10 Best Lotions For New Tattoos To Keep Your Ink Healthy

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best lotions for tattoos
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Tattoos have become something of a mainstay in modern culture. Men have them. Women have them. Heck, your grandfather or grandmother may have them!

And yet, in spite of their popularity, there still seems to be some confusion about what tattoo lotion to use after you get ink, and how you can — and should — care for your new tattoo.

What lotion is best for tattoos?

If you want your new ink to heal nicely, you have to be diligent and take good care of it. A beloved lotion is Aquaphor Healing Ointment, or good old-fashioned Vaseline.

After a new tattoo, your tattoo artist should put a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage on top of the ink. After 24 hours, you can remove the bandage and wash with antimicrobial soap, water, and pat dry with a clean towel or paper towel. 

Throughout the day, apply a layer of fragrance-free antibacterial ointment; it's best if you stick to applying it twice a day. 

The best lotion to put on a new tattoo is a thick and creamy lotion that's fragrance-free. Don't use sunblock when it's healing, and try and stay out of the sun so it heals faster. 

RELATED: What Does Getting A Tattoo Feel Like? Everything You Need To Know Before Getting A Tattoo

Can you put lotion on a tattoo right away?

It's recommended by professional tattoo artists that you should leave your tattoo alone for a day before washing and applying lotion. If you don't want to wait as long, you should still wait at least five hours before washing your tattoo for the first time, after which you can apply lotion.

It's recommended that you use a non-fragrance soap and lotion so you don't risk irritating your skin. 

When should I start putting lotion on my tattoo?

Start putting lotion on your tattoo as soon as it starts to dry, but not before. A tattoo usually takes 1-3 days to start drying, and when you wash your tattoo while it's healing, use antibacterial soap and fragrance-free lotion.

What lotions should you avoid with tattoos?

​It does matter what lotion you use on a tattoo! Always avoid lotions that have fragrances, as this means the lotion could irritate your skin. And if it's applied too thick, it could promote bacteria growth.

As stated above, always use a fragrance-free lotion that's thick and heavy, and moisturizing; your skin will need to heal as a tattoo is a form of a scar.

We’ve scoured the internet and found some of the best tattoo lotions, ointments, and salves to keep your skin smooth and your tattoo bright. Just remember: no matter what tattoo lotion you chose, the best way to heal your new tattoo is to keep it clean and cared for.

So, what is the best tattoo lotion for new tattoos? Here are 10 great options.

1. H2Ocean Ocean Care Skin Moisturizing Cream

Specifically designed for new and/or healing tattoos, H2Ocean Ocean Care Skin Moisturizing Cream is "designed to nourish, revitalize and hydrate your skin by providing 82 essential trace elements and minerals that keep your tattoo healthy and moisturized with each application.” Bonus: this will not smudge or stick to your clothes.

Available on H2Ocean, $13

2. Tattoo Goo Salve

Made from beeswax, olive oil, cocoa butter, and other herbs, oils, and vitamins known for their natural healing properties, Tattoo Goo is perfect for healing (and healed!) tattoos.

Available on Tattoo Goo, $6.99

3. Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment

Easy to find and use, Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment protects and soothes dry skin. It's recommended by both dermatologists and tattoo artists, and with a fragrance and preservative-free formula, this ointment is perfect for anyone and everyone getting a new tattoo — including those with sensitive skin.

Available on Amazon, check prices and reviews

RELATED: 50 Of The Most Meaningful One Word Tattoos To Ink On Your Body

4. Cetaphil Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion is designed to be used specifically for dry skin, giving you soft and smooth skin. It's non-comedogenic, won't irritate your skin, and absorbs quickly.

Available on Amazon, check prices and reviews

5. After Inked Moisturizer and Tattoo Aftercare Lotion

According to AfterInked.com, After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer is a vegan-based formula — made from grapeseed oil, glycerin, shea butter, and synthetic beeswax — which “delivers effective [lightweight] skin moisturization and helps to preserve the colors of your tattoos,” without feeling heavy or bogging it down. After Inked is great for you and your new tattoo, and the formula “has been dermatologist tested, [and is both] non-allergenic and non-irritating.”

Available at Walmart, $13.46

6. Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion

This rich, fragrance-free formula is precisely what your new tattoo needs: Moisturizing and conditioning! It repairs dry, rough skin, won't clog pores, and is dermatologist recommended.

Available at Rite Aid, $4.49

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7. Lubiderm Daily Moisture Fragrance Free Lotion

Available at drug stores anywhere you go, Lubiderm will hydrate your skin while leaving both you and your new tattoo feeling clean. The best part is that it leaves no grease or grime behind.

Available at Walmart, $3.75

RELATED: 15 Best Hidden Tattoo Placement Ideas For People Who Don't Want Visible Ink

8. Hustle Butter Deluxe One

Made from shea, mango, and aloe butters, Hustle Butter is the perfect petroleum replacement for tattoos, all throughout the healing process. It's free of phthalate, is non-comedogenic, vegan, and won't fade your ink.

Available on Hustle Butter, $12.99

9. Billy Jealousy Tattoo Lotion

Want to heal your tattoo and help keep its vibrant color? Look no further than Billy Jealousy, a specially formulated lotion that contains essential oils designed to “bring out your tat’s color, definition and [add] just a little oomph!”

Available on Amazon, check prices and reviews

10. Ink Fixx All Natural Tattoo Lotion

While the other lotions and salves on this list are perfect for your new tattoo, Ink Fixx works best during the later stages of the healing process — as the water-based moisturizer helps reduce both itchiness and redness.

Available on Painful Pleasures, $5.89

RELATED: 50 Best Inner Lip Tattoo Ideas — And What You Need To Know Before Getting One

Nicole Lane is a regular contributor for YourTango. She's a staunch defender of women's rights, believes firmly in equality and parity, and is an advocate for women's health, mental health, and sexuality.

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