Creams are essential for your tattoo aftercare routine. Creams have less water content than lotions and often include more natural oils in their formula. This makes it great for super dry skin, and we all know how valuable natural oils are in healing our tattoos.
With so many creams pushed under your nose as being the best option for your new tattoo, it can be pretty daunting finding which is best for your needs. We dive in and share our favorites, and our top pick for a hydrated heal.
Quick glance at the best tattoo creams:
- La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 - Our Pick!
- Tattoo Goo Care Lotion
- Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
- Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
- Stories & Ink Tattoo Care Cream
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Best Tattoo Creams Reviewed
- 2 Our Pick - La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5
- 3 What We Consider When Selecting Tattoo Cream
- 4 Our Final Thoughts
- Best Tattoo Removal Cream
- Best Tattoo Numbing Creams
- Best Tattoo Lotion
- Best Tattoo Ointments
- Best Antibacterial Soaps Tattoo
Best Tattoo Creams Reviewed
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 - Our Pick!
Listen: when we tell you that this soothing therapeutic multi-purpose cream is absolute magic, we aren’t exaggerating. There’s a reason doctors and dermatologists recommend this product to their patients to help accelerate the healing process of abrasions while simultaneously providing a barrier of protection on the skin.
It’s full of incredible ingredients such as shea butter which is a fatty oil that combats inflammation, vitamin B5 which assists in skin healing, and madecassoside which soothes itchiness and reduces redness in the skin.
This cream, which is also fragrance free, non-comedogenic (which means it won’t clog your pores), and suitable for sensitive skin, also contains prebiotic thermal water which provides a soothing antioxidant to the wound, and niacinamide which is known for restoring the skin.
We aren’t lying to you when we tell you that this cream will change your tattoo aftercare game. And others would agree with us, calling it, “One of my all time favorite, holy grail products! I think I’m on tube 4 or 5 by now and it’s so good.”
It’s a little on the pricier side, but worth the investment for the accelerated healing and nutrient-packed formula it provides, and how fantastic your tattoo will look after healing.
Ingredients: Active Ingredient - Dimethicone (1%). Inactive Ingredients - Water, hydrogenated polyisobutene, dimethicone, glycerin, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, panthenol, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, butylene glycol, propanediol, cetyl peg/ppg-10/1 dimethicone, trihydroxystearin, zinc gluconate, madecassoside, manganese gluconate, silica, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium sulfate, disodium edta, copper gluconate, citric acid, acetylated glycol stearate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, tocopherol, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, chlorhexidine digluconate titanium dioxide.
- Dermatologist tested
- Recommended by professionals
- Fragrance free
- Allergy tested
- Paraben free
- Incredible nutrients and ingredients that have powerful healing properties
- Soothes inflammation and irritation
- Contains SPF 50
- Pricier for a small quantity
- Some people found the product to be too thick
Tattoo Goo Care Lotion
Don’t let the name fool you - this is definitely a cream and not a lotion! Formulated with a 95 percent natural olive oil formula and a 50/50 balance of aqua ingredients and oil, this product gives you the nourishing hydration your tattoo needs from a cream. And we love olive oil so much that Tattoo Goo had to make our list.
Tattoo Goo Care Lotion uses premium grade olive oil, which means it is the first press, with no additives or mixed oils. Olive oil is known for its vitamin packed, super healing benefits, and that’s no different in this cream. It also contains panthenol which is a provider of the essential wound healing vitamin B5, and Healix Gold which contains vitamin D5, known for its skin conditioning properties. This means that your tattoo heals faster and your ink is preserved with a brighter colour.
Tattoo Goo boasts that they can cut tattoo healing time in half. Reviewers seem to agree with this claim, saying, “This stuff is absolutely amazing! I will never use anything else on my tattoos. Put some on the day of my tattoo and the "discomfort" was gone. It doesn't feel like I just got a tattoo. The slight swelling is gone, it can be touched/bumped, cleaned with no discomfort. [. . . ] The healing process is definitely sped up.”
If that wasn’t enough, it’s also dermatologist tested through clinical studies, is cruelty free, and vegan!
Ingredients:Aqua (Water), Olea Eropaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Panthenol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Diazolidinyl Urea.
- Contains nourishing olive oil
- Ingredients are full of vitamins and nutrients
- No alcohol, no petroleum, no lanolin
- No added fragrance
- Dermatologist and clinically tested
- Cruelty free and vegan
- Small packaging
- Do not use if you have a soybean allergy
Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
This rich cream by Avene, which is packed with postbiotic restorative ingredients which help kill all the bacteria you want away from your new tattoo, restores the skin, hydrates it, and provides your new tattoo with a barrier of protection, as well.
