What Is The Best Lotion For Tattoos? Top 5 Listed Here

What Is The Best Lotion For Tattoos? 

After hours of pain and with your wallet considerably lighter, you’ve emerged from the tattoo parlor with some badass new ink on display. Now what? If you’ve had any previous tattoos, you know that the aftercare of your new artwork is incredibly important. Taking poor care of your tat while it is healing can cause bleaching/fading, infections, and a number of other problems. And with all of the products out there, it’s hard to know which ones are going to be the best to take care of your ink.

Ointment vs Cream vs Lotion? 

What are the differences? These products may all seem like they are similar, but knowing which type of moisturizer to use when can actually have a big impact on how well your tattoo heals.  Let's break it down for you: 

  • An ointment is about 80% oil and 20% water. For tattoos, ointment is usually recommended for the first 2-3 days of healing, as it has a higher percentage of oil in the formula. This makes the ointment more water-resistant, and it will be thicker and stickier than the other products.​
  • A cream is in between an ointment and a lotion. Topical cream is closer to 50% oil 50% water. Creams are normally best if you’re dealing with very dry skin, as they are typically thicker and heavier.
  • A lotion is considered anything with an oil-to-water percentage lower than 60/40. Most lotions are lighter, milder products intended for daily hydration, rather than intensive damage or dryness repair.

Lotions are going to be the best type of moisturizer for the average tattoo during the second part of the healing process.  With a zillion different types of lotions available, we are looking for some specific characteristics that make a lotion good for use during tattoo aftercare;

  • Fragrance-free
  • No alcohol
  • Free of parabens (chemical preservatives)
  • No petroleum (non-greasy)
  • Easily applied
  • Absorbs well into the skin

Let’s take a look at some of the best rated lotions for new tattoos on the market:

1. Tattoo Goo

Tattoo Goo is a highly rated salve for taking care of new ink, and is the OG of tattoo aftercare. It’s fragrance-free and non-greasy (so it won’t make you look shiny). Tattoo Goo in particular is highly recommended for people with sensitive skin, as it has a gentle formula and is noncomedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. Tattoo Goo contains no alcohol, no petroleum, no lanolin, and no mineral oils, and has a water-based formula, so it comes out easily in the wash if it gets on your clothes. Just an excellent product.

2. After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Aftercare Lotion

A slightly more expensive option, After Inked is a daily tattoo care lotion that you can use for both old and new ink. It doesn’t stick to clothing, and is contains no parabens, petroleum, or fragrance. After Inked is also a completely Vegan lotion, which can be difficult to find for tattoo aftercare products, and really makes it one of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare. This lotion contains grape-seed oil, which consist of Vitamin-E and antioxidants that speed along the healing process. Comes highly recommended by some of the world's top tattoo artists as well. After Inked has the benefit of being dermatologist tested and is allergen-free, which makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

3. Lubriderm Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Lubriderm is easily found on most drug store shelves, and is one of the best lotions for tattoos. This one also happens to be extremely affordable, which can be a relief after shelling out big bucks for new artwork. A tried and proven classic, this mild formula has been around since 1945 when it was first developed by dermatologists for use in clinics and hospitals. Non-greasy and fragrance-free, this lotion can be used as a tattoo aftercare product, as well as a general daily body moisturizer.

4. Curel Fragrance Free

Another affordable option for tattoo aftercare lotion is Curel. Easily found in your local drug store or online, Curel sets itself apart with time-released moisturizers that keep your new ink hydrated throughout the day. It is also fragrance-free, and is praised by customers for how quickly it absorbs into the skin. Curel is gentle enough for sensitive skin or to use on your face, and is water-based so as to not leave you looking greasy.

5. Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno is a fairly big-name lotion brand that can be found in most drug and grocery stores, as well as online. Aveeno is unique in that is has a dimethicone skin protectant that helps protect your skin (and your new tattoo) against damage. Aveeno is usually recommended for ultra-sensitive or extremely dry skin, and has a clinically tested triple-oat formula that delivers intense moisture. Aveeno contains no fragrance or steroids, and will keep your tattoo hydrated for up to 24 hours. It is also free of most allergens. Aveeno can be used for both old and new tattoos to help keep the colors vibrant and your skin healthy.

Those are some of the top recommended and best rated tattoo aftercare lotions available on the market! As a general rule-of-thumb though, stick to mild and fragrance-free lotions that will not aggravate your tender tat. Remember that after the first few days of healing, you should switch from ointment to applying lotion at least 2 or 3 times a day for the first two weeks (regardless of whether or not the lotion boasts 24-hour moisture), and as always make sure to consult with your artist if you have any concerns or questions.


Product images sourced from Amazon.




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