Getting a new tattoo is an exciting time, but with all the planning, the consultations, the money and the pain that has gone into achieving this perfect artwork on your skin, there’s one final hurdle – tattoo aftercare.
The last thing you want to do is to not look after it properly and cause the colour to bleed and fade or even worse – have the tattoo get infected!
A tattoo is an open wound, which means it requires proper care and maintenance in order to keep it looking its best.
For this reason, many people decide to invest in a tattoo cream to help soothe the itching, heal the scabs and moisturise their ink.
I have four tattoos and have tried most creams. Here are the best aftercare creams, daily moisturisers and sunscreens that will protect your tattoo in the long run and keep them looking as amazing as you hoped.
I’ll also tell you what NOT to use on tattoos!
The Best All-Round Cream For Tattoo Aftercare in the UK
Tattoo Goo Original Aftercare Salve
(Check Amazon’s Price)
Tattoo Goo Original Aftercare Salve has made quite the name for itself in the tattoo world – it’s got literally thousands of great reviews.
Not only does this salve moisturise your new tattoo to stop it scabbing and peeling but it speeds up the healing process too.
Some people say that it speeds up the scabbing process by as much as 3 days and leaves their tattoos looking brighter and more colourful once they’re completely healed.
It’s completely natural – the main ingredients are Olive Oil, Beeswax, Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E, so it will suit even the most sensitive skin types.
It could even be used on your eyebrows if they’ve recently been microbladed to speed up the healing or to soothe mild eczema.
- Natural ingredients
- Said to speed up healing process
- Little goes a long way
- Prevents tattoos from drying out and becoming tight and uncomfortable
- Only a small pot, so may need to purchase a few if you have a larger piece
The Best Tattoo Healing Cream in the UK
Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Cream
(Check Amazon’s Price)
There is a higher-end product if you wanted to spend a bit more on the aftercare of your tattoo and potentially get faster healing results.
This Hustle Butter Deluxe tattoo cream is sold in most tattoo shops so you know that you’re getting a quality product.
It’s vegan, cruelty free and petroleum free, which is great as petroleum doesn’t actually moisturise the skin and instead provides a protective barrier.
This cream should reduce the redness in just a few days and significantly reduce scabbing and speed up the healing process.
It moisturises the skin and soothes the itching and can even be used on older tattoos to refresh the colour and keep it looking bright.
Once your tattoo has healed, this cream can be used as a moisturiser for extremely dry and irritated skin, to soothe and keep it hydrated.
One male reviewer even mentioned that he used this in place of a beard oil after suffering from irritated skin and it worked wonders!
- Vegan and natural ingredients
- Soothes itching
- Promotes fast healing
- Reduces scabbing
- Subtle coconut scent
- Can be used as a moisturiser too
- Can cause a rash if too much is applied
- Can leave a greasy residue on clothing
The Best Moisturiser For New or Old Tattoos
TattooMed Daily Tattoo Care
(Check Amazon’s Price)
In order to keep your tattoos looking their best, it’s important to keep them moisturised even after the healing process is over.
TattooMed Daily Tattoo Care is specially developed for everyday use on healed tattoos.
It protects against UV radiation that can lead to the ageing and fading of tattoos, ensuring that your tattoos stay vibrant and fresh looking for as long as possible.
It’s been developed with sensitive skin in mind, so it’s non-greasy and absorbs quickly, meaning that you can apply this after your morning shower without having to wait for a long time before you can get dressed and head out the door!
- Dermatologically approved for sensitive skin
- Vegan and cruelty free
- No perfumes
- Soothes and hydrates the skin
- UVA and UVB filters to protect the ink from fading
- Despite containing UV filters, there is no SPF rating on the packaging so it’s likely you’ll have to wear a sunscreen too for complete protection
The Best Sunscreen For Tattoos in the UK
SPF30 Ink Guard by CannaSmack
(Check Amazon’s Price)
You may or may not be aware that the sun can damage your tattoos and cause them to fade, especially brighter colours such as yellows.