It contains thermal spring water that is said to have calming properties, soothing the inflammation and irritation of the skin. It also contains copper-zinc sulfate which is known to provide an optimal recovery environment for skin abrasions such as tattoos.
It’s dermatologist formulated with minimum risk for allergic reactions, non-comedogenic, fragrance, paraben, soy, wheat, and alcohol free. Avene has performed clinical tests with this cream that claim that it helps restore skin four times faster, and that there is an 80 percent reduction in skin discomfort after 48 hours of application. We can confirm that this cream does pack a punch with noticeable and quick healing results.
When dermatologist Mona Gohara, M. D. , was asked about what she would recommend for new tattoos, she stated, “I [. . . ] like creams that facilitate the healing process, such as Avene Ciclafate+. ”
Ingredients:Water, caprylic/capric triglyceride, mineral oil / huile minerale, glycerin, hydrogenated vegetable oil, zinc oxide, propolyence glycol, polyclugeryl-2-sesquiisosterate, peg-22/dodecyl glycol copolymer, aluminum stearate, aquaphilus dolomiae ferment filtrate, arginine, beeswax / cire d'abeille, copper sulfate, magnedium stearate, microcrystalline wax / xire microcristalline, tromethamine, zinc sulfate.
- Ingredients that are full of vitamins and nutrients
- Restorative properties with clinically tested support
- Fragrance free
- Paraben free
- Alcohol free
- Soy free
- Wheat free
- Dermatologist developed
- Slightly more expensive than standard creams
- Not vegan due to beeswax
Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm
Skinfix Inked really impressed us for a lot of reasons, one of the main factors being that it is QVC Clean Beauty certified. This means that, as a brand, it formulates all its products without:
- Mineral oil
- Chemical sunscreens
- Coal tar
If you had trouble pronouncing the names of half those items, imagine the damage they could do to a new tattoo.
Skinfix Inked also contains the medicinal ingredient allantoin (0. 05%) which is clinically proven to heal cuts, scrapes, and burns. This means it provides an optimal recovery for your brand new tattoo. In addition to this magical ingredient, it contains nutrient-packed fatty acids, vitamins, and combats ink lifting, which means your tattoo will come out looking brighter than day one.
People love the all-natural, cruelty free and vegan certified ingredients, saying, “I think this stuff is the bomb! I'm really picky about natural, no synthetic ingredient lotions for after tattoo care. I've tried a couple of different products before, sometimes switching up during healing, but this one is the best I've used. It smells like oranges and feels light on the skin. It does feel a tiny bit gritty when you first squeeze it out of the tube, but you can't feel that grittiness when you rub it on. Don't let that keep you from trying it. The product keeps the tattoo moist but not wet and doesn't stain clothes. I've also used it for scrapes and it provides a nice protective barrier for that as well. I'll buy it again for sure. ”
Ingredients:Medicinal Ingredients - Allantoin 0. 5%. Non-medicinal Ingredients - Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil,Vegetable Oil (Olus Oil), Tribehenin, Beeswax/Cire D’Abeille, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract,Tocopherol.
- QVC Clean Beauty Certified
- Cruelty free and vegan
- Medicinal ingredient that is clinically proven to heal abrasions
- All-natural ingredient list with multiple vitamins and nutrients
- No added fragrances
- Smells great
- Slightly greasy consistency
- Slightly more expensive than standard lotions
- Those with scent sensitivities should avoid this lotion
Stories & Ink Tattoo Care Cream
What we love most about Stories & Ink’s Care Cream is that it’s one of those tattoo products that you can use at every stage of your healing process. It can be used before, during, and directly after getting your tattoo, guaranteeing to soothe and calm your irritated skin. This is because Stories & Ink contains an ingredient called panthenol which helps reduce inflammation and helps hydrate damaged skin.
Developed by pharmacists, Stories & Ink is also hypoallergenic, cruelty free and vegan, contains no fragrances, gluten, or parabens, and is full of botanical ingredients that provide nutrients and vitamins which assist in accelerating the healing time of your tattoo. The non-greasy texture that applies super smooth allows your tattoo to get the hydration it needs while breathing during its recovery.
Some users call it the best aftercare product they’ve used on their tattoos, saying, “The thought and detail that has gone into making these products makes this the best aftercare I've ever used. It's non-greasy, smells incredible and makes me feel amazing because of the way that it maintains my new ink but also the color it brings back to the old ones I have. I can't recommend this highly enough. ”
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Olus Oil, Glycerin, Hydroxystearic/Linolenic/Oleic Polyglycerides, Candelilla Cera, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sodium Levulinate, Tocopherol, Bisabolol, Xanthan Gum, Octyldodecanol, Benzoic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Anisate, Panthenol, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Citric Acid, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Xylitol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Phytic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract.
