Is Coconut Oil Good For Tattoos?

Coconut oil for tattoos

Coconut Oil For New Tattoos

The All-Natural Option For Tattoo Aftercare

If there is one thing every tattoo enthusiast knows, it's that you shouldn't fear the pain of getting the new ink itself; it's the aftercare that can be the real pain.  Itchiness, peeling, inflammation, possible infection, or even the new ink getting pulled out of your skin? Not cool.  And with all of the potential ways that your new tat can get messed up in the healing process, navigating how to successfully take care of your new artwork can be intimidating. Luckily there is an easy, affordable solution to your tattoo aftercare: Coconut oil

Coconut Oil has been getting a lot of attention the past few years for its numerous health and beauty benefits; it moisturizes skin, is great for your hair, and can even help detox the body and whiten teeth!  Really, is there anything that coconut oil can't do? Best of all, it's a no-frills product.  There are no perfumes, no complicated application process, no special BB cream or any of that other stuff.  It's just straightforward, all natural soothing goodness. 

coconut oil for tattoos

The Science On Why Coconut Oil Is So Awesome

I know what you’re thinking: coconut oil is just another fad, like contouring and those ridiculous snapchat filters. But let me assure you, it’s not. Coconut Oil has been used for its health benefits by different societies for generations, and can help out with everything from keeping your hair shiny to preventing heart disease. (Read more on all the details of it's health benefits here) 

Part of what helps coconut oil to do all these incredible things is that it is higher in saturated fats than any other non-hydrogenated oil.  Most of us have been raised to think that saturated fats are bad, but new science has us shying away from trans fats, which only pop up in oil when it becomes hydrogenated.  The fats that are naturally there actually help to keep the coconut oil stable, and give it a long shelf life. Additionally, coconut oil only has medium-chain triglycerides, which are the lowest-risk type of saturated fat.

Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which is what gives coconut oil it’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral properties. This lauric acid (via coconut oil) can also help to combat viruses, clear up acne and speed up your metabolism.

What Do I Need To Know About Using Coconut Oil For Healing Tattoos? 

Using coconut oil for tattoo aftercare is quite simple;  All you need is to get hold of some unrefined coconut oil (unrefined being the important term here, as refined oil can be harmful to your health).  Apply as you would tattoo ointment; a thin layer immediately after washing and drying your tattoo, a few times per day. You can continue to use coconut oil on your tattoo and skin long after your tattoo has healed to maintain supple skin and vibrancy in your ink.

Spectrum Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil can be found on Amazon.com for about $7 per 15oz.  It’s unrefined, has no added preservatives or fragrance (which is a must when choosing your tattoo aftercare products), and best of all it is priced low, especially when compared to other commonly used aftercare products like A+D ointment or Aquaphor.

coconut oil

Not only will this coconut oil keep your new ink moisturized (helping you avoid irritation), but coconut oil will also help block some of the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can bleach out new ink.  Using coconut oil for healing tattoos can also help fight infection, as coconut oil has antibacterial properties, and it won’t pull the new ink out of your skin like Vaseline or Neosporin can.

Concerned about having oily skin after using coconut oil?  Don’t be.  Coconut oil absorbs extremely quickly into the skin and won’t leave you looking greasy.  It only takes a very small amount to cover a large area (think a teaspoon to cover your entire arm), so one jar will go a long way.  With proper storage in a dry, room-temp environment, coconut oil can last for months without needing to be replaced.

In summary:

  • Pros: natural, organic, inexpensive; moisturizes; antibacterial; protects against sun.
  • Cons: Literally like zero. This product rocks.

How To Apply Coconut Oil As Part Of Tattoo Aftercare

  • Clean hands well before applying.  (It does have antibacterial properties, but the less chance you have to infect your well-deserved artwork, the better.)
  • Apply a small dab of coconut oil to your new ink. (If kept cool the coconut oil will be solid, when warm it will be liquid. Room temperature will give it a creamier consistency and will be easier to apply.)
  • Rub in gently till a thin layer covers the entire tattoo site.  
  • Do this about 2-3 times per day over the entire course of the healing, best time is right after washing.

While Coconut Oil does protect against some UV damage, it only has about 5SPF, so it is still wise to keep the new tattoo covered for the first two weeks to minimize any risk of bleaching.

And as always, if anything happens with your tattoo that you’re concerned about, it is always best to consult with your artist.


Product images sourced from Amazon.

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