When getting a new tattoo, the best thing (and most important thing) you want to do is make sure it stays moisturized. Letting your new tattoo dry out can cause cracking and tattoo scabbing which can eventually lead to scaring and loss of pigment and color. It’s these things that hinder the tattoo healing process.
When speaking to reputable tattoo artists, they will generally recommend two products when explaining how to take care of your tattoo. The two most recommended common on hand items for tattoo healing is: Plain unscented Lubriderm lotion and/or Aquaphor.
These products have been tried, tested, and true for many years and on many clients. Aquaphor is a tad thicker than most other products, but will help you heal your tattoo much quicker than normal. You will also need to make sure you remove all residual lotion once it has been applied, like you would with sun screen. Any excess amount can actually prevent the lotion from doing its job properly, and clog your pores. There are many accounts by happy clients that they have healed multi- color tattoos in just over a week with its regular use.
Lubriderm lotion is also another fantastic option for healing your new tattoo and keeping it moisturized. It is thinner in texture than the Aquaphor, but works extremely well without leaving and oily feeling reside like most lotions. Also, being unscented, it will reduce the risk of any inflammation or irritation to the healing site. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is your tattoo begins to dry out and crack.
You will also likely hear talk of many other products people will recommend to you to put on your tattoo during the healing period. Products like Neosporin, Curel, Cocoa Butter, Noxzema, Bacitracin and many more like them.
While a couple of these products may work initially, they often come with outside factors that need (and should) be taken into consideration. Also, when people new to the tattooing world are given too many options, it’s all too common for those same people to go out and find something “close” that resembles another recommended product, and use it with disastrous results.
A word to the wise and something major to consider regarding Neosporin:
In the beginning, this product sounds ideal for tattoo healing, after all that’s what it’s meant to do, heal your skin! The main problem with products like Neosporin is that they work too well and are too good at their jobs. All too often people need to return to their tattoo artist and have their tattoos re-hit with color because of the use of a product like this.
Neosporin is notorious for pulling color from your tattoo and can leave it bland, splotchy, and lacking in color. Neosporin may not do this to everyone’s new tattoos, but it will definitely do it to a lot of them, and it is best avoided.
So with the goal of having a long lasting, beautiful piece of artwork, your best bet is to stick with the options above as some common ways to heal your tattoo, and prevent any tattoo scabbing and drying out.