The Best Moisturizer To Use On A New Tattoo, According To An Expert

Tattooing is one of the most popular forms of body art, of course alongside scarification and dermal piercings, and great body art starts with sharp pain. Imagine having your skin punctured repeatedly by sewing machine-like needles infused with ink droplets. There's no easy way to answer if the end result of your tattoo is worth all the physical ordeal, but one thing is for sure: you want to make sure your pain is not in vain.

In theory, tattoos are made to stay on your body forever, but the ink will fade over time as a result of macrophage absorption in addition to external factors such as UV rays, friction, and poor maintenance, per Stories & Ink. Not to mention, improper tattooing aftercare can hinder healing and lead to a skin infection. A strongly recommended aftercare protocol to help keep your fresh ink in mint condition is to keep up with a daily moisturizing routine. Keeping your tattooed skin adequately moisturized in the initial days is essential for accelerated healing and preventing color fading. With that in mind, we spoke to Asher Adelman, the CEO and founder of skincare company Spearhead Soaps for advice on how to find the best moisturizer for a new tattoo.

A natural moisturizer goes a long way

According to Asher Adelman, the best kind of moisturizer for a fresh tattoo is a natural moisturizer that doesn't contain any artificial or chemical ingredients. "There are a number of chemicals that are found in commercial moisturizers that can be harsh on our skin, especially skin that has just been tattooed," Adelman explains. "Also, whatever we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, so we should always try to use natural, chemical-free skincare products."

Adelman strongly recommends moisturizers with the primary ingredient being tallow, a rendered form of beef fat. Since it's derived from fat, tallow has a waxy and silky-smooth texture similar to butter and feels soft on the skin. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, D, E, K2, and B12; and choline, tallow does a wonderful job in nourishing, cleaning, and moisturizing the skin, especially when it's healing from a new tattoo, according to Adelman. Due to its moisture-retaining benefits, tallow has been used and loved by humans as a soap and moisturizer for thousands of years.

How to avoid over-moisturizing tattoos

To keep your tattoo moisturized and prevent irritation, a thin layer of natural moisturizer is enough. Lathering your tattoo with globs of moisturizer can do more harm than good. Over-moisturizing your tattoo or moisturizing it when it's still wet can result in the water getting trapped between the ink and the moisturizer, causing excess moisture in your tattoo and making changes to its appearance. 

What's more, Saved Tattoo adds that excessive moisturizing can make it harder for your tattoo to dry and heal properly, create ideal conditions for bacteria and germs to grow, and increase the risks of tattoo inflammation and infection. Over-moisturizing can also clog pores and cause newly tattooed skin to break out with pimples. The general rule of thumb is to moisturize your new tattoo three to six times a day in thin layers. If you follow this, your tattoo will most likely heal properly, and you'll have no reason to worry.