What Is the Best Ointment for Tattoo Care?

Best ointment for tattoo care

Taking care of your new tattoo is crucial for ensuring it heals properly and looks its best for years to come. With so many aftercare products available, it can be challenging to know which one to choose. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of ointments, lotions, and balms recommended for tattoo care, their pros and cons, and how to choose the right one for your needs. We’ll also answer common questions about tattoo aftercare to help you make informed decisions and keep your ink looking vibrant and healthy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper tattoo aftercare involves cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting the tattooed area.
  • Different products serve different purposes during the healing process.
  • Understanding the pros and cons of popular aftercare products can help you choose the right one for your tattoo.
  • It’s important to consult with your tattoo artist for personalized aftercare advice.

Basics of Tattoo Aftercare

Proper tattoo aftercare is essential for ensuring your new ink heals well and maintains its vibrant appearance. Here, we’ll cover the fundamental steps you should take to care for your tattoo, from cleaning to moisturizing, and what to avoid during the healing process.

Importance of Keeping the Tattoo Clean

Keeping your tattoo clean is the first and most crucial step in aftercare. This helps prevent infections and ensures your tattoo heals correctly.

Use Soap: Gentle Cleansing to Prevent Infection

  • Why Cleanliness Matters: Newly tattooed skin is essentially an open wound, making it susceptible to infections.
  • Choosing the Right Soap: Opt for a mild, fragrance-free soap to clean your tattoo. Harsh chemicals and fragrances can irritate the skin and disrupt the healing process.
  • How to Clean: Gently wash the tattooed area with lukewarm water and soap. Use your hand or a clean, soft cloth to lightly remove any excess ink, blood, or plasma. Pat dry with a clean towel.

Hydration and Healing

Keeping the tattooed area moisturized is vital for proper healing and maintaining the tattoo’s appearance.

Use Ointment: Moisturizing and Protecting the Skin

  • Initial Healing Phase: For the first few days after getting a tattoo, it’s recommended to use a tattoo-specific ointment or a product like Aquaphor. These ointments create a barrier that keeps the skin moist and protected from bacteria.
  • Application Tips: Apply a thin layer of ointment to the tattooed area. Avoid over-applying, as this can suffocate the skin and prolong healing.

Use Lotion: Maintaining Skin Hydration After Initial Healing Phase

  • Transition to Lotion: After the initial healing phase (usually around three to five days), switch to a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic lotion. This helps maintain hydration without creating too much of a barrier.
  • Application Tips: Apply lotion as needed to keep the skin from drying out. Typically, this will be several times a day.

What to Avoid

Certain products and practices can hinder the healing process or cause complications.

Do Not Use 100% Petroleum: Potential Issues and Alternatives

  • Why Avoid Petroleum: Products like Vaseline (pure petroleum jelly) can trap moisture and bacteria, leading to potential infections and delayed healing.
  • Better Alternatives: Use tattoo-specific aftercare products or ointments like Aquaphor that are designed to protect and hydrate without suffocating the skin.

Alternative Methods

Some people prefer different approaches to tattoo aftercare. One such method is “dry healing.”

Can You “Dry Heal” a Tattoo? Pros and Cons

  • What is Dry Healing: Dry healing involves skipping ointments and lotions, allowing the tattoo to heal naturally without added products.
  • Pros: Some people find that dry healing reduces the risk of clogged pores and irritation from products.
  • Cons: Without added moisture, the skin can become overly dry and scab more severely, which might lead to a less vibrant healed tattoo.
  • Considerations: If you choose to try dry healing, consult with your tattoo artist first to ensure it’s suitable for your specific tattoo and skin type.

By understanding and implementing these basic aftercare steps, you can help your tattoo heal beautifully and maintain its vibrancy for years to come. In the next section, we’ll delve into a detailed overview of popular tattoo aftercare products, highlighting their pros and cons to help you choose the best option for your needs.

Choosing the right aftercare product can make a significant difference in how well your tattoo heals. Here’s a comparison of some popular options based on various criteria to help you make an informed decision.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Who It’s For:

  • Best for Dry Skin: Ideal for individuals with very dry skin needing intense moisture.
  • Best Drugstore Option: Readily available and affordable for those looking for a reliable, budget-friendly choice.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Who It’s For:

  • Best for Sensitive Skin: Perfect for people with sensitive skin who need a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer.
  • Everyday Hydration: Suitable for anyone looking to maintain hydration without heavy ointments.

