After inking your tattoo, certain types of creams and disinfectants can delay its healing. Lotions with alcohol or similar chemicals actually leech the ink out and lead to blotchy and patchy tattoos. On the other hand, itching and pain of a healing wound demands treatment. Your personal needs and what you want to treat decide the best lotion for tattoos. Aftercare matters, so think about it! In fact, a tattoo cream disinfects the area or simply provides pain relief. Ideally, you may want both. We think the Hustle Tattoo Butter Deluxe is the best Tattoo Lotion you can currently gut, but read on and choose what you think is the best tattoo lotion!
Related Article: The Best Tattoo AfterCare Products
Don’t have time for the whole article? We got you covered; here is our best tattoo lotion product pick!
The Best Tattoo Lotion, Ointment and Cream You Can Get in 2018!
|Hustle Butter Deluxe – Tattoo Butter||Tattoo Butter / Lotion|
Tattoo Care Kit
|Tattoo Aftercare Kit incl. Lotion|
|Tattoo Aftercare Kit incl. Lotion|
|Tattoo Goo -|
The Original Aftercare Salve
|A+D Original Ointment Jar||Lotion|
|Tattoo Skin Silk||Tattoo Lotion|
|After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer||Tattoo Lotion|
|Ora's Herbal Amazing Tattoo Salve||Tattoo Lotion|
Hustle Butter Deluxe
With no petroleum or parabens and a unique moisturizing formula, Hustle Butter Deluxe takes the top spot. Hustle Butter forms a tattoo glide layer for tattoo artists, and many recommend it for tattoo aftercare. The formula not only contains Shea, mango, and Aloe butters, it leaves stencils untouched, prevents clogged tubes, and keeps skin workable. On top of results that last a lifetime, Hustle Butter creation involves no animal cruelty, and the components are certified vegan! A luxury among tattoo lotions, plus among the best natural lotions, I recommend splurging a little and trying Hustle Butter Deluxe. Compared to the cost of other products, it fits right in, so treat yourself! Read also the full review here.
Ingredients: Organic Shea, Mango & Aloe Butters, Organic Coconut, Sunflower & Rice Bran Oils, Rosemary Oleoresin, Green Tea, Vitamin E Complex & Mint Avernis Essential Oil. With Essence of Papaya & Coconut
H2Ocean Ultimate Tattoo Care Kit, 6.2 Ounce
Finally, an unscented lotion for tattoo lovers! H2Ocean, alongside Tattoo Goo, is one of the greatest tattoo care brands out there. These products contain no alcohol or petroleum, so you can safely use them on your tattooed skin. And another thing, this set uses only three products to get the job done, and it comes with instructions on how to use each of them to get the most out of their use. It treats your tattoo in every healing stage and ensures that your tattoo will stay bright for ages. It is also antibacterial and prevents infection during the crucial healing stage of your tattoo. The moisturizer included with the set is used to keep those itchy scabs in check without harming your skin. This kit contains the best unscented lotions for tattoos.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Poloxamer 188, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Disodium EDTA, Salt, Benzalkonium Chloride. Purified Water, Stearic Acid (Coconut), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin (Vegetable), Dimethicone (Silica), Jojoba Oil, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Rose Hip Seed Oil, PEG 8 Stearate, Cety Alcohol, Aloe Vera Gel, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Sclerotium Gum, Sea Salt. Purified Water, Propellant, Dimethicone, Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Coconut Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, polyvinylpyrrolidone, Triethanolamine(tea), Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Allantoin, Sea Kelp, Methyl Paraben, Sea Salt, Lysozyme, Propyl Paraben
Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit
If you want a big package that shows you all kinds of tattoo aftercare lotions and products—rather than just a moisturizer to treat a healing tattoo—then this is the kit to go for. It contains the salve we listed above, along with deep cleansing soap, color guard fade protection, and fast acting lotion. The Tattoo Goo Color Guard functions as a sunscreen, ensuring the sun can’t damage the ink of your tattoo.
After harsh soaps, the sun is the leading cause of faded tattoo colors. The soaps and salves in this kit use natural oils instead of alcohol-based chemicals or disinfectants, making them safe to use on healing tattoo skin. This set contains the best ointment for tattoos, so give it a careful look.
