What’s the best product to put on a new tattoo?
After all, you’d like your tattoo to heal properly as quickly as possible.
We’re often asked about the best tattoo aftercare products, and so we decided to review the top options.
Let’s begin with keeping the tattoo clean.
- Prevent Infection and Speed up Healing with the Best Tattoo Aftercare Soap
- Reduce Swelling and Irritation and Prevent Aging with Tattoo Aftercare Balm
- Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter
- Tattoo Goo – The Original Aftercare Salve
- Badger Tattoo Balm
- Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
- Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm
- Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve
- Barker’s Organic Tattoo Aftercare Balm
- Fisticuffs Tattoo Balm
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment
- Tattoo Goo”The Lotion” with Healix Gold Formula Special
- Lubriderm Tattoo Daily Care Water-Based Lotion
- H2Ocean Ocean Care Tattoo Aftercare
- After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer & Aftercare Lotion
- Urban ReLeaf TATTOO SKIN SILK
- Stop Tattoo Ink from Fading with Sunscreens
Prevent Infection and Speed up Healing with the Best Tattoo Aftercare Soap
Tattoo aftercare soap is essential to prevent infection (1).
Wash your new tattoo morning and night. Use antimicrobial soap and cool or lukewarm water.
Since the skin will be sensitive, don’t put it under a direct stream of water. Instead, splash water onto it. Then pat it dry with a clean towel.
Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized, but not damp. Don’t soak it in the bath or a pool.
After you wash, always apply a balm or lotion.
If you have a large tattoo with colored ink, you may find that wrapping it with plastic protects it from chafing from your clothing.
Hustle Helper is an antimicrobial soap with lidocaine. Lidocaine is a painkiller that will take the sting and itching away.
You can wash before and after you get a tattoo with this product. Some people keep it on hand to care for scrapes and burns.
It calms the skin and gets rid of germs that could cause infection. Moreover, it’s 100% vegan and free of parabens.
The mild fragrance comes from natural extracts like rosemary, arnica, and chamomile.
H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap
H2Ocean’s aftercare soap is a foam that you can use up to four times a day. It contains benzalkonium chloride to kill bacteria and aloe to soothe the skin.
This is another product that’s vegan and free of parabens.
Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap for Tattoos & Piercings
Tattoo Goo is perfect for cleansing new tattoos and skin piercings. It clears away dirt and dead skin cells without fading the ink.
Users say it doesn’t lather up much, but it seems to help them heal quickly.
Billy Jealousy Tattoo Wash
Inside this tattoo wash, there are mild exfoliants like papaya extract and glycolic acid. They will make the ink in old tattoos look vibrant again.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to use this as a body wash just because it smells so good.
Although the company says it’s gentle enough to cleanse new tattoos, we recommend saving this one for later on after your skin has healed.
Cosco Green Soap
Yes, this is the classic medical green soap that smells like hospitals. It has a proprietary formula that includes potassium salt fatty acid, ethyl alcohol, glycerol, and lavender essential oil.
Before you use it, you’ll have to dilute it. One pint makes 1 gallon of soap that you can add to a spray or pump bottle.
Dove Body Wash Pump, Sensitive Skin
You don’t have to buy a special tattoo aftercare soap. This mild body wash from Dove is free of drying ingredients like sulfates, and it’s hypoallergenic.
On the downside, it has an artificial fragrance.
On the upside, it’s moisturizing and made for sensitive skin.
Seventh Generation Hand Wash Soap, Free & Clean Unscented
While a few may recommend Dial antibacterial soap, this product from Seventh Generation is much more gentle. Furthermore, it’s almost 100% plant-based.
It doesn’t have artificial fragrances or dyes, triclosan (an antibacterial agent), or phthalates.
Why would we prefer this soap?
For one, it leaves the skin clean and soft without causing irritation or dryness.
Second, it’s kind to the environment and your body and won’t harm the ink.
And third, it’s less expensive than some of the tattoo-specific options.
Reduce Swelling and Irritation and Prevent Aging with Tattoo Aftercare Balm
What’s the difference between tattoo balm and lotion?
