What is the best thing to put on a new tattoo?
Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear a different recommendation.
Each time you wash your skin, you’ll need to moisturize it.
But what helps one person heal faster may not work for the next.
That’s why we selected the best tattoo ointments to help you find what you need.
- What to Consider When Selecting a Tattoo Aftercare Ointment
- The Typical Tattoo Healing Process
- Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter
- Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve
- Tattoo Goo – The Original Aftercare Salve
- H2Ocean Aquatat Tattoo Aftercare Ointment
- Badger Tattoo Balm
- Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm
- Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
- INK-EEZE Tattoo Products Pink Glide Tattoo Ointment
- After Inked NPJ Non-Petroleum Jelly
- Barker’s Organic Tattoo Aftercare Balm
- Fisticuffs Tattoo Balm
- Sorry Mom Tattoo Aftercare Process Butter
- Urban ReLeaf TATTOO SKIN SILK
- Urban ReLeaf TATTOO MIRACLE SERUM
- Redemption Tattoo Care Aftercare
- Ziggy’s World Famous Vegan Tattoo Salve
- Tattoo Soothing Balm, Original TAT WAX
- Susie Q Skin Tattoo Aftercare Ink Salve
- MJ’s Herbals Tattoo Aftercare Balm
- Piper Cove NEW INK
- Dr Pickles Premium Tattoo Balm
- Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Cream
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment
- Dynarex Vitamins A & D Ointment Without Lanolin
What to Consider When Selecting a Tattoo Aftercare Ointment
In general, pick an ointment that’s safe for sensitive skin. After all, you’re using it to heal a wound.
Your goal is to avoid infection, prevent scarring, and reduce itchiness.
Therefore, don’t buy anything with artificial fragrances or ingredients that can clog your pores or cause an allergic reaction.
Think about how greasy the ointment is. Will it up stain your clothing?
You only need a thin layer, but if it doesn’t absorb into your skin, it may cause problems.
For example, we usually don’t recommend petroleum jelly as it keeps the skin moist and doesn’t sink in quickly. It forms a barrier on top instead (1).
Finally, remember to buy plenty of ointment as you’ll need to use it at least twice a day for at least five days or longer. Then you might switch to an aftercare lotion if you wish.
The Typical Tattoo Healing Process
A few hours after you leave the studio, remove the bandage, and wash your skin with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water.
Pat it dry and carefully apply a thin layer of tattoo ointment.
Your tattoo is probably going to ooze ink for the first couple of days. It may be a little swollen and red.
Keep washing it morning and night, and throughout the day if you get sweaty or dirty. Each time, put on a little ointment.
Within three to five days, your tattoo will have formed a scab and may start to peel. Don’t pick it. Just keep washing and moisturizing it. As long as you use moisturizer, you’ll keep the skin from bleeding and cracking.
Now, hang in there as the scabs fall off on their own. It may take a couple of weeks for the surface to heal (2).
Underneath, the lower layers of your skin are still recovering for up to five weeks.
Even after your skin looks like it’s back to normal, keep moisturizing. Why?
If your skin is dry and ashy, your tattoo will look dull.
Most of the top tattoo ointments we review below are perfect for keeping the ink vibrant throughout the years to come.
Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter
Hustle Butter is all-around useful.
Artists use it as a lubricant because it doesn’t interfere with stencils or clog tubes.
Collectors use it as tattoo ointment during the healing process and afterward to keep ink bright.
It contains natural healing ingredients like shea, aloe, and mango butter, coconut and sunflower oils, Vitamin E, and rosemary. As a result, it calms redness and irritation and prevents itching.
Also, it’s free of parabens and petroleum.
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve
Ora’s Tattoo Salve is based on grape seed and coconut oils plus beeswax, calendula and comfrey. It’s free of petroleum, artificial fragrances, mineral oil, gluten, and lanolin.
Each batch is slow-infused with herbs, hand-crafted by an environmentally responsible family business.
Dab it on and enjoy the delicious scent while it sinks into the skin. It has everything you need to speed up healing.
Tattoo Goo – The Original Aftercare Salve
Tattoo Goo’s aftercare salve isn’t just good for healing tattoos. It’s also useful for chapped lips and sunburn.
