The Best Lotions and Ointments for Tattooed Skin
You know the importance of a summer body-care routine to keep your skin moisturized, but if you just got a fresh tattoo, you might need to take extra steps to protect your new ink. We talked to Dr. W. Elliot Love, a board-certified dermatologist and reconstructive surgeon based in North Carolina, about the best body lotions and ointments to apply on new tattoos.
Why is it important to moisturize new tattoos?
“Keeping the skin moisturized will maintain the vibrant appearance of the tattoo,” says Dr. Love. Apply lotion or ointment once a day, or more if you have very dry skin. You should apply lotion for a minimum of two weeks every day after you get your tattoo and continue until it is healed. Moisturizing your tattoo also helps minimize the scabbing and itching that come with getting inked.
What should you look for in a tattoo moisturizer?
“Look for fragrance- and allergen-free moisturizers,” Dr. Love says. He recommends avoiding any topical antibiotics because they can trigger an allergic reaction on freshly tattooed skin.
It’s also important to take extra precautions when your tattoo will be exposed to the sun. “Repeated and excessive sun exposure will cause the loss of tattoo pigment and result in fading,” Dr. Love says. “Using sunscreen with a SPF of 30 to 50 and applying every two hours during sun exposure will help prevent fading.” He recommends the Mad Rabbit Defend Tattoo Sunscreen, which has SPF 30 and antioxidants to provide additional protection against free radicals. For our editors’ favorite formulas to apply on tattoos, keep reading.
The first two weeks after you get a tattoo are when the skin is at its most fragile. A thin layer of ointment helps keep scabbing and flaking to a minimum and maintains the vibrancy of your new tattoo. This nourishing balm seals in moisture and is free of potentially irritating fragrance.
After the first two weeks, you can switch to something more lightweight than an ointment, such as a lotion. This fast-absorbing formula is non-greasy, fragrance-free and contains shea butter and glycerin to pull moisture into the skin.
If you’re sensitive to petrolatum, consider using this balm during the healing stages of your tattoo. It keeps skin moist with grapeseed oil and glycerin, plus the formula is cruelty-free and vegan.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn