How Do I Choose the Best Tattoo Lotion?

A person getting a tattoo.
Woman with tattoos on her arm and back.
A tattoo machine.
Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2014
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Choosing the best tattoo lotion depends on whether your tattoo is brand new or mature. For the former, you will want to look for a lotion that does not contain any fragrance or pore-clogging ingredients. To aid in healing, a lotion with vitamins D and A will typically be ideal. If your tattoo is already healed, protecting your ink from fading should be your primary concern when choosing a lotion.

It is important to remember that a new tattoo is technically an open wound and, therefore, can be easily bothered. Using the wrong type of lotion while it is still healing can not only be painful, but can also ruin the ink before your skin heals over it. When choosing the best tattoo lotion for still-healing ink, avoid anything that has added fragrances as these can irritate the skin, causing burning, scabbing, and splotches in the tattoo.

While keeping a healing tattoo moist helps your skin to heal and the ink to remain vibrant, it also needs to be exposed to air in order to heal properly. Using a tattoo lotion that can clog your pores can slow down healing, increase your risk of an infection, and result in damage to your artwork. When choosing a tattoo lotion, look for items labeled as noncomedogenic, and avoid anything that is petroleum- or lanolin-based, as these ingredients are known for clogging pores and restricting airflow.


Certain vitamins can help to moisturize your tattoo while aiding in the healing process. Many tattoo artists recommend using an ointment that contains vitamins A and D for several days after you have the work done, as these can speed up the skin’s healing process. In some cases, artists will recommend simply using a tattoo lotion with these ingredients, as well as vitamin E, from the moment you remove the bandage rather than using an ointment at all. A lotion with these vitamins will typically help your tattoo to heal more quickly and provide adequate moisture so that the ink stays bright and true to color.

When choosing a tattoo lotion for work that has already healed, you can typically use anything. Despite this, choosing a lotion that contains at least SPF 15 can help to protect your tattoo from fading due to sun damage, and can be easier to use rather than applying a regular sunscreen over your tattoo. Even if your tattoo is not typically exposed to the sun, any amount of sunlight can fade it in the end, and taking a proactive approach to caring for it will help to keep your tattoo looking brand new for significantly longer.


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