For many people, a tattoo is a form of art that expresses personal style and commemorates important life events. Having fresh ink is exciting, but it’s equally important to remember that getting a tattoo is similar to a medical procedure. After the artist inserts ink underneath the outermost layer of skin, you need to follow a careful regimen to ensure the tattoo heals properly without any potential complications.
As part of the tattoo healing process, you may be wondering when to start using lotion on a new tattoo. Below, we highlight aftercare tips from tattoo experts and professionals.
When to Start Using Lotion on Tattoo: What You Need to Know
According to tattoo artists, you should begin using lotion on a tattoo once it begins to dry. It is a waiting game, in a way. You don’t want to apply lotion while the ink is still wet. How long it takes the ink to dry is dependent on your body, the size of the tattoo, and environmental factors such as humidity. In general, tattoo artists say that it takes one to three days for a tattoo to begin to dry.
If you aren’t sure whether or not the tattoo is dry, remove the bandage and gently pull at your skin. Your skin will still be sensitive, but you should feel a slight sensation of tightness. Some people describe it as parched skin that feels like it is on the verge of slightly cracking. If your skin feels like this, then now is when to start using lotion on a new tattoo.
Another sign that it’s time to apply body lotion is to pay attention to the appearance of your skin itself. Does it look flaky? Does the tattoo look like it is beginning to scab? If so, don’t scratch the skin or pick at the scab! This is part of the natural healing process. Instead, take this as a sign of when to start putting lotion on a tattoo.
3 Steps to Moisturize and Nourish Your Tattoo
Now that you know when to start using body lotion on a new tattoo, let’s explore the proper step-by-step process for the best results.
1. Unwrap and wash the tattoo.
The first step is to gently take the bandage off your new tattoo. Don’t be surprised if some ink has “leaked” onto the underside of the bandage. This is normal. Because the tattoo is still fresh and your skin is tender, you’ll want to avoid washing the area under running water. Instead, take a soft towel and soak it in water with some antibacterial soap. Use this wet towel to gently clean the tattoo. If the area is still tender, then lukewarm water will help make the process more comfortable for you.
2. Dry the tattoo.
Before applying a deep moisturizing body lotion like our shea or quinoa one, make sure it is completely dry after a gentle wash. The best way to do this is to gently pat the tattoo with another towel. Patting the tattoo with a towel is key, as it minimizes any friction that can disrupt the healing process. With that being said, avoid rubbing the tattoo dry, as this can cause unexpected complications, such as fibers of the towel getting lodged into the tattoo.
3. Apply lotion to the area.
Finally, once the tattoo is dry, you can safely apply lotion to your tattoo and the surrounding skin. Use just enough lotion that it spreads evenly over the area without any excess. Too much lotion can lead to irritation or clogged pores. Even if you use the best body lotion available, don’t be surprised if the tattoo still feels itchy or slightly “stings” after you apply the lotion. Your skin is still extremely sensitive and is actively healing from this process.
The Best Lotion to Heal a Tattoo, According to Skin Experts
Many tattoo artists and skin care professionals liken a new tattoo to a minor medical procedure. After all, a needle inserts ink through the top layer of skin. Furthermore, there is a healing process that takes several weeks as well as an aftercare regimen that you will want to follow.
With all of that being said, the best lotion to heal a tattoo is one that is ultra-nourishing for dry skin, doesn’t have excessive chemicals and additives, and is as natural as possible.
At Nativa SPA, our body lotions feature our 100% pure Quinoa Oil formula. This Quinoa Oil formula nourishes the skin with 30 times more omegas than coconut oil, making it an excellent choice for dry, healing skin. It also provides twice the nutrients than is found in Argan and almond oils without the chemicals and additives found in many lotions sold at big box chains and department stores.
Replenishing lotion is key for thorough healing, moisturized skin, and a fresh tattoo that you can be proud to show off!
Frequently Asked Questions: New Tattoo Aftercare
We hope that this post has helped you better understand when to start using lotion on tattoos. Still, here are some of the most commonly asked questions.
How Often Should I Moisturize a New Tattoo?
According to tattoo artists and skincare experts, you should moisturize a new tattoo three times a day. While this might seem excessive, it’s important to remember that your skin is still healing and will be very tender from the process.
Moisturize the area:
- First thing in the morning. While we sleep, our bodies lose moisture through sweat and vapor from our breathing. Furthermore, we are essentially in a fasted state while we sleep, meaning that you’re not replenishing fluid loss through hydration while you’re asleep. Therefore, new tattoos are generally the driest in the morning, and this is the most important time to apply nourishing body lotion to the area.
- Midday. Around lunch time, chances are that the tattoo will have dried up. However, before applying more lotion, double check to make sure that this is the case. If the area is still moisturized, then you won’t want to apply more lotion, as this could “suffocate” the tattoo and put it at risk of infection.
- Evening. As previously mentioned, it’s normal for your body to lose moisture during the night. Therefore, you’ll always want to moisturize the tattoo in the evening to ensure your skin is nourished and is primed to promote healthy, fast healing.
How Long Does the Healing Process Usually Take?
The first two weeks of new tattoo aftercare are the most important. This is when your skin is going to be the most sensitive and when the tattoo is the most likely to become dry and flakey.
During weeks two to four, the tattoo might appear “dull,” but this doesn’t mean that the tattoo artist did a bad job. Rather, this means that the healing process is going well. Dead skin cells will begin peeling off and scabs will naturally fall off from the tattoo. This part of the healing process is what makes the tattoo look dull, but as the next layer of skin comes to the top, the tattoo will look fresh and as intended!
While the top layer might look finished one month after the tattoo, the lower layers of skin may need an additional 1-2 months to fully heal.
When Should I Stop Moisturizing My Tattoo?
You’ll want to follow this regimen for up to two months after your tattoo has completely healed.
However, you should always be moisturizing and nourishing your skin. Even after the tattoo is healed, make sure that your skin is healthy by consistently using body lotion that is intended to enrich your skin with the best that nature has to offer.