It’s a tricky line to tread, looking after your new tattoo and making sure it doesn’t get infected, while also leaving it alone to do its healing without being fiddled with!
Too much balm can be problematic, as skin needs to breathe while healing, but what happens if you don’t put any on at all?
Without moisturiser, there’s a risk that healing skin will get very dry, tight and itchy, and itchy skin that you can’t scratch - that in fact you shouldn’t touch at all - is not much fun! If you do itch then you risk damaging the new tattoo.
Tightness and Scabbing
Dry skin can also cause very tight scabs to form; these can flake and fall off easily, pulling the ink away with them, which you also really want to avoid.
Lastly, uncovered skin can be more open to infection, which can also damage the design; a fine layer of breathable balm works like a sticking plaster to protect against irritants and microbes.
Your skin needs to be looked after whether it’s been tattooed or not; it goes through the same natural cycle of repair and regeneration every 3-4 weeks, rebuilding its outer layer so that it can provide a robust barrier to the outside world.
Skin needs three things to repair itself:
A small amount of the appropriate balm can provide all three.
But in the end, everyone’s skin is unique. Some people choose to dry heal (ie don’t use aftercare balm at all) and have great results. For others, particularly those whose skin is already sensitive, dry or fragile, that’s not such a great idea. The skin of those who have a less resilient or faulty skin barrier (especially people prone to dry skin or eczema) needs daily moisturising with a protective, nourishing, hydrating balm, even without tattoos.
So consider the particular needs of your own skin when making decisions about aftercare, and choose the balm that works best for you.