Skin care in the weeks following a new tattoo adorning your body is an imperative measure to preserve the integrity of the tattoo and your surrounding skin. There are simple measures that you can take such as keeping the tattoo covered for a few hours after the work is done, keeping the area moisturised and clean and preventing any contact with the sun during those early phases. The importance doesn’t diminish after a short time as you can diligently protect your skin from within by the appropriate application of collagen peptides.
Collagen is a primary insoluble fibrous protein prevalent throughout the body from the bones to the tendons to the muscles. It is also found in abundance in the skin. It can account for between 70 and 80% of the dry weight of the skin and a reduction in collagen levels is linked to wrinkling, dry skin and general changes to skin composition and appearance. It goes without saying that to demonstrate a healthy and youthful appearance to your skin, collagen levels need to be maintained.
Tattoos represent a change to the skin that the immune system considers an injury which it subsequently attempts to heal and inflammation ensues. During this process, the collagen in the skin is also damaged, which the immune system repairs through fibroblasts, creating scar tissue. In order to preserve the integrity of the tattoo through the healing process, it is necessary to support the synthesis of collagen, which can be achieved through administering collagen peptides.
The supplementation of the skin’s collagen is going to not only improve the healing of a new tattoo but it is going to aid with the tattoo’s longevity. Any drying, sagging or wrinkling is going to compromise your tattoo’s appearance and collagen is the direct countermeasure to these issues.
Collagen peptides are available in powder or pill form. Regardless of the method of ingestion, the assistance that the skin will receive from the peptides is going to be profound. It will prevent the skin from aging, wrinkling and sagging, giving it a firm and toned appearance. This offers your tattoo the optimal appearance and prolongs its longevity. These can be found anywhere. In addition if the symptoms are severe or you need to speed the healing process BPC157 and TB500 are more extreme peptide options that you may benefit on. These are injected into or near the troubled area but considerable speeds up recovery.
After getting my first tattoo, I was overwhelmed with the differing opinions everyone had about the most effective aftercare procedure. My tattoo artist said one thing, a friend (with 9 tattoos I might ad) recommended another, and I had no idea what was the best course of action. When I consulted the almighty Google I fared no better, as everyone seemed to recommend different products, and it was hard to know who was saying it because it was true, and who had been paid to say it!
This guide was written in an attempt to prevent others from experiencing the same confusion that I did, and I hope it will help you make informed decisions on tattoo aftercare ointments.
Tattoo Ointment Comparison
Many tattoo artists recommend using Lubriderm after the first day, as it is an excellent moisturizer and will help the skin remain soft. It rubs in easily, and has a relatively thin consistency that allows you to apply it without irritating the skin (some people may experience a stinging sensation at first, but it will subside rapidly). Without any fragrance/scent, Lubriderm has nothing that will irritate your skin and cause damage to the tattoo. Most professionals who recommend Lubriderm advise that you apply it 3-5 times daily, and continue this application for around 3-5 days. After that point it can still be used as a general moisturizer. As with all ointments, an important thing to note is that they must not be applied too often, as the tattooed skin needs time to breathe in order to heal properly. While Lubriderm is not antibacterial, it’s gentle moisturizing properties make it a helpful part of a tattoo aftercare regimen.
This ointment is a bit harder to find than some of the others (such as Aquaphor) as it is not always carried in drugstores, but many tattoo parlours have some on hand and it can be ordered easily off of Amazon. This tattoo care ointment should be applied 3-4 times daily to allow the skin to breathe, but it goes on smoothly and is less greasy than some other options. Unlike more gentle lotions like Lubriderm, some people have experienced negative reactions to Tattoo Goo, ranging from widespread rashes to red dots appearing on the tattoo. These reports are rare, but as always caution should be used (test the product on a small area first to avoid a large reaction). However, there are many that love the product as well, and say that it eliminated itching and flaking, while simultaneously brightening the color of their tattoos.