This product doesn’t have lanolin, mineral oil, or petroleum that can clog pores and suffocate your skin. It won’t stain your clothes.
Instead, it’s based on beeswax, olive oil, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, Vitamin E, rosemary, and lavender. Just a little goes a long way.
H2Ocean Aquatat Tattoo Aftercare Ointment
H2Ocean’s Aquatat contains pharmaceutical-grade petrolatum, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, isopropyl palmitate, and bisabolol (derived from chamomile). It’s free of artificial fragrances and dyes and less messy than using Vaseline.
Badger Tattoo Balm
Badger’s Tattoo Balm relies on organic tamanu and coconut oils to condition the skin. These exotic components are certified Fair Trade ingredients.
It also contains antioxidants and Vitamin E to promote faster healing.
Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm
Viking Revolution doesn’t just make beard growth products. They’ve branched out into tattoo aftercare. Like everything they sell, this ointment comes with a money-back guarantee.
Their goal is two-fold. First, they want your new tattoos to heal fast with minimal scabbing and itching. And second, they want you to continue to use the balm to keep your ink beautiful.
The label lists grapeseed oil, shea butter, beeswax, Vitamin E, and chamomile. The texture is lightweight and melts into the skin.
Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
Skinfix has recommendations from dermatologists and tattoo artists because it doesn’t leach ink or change its color. It’s also free of irritants like perfumes, petrolatum, lanolin, parabens, phthalates, gluten, and soy.
Unlike Vaseline or Aquaphor, Skinfix absorbs well. That’s because it uses a vegetable-based occlusive to stop the ink from lifting and help with scabbing.
It’s rich in coconut oil, allantoin, and orange peel extract to prevent infection and help the skin recover as fast as possible.
This ointment isn’t just for the healing process. You can use it as a moisturizer long-term.
INK-EEZE Tattoo Products Pink Glide Tattoo Ointment
Why spend extra money when one product does it all? INK-EEZE’s Glide Ointment is a lubricant and an aftercare cream that smells like bubblegum. (You can also buy it in a Green version with a different scent.)
Two other benefits are that it comes in a six-ounce container and it’s made in the USA.
But we probably recommend Hustle Butter over this one. That’s because it has an artificial fragrance. It also claims to be a vegan product but contains Royal Jelly Extract from honey bees.
After Inked NPJ Non-Petroleum Jelly
After Inked’s Non-Petroleum Jelly helps you prepare for your tattoo by keeping your skin optimally moisturized.
Then, it lubricates your skin while the artist works and keeps your skin healthy while it heals.
Instead of petrolatum, it has shea butter, grape seed, castor, jojoba, and coconut oils to prevent dryness and itching. At the same time, rosemary, thyme, and goldenseal ward off infection.
It’s free of parabens and artificial fragrances. All ingredients are vegan.
Barker’s Organic Tattoo Aftercare Balm
Barker’s Balm is certified USDA organic, right down to the Vitamin E that’s from non-GMO sources. It comes with a thirty-day satisfaction guarantee which gives you plenty of time to try it while your tattoo heals.
Besides taking care of your new ink, it can serve as a lip balm, heal chapped skin, and protect new cosmetic tattoos.
Some of the main ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, and jojoba wax.
Fisticuffs Tattoo Balm
Fisticuffs Balm includes holistic remedies like frankincense, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, and coconut oils. It’s good at stopping the itch and reducing the swelling of a new tattoo.
Sorry Mom Tattoo Aftercare Process Butter
Sorry Mom Aftercare Butter was developed in Europe and fully tested by dermatologists. It’s designed to reduce redness while the artist is working on you.
Next, the creamy texture is easy to apply to sore skin, and it won’t stain your clothes because it sinks in quickly.
Once it’s absorbed, the butter brightens up old ink, too.
Although the primary ingredients are coconut oil and shea butter, take note that it also has paraffin and perfume.
Urban ReLeaf TATTOO SKIN SILK
Urban ReLeaf creates Skin Silk from raw shea butter and essential oils. The oils are naturally antiseptic, and they relieve pain and itching.
The vegan formula features tea tree, lavender, and rosemary to soothe irritation and avoid infection while lipids and amino acids in the shea butter encourage healing. Of course, there are no petrochemicals or parabens in the bottle.
