How to Properly Moisturize Tattooed Skin

New tat? We've got you covered. Here's how to properly moisturize your tattoos

Take care of your tattoo by learning how to moisturize it properly

Tattoo aftercare can feel like a mystery. Different shops and tattoo artists may offer a massive variety of suggestions for products and aftercare tips to help your new tattoo heal properly. One of the most important things to do after getting a new tattoo is to keep is moisturized, but many people don’t realize that moisturization remains important long after the tattoo is fully healed. Don’t worry—keeping a tattoo well-moisturized may seem like a daunting step to add to your beauty and hygiene routine, but it is manageable.

What Are the Dangers of Allowing My Tattoo to Become Too Dry?

It isn’t unusual for brand-new tattoos to become flaky, scabby, and dry—in fact, this is a completely normal part of the healing process. Freshly tattooed skin will begin to flake and peel as a result of contact with tattoo needles. It may seem pretty unattractive and scary at first, but never fear. Your new tattoo’s proper coloring and design will emerge after a few days of flakiness once the initial healing has ended. However, even though scabby, scaly skin is normal during this time, it is important to keep the skin moisturized as it completes this process.

Failure to moisturize skin during the tattoo healing process can lead to a phenomenon known as “cracking.” When a tattoo begins to crack, it may bleed or feel painful. Normal tattoo scabbing and flaking isn’t painful. When these larger scabs begin to crack and tear away from the skin, it can cause discomfort and lead to potential infections. Picking at a healing tattoo, allowing scabs to be torn away by clothing, or failing to clean and moisturize a new tattoo can cause cracking to occur.

How Do I Keep My New Tattoo Moisturized?

Like you would moisturize the rest of your skin, selecting a good quality lotion can keep your tattooed skin happy and hydrated.

When selecting a lotion for tattooed skin (particularly when the tattoo is still healing), it is best to choose a lotion that contains natural ingredients. Some of these recommended natural ingredients include cocoa butter or coconut oil. Getting a tattoo involves some light trauma to the skin, and introducing natural ingredients to a freshly wounded area will reduce the chance of any negative reactions or burning sensations.Besides lotions you can purchase at any drugstore, there are specific moisturizing aftercare products for new tattoos that you can purchase. Some of these products may be available for purchase at your tattoo artist’s shop. You can always ask ahead about including one of these products in your total cost for your new tattoo or order them from specialty stores online.

New tattoos typically take one to two weeks to heal. During this time, it is best to moisturize your new tattoo three to six times per day. After the tattoo is done flaking and is totally healed, you can slow down your moisturizing pattern to match your regular skincare routine. However, it will still require routine care and moisturization.

It may be tempting to submerge your new tattoo in water to moisturize it, but this should be avoided at all costs. Tattoo shops recommend avoiding fully submerging your new tattoo in water during the one- to two-week healing time window. This means you should avoid soaking in a bath, pool, hot tub, or natural body of water until the tattoo has completed its initial healing process. Extended soaking during healing time can cause the tattoo to dry out quickly and crack, leading to potential loss of coloring or infections.

My Tattoo Is Fully Healed. How Do I Continue to Properly Moisturize It?

Tattooed skin is vibrant and radiant. To keep it that way for years to come, it is crucial to care for it properly. Your skin is constantly repairing itself and replacing skin cells. To keep up with your skin’s natural processes, it is vital to continue a regular moisturizing routine. Like anything else, if tattooed skin isn’t properly maintained, it will show wear and tear sooner than expected.

Healed tattoos benefit most from oil-free lotions. It is also best to choose non-irritating formulas that don’t include any fragrances or dyes. It is tempting to choose a fragranced, attractively packaged lotion, but these ingredients can be irritating to the skin. Excessive scratching from irritation can lead to fading and other damages to tattooed skin, altering its appearance over time.

Resources — Authority Tattoo, Majestic Tattoo NYC, Elle

Share this article