How you care for your tattoo will make a huge impact on how good it looks and how long it looks good. You cannot simply get ink and forget it. You have to properly cleanse, moisturize, and hydrate your skin so your ink looks its best for the longest possible amount of time.
You may not know that properly moisturizing and hydrating your skin can help you avoid irritation, infections, some swelling, and itching. Moisturizer is more than just a beauty treatment. It is a tool to help your skin stay healthy and beautiful.
So how often should you be moisturizing your new tattoo? In general rule, it is recommended that you moisturize your tattoo 2-3 times a day, which is 8-12 hours per day.
Why Should I Apply Lotion to My New Tattoo?
Moisturizing a tattoo area helps the skin to heal more quickly after the trauma of the procedure. Remember that when you get a tattoo you are essentially creating an open wound on your body. You have to treat that wound with care, and moisturizer helps the ink you have just gotten to not dry out. If the skin of the tattoo dries out, then the ink gets dry, and when the ink gets dry it can actually crack, and you can have additional bleeding, excessive distortion, irritation, and itching.
Applying an external lotion stops the drying and cracking. It also stops thick scabs from forming over your design. You want a thin scab to form, but thick crusty scabs are painful and they can damage the artwork when they fall off.
When Should I Start to Apply Lotion to My New Tattoo?
For a tattoo that is healing normally the application of moisturizer or lotion does not need to begin until about the fourth day after you have gotten the tattoo. Right after your tattoo is completed the artist more than likely put a thin layer of antibacterial ointment on top of the work before they applied the bandage.
You want to give your tattoo about four days so the skin can start to dry out just a little. The drying allows the oozing to stop and a thin scab to form over the open wounds. Your scab should be left alone, do not pick at it, because it stops bacteria from entering the wound. A light layer of moisturizing lotion will help ease the itch and stop the pulling feeling of a drying wound but will not loosen the scab or make it fall off.
What Types of Lotions Should I Choose or Avoid?
The lotion that you choose to use can be harmful to your tattoo. You have to choose the right lotion and use it sparingly to get the most benefit.
You should be aware that there are specialized tattoo aftercare lotions that you can buy. These lotions cost a little more than the standard lotions you buy from the grocery store or skincare aisle at the pharmacy, but they are formulated with the right ingredients to moisturize without irritating.
There are popular ointments and lotions that have been around for generations that many people use. A&D ointment is often used for the first week after a tattoo to help with the healing.
The main things you are looking for in a lotion are natural ingredients and no dyes or perfumes. The dyes and perfumes used in the creation of scented ointments may actually irritate the wound and cause you greater pain.
Never apply petroleum jelly to the new tattoo. Petroleum jelly can actually cause the ink of the tattoo to fade. So do not use products like Vaseline.
If My Tattoo is Scabbing Should I Continue Applying Lotion?
Remember that scabbing is a natural part of wound healing on the skin. A scab forms over the open areas and the scab should stay in place until the new skin cells form and cause the scab to turn loose and fall away.
You should apply lotion when you have to scab to simply lessen the amount of pulling the scab causes on the skin. You want to use very little lotion because you do not want to make the scab get overly moist and turn loose. A tiny amount of lotion should be gently applied to the area. Do not rub vigorously and do not put on so much lotion that the skin cannot completely absorb it within a few seconds.
If you have excessively thick scabbing seek the advice of your tattoo artist before you apply lotions. Thick scabs are easier to knock loose and they are an indication of greater oozing and bleeding.
Is Coconut Oil a Good Lotion Alternative?
Coconut oil is actually an excellent alternative to lotions and moisturizing creams. The coconut oil has a variety of healing properties that allow it to boost collagen levels, create a protective barrier to stop bacteria from entering the wound, and keep the skin soft and supple.
If you plan to use coconut oil on a tattoo then make certain you are using fractionated oil. Fractionated oil is easily absorbed through the skin, it stays in a liquid state so it is easier to apply less oil, and it is less likely to clog your pores and create an acne situation.
When using the lighter fractionated coconut oil you get all of the healing properties of the oil without creating a coating that prevents your skin from breathing.
Is It Possible to Over-moisturize a Tattoo?
Moisturizing your tattoo can reduce the pain and discomfort associated with a wound of this type of healing. Moisturizing can strengthen the skin. You can however get too much of a good thing.
If you apply too much moisturizer you can keep the skin from creating a scab at all. Scabbing is a natural part of tattoo healing and the skin has to be able to dry out enough to develop the scabs. You do not want to impede the natural progression of the wound.
The extra moisture can also cause complications like oozing and clogged pores. Clogged pores can turn into blackheads and acne-type breakouts that can disfigure or ruin your artwork.
A dab of lotion in your palm that is about the size of a dime should cover most tattoos and for larger ones use a lotion dab about the size of a quarter.
Moisturizing your new tattoo is a way to reduce the pain and itching that is associated with the healing of these types of skin wounds. You want to balance your moisturizing so you get all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks.
Apply a very thin layer of lotion after you have washed the area with antibacterial soap. You want the moisturizer to soak into the skin and not form a visible layer.