Urban ReLeaf TATTOO MIRACLE SERUM
You might decide that the Miracle Serum is easier for you to use than a balm. It’s oily instead of waxy, so it’s less painful to apply to irritated skin. You don’t have to melt it in your hands before you use it.
The gentle formula includes grape seed, shea, apricot kernel, lemon balm and rosemary oils. It’s 100% vegan and free of parabens.
Redemption Tattoo Care Aftercare
Redemption Tattoo’s ointment sure looks like petroleum jelly, but it’s not. It’s a lubricant for use during tattooing as well as an aftercare moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
Nearly all the ingredients are certified organic, and the product is made in the USA.
Ziggy’s World Famous Vegan Tattoo Salve
Ziggy’s tattoo salve is “handmade with love in a climber’s kitchen in Nashville, Tennessee.” It’s a plant-based formula that includes virgin sunflower oil, mango butter, argan oil, calendula, comfrey, and more natural healing ingredients.
Tattoo Soothing Balm, Original TAT WAX
Tat Wax is something you’re likely to see in a tattoo studio. It was designed by artists to heal new work by letting the skin breathe and providing it with necessary vitamins and minerals.
It has no artificial fragrances or dyes, no alcohols, no petroleum, and no lanolin. Instead, the label lists moisturizers like glycerin and canola oil plus natural extracts like aloe, rosemary, and shea butter.
Susie Q Skin Tattoo Aftercare Ink Salve
Susie Q’s Ink Salve contains essential oils like rose geranium, lemongrass, helichrysum, turmeric, and blue tansy. Each of these has a purpose, like decreasing inflammation or preventing scars.
There is no petroleum, preservatives, or GMO ingredients here.
MJ’s Herbals Tattoo Aftercare Balm
MJ’s Herbals balm has been around for more than a decade. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee. Try it and see if you’re one of the lucky few that experience peeling and healing within only four days.
Each batch is infused with traditional remedies like calendula and marshmallow root. While the base is organic olive oil, the formula also has unrefined propolis beeswax that’s scientifically proven to boost healing.
Piper Cove NEW INK
This tattoo care cream uses hemp seed, cocoa butter, and other ingredients from Fair Trade sources. It’s vegan-friendly and made in the USA.
Use it before you visit the studio to prepare your skin for new ink. Then enjoy it as often as you need while your body heals. It won’t pull out ink, but it will diminish itching and scabbing.
Dr Pickles Premium Tattoo Balm
Dr Pickles Balm is made in Australia from beeswax, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and Paw-Paw. It comes in a convenient tube to prevent contamination. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Cream
Sanibalm’s Aftercare Cream is ideal as the first tattoo ointment use on your skin after you remove the bandage. Keep using it three to five times a day for up to five days.
The primary active ingredient is sea buckthorn. It regenerates the skin with antioxidants and fatty acids.
The formula is vegan, kosher, and free of petroleum and parabens.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Aquaphor is great for curing cracked heels. But is it good for new tattoos?
After all, Aquaphor is often recommended by artists and collectors alike.
The main ingredients are 41% petrolatum, glycerin, and panthenol. Glycerin attracts moisture, panthenol stimulates healing, and petrolatum forms a protective barrier.
Furthermore, Aquaphor’s been clinically tested by dermatologists. Not every tattoo salve has been examined like this one.
But detractors say that Aquaphor is greasy and may cause problems with the ink.
Dynarex Vitamins A & D Ointment Without Lanolin
A&D ointment consists of 93% USP-grade white petrolatum, liquid paraffin, lavender oil, and vitamins A and D. Dynarex makes it especially for treating tattoos.
It’s also good for curing chapped and dry skin and minor cuts.
If you’re not sure which tattoo ointment to purchase, ask the artist what they would recommend.
Also, take into account any allergies and sensitivities you have.
Keep in mind that most of these balms and salves aren’t a short-term solution. You can continue to use them as a moisturizer in the future, so you’re not wasting your money.
Let us know if you have a favorite tattoo ointment. Leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/injured-skin/wound-care accessed July 25, 2019
2. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/taking-care-of-your-tattoo#1 published October 24, 2016, accessed July 25, 2019