation for a tattoo's healing, while ongoing maintenance, including sun protection, moisturizing, and a healthy lifestyle, preserve its beauty over time. Nutrition and hydration play critical roles in skin health, directly impacting the tattoo's appearance and longevity.

In conclusion, a tattoo is a living art form, evolving with the skin it adorns. The effort invested in aftercare and maintenance not only protects this personal investment but also ensures that the tattoo remains a source of pride and satisfaction for years to come. The essence of tattoo care is a testament to the idea that the best results come from consistent, attentive practices, highlighting the profound connection between care, beauty, and endurance in the world of tattoo artistry.
Understanding the different types of tattoo machines is crucial for every artist aiming to excel in this field. The journey of exploration doesn't stop here; in the next article, we will delve deeper into the realms of tattoo machine performance and reliability, aiding artists in making informed decisions for their craft.
What is the most beginner-friendly tattoo machine?
If you are learning from a tattoo artist, choose the equipment he uses and learn from it. Master the skill of the teacher and then you will find your way. If you are self-taught, we recommend the wireless Pen, it is the easiest to use.
Are coil tattoo machines suitable for all tattoo styles?
While highly versatile, coil machines excel in traditional and intricate designs thanks to their precision and customizability. Coils also the best choice for contour, bold lines, ornamental style tattoos and huge blackwork.
Can I switch between different types of tattoo machines?
Absolutely! Many artists use different types of machines for different tattooing techniques to achieve the desired results.
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