Ingredients: Olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), lavendar oil, sunflower oil, rosemary extract, DandC green 6.
Tattoo Goo – The Original Aftercare Salve
Tattoo Goo was one of the first soaps to arrive on the market for use on healing tattoos. It can also be used on dry skin or scabs, so if you only get one tattoo, the rest of the Tattoo Goo won’t go to waste. It also has a lot of natural herbs, oils, and vitamins to help the healing process along. This includes wheat germ oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, vitamin E, lavender oil, and quite a bit more. With all of those elements, it can smell quite great.
It contains no petroleum, which is the main reason for any damage done to tattoos by lotion. Each can contains at least 20 days of use, at least. To apply it, simply place the goo over the tattoo and rub it in until a thin layer covers the whole tattoo. You should wait at least three days after you use the tattoo to make sure that the tattoo is able to breath during the first stage of its healing process. This is, hands down, the best tattoo moisturizer available. Plus, it’s the best lotion for new tattoo lovers.
Ingredients: Olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), lavendar oil, sunflower oil, rosemary extract, DandC green 6.
Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment
When you get Aquaphor, it will arrive in a small canister and appear as a mostly transparent yellow gel. It’s halfway between a tattoo cream and a tattoo lotion. This lotion is primarily used to treat diaper rash on babies, but it can also be used to soothe the pain of scabbing tattoos. Strangely, it is also a product often recommended by tattoo artists. If you choose to use Aquaphor, only make a layer of lotion a few millimeters deep.
When you wake up, wash it off with warm water—never use soap during the healing of your tattoo—and apply another thin layer to wear for the day. Excessive use of any lotion can lead to ink damage and it always pays to play it safe. Despite that, Aquaphor has an excellent track record of not affecting tattoos, and I would say that it’s one of the best lotions to use on tattoos. I could not find an example anywhere that Aquaphor damaged a tattoo or caused it to blur.
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum (41%). Inactive Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol.
A+D Original Ointment Jar
Although A&D created this ointment to prevent diaper rash, you use it for a whole host of other things. Obviously, it works wonderfully for tattoo healing, and it uses no ingredients that adversely affect tattoo ink. It contains vitamins A and D, which speeds up your body’s immune system and strengthens your skin. Furthermore, this A&D ointment treats your skin with soft ingredients, meaning you can apply it as often as necessary. In fact, lots of tattoo artists stock this on their shelves, thanks to its amazing effectiveness.
Ingredients: Lanolin, Petrolatum, Cod Liver Oil, Fragrance, Light Mineral Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Beeswax
Tattoo Skin Silk
This new tattoo ointment moisturizes your skin and protects your tattoo’s ink and colors. On top of that, it accelerates your tattoo healing stages. Expect your aftercare to fly by while using Tattoo Skin Silk! It uses classic ingredients like organic shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and soy wax to deliver a natural moisturizer. Along with that, for its main feature, it kills any scab itches that come your way. After application, you may even forget someone inked you just a week or so ago! It feels natural and comfortable. This concentrated product lasts about ten times longer than watery lotions.
Ingredients: Pure Shea Butter, Oils of Rosemary, Lavender, Tea-Tree.
After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer & Aftercare
This little gem uses some unique ingredients to avoid common allergies and reactions. With no petroleum, parabens, fragrances, animal testing, gluten, or animal products, this lotion works great for any environmentally-conscious person. On top of tattoo aftercare, After Inked designed this with daily use in mind. Continue using it after your tattoo so that your skin remains clear and your tattoo’s colors shine. It leaves behind no greasy residue, so consider your clothes and sheets safe! If other products give you a rash and your skin still itches, then go ahead and try this tattoo healing cream.
