Can You Use Shea Butter On Tattoos?

Written by: Claudia

Natural skincare products are all the rage, and it’s normal to be curious about what options are best for your tattoo aftercare, especially if you are searching for something with zero additives and wound-healing properties.

Since coconut oil is such a safe lotion alternative for your tattoo, you may be wondering if shea butter has a similar benefit. This raw fat which is extracted from the nut of an African karite tree has numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and maybe the perfect moisturizer choice for your tattoo care needs.

What Can Shea Butter Do For Your Tattoo?

can you use shea butter on tattoos

Shea butter is an amazing fatty oil that is solid when left at room temperature, and it contains stearic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. These are important properties as they combat inflammation and provide essential moisture without clogging pores.

Shea butter also contains numerous vitamins and nutrients that have made this raw product a new and essential ingredient in many Western products.

A better question to ask about shea butter would be: What can’t shea butter do? Let’s dive into its benefits.

Shea butter is incredibly moisturizing

Shea’s fatty acid content is the emollient responsible for keeping your skin smooth, soft, and hydrated. Once the solid shea butter is melted in your hands and rubbed onto your skin, it’s quickly absorbed and restores natural moisture to your epidermis. The shea butter will also absorb without making your skin feel oily or over-lotioned.

Since it is a raw ingredient, it doesn’t have any additives, such as water, that might challenge moisture retention, and it is also believed that shea butter is non-comedogenic, which means its natural properties do not clog your pores - an important factor in tattoo healing.

Shea butter has many healing properties

Shea butter has numerous healing ingredients and properties such as:

  • Vitamin A - This is great for preventing sun damage and restoring collagen in the skin, which helps combat the aging process of skin. It is said that shea butter has a natural SPF of around 2 or 3 which is not enough protection on its own but is a great base barrier for your tattoo.
  • Vitamin E - Along with vitamin A, vitamin E helps promote antioxidant activity in your skin, which is important to battle the natural aging process of your tattoo.
  • Vitamin F - This naturally found vitamin can help treat skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis and can be used to stop the irritation and itchiness of a tattoo during its peeling stage.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties - The stearic and cinnamic acid in shea butter helps combat inflammation which can often occur with a new tattoo.
  • Emollient Properties - These moisturizing properties actually benefit the healing of wounds, like a cut, a scrape, or a tattoo, by preventing keloid scars, which are a kind of scar tissue.
  • Rich in Unsaturated Fats - Shea butter’s fatty acids and lipids are often called a superfood for the skin, and helps restore its elasticity and collagen production, leading to healthy, hydrated skin. In addition, it’s said that these fatty acids can also help create a protective skin barrier that shields wounds from environmental irritants.

It’s hard to ignore that this natural product is chock full of incredible ingredients.

Shea butter is safe for sensitive skin

Although shea butter does come from a tree nut, it has a low content of the proteins that often cause a nut allergy. In addition, being a raw and natural product, it doesn’t contain any additives or fragrances that have the potential to cause an irritation or dermatitis reaction in people. For this reason, along with its many incredible nutrients, it’s safe for almost every skin type.

It’s important that you always take the time to patch test any new moisturizers on the inside of your elbow for 48 hours, prior to putting the product on your new tattoo.

How To Use Shea Butter for a Tattoo

putting shea butter on my tattoo

First and foremost, it’s essential that if you are going to invest in shea butter for your tattoo that you stick to superior brands that have a Grade A rating. While these often cost more, many of the healing components found in shea butter are not found in inferior products, and you risk the chance of there being additives that could be an irritant for your new tattoo.

Always look for raw, organic, and unrefined shea butter, and it should have a little yellowish or brown color to it, rather than the ones that are bleached white. Unrefined shea butter may have traces of the nutshell in it, so it’s best to check your product thoroughly before slathering it on.

When using any natural product, we always recommend using a clean tool to grab the product from the jar. If you use your hands, even if you’ve washed them prior, you risk the chance of introducing bacteria into the jar.

After you’ve done a 48-hour patch test on the inside of your elbow to ensure you have no reactions to shea butter, here are some essential steps for using shea butter for your new tattoo:

  1. Wash your hands and then clean your tattoo thoroughly and pat dry with a new towel or paper towel that will not shed any paper remnants.
  2. Use a clean tool such as a spoon to grab some solid shea butter from your container. A little goes a long way, so don’t overestimate how much solid butter you grab.
  3. Warm the product in between your hands so it turns into an oil.
  4. Apply gently to your tattoo, moving in the same direction as your hairs and skin.
  5. Shea absorbs in the skin quickly, so don’t over saturate the skin and allow it time to absorb completely.
  6. Reapply in five to six hours, and remember to store your shea butter out of direct light or heat for a maximum of 12 months from the opening date.

It’s always recommended that you begin the moisturizing process for your new tattoo after you have given it at least two to three days to fully weep out any excess ink, blood, or plasma. Afterward, shea butter can be used as a long-term moisturizing option to keep your tattoo hydrated, healthy, and bright.

Our Final Thoughts

This raw, all-natural lotion with powerful ingredients could be the superfood your tattoo needs during its healing journey. Packed full of vitamins, fatty acids and lipids, and anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter will not only ensure the hydration of your tattoo but will also soothe irritation and lead to a beautifully healed piece of art on your skin.

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