You might recognize the brand name Aquaphor from common OTC creams. It may even confuse you that we would ever recommend diaper rash cream for tattoos! Well, the best tattoo aftercare looks at the efficacy of ingredients, and I promise that Aquaphor is the #1 recommended brand from tattoo artists everywhere. But seriously—don’t take my word for it. Your tattoo artist will straight up tell you after your session to grab some. But why does this stuff work so well for tattoos, and how on earth does it work, anyways? Is Aquaphor really safe for tattoos? Let’s go over everything you need to know about Aquaphor for tattoos!
Baby Aquaphor for Tattoos
Whether you use baby Aquaphor for tattoos or another type of specialty ointment, Aquaphor on new tattoo work helps your skin recover quickly. It works by sealing in your tattoo with a humectant. This humectant attracts water to the area and retains it, moisturizing your skin instantly. It also contains several vitamins and fatty acids that absorb directly into the skin to speed up your healing process.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Advanced Therapy Skin
Why do artists recommend this so often? Its efficacy, combined with its affordability, makes this the go-to aftercare ointment. This little pack has enough for a large tattoo healing period. If you’re an artist, you can buy them in bulk for cheap, but everyone else still benefits from having it on hand. Even without a healing tattoo, it works great for cuts, burns, rashes, chapped lips, dry skin, and other small topical wounds. Some people even use it for eczema and radiation treatments! Before you consider more unique uses, though, consult your doctor. There could be more powerful and appropriate prescription stuff.
Because it’s very oily and creamy, I don’t recommend it as a general moisturizer. It is only meant for use on topical wounds. You can wash any smears out of your clothes, but you still want to keep the area with Aquaphor as open as possible. One of the best parts about Aquaphor is its healing speed. You can see the effects of using it within a day, even for minor wounds. It lasts forever, works for all sorts of ailments, and generally feels like a lifesaver whenever you use it. Aquaphor is truly one of the best inventions of man! Because of its formula, it is as scentless as an aftercare product comes. You won’t smell it unless you put it right under your nose.
How Long to Use Aquaphor for Tattoos
But, since we’re talking about tattoo use, let’s look at some instructions specific to tattoo aftercare. Aquaphor doesn’t exactly come with instructions for using Aquaphor on tattoos, after all. Your tattoo goes through three major healing phases. Your first three days have a pussy and bleeding open wound where your tattoo will be. Ink falls out, blood gets on everything, and it’s generally messy everywhere. Try to air out your tattoo during this process and clean it out with specialized tattoo antibiotics (regular antibiotics contain chemicals hazardous to your tattoo ink).
Once your tattoo begins to seal, it enters the second stage of healing. Apply Aquaphor liberally once per day or whenever the area feels dry. A thin layer of Aquaphor that you apply throughout the day seems to work best. As long as your tattoo scabs or flakes, you can continue to use Aquaphor to your benefit. It helps soothe itching along with providing materials for your tattoo to heal. You may stop when the tattoo completely seals. You will know it’s done when the tattoo appears faded—this means that you only have to wait for the scar tissue to get replaced naturally by your body!
During this third stage, you can continue using Aquaphor, but I recommend other lotions that work specifically as moisturizers (rather than healing ointments). After six weeks of this, your tattoo will brighten to its fully saturated colors or vivid lines, and your tattoo healing process is over!
Is Aquaphor Healing Ointment Good for Tattoos?
We already know about the healing effects of Aquaphor in general, but does using Aquaphor on tattoo work actually help better than other types of aftercare lotion? Is Aquaphor good for tattoos? I’m not about to go on the record saying this is the best option for tattoo care. It works great and probably constitutes the best thing easily accessible at stores nearby. Artists swear by it and the ingredients are all compatible with tattoo ink, ensuring that your colors stay perfect. It is not just good for tattoos, it is great! Just not as good as the specialty tattoo lotion products.
The only things holding Aquaphor back are its oily ingredients. These ingredients are incredibly common and appear in hand soap, shampoo, body wash, makeup, and all sorts of cosmetic products. And—while derived or processed from ingredients found within the earth—they are hardly organic. I’m not about to appeal to the ethical or vegan issue of these ingredients. That’s a decision you can make on your own. However, I will say that mineral oil, petrolatum, and lanolin will sometimes irritate people with sensitive skin.
Despite this, its solid formula makes it the most accessible healing ointment for tattoos and one of the fastest acting tattoo healing ointments out there! You can’t go wrong with it. Let’s go into more of the details so that you have a full understanding of how Aquaphor works and whether it’s right for you.
Aquaphor’s list of ingredients is tried and true, though if you’re looking for something organic or vegan, you’ll want to look elsewhere. These are the main components of Aquaphor:
- Bisabolol – An anti-inflammatory extracted from Chamomile.
- Ceresin – A fine wax made from the greasy stone Ozokerite.
- Glycerin – Moisturizer and humectant that helps the surface stay moist by attracting water from the air.