Ingredients: Aqua, Grape Seed Oil, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Shea Butter, Synthetic Beeswax, Jojoba Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Orange Oil, Benzyl Alcohol & Dehydroacetic Acid
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve, Natural Tattoo Aftercare Treatment Salve
This rather green bottle of paste uses no artificial coloring, skips paraben preservatives, leaves out lanolin, drops the aloe, ignores gluten products, and finally ditches petroleum and its alternative, mineral water. It focuses on providing a natural herbal salve in such a way that avoids allergic reactions or rashes on sensitive skin. A small family business produces the stuff, making it the best tattoo lotion if you want something environmentally and ethically responsible. As usual, use just a thin layer to cover your tattoo whenever it feels dry or itchy.
Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil Infused With Organic Calendula, Organic Comfrey, Organic Plantain, Organic Chickweed, Organic St. John’s Wort, Organic Burdock And Organic Thyme, Organic Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E And Essential Oils Of Rosemary, Thuja, And Tea Tree.
Why Should I Use Tattoo Lotion?
First of all, tattoo lotion is not optional. During your healing process, millions of germs come in contact with your wound. Without some sort of protective lotion, they can ruin your tattoo, infect your body, and lead to even more disastrous effects. So, clearly, you need some sort of lotion. But why tattoo lotion over lotion you buy at the store?
Simply put, your every-day-lotion contains dozens of compounds that affect your tattoo ink and the speed of your healing. The large size of tattoo ink particles makes them difficult for your immune system to deal with. Typical cleaning lotions—especially those containing alcohol—break them down into parts that your body absorbs. In other words, non-tattoo lotions erase your tattoo! You need to wait to use them until after your tattoo completely heals—and even then, I prefer tattoo-specific lotions thanks to their ‘softer’ ingredients. They work great for sensitive skin!
Simple Benefits of Tattoo Lotion and Ointment for Tattoos
To really drive home the point of how excellent these lotions are to your skin, I want to go over every benefit they provide. Even if only one of them matches what you need, the improvement and relief is dramatic in every regard!
Improves Tattoo Appearance
The vitamins that your skin absorbs helps seal your tattoo. Because vitamins also affect your immune system, which in turn helps your tattoo set in the first place, it goes a long way towards keeping the tattoo healthy. The less scar tissue that forms above your tattoo, the faster your tattoo looks bright and colorful!
Moisturizes, Hydrates, and Nourishes Skin
You want to keep the area right between moist and dry. This decreases the chance of peeling skin and wards off the discomfort and pain of fresh tattoos. Moisturization prevents all sorts of skin problems–including oily skin, dry skin, and acne. It keeps your skin young so that your tattoo looks great for years!
Prevents Disease or Infections
Obviously a big bonus, lotions fend off any would-be infectious germs by forming a barrier and–in some cases–destroying these hazardous organisms. In ancient times, the risk of infection meant only the bravest would undergo the art of tattooing. Going under the needle could mean life or death, so many cultures used tattoos as a rite of passage. Those days are behind us, and now we can relish the safety that modern technology and tattoo lotion provide for us!
Soothes Skin Irritation and Tattoo Peeling
Arguably the worst part of tattoo healing, the peeling and itching stage takes over your life. Peeling the skin off poses the risk of flaking off ink with it. While peeling skin that looks dyed is quite normal, it’s difficult to tell which part is still healing because of this. By applying lotion, you both assuage the itch and prevent the dry skin from happening in the first place!
Speeds Healing Process
Most lotion for tattoos (and certainly all the ones on this page) provides nutrients that help with your healing process. As your body absorbs these vitamins, your skin grows stronger and your immune system speeds up. Washing away dead skin at regular intervals lets your body take a break and focus on patching up your tattoo.
How Do I Use Tattoo Lotion?
So, how do you apply this stuff and use it to its full potential? Your artist always gives you pointers and recommendations, but these general directions will help you if you forget them. First of all, your artist sends you home with plastic wrap or a sealed bandage around your new tattoo. They prefer plastic wrap because you can easily see what your new tattoo looks like–which is pretty cool! A few hours after you receive your tattoo or a few hours before you go to bed, whichever falls later, remove this bandage. Expect to see a bunch of puss, blood, and excess ink spill out. Wet a clean towel and carefully dab at the new tattoo to remove it all. Tattoo soap helps with this process. Once you clear up the gunk, use a dry towel to dab the moisture away. Never rub it dry, since this may pull up your sensitive skin.
