o you just got a new tattoo, what next? With so much varied advice available, it’s often difficult to know what to put on your freshly inked skin and what action to take.
If you’re new to tattooing, chances are you don’t know how to take care of your artistic addition. It’s tempting to get sucked into the noise of different sources on the internet and hearsay, or even overload your ink with products. However, it’s best to stick to a ‘less is more’ approach, says Rose Harley, tattoo artist at Vagabond Tattoo Studio in Hackney.
Immediately after getting your tattoo, Rose advises to “keep it wrapped in cling film until the next morning, that way the tattoo is protected from dirt and it doesn’t stick to your sheets overnight.” This will also prevent it from drying out.
“In the morning, remove the cling film and wash the tattoo with warm water [unscented] soapy water in the shower. Dry it with a clean towel then start applying a cream.
As for which creams to choose, Rose says it’s best to start with Bepanthen for about four days. Then you can switch to an oil or butter based formula after that. But how often should you moisturize the area? “Create the tattoo a few times a day for two weeks whenever it’s dry,” notes the tattoo artist.
We’ve picked out the best tattoo aftercare products for any budget. Just be sure to stick to gentle, unscented formulas whenever possible. Additionally, there are some things you should avoid after getting a tattoo.
What to avoid in the next two weeks:
- Swimming pools, deckchairs, jacuzzis, saunas or hammams.
- Fake tan.
- Prolonged soaking in the bath – stick to quick showers.
- Scrape or pick.
- Sun exposure.
Take a look below to choose your perfect tattoo care product.
Bepanthen diaper care ointment
Recommended by Rose herself, Bepanthen is a great starting point for new tattoos, especially in the very first few days after getting your ink done. It’s gentle enough for a baby’s bottom, so you can be sure it won’t mess with any type of tattoo, no matter how small or where you got it. With a soothing, breathable formula, and packed with vitamin B5 (which helps the skin’s natural recovery), it’s a no-brainer purchase.
£3.35 | Superdrug
Avène is known for its gentle and super gentle formulas in skincare, so it’s also a safe bet for the new ink. It contains antibacterial agents, which makes the healing process safer and faster; indeed, the combination of copper sulphate and zinc sulphate reduces the risk of bacterial proliferation. It is also rich in special Avène Thermal Spring Water, which promises to leave the skin feeling soft and supple.
£8 | Essential
La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 SPF50
Another “high street” brand known for its skin-friendly formulations, La Roche Posay can be trusted when it comes to taking care of a new tattoo. One of the biggest draws to this balm (aside from its super-soft formula and soothing texture) is that it has an SPF 50. Just like beauty insiders recommend wearing SPF on your face every day (regardless of the weather) it’s vital you treat your tattoo and the skin around it with the same treatment.
£8 | Essential
Weleda Skin Food
Weleda’s skin nourishment is legendary in the beauty industry, and fans use it for everything from prepping skin for makeup as a shine base to treating very dry limbs. Weleda’s Miracle Cream is a must for dry, flaky patches all over the body – and tattoos are no exception. It contains calendula and chamomile and is all-natural, making it a great choice for eco-conscious shoppers.
£7.95 | Holland & Barrette
Amazon Savior Multi-Function Balm
The definition of keeping things simple, The Body Shop balm contains only nine ingredients, such as organic andiroba oil and vitamin E. Like Weleda’s Skin Food, this one is all natural and protects and moisturizes new tattoos. It’s also great for maintaining the look of tattoos and for reviving ink that has faded over time, making it a solid investment (it’s still under £10!).
£9 | The body store
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe is known for selling products that contain ceramides that are essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. For that reason, it’s a go-to brand for tattooed skin, and this cream is as rich and velvety as it gets. The formula contains hyaluronic acid in addition to ceramides, which easily boost hydration. You will fall in love with this product so much that you just have to spread it all over your body!
£16 | look fantastic
Previse SOS Skincare Repair Balm
A premium purchase, but definitely worth spending the extra cash, Previse’s balm is ideal if you prefer thicker formulas. The product is strictly essential oil-free and instead uses marine and botanical ingredients, which means less risk of irritation. It’s vegan, plant-based, and natural, yet super convenient for on-the-go hydration. And while it may seem expensive, a little will go a long way, meaning you can continue to use it after any future tattoos as well as for now.
£51 | Predict
Woody’s Beard & Tattoo Oil
Although ointments, balms, and creams may be nice, they may not be your preference. Enter: Woody’s Beard & Tattoo Oil, which has a lovely lightweight formula and has nourishing ingredients like moringa and macadamia oils on its ingredient list. This one is another one that’s brilliant for fade tattoos, and don’t let the name fool you; both men and women can of course apply it.
£5 | Amazon
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Original Solid Formula
Sometimes it’s best to stick with something familiar, and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter is about as comforting as it gets. The thick, creamy texture dissolves into skin like a dream, and you only need a very small amount to hydrate a tattoo, which in theory means it’s even more affordable than its excellent price. It smells great, looks amazing, and is a cult classic for a reason, even for tattoos.
£3.65 | Superdrug