When it comes to moisturizing your new tattoo, lotion is critical! The myth of letting your skin wound breath and dry has been completely disproven by science.
For ages people have been recommending to let wounds “dry out”. In a sense, that’s like saying don’t apply lotion or ointment. There’s a good reason why you must apply both in order to properly heal your tattoo.
Here’s where a quality lotion comes into play. When you allow your new tattoo to dry out it slows down the cellular activity and actually delays proper healing. You’ll see it first hand in the form of scabs forming all over your skin. But it’s what you don’t see that should worry you. I’m talking about the prime food source for bacteria, aka infections, and other outside containments.
Now, when you apply lotion you are doing more than just keeping the wound moist, and preventing the above. The truth is, you’re also allowing the healing cells to freely move across the wound to close it. Not to mention, you should know that lotion will not clog your pores or pull out the ink. That’s fantasy and really only happens when you grossly over apply it in huge amounts.
Treat your skin good and you’ll feel great. It’s incredibly easy. To make things ultra-simple, I’ve put together a collection of the top 9 best tattoo lotion. From fragrance and color free to the richest formulas possible, you can’t go wrong with these picks.
When to apply lotion to a new tattoo
One more quick thing before I jump into the best recommendations. Below is a photo of pre-lotion and after lotion has been applied. You can tell there is a massive difference! Imagine how much better that feels on your body too.
Remember, you’ll want to apply lotion 3 days after getting your new tattoo. You can read all about it in this definitive new tattoo aftercare guide. You’ll learn a lot, trust me. Continue applying lotion for at least 25 days; use tiny dabs at a time. Apply as needed; listen to your body, don’t overdo it to an extreme.
After Inked Moisturizer And Tattoo Aftercare Lotion
$17 / BUY IT HERE
Made in the USA, After Inked features a light weight lotion with a big moisturizing impact. Upon applying it, you’ll notice it doesn’t feel too heavy upon your new tattoo but seems to soak in immediately. Once done, you shouldn’t have any issues with it sticking to your clothes afterwards.
It’s also clinically tested and dermatologist tested and features a non-allergenic and non-irritant formula. Plus, you’ll be glad to know there’s no fragrance or parabens, and it isn’t petroleum based either. One look at the ingredients table and you’ll spot a few interesting things like Jojoba, Grape Seed, and Orange oils in the mix. There’s also beeswax and shea butter.
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion
$7 / BUY IT HERE
When you need super gentle moisturize relief and protection for your new tattoo, don’t be afraid to try a baby lotion. Just because it has the word baby, doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy or benefit from it. That’s far from truth!
In reality, what makes this Aveeno lotion an excellent choice is that it’s blended up natural colloidal oatmeal and rich emollients. If you take a glance at the J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(1):43-48 study, you’ll discover the anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal. Not only does it help with dryness and scaling but it also cuts back on the itch intensity too. Though, the true active ingredient is Dimethicone, 1.2%.
Upon applying, you’ll help moisturize your new ink for a full 24 hours without dealing with any unwanted grease. It won’t clog your pores, and it’s also fragrance-free. Not to mention, it’s hypoallergenic!
Billy Jealousy Tattoo Lotion
$25 / BUY IT HERE
Billy Jealousy’s Tattoo Lotion is packed with all sorts of great essential oils for your healing skin. It starts with shea butter, green tea leaf extract, sunflower seed oil, jojoba, olive oil and more. My personal favorite highlight was seeing wheat germ oil in the ingredients table, it’s rich in vitamin E, A, D and B, and is loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids.
For fragrance, lavender and rosemary oils make applying lotion enjoyable and slightly aromatic. Though, I’d generally always recommend staying fragrance-free whenever possible, this formula gets good marks on my book.
Overall, this lotion will go a long way in not only helping to keep your tattoos look clean, colorful and sharp, but also ensure your healing process goes just a smoothly.
Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Lotion
$16 / BUY IT HERE
Nourish you dry, healing skin with a burst of hydration thanks to Cetaphil’s long-lasting moisturizing lotion. With four key ingredients, this lotion is clinically proven to not only bind water to your skin, but also prevent it from leaving in the first place!
Extra-strength emollients and humectants work their magic too smooth and soften skin upon applying. Speaking of applying, the formula is exceptionally light-weight and non-greasy. It won’t leave any residue or unwanted gunk behind. Nor fragrance, as it’s completely fragrance free in addition to parabens too.
Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion
$8 / BUY IT HERE
This rich, yet fragrance-free triple acting formula goes to work by moisturizing, exfoliating and conditioning your newly inked skin. It’s at the top of Eucerin’s lotion line for a good reason. Aside from being backed by clinically proven results and dermatologist recommendations, it contains alpha hydroxy and extra-enriched moisturizers.
Now, while the word exfoliating may sound scary on your healing skin, don’t worry. It’s extremely gentle and all part of the intensive hydrating process. Best of all, it won’t clog your pores and the formula itself is non-greasy and soaks right into the skin without making you wait.
Just remember, while it’s important to avoid the sun with a new tattoo, AHA or alpha hydroxy acid in this lotion makes it even more critical. It will often make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight while it’s healing.
Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion
$13 / BUY IT HERE
Gold Bond’s Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion comes packed with Vitamin A, C and E to help heal dry skin without the grease. Just twist the top, give it a pump and apply once for 24 hours of clinically tested moisturize.
One of the pluses about this lotion is the fact that it has aloe inside for a cool, soothing relief and comfort that comes natural. When it comes to the vitamins, A helps to improve the elasticity of your skin, while vitamin C promotes healthy development and collagen formation. Finally, vitamin E lends a helping hand by protecting the function of your skin and reducing lipid loss.
All said and done, the trio of vitamins and the addition of aloe work wonders for any new tattoo. Even though it’s a bit thicker, it still doesn’t leave behind any sticky residue which is great for keeping your skin off your clothes.
Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Extra Dry Skin Lotion
$7 / BUY IT HERE
Arriving with vitamins E and B5 plus skin essential lipids, Lubriderm’s Advanced Therapy Lotion is clinically proven to moisturize for a full 24 hours. Over time your healing skin will feel softer and smoother, while you’ll immediately enjoy soothing relief.
Now, you should know that this does have a light fragrance in it, however it still makes the grade thanks to its excellent moisturizing ability. Not to mention, the formula itself leaves your new tattoo feeling clean, with no grease or grim left behind.
Original Tattoo Goo Aftercare Tattoo Lotion Healing Slave
$7 / BUY IT HERE
When it comes to Tattoo Goo, chances are you’ve probably already heard of it. It’s a popular choice for both tattoo artists and their clients and for a good reason. The ingredients are quite limited, making it more natural than most choices. For instance, it features olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, and wheat germ at some of the top ingredients.
There’s also lavender and sunflower oil plus rosemary extract too. All said and done, it’s petroleum, lanolin and mineral oil free. When applied, just dig into that gooey green goodness and lightly coat your skin. It does take more time than lotion to apply since it’s technically a balm, however overall it’s quite soothing.
Not to mention, it doesn’t find its way on your clothes either. However, understand the scent is a bit herbal; for some this is pleasant while others don’t enjoy it. It’s really a personal preference. You might also notice your tattoo colors looking brighter or more natural upon applying it too. This is normal, it’s due in part to the reflective ingredients in the formula. Though, it doesn’t mean they are actually going to remain that way after you stop applying it of course.
Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion
$7 / BUY IT HERE
Most tend to think about that old jar of petroleum jelly when Vaseline is mentioned, but they also make lotion too! Don’t make the mistake of applying the pure jelly when you really should be applying lotion, or you’ll be disappointed with the end result.
However, here’s the real deal you need when it comes to lotion. This is Vaseline’s Intensive Care, Advanced Repair Lotion. It’s the richest formula they make with clinical trials that show it can help heal dry skin in five days. Now, it won’t heal your tattoo in five days but you get the point, it works.
The formula itself is non-greasy and features a Statys-3-multi-layered moisturize, or in other words, it deeply penetrates the top, core and bottom layers of your skin. All of which it happens fast! Though, the real prize of this lotion is the fact that it is both hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free. It also lasts for a full 24-hours with continuous hydration for your skin by boosting moisturize 300 percent.
A Final Note
A common misconception I’ve heard is that lotion burns after applying it. Here’s the truth: Don’t apply it on day one or two, that is unwise and yes, it hurts! Your fresh tattoo is not yet ready for lotion, it needs ointment for the first three days.
Remember, even after applying lotion you could have the type of body that wants to scab regardless. No matter what you do, you simply won’t be able to prevent it. Don’t worry, this is actually somewhat common; just let them naturally fall over. It takes on average two weeks.
When it comes to the after peeling process, if your skin still feels uncomfortably tight or tense, switch from lotion to cocoa butter; it works wonders!
So there you have it, the best tattoo lotions out there! Plus, how not to ruin your new ink. Invest some time into your new tattoo, and it will be more than just as bright as the day you got it. It will also give a sense of pride and happiness for years to come.