There are so many tips and tricks to healing a bright and bold tattoo. There are optimal times for putting on moisturizers, and ideal moments in the aftercare process for using certain products. E45 is a trusted brand for dry and flakey skin, but should this be used on new, fresh ink? We dive into everything you need to know about this cream and precisely when it's safe to use on your tattoo.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Related: Best Cream For Tattoos
What is E45?
E45 is a cream developed for the symptomatic relief of severe dry skin conditions, including flaky skin, eczema, and even psoriasis. It has been clinically studied for the relief that it provides and has been on the market since 1980.
Here is a breakdown of the ingredients in E45:
White Soft Paraffin (14.5%)
This ingredient is also known as petroleum jelly or Vaseline. It is the byproduct of crude oil refining. As such, it can be known to prevent wounds from breathing properly, and should only be used during specific stages of a tattoo’s healing. Some people experience hypersensitivity to this ingredient.
We covered everything you need to know about this ingredient in our article, Can I Put Vaseline On My New Tattoo? Is Petroleum Jelly Safe For Tattoo Aftercare?
Liquid Light Paraffin (12.6%)
This is a cheap byproduct of refining crude oil. It mainly sits on top of the skin and doesn’t absorb, while also blocking a wound from breathing. Some people experience hypersensitivity to this ingredient.
Anhydrous Lanolin (Medilan)
This ingredient is made from the secretion of oils from sheep’s skin, making this non-vegetarian or vegan friendly. If you have allergies to wool or farm animals, this ingredient may cause a severe reaction when used.
This is used to thicken up the product but there are reports of cetyl alcohol causing local skin reactions such as contact dermatitis.
Methyl and Propyl Parahydroxybenzoate
These are parabens, and we often suggest using products that are paraben free. Parabens can increase the damage that is done to skin from UV exposure. In addition, these ingredients may cause possible delayed allergic reactions in users.
What Your Skin Needs
At every stage in the healing journey, your tattoo requires very specific care, attention, and products.
Your tattoo is most vulnerable during its first days because it is an open and exposed wound. For the first days of aftercare, it is recommended that you wash your tattoo with antibacterial soap and pat it dry, at least twice a day.
Our tattoos go through a process called weeping and this is when the wound pushes out excess blood, ink, or plasma to help clean the tattoo. During this stage, you should not apply any ointment, creams, or lotions. The wound needs significant oxygen and also needs to stay dry to heal properly. In fact, E45 has a safety warning that states that it should not be used on broken skin.
It’s for this reason that E45 cream should not be used during the first days of tattoo healing.
After the First Days
After the weeping stage, your tattoo is still vulnerable to infection and is still considered a wound. You may even experience scabbing, bleeding, or some redness as your tattoo goes through further healing.
Because skin could still be broken during this stage, it’s better to turn towards products that are optimized for tattoo healing. Ointments, lotions, and creams should be used after the tattoo stops weeping, but E45 should still not be used on your fresh ink.
For our recommended products, check out our article, Best Tattoo Aftercare Products - Our Favorites Reviewed.
In the Long Term
After your tattoo has reached its flaky, dry stage (around 3 weeks) where no more scabs have the potential to break and open the skin, you could use E45 if you’d like to. Due to the many ingredients which could cause allergic reactions, it's recommended that you do a patch test on the inside of your elbow for 48 hours before using this product on your tattoo.
Our Final Thoughts
With so many amazing products on the market, we don’t really recommend that you reach for the E45 unless it’s all you have on your shelf. Even then, be sure to do a patch test first and only begin to use the cream near the final stage of healing. Because of the parabens contained in E45, it’s recommended that you also use a high quality sunscreen in unison with E45.