As your tattoo heals, it will begin to dry out. Your skin will start to peel, and even crack if it gets too bad. It’s not a good look. The trick to beating this is by using a tattoo lotion that’s effective and derived from hydrating ingredients.
We’ve chosen the best lotions for tattoos that will keep your skin hydrated and your tattoo looking fresh and healthy, even while it’s healing.
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How to Choose the Best Lotion for Tattoos
Getting a good lotion for tattoos isn’t as easy as picking a random one off the shelf. There are certain qualities that a lotion must have to avoid irritating your skin. We’ve taken the below factors into consideration when making this list of the best lotions for tattoos.
Lotions that have a fragrance can irritate your skin. After getting a tattoo, your skin begins to heal. The fragrances in lotions interact with the skin in a negative way, causing irritation. Even if there aren’t any visible signs of irritation, your skin is very good at hiding it from you.
To avoid this, only use lotions that are fragrance and scent-free.
Tattoos with naturally-derived ingredients are less harsh on the skin when compared to non-organic ingredients. Natural ingredients help reduce redness and swelling. This was one of the leading factors we considered when making this list of best lotions for tattoos.
Of course, for a lotion, you want it to be hydrating to prevent tattoo itching. Keeping your skin hydrated throughout the tattoo healing process is critical to a fresh and healthy-looking tattoo at the end. Your tattoo lotion should have hydrating ingredients that promote healing and reduce swelling, redness, and tattoo peeling.
Tubes or dispensable packaging
The type of packaging is important. Always look for products with a dispenser or a squeezable tube. Lotions that come in a pot instead of tubes or dispenser bottles are more prone to germs, as your hands are coming into contact with them multiple times. Always wash your hands with a good antibacterial soap before applying cream over your tattoo to avoid germs causing any infection.
Best 6 Lotions for Tattoos
Getting a tattoo is a beautiful way of showcasing your personality. But, the tattoo experience leaves your skin dry and sensitive. Your skin needs the best lotion for tattoos to help its healing process. Take a look at our favorite tattoo aftercare lotions.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
- Great for all skin types
- Quick absorption
- Contains Vitamins E & B5
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion is a clinically-tested staple when it comes to tattoos and takes our top pick for best tattoo aftercare lotions. You’ve probably heard of it, as it’s a household name thanks to its hydrating properties. Applying it to your healing tattoo will nourish it and keep it looking healthy and fresh. It’s super lightweight and easily dispensable.
Whether you have sensitive or oily skin, Cetaphil will work for you. It’s non-irritating and provides continuous hydration so your tattoo never dries out. It’s enriched with vitamins that are essential to your skin, like Vitamins E & B5.
Don’t you hate it when it feels like your lotion isn’t being absorbed by your skin? It feels like you have to massage it for 10 minutes so there’s no residue leftover. That’s not a problem with Cetaphil, as it’s absorbed by the skin extremely quickly. This allows you to apply it whenever or wherever you are.
Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion
- Easy dispenser
- Fast-Absorbing formula
- Contains Vitamin B5
Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion is a favorite in the tattoo world as a hydrating lotion that goes a long way. It comes in a generous size at an affordable price point. You can apply it without worrying about an oily mess afterward as the fast-absorbing formula is optimized to be absorbed by your skin. It will keep your skin soft and tattoo hydrated.
LK mentions in their Amazon review:
“My go to when I’m healing tattoos. I hate unscented lotions, because they have a weird smell to me, but this one works so well! Especially when healing large pieces. This keeps your skin moisturized for quite awhile without a mess!”
If you’re on a budget and need a bottle that will probably last you even after your tattoo is healed, this one might be the best option! It doesn’t get much better than this.
Curel Fragrance-Free Lotion
- Hypo-allergenic formula
- Ideal for sensitive skin types
- Quick absorption
The Curel Fragrance-Free Lotion is clinically proven to provide 24 hours of hydration thanks to Curel’s time-released formula.
It contains safe, non-irritating ingredients that help to restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier when used daily. Hydrating your skin can severely reduce itchiness and help combat tattoo peeling as it occurs.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
- Good for people who dislike lotion
- Creates a barrier that promotes oxygen flow
- Restores moisture to the skin
- Preservative and fragrance-free
If you’re not a fan of lotions, perhaps you’d prefer an ointment. Specifically, Aquaphor Healing Ointment. We rate it as the best ointment for tattoos, but that’s for you to decide. Just like lotions, it aims to hydrate your skin and assist with repair and recovery. It has a slightly thicker texture than location and creates a protective barrier to keep your skin hydrated.
It has been clinically proven to restore moisture to the skin and repair cracked or dry skin. If your tattoo is itching, flaking, cracking, or swelling, apply some Aquaphor Healing Ointment.
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
- Absorbs quickly into skin
- Soothing oatmeal formula
- Leave skin looking healthy and fresh
Prevent your tattoo from drying out by applying Aveeno Daily Lotion. It’s delivered straight into your hand from a convenient dispenser cap so you don’t risk contaminating the cream with bacteria. It uses an oatmeal formula containing natural ingredients to soothe and restore your skin.
It’s absorbed quickly into the skin and is non-greasy and non-comedogenic. Using this with your tattoo will surely help with recovery.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
- Lightweight texture
- Hyaluronic acid provides longer hydration
- Contains essential ceramides
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is another favorite among tattoo enthusiasts, namely for its hydrating properties. It’s gentle on the skin and has been allergy-tested. All CeraVe products include three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II). Ceramides are found naturally in the skin, but when low or almost depleted, the skin begins to dry. CeraVe is rich with ceramides that help restore healthy skin and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
Why Lotion Is Important for Tattoo Healing
Your lotion creates a thin layer over the skin and helps new skin cells aid in the healing process. It is a common misconception to avoid moisturizing a fresh tattoo. Some people try dry-healing their tattoos, which leads to a series of skin problems. Dry healing is the process of letting the tattoo heal on its own. Lack of moisture causes deep scabbing on the tattoo that strongly affects its overall appearance.
When to Moisturize Your Tattoo
Firstly, all skin types are different. Some people may find their tattoo dries faster than others. In general, you should moisturize your tattoo at least twice a day and after you shower. Your skin is particularly dry and itchy after a shower, so moisturizing straight after is essential.
There should be a balance in your moisturizing regime. Over moisturizing, your tattoo can clog the pores of your skin and delay the healing process. If you need further advice, ask your tattoo artist for their recommendation.
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Tattoo Lotion FAQ
What kind of lotion goes on a tattoo?
You should use a fragrance-free lotion on your healing tattoo as scented lotions can contain ingredients that irritate your skin. Irritation can cause breakouts, which can then lead to permanent scarring.
When should I start putting lotion on my tattoo?
When your tattoo starts to dry out. As your skin heals, it will begin to dry. Typically, after 1 to 3 days. When it does, apply a scent-free lotion to hydrate your skin and promote healthy healing.
Can I use any lotion on my new tattoo?
While any lotion may hydrate your tattoo, some can cause more harm than good. Use a fragrance-free lotion that's made from healthy ingredients.
Will lotion ruin a tattoo?
No. In fact, using lotion is what you're supposed to do. It will give your skin a hydration boost and keep your ink looking fresh and healthy.
Is Aveeno ok for tattoos?
Yes, Aveeno is a great lotion brand for healing tattoos. If you decide to go with Aveeno, make sure you choose a lotion that's fragrance-free and tailored for sensitive or dry skin types.
Getting a tattoo is only part of the process. Now that you know exactly what your healing tattoo needs, it’s time to get a lotion for your tattoo. After going through this list, you should have a wide range of lotions to choose from that are perfect for a healing tattoo.