- Lanolin Alcohol – A processed type of wool wax that helps with skin smoothing by directly providing certain nutrients.
- Mineral Oil – Basically what it says. Refined from crude oil.
- Panthenol – Pro-vitamin B5 that absorbs into the body and attracts water from the air to the site.
- Petrolatum – The carrier and gel-like substance that makes up the majority of Aquaphor. It helps contain moisture.
While all of these ingredients are quite inconspicuous—and common in many beauty products—you will still want to spot test this to see if your skin doesn’t like an ingredient. People with sensitive skin can react to Petrolatum and Lanolin, while people with bad allergies can react to Bisabolol. When in doubt, ask a doctor. The vast majority of people (I’m guessing 99.999%) will be fine.
Why Aquaphor Works for Tattoos
So, why would you use Aquaphor over other types of soaps? After all, you can find dozens (if not, hundreds) of varieties of soap at nearby supermarkets. Surely one of them would work for tattoos, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and you would be wise to inspect the ingredients of any soap that you use on a healing wound. Many soaps work by breaking down foreign bodies so that they can be rinsed or washed away easily. Ink is included in these foreign ingredients and washes away as easily as a kid’s marker while your tattoo is still healing. The permanence of your tattoo relies on the large size of your tattoo particles, so breaking it down with common soaps has a disastrous effect.
Aquaphor avoids ingredients that harm tattoo ink, rendering it safe for tattoo use. Soaps which include rubbing alcohol, aloe vera, fragrance, witch hazel, and any sort of exfoliant will damage your tattoo. Most antibiotics will break down ink, so unless it is specifically designed for tattoo use, avoid anything labeled as an antibiotic. Antibiotics work great to keep you healthy, but not so good for keeping your tattoo looking crisp. This is why good aftercare is so essential for tattoos.
Aquaphor Side Effects
For the general population, Aquaphor carries no side effects. You can use it quite safely. However, as with all beauty products, spot test it beforehand. As I mentioned before, people with sensitive skin and allergies may react to select ingredients within Aquaphor. One skin reaction from Aquaphor can make the skin look white or soggy from moisture or cause other changes in the color and texture of the skin. This is indicative of infection.
To recognize an allergic reaction, look for rashing, itching, swelling, dizziness, and trouble breathing. Some people may also feel their tongue and throat swelling, even though they didn’t use it anywhere close to their mouth. When you see any of these negative side effects from Aquaphor, contact your doctor as soon as you can. If the symptoms continue to worsen, you will need emergency treatment. Even if they dissipate, your doctor will want to know about your allergy to this very common medicine. The ingredients within it are quite cosmopolitan, so it helps your doctor avoid prescribing other creams with similar ingredients.
Does Aquaphor Pull Ink Out of Tattoos
Some people report using Aquaphor and tattoo ink coming off at the same time. Since this is an incredibly important concern, I wanted to dedicate a section to addressing it. Tattoos naturally leak ink, plasma, pus, and dead skin as they heal. Only the ink at the bottom layer of your dermis sticks, while every other layer of ink sheds out. In fact, more ink sheds from your tattoo than you actually retain!
Because of this colorful mess of gunk and blood, many people believe that their tattoo is losing ink specifically because of Aquaphor. Thankfully, I can assure you that this is just part of the natural healing process, and nothing to worry about! Using tattoo sunscreen helps prevent your tattoo colors from leeching over time.
Aquaphor vs A&D for Tattoos
Using tattoo aftercare Aquaphor treatments seems to have better results than A&D, although the difference is slim. They have similar ingredients and treat all of the same ailments. I prefer Aquaphor over A&D because it feels better on the skin and doesn’t feel as greasy afterwards. Plus, it’s a little more affordable and you can find it in stores more often. You also need less Aquaphor for treating a tattoo compared to A&D. Just a thin layer of Aquaphor every few hours will help you through the healing process.
The bottom line is that they perform similarly and are both recommended by tattoo artists around the world. If you can only find one in your area, don’t worry about it—just make sure you take care of your tattoo! If you have enough time to plan ahead, grab Aquaphor wherever you find it, whether that’s a store or the web.
The Final Say on Aquaphor for Tattoos
Aquaphor and tattoo aftercare go hand in hand, and any tattoo artist will tell you that. It’s true that specialized tattoo lotions perform better, but sometimes, you just can’t find any of those when you need it. Tattoo numbing cream for that itchy healing sensation also isn’t an option unless you order ahead of time! Aquaphor is versatile, easy to acquire, and maybe even something you already have in the medicine cabinet.
Hopefully this article gave you a little piece of mind—and piece of knowledge—about using Aquaphor on tattoos during the healing stage. Even if you choose not to use Aquaphor, you now know enough about tattoo aftercare to safely choose a healing ointment for yourself. So take care of yourself, your body, and your tattoo! As always, thanks for reading!