As the product most frequently featured on this site, and the reason why I started it, Aquaphor is the only product I wholeheartedly recommend. I have not heard of any negative reactions to the product, and I personally know many people who have used it with great results. My only critique of Aquaphor ointment is that it is not antibacterial, and if applied too thickly can prevent your skin from breathing properly. However, if applied ~4 times/day, it will protect your skin and facilitate rapid healing. Aquaphor is quite affordable as well, and readily available at drugstores. The ointment is thick and similar in appearance to Vaseline, but is unscented and will not irritate your sensitive, tattooed skin.
This is another product that has received some mixed reviews, both online and with people I know personally. It seems that if used effectively, Bacitracin can be very helpful in speeding up the healing process, as it is one of the few antibacterial ointments that are recommended for tattoos. The antibiotic properties of this ointment help your tattoo heal by preventing infection, which can cause painful and unsightly damage to your skin. The most important consideration when using Bacitracin is that you must not use too much, or you risk “suffocating” your tattoo. A thin layer must be applied, if the area appears shiny then blot away the excess with gauze or a lint free cloth. If you choose to use Bacitracin, I have heard that the most effective treatment plan is to apply it for up to 5 days, but then switch to a non-medicated, unscented moisturizer such as Lubriderm (but there are many other great options available).
A+D Original Ointment
This is another popular product with tattoo artists, and many locations carry it to give as an aftercare product. Similarly to other thicker ointments, the primary risk with A+D ointment for tattoos is that it has a tendency to clog the pores, so care must be taken to prevent over-application. The ointment contains vitamins A and D to help heal dry and damaged skin, a situation common with new tattoos. Most tattoo artists recommend using this for a few days, then switching to a thinner, unscented lotion (as mentioned above, Lubriderm is a popular product for this). There are two formulations of A+D, the original ointment (pictured above), and a zinc oxide ointment. DO NOT use the zinc oxide form, as many artists say that the zinc will damage the tattoo, primarily by drawing out color (which is never a good thing with tattoos!).
We constantly receive questions from people who are concerned about their tattoo’s healing progress. It is totally normal to be concerned, and I like to adhere to the “better safe than sorry” principle and encourage everyone to get as much information as possible. While nothing is a replacement for quality medical advice from a licensed practitioner such as your neighbourhood medical clinic, we hope that this article will help provide some clarity on the tattoo healing process. It is important to understand when a tattoo is fully healed, and what steps to take to ensure no injury or damage occurs.
What prompted me to write this post was this message I saw on Reddit:
“I just got my first tattoo on Friday night (it’s Monday morning), and I know that it’s way early to talk about healing and stuff.
My artist is fantastic, and did a great job of talking me through the pain of the outline, and was super awesome about clean up. Even gave me some bandages for the next day when I needed to wear a bra (the top of it is right in my bra line).
First time I had to clean it, I almost passed out. You know the hangover where you have to sit down in the shower so you don’t pass out/throw up? Yeah, I had to get out of the shower TWICE. I guess I wasn’t expecting it to be so sensitive 18 hours later.
But I powered through, and cleaned it up.
Dab on some ointment, let it breathe. Since she gave me some bandages, I’ve been lightly wrapping/covering with gauze when I have to wear a bra (for work and anything outside my house, can’t just let the girls swing free all the time. Totally NSFW).
I’ve figured out how to clean it without feeling sick, and I’m putting Aquaphor on it after I clean it. Very small amount, and spreading it thin, not coating it.
When should I expect to see some scabbing/flaking? My tattoo is a mermaid, with some text. The text actually flaked a little bit yesterday, but I haven’t had any from the girl yet.
Just curious! I’ve been lurking around in this sub for awhile, and read the sticky about Aftercare.
It is totally normal for many people to experience a significant amount of pain during the healing process, as this commenter did. To answer her main question, scabbing and flaking will usually occur from around the 5 day mark, right through to the end of two weeks. Many artists recommend stopping Aquaphor use after 3 days and switching to a gentle, unscented lotion.