Generally, balm is like ointment for tattoo aftercare. It’s thicker to create a protective coating.
Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter
Hustle Butter is one of the most-recommended tattoo aftercare products.
Not only can you use it to protect your new tattoo, but some artists apply it to the skin beforehand.
It promotes healing and soothes irritated skin. Plus, it won’t clog tubes or interfere with stencils.
Finally, it doesn’t have petroleum or parabens. Instead, it’s a blend of natural ingredients like shea and mango butter plus coconut oil and Vitamin E.
Tattoo Goo – The Original Aftercare Salve
Tattoo Goo’s salve protects new tattoos and helps sunburn, and chapped lips heal.
It doesn’t have petroleum, lanolin, or mineral oil to avoid suffocating your skin and clogging pores. It won’t stain clothing, either.
Some of the ingredients include olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, Vitamin E, lavender, and rosemary. You only need to apply a thin layer each time after you’ve washed your tattoo.
Badger Tattoo Balm
Badger bases their Tattoo Balm on organic coconut and tamanu oils. It conditions the skin and keeps the ink bright and clear.
Some have said that this vitamin-rich salve helped their latest tattoo heal faster than previous ones using other products.
What about straight coconut oil for new tattoos? After all, islanders have used it for generations on their tattoos. And many balms are based on coconut oil. But we recommend a product made with other healing ingredients to keep your new ink in top condition.
–The Team’s Take
Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
Skinfix has the support of both artists and dermatologists. It won’t pull ink from the skin or alter the color.
It doesn’t have gluten, soy, perfume, petrolatum, lanolin, parabens, or phthalates.
One benefit is that it melts into the skin, unlike Vaseline or Aquaphor.
Additionally, you can continue to use the balm to keep your ink vibrant long after your skin has healed.
Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm
Viking Revolution comes with a money-back guarantee. It reduces redness and itching to help you heal faster. Some customers have commented that it helped them heal without forming problematic scabs.
A glance at the label shows that it’s rich in natural ingredients. It has grape seed oil, shea butter, amino acid, beeswax, Vitamin E, and chamomile.
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve
Apply a thin layer of Ora’s Tattoo Salve to new tattoos, scrapes, and bruises to speed up healing. It prevents itching, won’t clog pores, and won’t make the ink fade.
It has no dyes, artificial fragrances, parabens, lanolin, gluten, or mineral oil in it. The mild scent comes from essential oils of tea tree, rosemary, and cedar.
It features grape seed oil, calendula, comfrey, coconut oil, and other organic ingredients.
Barker’s Organic Tattoo Aftercare Balm
Barker’s Balm is certified USDA organic. Even the Vitamin E is from non-GMO sources.
It’s backed by a thirty-day satisfaction guarantee. Feel free to use it on ink tats, cosmetic tattoos, and even as lip balm. It heals chapped, irritated, and extra-dry skin.
The label also lists extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, jojoba wax.
Fisticuffs Tattoo Balm
Fisticuffs makes their Tattoo Balm with holistic remedies like peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and frankincense plus coconut oil and Vitamin E.
It prevents infection and shrinks swelling to diminish itching and pain. But don’t use it if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients.
If you have sensitive skin, don’t put it directly on your new tattoo. Test it ahead of time in the crook of your elbow and wait twenty-four hours to see if your skin reacts.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Aquaphor is often recommended by tattoo studios for new tattoos. It forms a protective barrier that keeps out germs and seals in moisture.
Critics of Aquaphor complain that it’s greasy and based on artificial components like petrolatum and mineral oil.
If you prefer natural products, there are many to choose from. But if you’d like to give Aquaphor a try, you’ll find that this ointment does help with healing.
Keep tattoos moisturized and vibrant with a tattoo aftercare lotion
To aid in healing and lessen itching, you need to apply a moisturizer to your new tattoo. Whether you choose a lotion or a balm is up to you.
We recommend applying a balm for at least the first few days until the irritation has subsided. Then switch to a lotion each time after you wash your skin.
