A new tattoo is a lifetime investment, and aftercare must be meticulous. Many people search for organic products to use in their daily cleansing regimen. There are many all-natural solutions, like tea tree oil, that are great for combatting the irritation of fresh ink, as well as managing any potential bacterial infections on the wounded area.
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What’s an Essential Oil?
An essential oil is an extraction of the essence of plants. They are highly concentrated, as they involve pressing the plant and collecting the first press of the oil distilled. These differ from other oils such as diffusing oils, or scents such as fragrances, as they are not diluted, mixed with any additional ingredients, and do not include any chemical compounds.
Essential oils can be quite expensive, depending on the plant used. This is because of how they are extracted, which are very careful practices, as well as how much plant is used to get certain oils. For rose essential oil, for example, it takes 252,000 individual petals to produce a 5ml bottle of rose oil.
Essential oils can be extracted in one of three ways:
- Steam Distillation - Steam is used to collect the essential oils of the plant; this is how rose water is made.
- Expression - This involves grating or scraping the peel; this is how essential oil is collected from citrus fruits.
- Supercritical C02 Extraction - Carbon dioxide is used as a solvent; this produces the most potent extraction.
Along with the scent of the plant, the core functions of the plant are extracted through this process which could include anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-stress, or irritation soothing effects, just to name a few.
What Are The Properties of Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree essential oil has a strong, medicinal smell, which is a foreshadowing for the numerous healing benefits this oil contains.
Tea tree oil helps combat inflamed skin, soothing the swollen area and helping to reduce the swelling. One research showed it was successful in reducing flare ups of hypersensitivity in skin. It also provides a cooling sensation on impact with the skin.
Antibacterial and Antifungal
Tea tree oil has numerous antimicrobial properties, and is often recommended by healthcare professionals to combat issues such as acne, nail fungus, and athlete’s foot. This is also beneficial to the bacteria that may try and infiltrate an open wound, such as a tattoo. A 2013 study showed that applying tea tree oil to an infected skin wound decreased the healing time.
Tea tree oil is known to combat itchiness and dryness. Not only does it help relieve the discomforts of this irritation by soothing and cooling the skin upon application, it also helps boost your immunity, which speeds up the scabbing and flakey skin stage of tattooing.
How to Apply Tea Tree Oil
When purchasing tea tree oil, ensure you are buying 100% essential, grade A tea tree oil. It will likely be more expensive than alternatives that have additives or are diluted with cheap products.
Tea tree oil is applied topically, but as it is highly concentrated, it needs to be diluted in a carrier oil to be used safely. A carrier oil can be one of the following:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Rosehip oil
- Jojoba oil
Our personal favorite is coconut oil, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and how well it absorbs into your skin.
When you’ve chosen your carrier oil, follow these dilution guidelines:
After you’ve created your concoction, it’s important to patch test the product on the inside of your elbow for 48 hours. If you notice any reactions or symptoms of swelling, irritation, or redness, do not use this on your new tattoo. Store the mixture in a cool, dark place until you are ready to use it.
The essential oil in the carrier oil can be applied in a very thin layer to your cleaned and dried tattoo. It does not need to be used every day, as it may cause your wound to dry out more than necessary. Pair this with a trusted moisturizer to ensure your tattoo is hydrated and healing properly.
You can also use tea tree oil to make an antibacterial wash for your tattoo. All you need to do is wet a clean towel or some paper towel, add a few drops of tea tree oil directly onto the cloth, and carefully dab it onto your tattooed area (do not rub). Pat the area dry when you are complete.
Using Tea Tree Oil To Treat Infection
Many tattoos may experience minor infection, which can be treated very quickly through more thorough aftercare. If you notice some redness around your tattoo, some weird scabbing, or your tattoo continues to feel swollen or painful following the first 72 hours of weeping, you may want to introduce tea tree oil into your aftercare regimen.
Apply tea tree oil that has been diluted with a carrier oil directly to your tattoo after you’ve washed it with an antibacterial soap and dried it.
Monitor your symptoms for 48 hours and if they do not subside or happen to get worse, speak to a medical professional, as you may require additional antibiotics to combat the issues.
Tattoo bubbling is a type of thick, water-filled scabs that happen when a tattoo is oversaturated with a moisturizer. This scabbing can cause ink loss, scarring, or infection.
Tattoo bubbling can be managed through the usage of tea tree oil. Replace your moisturizer step with tea tree oil diluted in a carrier oil and use this product for a few days. Monitor the area for 72 hours, and if it has not helped the tattoo bubbling dissipate, speak to your tattoo artist for additional help.
Our Final Thoughts
Tea tree essential oil is one of those miracle medical plants that are a helpful addition to your tattoo aftercare products lineup. If inflammation or irritation get out of hand, or if concerns about bacteria infection arise, you can rely on this all-natural product to realign your tattoo healing process. If conditions ever worsen or if symptoms do not seem to diminish, speak to a medical professional about your concerns.