Even after a tattoo appears to have healed, it can take a significant amount of time longer for things to fully “settle”, and care should be taken with the tattoo to prevent any ink loss or risk of damage to the tattoo. Below is a little picture illustrating the position of ink in the skin over time. Most people consider a tattoo to be fully healed at around 2.5 months. As always, if you have any concerns we strongly recommend seeing a medical professional, as no online advice is a substitute for an accurate assessment by a professional!
One of the biggest worries most people have after getting a new tattoo is that it will get infected. An infected tattoo can cause significant pain and lead to serious health complications, while also damaging the artwork itself. For many people, especially those who are new to tattooing, the signs and symptoms of infection can be hard to identify. This often leads to people either worrying unnecessarily, or alternately leaving treatment too late and causing further problems. In this guide we will explore firstly how to recognize an infection, and then discuss treatment options.
How do I recognize an infected tattoo?
For the first 48 hours after getting a tattoo, the tattooed area will be painful and swollen. This is unavoidable, and can complicate diagnosis of an actual infection, so most tattoo artists recommend waiting this time period out before exploring other treatment options. In the first 48 hours, make sure to follow the care regimen outlined to you by your artist, focusing on allowing the tattoo plenty of time to “breathe”. Remember, if in doubt, consult your artist or a healthcare professional.
All new tattoos will be inflamed to some degree, especially more complex designs or ones that are rich in color/ink. As a general rule, inflammation should decrease with time, so if you notice inflammation increasing after the first 48 hours there is a chance your tattoo is infected. Feel above the tattoo with your other hand for heat, any radiating heat beyond body temperature is a sign that the area is infected, and will require treatment. Redness also accompanies inflammation, and must be monitored closely to determine if the tattoo is infected. Redness around the area should gradually lighten up with time, but if the red color darkens, it is a sign of infection.
After the first 48 hours of receiving your tattoo, any raised areas should slowly level out and decrease to the height of the surrounding (non-tattooed) skin. If swelling increases, or if the texture is uneven and swollen inconsistently, it may be a sign of an infection in that area. Any fluid-filled pustules or liquid secretions from the area indicate an infection that must be treated as soon as possible.
If you think your tattoo may be infected, check your temperature by measuring under the tongue with a reliable thermometer (which can be found at most drug-stores). If your temperature is high, or you feel ill and feverish, it is a sign that your body is fighting an infection.
Treating an Infected Tattoo
Most importantly, consult with a healthcare professional or your tattoo artist, as they can judge the severity of the infection and determine an appropriate course of treatment. More severe infections will often require a prescription strength antibiotic ointment, or a systemic antibiotic treatment that is ingested orally. Make sure to consult a professional sooner rather than later, as infections are a serious medical concern that can lead to further health issues.
Make sure to follow the recommended usage of the medication provided, to ensure your tattoo heals properly. If not followed, an unfortunate consequence of the infection may be that the tattoo is damaged, and may require professional “repair” by your tattoo artist. Sterile gauze may need to be worn, but make sure to remove any gauze/bandaging in a clean environment to allow the tattoo to breathe. Most importantly, make sure to clean your tattoo with a gentle soap to prevent additional contamination.
Warnings: Only use externally, when using this aquaphor healing ointment 1.75oz avoid contact with the eyes, quit usage and consult a doctor if the situation worsens, circumstances last more than 7 days or disappear and appear again within a few days, avoid usage on deep or punctured wounds, animal bite, serious burns, and hide it away from children. If mistakenly swallowed, seek a medical help right away or get in contact with a poison control centre immediately.
Aquaphor healing ointment 1.75oz is often prescribed, in part, because it is regarded as being hypoallergenic. It is does not contain preservatives, perfumes, fragrances and harsh chemicals. It contains active ingredients like petrolatum, which is widely known as petroleum jelly. Also contain inactive ingredients like ceresin, alcohol, glycerin, mineral oil, lanolin and panthenol.