Lotion After Cleaning Your Tattoo
After your tattoo feels squeaky clean and only slightly moist to the touch, apply a thin layer of tattoo lotion to the top. Depending on the brand, you only need a few drops for it to take effect! Slowly swirl the lotion into your skin until it becomes transparent, signaling that your skin absorbed part of it. Leave the lotioned tattoo uncovered and never apply new bandages to it. The bandages helped contain the blood, plasma, and gunk from the initial tattoo session, but it otherwise performs no necessary function. Keeping your tattoo exposed to the dry air helps your body expel dead cells more quickly, even though it risks staining your clothes or sheets with some very strange colors.
Tattoo Lotion Reapplication Directions
Reapply this lotion whenever the area feels dry. After two or three reapplications, you know exactly when to plan for another one. Over time, your tattoo grows dry, and improper care leads to scabbing. Frequent and correct use of tattoo lotion and tattoo soap helps the skin flake off naturally with minimal side effects. In fact, most of the dead cells that would form a scab actually wash off with the application of your soap and lotion!
When To Stop Using Tattoo Lotion
After your tattoo stops itching, you no longer need to use tattoo soap. However, I still recommend using lotion in order to reduce scarring. Since tattoos technically count as minor surgery, scar tissue forms over the area. This creates a dull look, and many people believe that their tattoo even fades! In all honesty, this layer is just the body’s natural response to a wound of that magnitude. With enough moisturizing lotion, the scar tissue will slowly subside into a regular layer of skin–leaving everyone to see your beautiful new tattoo in its full glory!
Which Type of Tattoo Lotion Do I Choose?
When shopping for a tattoo lotion on this list, pay close attention to what you want and need out of a lotion. For example, someone with sensitive skin wants hypoallergenic lotion or baby lotion. Baby lotions tend to use softer ingredients—in example, they replace petroleum with mineral oil or a similar compound. On the other hand, a vegan definitely needs ingredients with no animal products. On top of that, the lotion needs to be cruelty-free, with zero animal testing. Hustle Butter Deluxe fits that description perfectly.
Other than that, just go with what sticks out to you. Each lotion smells differently, so avoid lotions with scents unless you want to smell like flowers. Along with that, pay close attention to the ingredients of each lotion. In example, if you have an allergy to aloe, then skip any products containing it.
Guidelines for Picking a Non-Tattoo Lotion for Tattoo Care
Of course, I only listed the best lotions out there. Many more exist that you may want to look into. When shopping for a tattoo-safe lotion, soap, or ointment for tattoos, then you need to closely check the ingredients. During tattoo healing, some ingredients damage the ink or promote bacterial infection, despite conventional wisdom saying otherwise. If you want to explore the other lotion options out there, then pay special attention to these guidelines.
In example, an anti-bacterial lotion sounds great for tattoo healing, right? Wrong. Alcohol makes up the main active ingredient of most anti-bacterial soaps on the market. It breaks down the chemical composition of organic molecules, making it easy for your body to clear them away. Unfortunately, inks use organic sources for many of their colors. Ink soaks into your skin permanently because of the size of their particles. Alcohol targets your ink and breaks down the particles into bite-sized chunks, rather than their normal huge size, that your body absorbs. In other words, anti-bacterial soaps literally erase your tattoo during the healing stage!
More Info on Lotion, Ointment and Tattoo Healing Cream Ingredients
In a similar vein, petroleum usually works as a good medium to deliver other compounds, but its consistency covers your tattoo wound and seals it up. Especially during the first few days of your healing, you need to allow the tattoo to drain naturally. Excess ink, blood, pus, plasma, and all manner of things ooze out of your tattoo. If you cover it up with a petroleum product, then that stuff can only go into your body, instead of out. As a result, your tattoo looks watery, as if someone left the design out in the rain. Mineral oil is the same ingredient, but at a consistency that does not harm your tattoo. Stick to mineral oil, if you find no alternatives to petroleum products.
