Tattoo aftercare is possibly the most important stage after planning that you directly control. And moisturizing your tattooed skin is a vital part of the process. A topic that you can get confused about is how often should you apply lotion on a new tattoo.
You should moisturize your new tattoo 3-5 times a day. You can use any unscented body care lotion that you want. But using Bacitracin Zinc, Polymyxin B Sulfate, Neomycin Sulfate, Benzocaine, Aloe, and Vitamin E oil-infused lotions will yield better results. You should always clean, and pat dry the new tattoo before applying any moisturizer.
Most people get excited about showing off their new tattoo and try to minimize recovery time and aftercare as much as they can. But moisturizing can save you from a ruined tattoo, and possibly an infection.
I’ll be providing details on how moisturizing can save you, how to moisturize, and why it’s the most important activity for aftercare.
Why Bother with Moisturizing?
You just got a new tattoo, and you’re looking forward to returning to your usual routine. Cleaning your tattoo and moisturizing takes up a lot of time. So, why do it any more than you can get away with?
Lotion hydrates your tattooed skin. You can’t expose your skin to water too much for a few days. So, lotion acts as your sole hydration option for that time.
Tattooing turns your skin into an open wound. The more intricate and bigger the tattoo is, the more sensitive and vulnerable it becomes. Moisturizing keeps your skin moist and helps maintain the skin’s normal conditions.
If you don’t apply any lotion at all, you’d end up with any or all the following issues –
- Cracked, dry skin
- Bloated, discolored tattoo
- Pus, ink, blood, and plasma oozing
- Heavy scarring and scabbing
You can think that moisturizing occasionally should be enough to prevent these issues. But applying lotion has key benefits which require you to moisturize more often. You can get the following benefits from applying lotion.
- Faster healing rate
- Soothing effect
- Preventing drying and cracking
- Protection from germs and bacteria
- Protection from sunlight or harsh heat
- Reduce the risk of scarring
You won’t get all these benefits from a generic lotion, of course. But any lotion that you’ll apply will help the skin heal faster and prevent cracking and drying issues.
What Type of Lotion Should You Get?
You can get away with applying any lotion so long as you don’t use petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly covers your skin with a thick layer that suffocates it, which degrades your skin. But for actual faster recovery and better tattoo conditions, you’ll want to pick a lotion with select few ingredients.
For Faster Healing
If you want your skin to heal faster, a way to do so is to apply a lotion with antibacterial properties. You’ll need a lotion that has these chemicals.
- Bacitracin Zinc
- Polymyxin B Sulfate
- Neomycin Sulfate
The ingredients have antibacterial properties that will help kill off foreign bacteria invading your tattooed skin. That’ll keep your immune system from working overtime. You’ll have less risk of infections, and your skin will be able to heal much faster.
For Soothing Sensation
It’s common for people to complain about mild itching, burning, or stinging sensations after getting a tattoo. You can also have random annoying phantom sensations. It can get quite bothersome if it happens too often.
Lotions with Aloe in them will help soothe your skin. It’ll create a mildly cool sensation that can mask the itches, pain, and burn. Aloe also has healing properties that can help expedite your recovery.
For Reducing Scarring and Scabbing
Larger scabs and scars will mar your tattoo. You’ll be left with crinkled or rough skin instead of the tattoo you hoped for. Larger scabs can create whiter patches as they heal, as they can get damaged easier than light scabbing.
If you want to avoid these issues, then you need to use lotions that have Vitamin E in them. Vitamin E works to prevent scabbing and scarring, resulting in good skin conditions and a perfect tattoo.
Now you know what kind of lotion you need and why. Let’s talk about the process. How often should you apply lotion on a new tattoo?
How and How Frequently to Apply Lotion?
For applying lotion to the tattooed skin, you should follow the following procedures.
- Don’t apply any lotion on your tattoo for the first 36 hours. You’ll notice your tattoo bleeding ink and plasma for that duration. Lotion would trap it all, and cause infections.
- Before applying lotion, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Gently wash the tattooed skin with a mild cleanser or soap. You can also use antimicrobial or antibacterial soaps. Do not point a showerhead or water jet directly at the tattoo.
- Take a very soft towel or use paper towels to gently pat the area dry. Don’t rub the water off.
- Take a pea amount of lotion and slowly rub it onto the tattooed skin. You’re not looking to cover the tattoo. Apply a thin layer of lotion only.
As for the frequency of application, it depends on how your skin behaves. On average, you’ll need to apply lotion 3 times per day.
- Before sleep
Your skin will lose moisture during the night. Applying lotion before sleep and in the morning prevents it from happening. And applying the lotion at noon hydrates the skin after the daytime heat.
If you have dry skin, then you can apply lotion up to five times a day. But don’t moisturize too much, as it can cause some issues.
Apply lotion too often, you’ll touch the tattoo too much and damage the skin. Also, the tattoo shouldn’t be exposed to water too many times. In both cases, you can get infected.
Additional Read: Can you use Dermasil Lotion on tattoos?
How often should you apply lotion on a new tattoo is entirely dependent on your habits and skin. You should apply lotion more than 3 times if you notice that your tattooed skin is drying up. Don’t try applying a dollop of lotion each time to reduce the frequency. Make sure that your skin stays moisturized and hydrated and you’ll end up with a beautiful and perfect tattoo.