Tattoo Goo”The Lotion” with Healix Gold Formula Special
Tattoo Goo’s lotion is approved by dermatologists for use on sensitive areas like your face. It has healing ingredients like panthenol and olive oil but no petrolatum or lanolin.
It sinks in quickly and makes the ink look crisp and bright.
Lubriderm Tattoo Daily Care Water-Based Lotion
Mainstream skincare company Lubriderm now makes a tattoo aftercare lotion. But how is it different from their regular body moisturizer?
Perhaps we should start by explaining why it’s a good choice regardless.
First, it provides moisture for twenty-four hours after you apply it. That doesn’t mean you should only use it once a day – there’s no problem if you put it on more often.
Second, it’s free of artificial fragrances and not greasy.
Third, with Vitamin B5 and soybean extract, it helps the skin to heal.
But take note that even though it’s “water-based,” it contains mineral oil and petrolatum.
H2Ocean Ocean Care Tattoo Aftercare
H2Ocean makes a truly water-based lotion that doesn’t have petroleum or perfume in it. Unfortunately, it has parabens, though.
The fragrance-free formula features ingredients like Vitamin E, aloe, and jojoba oil to soothe and moisturize.
After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer & Aftercare Lotion
After Inked’s moisturizer is vegan and tested by dermatologists to be nonallergenic. Although it has ingredients from around the world, it’s blended and packaged in the USA.
It features grape seed oil that’s proven to boost healing. Plus, it’s mild enough to use on new tattoos, piercings, and permanent makeup in very sensitive places like lips, eyes, and areolas.
Urban ReLeaf TATTOO SKIN SILK
Skin Silk is a holistic moisturizer that contains raw shea butter and essential oils. Rosemary, lavender, and tea tree oil are naturally antimicrobial. They alleviate pain and itching, too.
The hypoallergenic lotion doesn’t have lanolin or petroleum in it.
Stop Tattoo Ink from Fading with Sunscreens
Cover up your new tattoo before you go out in the sun. Use a bandage if needed while your skin is still healing. This may take two weeks after your appointment.
Wait until your scabs are gone before you apply sunscreen on the tattoo to go outdoors. Then please remember to protect the ink from fading by wearing sunscreen or ink-protector tanning lotion.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water-Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100+
Neutrogena’s SPF 100+ sunscreen filters out nearly 100% of the sun’s rays. That’s good news when you’re protecting a new tattoo.
Tattoos, especially colored ones, will fade if exposed to a lot of UV radiation. Be sure to use a high SPF lotion with broad-spectrum protection on recent ink.
Too much sunshine may slow down the healing process. It could take up to three months for the lowest layer of inked skin to finally heal.
Avoid the problem by using a high-quality tattoo aftercare sunscreen. This one is mild enough to use on your face, plus it stands up to eighty minutes in the water.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
The Anthelios sunscreen reflects UV radiation with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It’s not a chemical sunscreen that absorbs UV rays.
This product has won awards for its water-resistant formula that doesn’t leave a white residue on the skin. It also has antioxidants to prevent premature aging.
Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 50
Baby sunscreen is perfect when you have sensitive skin. The Baby Bum Lotion is mild and effective. It’s based on zinc oxide, shea butter, and coconut oil. It’s also water-resistant for eighty minutes.
INK Tattoo Sunscreen SPF 50+ Stick
The INK Sunscreen Stick is easy to use. It dries without leaving a residue and has no artificial fragrance. You’re likely to forget that you put it on already.
It uses chemical filters to prevent sunburn and fading.
Tattoo Goo Renew Enhancing Lotion SPF 30
Tattoo Goo’s sunscreen is potent enough for day-to-day use outdoors, but perhaps not ideal for long hours in intense sunlight.
It’s pleasant to use, and it promotes healing with vitamins and olive oil. In fact, it makes older tattoos look more colorful.
We’re happy and that you came to us to see the best tattoo aftercare products. We hope we helped you find what you need.
A couple of minutes of careful attention each day will keep your new ink in beautiful condition.
Best of luck with your new tattoo!
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/tattoo-aftercare by Stephanie Watson, published 24 August 2017, accessed 10 June 2019.