Billy Jealousy Tattoo Lotion

Who It’s For:

  • Best Splurge: A premium option for those willing to invest in higher-end tattoo care products.
  • Comprehensive Care: Great for users seeking a complete aftercare regimen with multiple products.

Hustle Butter Tattoo Care & Maintenance Cream

Who It’s For:

  • Best Vegan Option: Excellent choice for vegans and those preferring cruelty-free products.
  • Rich Moisturization: Ideal for anyone needing a deeply moisturizing and soothing aftercare product.

Stories & Ink Tattoo Care Daily Moisturizer

Who It’s For:

  • Best Gentle Formula: Perfect for those who prefer a light, daily moisturizer specifically designed for tattoos.
  • Daily Use: Suitable for maintaining tattoo vibrancy and skin health over time.

Mad Rabbit Repair Soothing Gel

Who It’s For:

  • Best Soothing Option: Great for users seeking immediate relief and cooling for their tattoos.
  • Natural Ingredients: Ideal for those preferring products with natural extracts.

H2Ocean Aquatat Moisturizer

Who It’s For:

  • Best Petrolatum-Based: Perfect for those who prefer a traditional, petrolatum-based moisturizer for their tattoos.
  • Long-Lasting Hydration: Suitable for anyone needing sustained moisture throughout the day.

Tattoo Goo Balm

Who It’s For:

  • Best Color-Enhancing: Great for maintaining the vibrancy of your tattoo colors.
  • Natural Formula: Suitable for those looking for natural aftercare products.

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Aftercare Lotion

Who It’s For:

  • Best Plant-Based Option: Ideal for users preferring plant-based, vegan-friendly products.
  • Non-Greasy Formula: Great for those who dislike the greasy feel of some ointments.

Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil

Who It’s For:

  • Best Natural Oil: Perfect for individuals who prefer using natural oils for skin care.
  • Multiple Uses: Suitable for those looking for a versatile product for both tattoo aftercare and general skincare.

People of Substance All-Natural Tattoo Balm Stick

Who It’s For:

  • Best Stick Form: Convenient for on-the-go application and less messy than creams or ointments.
  • All-Natural Ingredients: Great for those who prefer natural, chemical-free products.

Dr. Rogers Restore Healing Balm

Who It’s For:

  • Best Multitasker: Excellent for users seeking a product that can be used for various skin issues, not just tattoos.
  • Healing Focus: Suitable for those needing intensive healing and repair.

Jack Black Performance Remedy Sun Guard SPF 45

Who It’s For:

  • Best with SPF: Ideal for protecting tattoos from sun damage, preserving their color and detail.
  • Outdoor Enthusiasts: Perfect for those who spend a lot of time outdoors and need sun protection.

Lubriderm Daily Moisture Body Lotion

Who It’s For:

  • Best for Healed Tattoos: Suitable for maintaining hydration and health of fully healed tattoos.
  • Everyday Use: Great for daily moisturizing and skin care.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Lotion

Who It’s For:

  • Best Moisturizing: Ideal for those needing deep, long-lasting moisture for their tattoos.
  • Luxury Care: Suitable for users seeking a high-end moisturizer for overall skin health.

Addressing Common Questions

Proper tattoo aftercare can sometimes be confusing, especially with so many products and recommendations out there. Here are answers to some common questions about tattoo aftercare:

What is the Best Healing Ointment for Tattoos?

While there are many great options, products like Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Hustle Butter Deluxe are frequently recommended by professionals for their moisturizing and protective qualities. The best ointment will depend on your skin type and personal preferences.

What is the Best Thing to Put on a New Tattoo?

For the initial healing phase, a gentle, fragrance-free ointment or cream is often recommended. Products like Aquaphor, Hustle Butter, and After Inked are popular choices. It’s important to keep the tattoo moisturized without over-applying product.

What Ointment Do Tattoo Artists Use?

Tattoo artists often recommend products like Aquaphor, Hustle Butter, and Tattoo Goo for aftercare. These products are known for their healing properties and ability to keep the tattoo hydrated and protected.

Can I Put Polysporin on My Tattoo?

Polysporin can be used in some cases to prevent infection, but it’s not generally recommended for routine tattoo aftercare. It can sometimes cause allergic reactions or irritation. It’s best to stick with products specifically designed for tattoo aftercare.


Choosing the right aftercare product is essential for the healing and longevity of your tattoo. From ointments to lotions, there are many options available to suit different needs and preferences. Always consult with your tattoo artist for personalized advice and follow their recommendations to ensure your tattoo heals beautifully. Proper aftercare not only helps maintain the appearance of your tattoo but also contributes to the overall health of your skin.

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