Aquaphor Healing ointment for Dry, Cracked, or Irritated Skin, Ointment, 1.75 oz:
Guides and helps reduce chapped or cracked skin or lips for a period of time
Guides minor: cuts, scrapes, burns for a period of time
Helps guide from drying effects of wind and cold weather
Clinically guaranteed to restore smooth, healthy skin
Aquaphor healing ointment, 1.75 oz
Shipping Weight (in pounds):
Product in Inches (L x W x H):
2.13 x 1.44 x 5.13
Assembled in Country of Origin:
Origin of Components:
Developed for Healing of Dry, Cracked or Irritated Skin
Aquaphor Healing Ointment guides against dry, cracked or irritated skin to help aid the normal healing process and restore smooth, healthy skin.
This multi-purpose ointment aids the healing of raw and irritated skin caused by radiation treatments, facial resurfacing process and eczema
Soothes and helps guide against exceedingly dry, chapped or chafed skin and lips that occurs due to winter weather or constant hand washing
Soothes and protects small burns
Doesn’t contain fragrance, free from preservative, non-irritating, and good for sensitive skin
After a length break in posting during the busy 2015 fall season, we are back with a review of a new kit that I recently discovered. Many people are concerned with the effectiveness of various tattoo aftercare kits, and as new products come to market it’s important to stay up-to-date. As most of us with tattoos know, it’s hard to stop at just one! This article will serve as a brief overview of H2Ocean’s inclusive tattoo care kit, which contains a full regimen of tattoo aftercare essentials.
“The ultimate tattoo care aftercare kit is essential for all healing stages of your new tattoo and can be used after healing on existing tattoos. This kit is designed to cleanse your tattoo while providing nourishment and moisture to your skin. This one of a kind all natural water based aftercare system will keep your new tattoo bright and beautiful for many years to come. The ultimate tattoo care aftercare kit provides you with a 3 step safe, unscented, and revitalizing skin care regiment that is made for the industry by the industry.” –H2Ocean
Includes cleansing foam, moisturizing cream, moisturizing foam
Combats infection and colour damage
Prevents skin irritation and dryness
Water based (non comedogenic, good for those with allergies)
Can be used for permanent make-up tattoos
H2Ocean’s Ultimate Tattoo Care kit is a comprehensive package that provides just about everything you need after getting a new tattoo. While the package is more expensive than purchasing a single ointment such as aquaphor, it does include a multi step treatment that will help ensure proper tattoo healing. Shipping via amazon is very fast, but this product must be purchased before the day of your tattoo as shipping times are usually around 2 days. Unfortunately, I have not seen this product in any brick and mortar stores, so make sure to plan ahead!
We have had many people emailing us and asking how much tattoo’s hurt, and which areas are the best for “beginners” who are worried about the potential pain caused by the process. In truth there is no definite answer to these questions, as everyone is different, and what is unbearably painful to one person may be a walk in the park for another. However, I am providing a few charts that are made based on the number of nerves in an area, along with anecdotal evidence of which areas are more/less painful.
There are exceptions to the rule of course, and I have heard of people who found the chest very irritating, but noted that they felt nearly nothing on the inner arm. These infographics are not meant to be hard-and-fast rules on what areas will be painful, but it hopefully will help give you a general idea of what you are most likely to experience.
Aside from tattoo location, another factor to take into consideration is the type of tattoo. Lettering or other “line-based” tattoos will typically be less painful than one that involves a lot of shading or thick blocks of colour. Black and white tattoos are also usually less painful (and less time consuming) than coloured pieces. This is because to get the colour right, many artists will have to take a multi-layered approach to it, which involves going over the same areas repeatedly.
Get a healthy looking skin again with Aquaphor healing ointment.
Annoying dry and chapped skin can be healed and relieved with Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy. Aside from that, this function effectively for tattooed skin that is why it is regarded a highly competent product. This multipurpose ointment helps in relieving, healing, renewing, and guarding the skin.
