Best Ointment For Tattoos; Here Are The Top 3
What Do You Put On a New Tattoo?
With a new tattoo, it is vital that you know what the best products are to use for aftercare. Without proper care new ink can face any number of problems, like fading/bleaching, infection, inflammation, and more. And after investing time, pain, and money into your artwork, you want to be certain that is going to look as good as possible for as long as possible.
Tattoo artists normally recommend an ointment for the first 2-3 days of healing, but with so many products out on the market, how do you know exactly which one is right to use? I’ve got here some pros and cons of the best tattoo ointments on the market right now to help you decide.
Why Use an Ointment Over a Lotion?
Artists recommend applying a small amount of ointment during the first couple days of healing after getting a new tattoo because ointments tend to be thicker and more water-resistant than lotions or creams. Ointments on average contain about 80% petroleum to 20% water, and help keep out dirt, bacteria, and other harmful environmental agents that could impede the healing of your new art. Ointments also lack a lot of the fragrances and dyes that many companies put into body lotion, both of which could cause some serious discomfort on freshly-inked skin.
Wait, Why Can’t I Just Use Neosporin?
It may seem like common logic to use a healing salve like Neosporin or Vaseline, but actually those products are some of the worst that you can use on a new tattoo. Both Neosporin (and other similar polysporin products) and Vaseline can pull ink out of a new tattoo, or sometimes produce small red pimples over the tattoo site. They also contain heavy amounts of petroleum, which suffocates a new tat and keeps it from being able to heal properly. You want to have an ointment that keeps dirt and germs out, but allows oxygen to pass through. Some artists recommend using A+D ointment for tattoo aftercare, but that can occasionally cause fading, especially if too much is used at one time.
Bacitracin is another product to avoid. It is an antibiotic, but it contains irritants like zinc salt that can inflame new tattoos and slow the healing process. The last thing you want is to apply anything with salts or a high alcohol content to a new tattoo. Ouch!
That being said, here are some of our favorite top rated ointments for tattoo aftercare:
Pros: Aquaphor boasts that they are the #1 dermatologist recommended ointment for dry skin. It contains 41% petrolatum, so it is water resistant without suffocating your new ink. Aquaphor also contains panthenol and glycerin to help moisturize and heal skin, which will speed up the healing process for a new tattoo. Aquaphor contains no fragrances, dyes, or preservatives, so it is effective even for sensitive skin. It can also easily be found in most drug stores. So is Aquaphor good for tattoos? Verdict: Yes.
Cons: Aquaphor does contain some mineral oil and lanolin alcohol, which in rare cases might cause allergic reactions or irritation for some people.
Pros: Possibly the best ointment for tattoos, INK FIXX is designed specifically for tattoo aftercare. It was developed by a collaboration of tattoo artists and dermatologists to ensure the best possible healing for new ink, and guarantees to keep tattoo colors bright and vibrant. This ointment has a thicker texture to keep dirt, germs, and other harmful environmental agents out of your tattoo.
Cons: INK FIXX only comes in a small 21g jar, so if your tattoo is very large you might need more. (You pay for quality here not quantity.)
3. H2Ocean Aquatat Tattoo Aftercare Ointment
Pros: H2Ocean contains pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, is FDA-approved, and dermatologist recommended. Like INK FIXX, H2Ocean is made specifically for tattoo aftercare. It has a high antioxidant content to protect quicker healing and replaces mineral oil, which can be an allergen, with palm oil, which is much gentler and non-comedogenic to boot (that means it won’t clog your pores). H2Ocean is also water resistant, spreads easily and dries quickly.
Cons: While H2Ocean has swapped out the mineral oil, it does still contain lanolin alcohol, which for some can be irritating to new ink. H2Ocean is along the same price lines of INK FIXX, and is mostly available through online purchase.
These three products have excellent pros and very minor cons, in my overall opinion they are some of the best tattoo ointments you can find. As a reminder, only a very thin layer of healing ointment should be applied, so as to let your new tat breathe. As always, if you have any concerns or questions about your new ink or whether or not a product is safe to use, it’s best to consult your artist.
Product images sourced from Amazon.