Not got the right balm to hand and wondering what will happen if you don’t moisturise your new tattoo? We look at the way moisturising can help keep your tattoo bright and intense.
Why do tattoo artists recommend you moisturise a new tattoo? Well, it’s because skin needs every bit of help it can get to heal well. A tattoo is a trauma to the skin; it will start to repair itself from the moment the needles finish their work, but skin needs moisture and some amount of protection to heal.
However, everyone heals differently; some people insist on using nothing until the tattoo starts to peel, and then only a fine layer of moisturiser. Some people find they need several applications a day of a rich, oil-based balm in order to avoid the tattoo getting too dry and forming scabs that pull away the ink.
The trick is to find what works for you, your skin and your own healing process.
And don’t forget that the most important part of tattoo aftercare is to keep your tattoo meticulously clean.
Wash it twice a day with a gentle, unscented, soap- and sulphate-free wash at least twice a day, and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
Most people would advise you use a gentle, natural balm for the first few days, at least until the skin starts to peel, somewhere between day 3 and day 5. We’d recommend Skin Salvation for this stage of aftercare. Apply a fine layer only; don’t smother your tattoo in salve! Just put on enough for it to shine.
Once your tattoo is onto the next stage of its healing process, you can switch to a lighter cream (like our Daily Moisturising Cream) if you’d prefer, but you can stick with the balm if it’s working for you!
At this point, what you’re trying to do is stop your skin from drying out too much, getting itchy or cracked or otherwise damaged. This will depend a bit on your natural skin type: some people tend to have dryer or more sensitive skin than others, and more of a tendency to scratch and itch!
To conclude: everyone’s different!
If your skin manages well without any kind of moisturiser, then do what works for you. If your skin could do with some help to stay nourished and hydrated, and balm helps it not to dry out and itch like crazy, then go for it!
Recommended tattoo aftercare products:
Balmonds Skin Salvation balm with hemp and beeswax (from £7.99 for 30ml)
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash with calendula & nettle (£19 for 200ml)
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream with chamomile and shea butter (from £13.99 for 100ml)
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.