It does not contain ingredients like baby oil, aloe, and peroxide, which in turn have an effect on the appearance of your tattoo. Abstain from commodities that result in pimples forming around your body art.
It also contains panthenol and Eucerine which is important in moisture renewing and healing different skin diseases and conditions like eczema, wounds caused while tattooing. Excluding skin experts, tattooists highly recommend this product because it doesn’t just moisturize and heal the wounds of the skin, but also preserves the artwork as well as the skin.
Advantages of Aquaphor healing tub
Aquaphor Healing oil containing medication enhances therapy works effectively for extremely chapped and dry skin. It is also recognized to contain healing mixtures to heal diaper rashes and also eczema. The aquaphor have multiple uses which can be used on either the face, lips or any region of the body and can also be applied on drying wounds caused by cuts, bruising, and tattooing. A larger percentage of the reviewers also mentioned that it be used to seal little cuts or bruises caused by tattooing very well, and also preventing it against germs or any unpleasant or unwanted elements to cause irritation on them.
Some frequently asked questions about Aquaphor
I just bought aquaphor for my tattoo but I can’t tell if it’s the good for one use. Help!
Answers gotten from customer reviews
I’ve occasionally use aquaphor on my tattoos and I have not encountered any problem, whatever you do, do not wash it with dial soap!! I’ve seen people around me recommending it and I don’t think it is ideal. Only allow the warm water to slowly and gently run over the tattoo and avoid hitting it directly or anything. Also just a little amount of aquaphor is needed to avoid over saturation.
This is what most people I have been in touched with uses and recommends. My tattooist also told me to use it. And my tattoo has not faded. I heard the trick is just to apply a little bit of the ointment. Your tattoo will never fade with using it.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy is very good and reliable for tattoos. Tattoo artists recommend this product because it is extremely secure and competent product that provides your skin with wonderful look and specifically when it is newly tattooed because it helps in maintaining the beauty of the artwork on the skin. This made it highly recommendable to users by both tattooist and skin experts as dermatological tested for any individual‘s use including the ones with the highly sensitive skin, this is the very best option.
First and foremost, cleanliness is key. According to Will, a healthy well-healed tattoo will last ages, and cleanliness is key to prevent tattoo fading. The most critical phase in your young tattoo’s life is the first few weeks and ensuring proper healing, keeping it clean with an anti-bac soap and well moisturized with a dye-free, fragrance-free lotion. He made sure to emphasise this point and I’ll explain why.
Fragrances and dyes make an attractive lotion even better–we all know the flowery or sweet or musky scent of our favorite scented lotion–but getting that fragrance there and eventually up your nose requires two classes of chemicals: volatiles and solvents.
Volatiles are the chemicals that make a liquid airborne. Without this, no one could smell your favorite perfume unless their nose makes direct contact with your skin–awkward on that first date. Solvents are what hold those volatile fragrance notes in your product so they don’t separate out in your bottle.
These two types of chemicals are fine for most people and most skin types, but they can cause irritation and impede skin healing. Therefore, if you just got a tattoo, are trying to heal up a scar, or have a general skin sensitivity, fragrances are a big thing to avoid. In an effort to prevent tattoo fading, irritating fragrances must be avoided at all costs.
THE SUN’S EFFECT ON INK
OK, so you were good to your new tattoo, and a few weeks have passed and your tattoo looks amazing! Time to go party on a houseboat, right?
HOLD UP! The sun wants to rain on your tattoo parade. Sun-fading is the number-two thing to watch out for when it comes to tattoo care and longevity. UVA, UVB and, as we now know, IR rays will damage your healthy skin, and wreak havoc on skin that has been tattooed.
A little history: Tattooing has been a popular form of body art for centuries and has been found in tribes across the globe. Traditionally, tattoo ink was made with natural dyes made from plants, fruits and seeds, or ash. To apply these tattoos, designs were cut into the skin and then rubbed with the desired color. When the resulting scar tissue would form, it would heal over the color and stain the scar tissue, resulting in the permanent tattoo. As centuries passed and tattooing grew into an industry, the inks evolved to the dyes and pigments that are used today.