- Includes panthenol which is known for its healing properties
- Gluten, fragrance, and paraben free
- Cruelty free and vegan
- Can be used at all stages of the tattoo process
- Developed by pharmacists
- Some issues with the consistency from users
- Some concerns with breakouts
Our Pick - La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5
La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast Balm B5 is one of those creams that you wish you knew about when you got your first tattoo ten years ago. It would have made the healing process so much more tolerable and the recovery period so much faster.
This cream is one of those “can do it all” products, but here’s why we really love it.
- It can be used on a new tattoo or an older tattoo and provide the same benefits and hydration, no matter the stage.
- It’s formula includes the active ingredient Dimethicone, which is a skin protectant that minimizes the loss of hydration.
- It contains La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water which is a natural antioxidant.
- It contains Ceramide-3 that creates a protective barrier similar to skin, and retains moisture hours after application.
- It contains the water soluble vitamin Niacinamide which is known for its soothing properties - great for an irritated new tattoo.
- It is formulated with sustainably sourced shea butter, which has nourishing properties.
- It immediately gives a soothing sensation upon application due to it’s vitamin B5 infused ingredient Panthenol.
- It’s dermatologist and allergy tested.
- It’s fragrance free, paraben free, and non-comedogenic.
- It contains SPF 50, and tattoos require extensive sun protection.
- It’s often recommended by doctors, dermatologists, and minor surgeons to help increase the healing time and minimize the scarring of minor abrasions.
While it’s a bit more costly than standard lotions, we think it’s absolutely worth the investment. A little product goes a long way to get optimal hydration and healing benefits. La Roche-Posay even recommends this product on their official website as the “ideal tattoo cream”. Your art, that you want to last you a lifetime, is worth a higher price tag when it comes to aftercare solutions.
What We Consider When Selecting Tattoo Cream
We are super picky about the cream we use on our ink. Sometimes these tattoo branded companies are so keen on selling to the niche that they forget what makes a cream best for a new tattoo. Here are a few factors we kept in mind when putting together this list.
Non-Comedogenic and Allergy Tested
When your tattoo is at its most vulnerable stage, you want a moisturizing product that will not block your pores causing additional irritation, and certainly not one that will cause adverse reactions, leading to tattoo distortion, or worse, infection. It’s for that reason that we chose products which stressed being dermatologist tested to be non-comedogenic and non-allergenic.
Though one of the products on our list contains soy which can be an allergen for some people, the tattoo creams we love best were formulated with non-irritation in mind. We do always recommend that you perform a patch test with any new product prior to applying it to your new tattoo, just to be on the safe side.
So many creams come with added fragrance and for us, that’s a red flag. Firstly, it means the product should not be used on a fresh tattoo, and we are looking for creams that are applicable for all the tattoo stages. Secondly, it means you could have an adverse reaction to the product as a fragrance (or parfum) is composed of a multitude of chemicals.
If you can’t tolerate non or un-scented products, we always recommend you go with creams that don’t have “fragrance” or “parfum” on the ingredients list. Products like Skinfix Tattoo Cream are scented from the natural botanicals in the formula, giving it a pleasant natural citrus scent.
When choosing creams to make our best tattoo roundup, we were partial for products that:
- Improve the brightness and appearance of our tattoo through rapid healing;
- Nourishes our skin efficiently;
- Relieves the inflammation, irritation, or itchiness of our new tattoo, and;
- Prevents infections through bacteria combating properties and/or forming barriers over the wound to protect it.
Free From Harmful Additives
All the tattoo creams we love best are paraben free. You might be wondering what is so dangerous about parabens, considering how frequently they’re found in cosmetics. Dr. Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist for The Environmental Working Group states, “The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation.
Many of the products on our list are safe enough to be used on baby skin, so you can guarantee it will be safe for you and your fresh ink.
Good For The Planet
We love products that are cruelty free and vegan; if it’s good for the planet, it’s great in our books.
Our Final Thoughts
With added fragrances or misleading marketing using words such as “enhancing”, we had to navigate pretty carefully with our tattoo cream recommendations. It’s for this reason that most of our list included a balance of tattooing brands and items out of the industry which could be used at any stage of your tattoo process. We only picked the best for you.
If the consistency of creams aren’t your style, we recommend checking out our list of the best tattoo lotions, which have a greater water content and a lighter application. Whatever you choose, moisturization is essential to help maintain healthy scabbing, peeling, and minimize cracking, and to guarantee the longevity of your art.