Moisturizing a new tattoo is an essential step in the aftercare process. It not only hydrates an extremely dehydrated and vulnerable abrasion, but it also adds a layer of protection on your wound as it heals.
While some people prefer the dry healing method, we believe moisturizing should be a standard step for your new tattoo, and we will tell you exactly why.
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What Happens If You Dry Heal a New Tattoo?
Dry healing your tattoo is a preferred aftercare method for a select few professionals and casual tattooers. For dry healing, after your tattoo artist has cleaned, put ointment on, and wrapped your new tattoo, no new ointments or moisturizers are introduced to the healing process.
Some people opt to dry heal their tattoo for a few reasons.
- They have sensitive skin and don’t trust the lotions or creams on the market.
- They want to save money on the additional aftercare costs.
- They believe the tattoo will heal faster and look better upon healing.
But we have found there to be some severe disadvantages to dry healing, including:
- Severe itchiness and irritation
- Deep and tight scabs
- Infection exposure
- Extended healing time
Severe Itchiness and Irritation
Itchiness is a natural part of the tattoo healing process, but without hydration being returned to the skin through a lotion or a cream, this itchiness and irritation may be amplified. This could lead to accidentally scratching your tattoo which may alter the art or put you at risk for bacteria contamination.
Deep and Tight Scabs
When you let your skin dry out during its healing process, you may put your tattoo at the risk of forming deeper scabs. These deep scabs may grab and take ink with them when they fall off. This could also cause really uncomfortable, tight scabs to form, which could lead to tattoo cracking. Tattoo cracking could cause your tattoo to bleed which restarts your healing process and puts you at risk of bacterial contamination.
When your scabs crack or when you itch due to discomfort, you put your tattoo wound at risk of having an infection. Many ointments, lotions, and creams not only form a protective barrier against bacteria infiltration but also have ingredients which combat infection.
Extended Healing Time
There are no scientific studies that support the idea that dry healing will advance the healing process of your new tattoo, and due to the risks involved with dry healing, the opposite might, in fact, be true. There are so many products that contain valuable ingredients which help accelerate the healing process and create barriers against external and environmental irritants.
What to Do After Getting a Tattoo
A tattoo is not a get it and forget it purchase; it’s an investment that takes very careful aftercare to ensure the longevity of the tattoo and to guarantee a great healing process.
While certain professionals may recommend alternative aftercare techniques to you that work best with their tattooing methods and your skin, here are a few basic steps to keep in mind.
- After The Tattoo: Your tattoo artist will wipe, moisturize, and wrap your tattoo. This bandage stays on your tattoo for four to six hours to allow it time to soothe after the tattooing trauma and begin it’s healing process.
- Cleaning Your Tattoo: After removing your bandage, you can begin to clean your tattoo with antibacterial soap. It’s important that for the first three days you make sure to gently but thoroughly scrub out any weeping ink, blood, or plasma from your tattoo.Have a look at our 6 Best Antibacterial Soaps For Your New Tattoo.
- Pat Dry: Pat your tattoo dry (do not rub) with a clean towel or paper towel which doesn’t leave any remnants on your tattoo.
- Repeat: This process should be repeated two to four times a day, depending on how active you are, what your day-to-day schedule is like, and the work you do on a daily basis (for example, if you work in construction, it may be best to wash your tattoo directly after a work day). Wear loose fitting clothing during your first two weeks.
After the third day, you can begin to introduce moisturizing into your routine.
The Basics of Moisturizing
Moisturizing your new tattoo should only begin after your tattoo has stopped weeping, which will be around the third day. During the first three days, your tattoo will push out any excess ink, blood, or plasma to help heal your tattoo.
After which, you can begin to introduce moisturization to your routine following washing and drying your new tattoo. You have a few options you can choose from and, lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites for each.
- Ointment - Best Tattoo Ointments: Top 7 Reviewed
- Lotion - Best Tattoo Lotion For You Fresh Ink - Our Top Picks Reviewed
- Cream - Best Tattoo Cream - Our Top Choices Reviewed
Our very favorite moisturization product on the market is La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5. Here are all the reasons we love it:
- It is dermatologist tested.
- It’s recommended by healthcare professionals to accelerate healing and combat scarring.
- It’s fragrance free.
- It’s paraben free.
- It won’t clog your pores.
- It’s formula contains numerous ingredients that have powerful nutrients and anti-irritation properties.
- It contains SPF 50.
Whatever you choose to introduce into your aftercare routine, make sure you are always using it in small, thinly applied quantities so as to ensure that your tattoo is protected but still able to breathe during the healing process.
Your new tattoo is a wound, and wounds are desperate for hydration. Inserting a moisturization option into your aftercare ensures that your tattoo has the hydration it needs to heal quickly and with minimal damage to your ink and your health.
Our Final Thoughts
Moisturization is important for a new tattoo as it prevents cracking, excessive peeling, and unhealthy scabbing. It provides a layer of protection against external irritants, and some products provide the essential nutrients needed to accelerate healing time. Abrasions also require hydration in order to properly combat irritation.
Figuring out what moisturization option is best for you and your skin is a personal journey, and if you’re ever unsure about what you want to use on your new tattoo, it’s best to ask your tattoo artist or the shop for advice.