The tattoo industry, for the most part, is well-funded and profitable. In the last few decades, tattoo artists moved from creating their own liquid dyes to being able to purchase them from ink suppliers. But what is tattoo ink?
The tattoo industry can be a secretive one and, unlike cosmetics, tattoo ink companies do not need to disclose the chemicals used for their pigments. However, after I did a little digging around, it appears that many of the pigments are either iron oxides (rust) that account for the blacks, reds and browns; or for the more exotic colors, heavy metals: cadmium (red, orange, yellow); zinc (yellow, white); chromium (green); cobalt (blue); aluminium (green, violet) and copper (blue, green).
These pigments are robust, and their heavy metal nature (although not the healthiest biologically) make them very stable color-wise. However, inspite of their stability, UVA and UVB rays will still affect them and as the years pass the colors will fade.
Another reason colors can appear duller is an aspect of what many people love about the sun: tanning.
Tattooing involves the placement of pigment into the skin’s dermis-epidermis junction (DEJ), the layer of cells between the dermal tissue and the underlying the epidermis. If your skin were a cake, this area would be the strawberry filling between the two layers.
After the initial injection, the pigment is dispersed throughout the newly damaged layer of DEJ. When your body recognizes the presence of foreign material, it activates the immune system to engulf the pigment particles. As healing proceeds, the damaged epidermis (outer layer) flakes away, eliminating the surface pigment, while scar tissue forms deeper in the skin. This is later converted to stained connective tissue (collagen) and mends the upper dermis, where pigment remains trapped within fibroblasts in the DEJ.
There’s a hair in my cake!
Your tattoo ink lives in a special place in your skin. It is in the location where your basal cells create new skin cells and where a special type of skin cell lives: melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that when activated by UV light secrete melanin, the amino acid pigment that causes that golden tan. This pigment gets absorbed by the skin cells in the epidermis (outer layer).
Going back to that “slice of cake,” the melanocytes are in the “strawberry filling,” but the tanning pigment floats up to the… uh… frosting layer. When this happens, it ends up on top of your tattoo ink and causes the colors to appear dull. Your whites, yellow and greens will all have a browner shade to them. Your skin is actually producing a tinted layer that dulls and distorts your tattoo colors.
So one of the best ways to make sure you keep those melanocytes at bay is to use sunscreen.
There are plenty of products marketed specifically as sunscreens for tattoos. They are nice because they come in stick form, so it’s handy for getting your tattoo covered completely, but as far as any “enhanced color protection,” there’s nothing special in the ingredients that support this type of claim.
A STEP FURTHER THAN SUNSCREEN
Bleach-free skin brighteners are more popular now than ever and there are a slew of them on the market. But will these lighten your skin and your tattoo? Not if you choose the right one.
There are two basic types of lighteners: desquimators (designed to flake off skin) and melanocyte inhibitors (designed to get your melanocytes to put the brakes on producing tan skin). Desquimators are typically found in the form of AHA exfoliators. These work great on the skin, but all they do is remove your epidermal skin (skin that has been tanned)–it does not stop the tan from happening. For this you need a type of active that stops tyrosine from being produced.
Tyrosine is the amino acid that makes up melanin. In your melanocytes, UV light activates the tyrosinase cascade and eventually produces melanin. When tyrosinase inhibitors like hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin, and beta-peptides are used, they essentially put a block in the way of the melanin production.
This type of chemistry is not cheap and it does take at least one skin cycle (28 days) to show effect. The good news, if you really want to tan, you only need to apply on the areas of your skin that has the tattoo, the rest of your body can get a tan.
So go out there and let the world enjoy your body art knowing a little more about how to keep them looking great. We hope that this quick guide provides you with a foundation to help you prevent tattoo fading, so your art stays beautiful for longer!