You should keep your tattoos out of the sun for the first 6 months as this is when they’re healing and the UV rays may damage the ink molecules.
However, if they’re fully healed and you’re ready to venture into the sun, it’s important to protect them.
This SPF30 Ink Guard by CannaSmack is great if you’re heading on holiday. It comes in stick form, making it easy to apply to your tattoos yourself as you don’t have to rub it in until it’s absorbed like a normal sunscreen and it doesn’t melt in the heat.
It blocks 97% of UVB rays that can break down the ink and is also infused with moisturising ingredients such as hemp seed oil and omegas that will keep your tattoos looking bright.
It’s also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about jumping into the pool and it all coming off – your tattoos will still be protected whilst you swim!
Tip – it could even be used as an SPF lip balm too!
One reviewer commented that after only applying the stick once in the morning, all her skin got burned in the sun apart from the area surrounding her tattoo where she had applied this – and her tattoo still looked vibrant at the end of the day.
- Cruelty free ingredients
- Easy stick application
- Doesn’t melt in the heat
- Acts as a moisturiser
- Can be used as a lip balm or on microbladed brows
- Doesn’t clog pores
- Stick only contains half an ounce of product
Can I Use Sudocrem Or Savlon For Tattoo Aftercare?
Sudocrem and Savlon are great antiseptic creams that help to heal all kinds of cuts and grazes, so you may think that they’d be great at healing a tattoo too as it’s an open wound – but you’d be wrong!
The strong ingredients in both of these products that make them great antiseptics are too harsh for your freshly inked skin, and can cause it to dry out and scab over as they don’t provide any moisture.
Although some scabbing and peeling is a normal part of the healing process, severe, dry scabs can come off and they can pull the ink out of your skin, leaving you with a blotchy mess of a tattoo, with parts missing.
Both products also contain emollients which provide a protective barrier over your skin and stop any moisture escaping, or getting in.
This can clog your pores and break you out in a rash and cause further inflammation to your skin which is definitely something you don’t want when you have a new tattoo.
Both products also contain mild bleaching agents – lanolin in Sudocrem and Chlorhexidine Gluconate in Savlon.
This can cause colour bleeding where the colours merge on fresh tattoos and can lighten the skin, causing your tattoos to fade a lot quicker.
Whilst using an antibacterial is important, especially during the first few weeks of the healing process, you’re better off using a mild antibacterial soap to wash your tattoo at least once a day and then apply a specially formulated moisturiser afterwards to keep it scab and irritation free.
Your tattooist can recommend the best products for you if you’re not sure, or the recommendations above are a good place to start.
Is Bepanthen Good For Tattoo Aftercare?
Bepanthen (most commonly found as nappy cream for babies) has long been recommended by esteemed tattoo artists for years as a way to moisturise and heal tattoos, but sadly this is no longer the case.
In the UK, it’s best not to use bepanthen for tattoo aftercare. This is because many manufacturers have changed their ingredients and created a much thicker formula, which is too thick for the skin to absorb and can block the pores.
This leads to a buildup of fluids and plasma that your body is trying to rid itself of during the healing process.
Not only can this be extremely uncomfortable and irritating, but this can also lead to infection of your tattoo in a worst case scenario.
Bepanthen contains petroleum, which provides the skin with a protective barrier. However, this also stops the skin from breathing which can significantly slow down the healing process and cause scabs to become mushy, which makes them easy to catch and pull off.
It also contains Lanolin, which as mentioned previously can cause the skin to lighten and ruin the colouring of your tattoo.
Bepanthen is also likely to irritate sensitive, freshly inked skin due to all its thick ingredients as it ‘sits’ on the skin without being absorbed.
You should use products that are specifically made for healing tattoos to ensure that you get the best results possible.
Looking after your tattoos is important and the products that you use to do this are all down to personal preference – maybe you like thick balm-like textures, or you may prefer a lotion that absorbs into the skin better.
Either way, there will be something out there for you! I hope this blog post has answered any questions that you may have had in regards to what to use and what not to use on your new tattoos.