Tattoos are wounds. Sure, they're more artistic and sentimental than a scraped knee, but technically, your new ink needs to be treated similarly to the way you'd handle a cut or burn. In order to keep your new body art free of infection, dryness, and irritation, you'll need one of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare.
After a new tattoo, it's important to apply thicker ointments that'll help with the initial stages of healing for at least the first three days. Any time between days three and five, you'll likely begin to notice some very normal — though unseemly — skin peeling over your new ink. This is when you want to switch from your ointments to a tattoo aftercare lotion that'll keep your piece hydrated, fresh-looking, and safe.
When it comes to lotion, you'll want to look for something fragrance-free and made without harmful irritants like dyes or alcohol. Additionally, you'll also want to avoid anything with a petroleum base, as well as essential oils and other products you'd usually use to soothe discomfort (like Neosporin or aloe vera). Even applying sunscreen too soon after you get inked can end up doing more harm than good, so it's important to find a formula that doesn't have SPF. (I promise that this is the ONLY time I will encourage you to use a moisturizing product without sun protection.)
In terms of application, the golden rule is to apply lotion on your tat the same way you would on any other part of your body. Would you leave the house with a visible white cast from too much facial moisturizer? No. So don't drown your sensitive tattoo in product, either. Rub your lotion onto your tattoo until it absorbs fully, and don't reapply it until your dryness actually becomes visible or uncomfortable again.
1. Best For Most People: 16-Ounce Bottle Of Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion
Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion, 16 oz.
This fragrance-free lotion is a great choice for most, but it does contain mineral oil.
This daily moisturizer from Lubriderm is an all-around great option for anyone with a new tattoo, whether it's your first, your third, or your 30th. This tried and true fan-favorite lotion is fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and contains hero ingredients like vitamin B5 to expedite healing after dermal injury and glycerin, a common humectant that helps your skin maintain the necessary moisture levels for your new ink to heal. Additionally, since this lotion costs less than $6 for 16 ounces of product, this baby will last you through your healing time and then some. It's extremely non-abrasive, perfectly soothing, and quick-absorbing, making it my top pick.
One note: this formula does contain mineral oil, and while opinions are divided as to whether there's anything actually harmful about it (and there's not really any research to prove it is), some people prefer to avoid it altogether. If you're one of those people, then you'll probably want to go with the option below.
2. Also Great: An 18-Ounce Bottle Of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, 18 oz.
You'll get two more ounces of product (and no mineral oil) with this classic pick.
When I first encountered Aveeno in drugstore oils, I couldn't help but wonder: what the heck is a colloidal oat? The short answer is that it's the miracle ingredient in all of Aveeno's products, but the longer answer is that the milling process behind colloidal oatmeal allows for maximum retention of moisture by the skin by serving as both a soother and protective barrier against harmful potential irritants, which is why this daily moisturizing lotion is so effective at hydrating fresh tattoos. Of course, Aveeno lotion is both fragrance-free and dermatologist-recommended, and with an average Amazon rating of 4.5 stars, you know this product will protect your skin both in the healing stages and for years to come.
3. The Natural Option: A 32-Ounce Jar Of Extra-Virgin USDA-Organic Coconut Oil
Anjou 100 Percent Organic Coconut Oil, 32 oz.
For all-natural beauty lovers and the ingredients-conscious, try this pure coconut oil instead.
Coconut oil can be used for literally anything. Cooking, soothing burns or bug bites, dental health, hair care... you name it, coconut oil can probably help. This USDA-certified organic coconut oil from Anjou is all that and more, but it's most importantly an amazing all-natural solution for those of you who don't feel comfortable putting a branded lotion on your new ink. If you're an ingredients-conscious person with a new tattoo to protect, this coconut oil is the ideal answer to your hydration woes, peeling problems, and general skin maladies. At $12, it's the most expensive option on this list, but think about all of the hundreds of things you can use it for. It's definitely worth the mid-range price tag.
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