Lastly, some ingredients cause irritations in a huge number of people. Paraben preservatives top the list, but things like artificial fragrances also trigger allergies. When tattoo artists tell you to avoid scented soaps, this is what they mean—but don’t forget the rest of the requirements! Test any products on a separate area of your skin beforehand. Happy hunting! If you have trouble finding one, just check out this page again.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want more information on the tattoo healing process, just comment with questions. If we haven’t answered it, then it’s not a stupid question, so don’t worry about that! I answer some of the most common questions below.
Can I use Aquaphor on my tattoo?
Yes, of course! Just check out our review on Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment above this. Artists use Aquaphor as the golden standard, although many other options on this page push the envelope even further.
My tattoo looks strange. Should I see a doctor?
If you need any medical questions answered, then I implore you to contact your doctor or your tattoo artist. Infection symptoms and allergy symptoms overlap, and only a doctor can truly tell the difference. If your tattoo shows any of the following symptoms, go to the emergency room:
- Black veins reaching out from the tattoo area, under the skin.
- A fever any time after you receive your tattoo.
- Swelling and blistering after the three day mark, or massive swelling and blistering during the first day.
- Skin receding away from the tattoo.
For non-emergency symptoms, contact your artist first. They know all about the tattoo healing process and walk you through normal procedures—much like this article!
My tattoo scabs peeled, and now my tattoo looks faded. Why?
Scar tissue naturally forms above the tattoo immediately after it heals. This tissue appears more opaque than usual, plus, the dye never completely soaked into those layers. It takes at least six weeks for your skin to completely heal, although this varies depending on your personal health.
Can I get a tattoo to cover scars?
Absolutely! Many people go to tattoo shops to cover scars. Tattoos cover old injuries, mastectomies, and self-harm injuries with no issue. On top of that, your tattoo artist may offer you a bit of a discount. Scar-covering tattoos are fairly common, so they know exactly how to handle them, too. In my opinion, scars are beautiful, but your happiness and confidence in your body is more important! We even have design ideas for tattoo cover ups and mastectomy tattoos.
Should I use lotion on my old, healed tattoos?
Of course! The more care you give your tattoo, the longer it lasts! Even long after your tattoo heals, your skin deserves its own routine. Using lotion on your tattoo helps keep the skin moisturized, and in turn, keeps your tattoo from wearing away. Tattoo-specific lotions avoid watering down the ink or outright destroying it, but most moisturizers will work for what you need!
Aftercare is Important—For Every Tattoo
Most people who want a tattoo already have one! Once you ink your first tattoo, the liberating experience opens your eyes to the world of body art. Unfortunately, each time you receive a new tattoo, you open yourself up to all the same risks. Every time you receive a new tattoo, you need to provide it with the utmost care. Maybe you used some random lotion and your tattoo healed fine. Maybe your first tattoo healed brilliantly with no aftercare whatsoever. Despite this, never underestimate the risk of infection.
The risk of each tattoo location varies, with your hands and your mouth making up the areas most prone to infection. On top of that, large tattoos expose themselves to far more pathogens than smaller designs. Lastly, the time of year and your physical activities may open up the path to illness. In order to deal with these outside elements, you need to prepare for the worst while all of your tattoos heal.
Final Word on Tattoo Aftercare
There is a small stigma around tattoo ointment and tattoo lotion. Accordingly, the pain and healing process is seen as a rite of passage to some circles, and your friends may pressure you into not using them. If you have friends that say lotion is not needed and you shouldn’t use it, and you feel your opinion start to sway, go ahead and Google ‘tattoo infections’ and look at what poor tattoo aftercare causes.
In addition, if you use the proper tattoo lotions, they go a long way towards preventing bad infections. Big warning, though—your stomach hates those types of images (see also the FDA’s Consumer Health Info regarding tattoos here). On top of that, they also make the healing process swifter and more comfortable. So, what lotion is good for tattoos? Did you decide on the best lotion for tattoo aftercare? Then go for it!
Lastly, if you want to know more tattoo aftercare tips, I suggest checking out our tattoo aftercare article for more info! It tells you all about how to care for a new tattoo. If you liked the article, be sure to check out the rest of InkDoneRight. You can subscribe to our email list for weekly updates or our Twitter for updates as they happen. As always, thanks for reading!