If you are looking into getting a tattoo or have just gotten one, odds are you’ve heard about tattoo balms. There are countless products on the market to assist with tattoo aftercare. Due to the number of items on the market, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed with what you should be using to help protect your new ink.
Tattoo balms are definitely worth it, and they can make or break the healing process when you get fresh ink. But there’s more to learn about the way they work, and it’s important to educate yourself on the proper usage for these balms too.
In this article, you’ll find information about what tattoo balms do, what they’re usually made of, and which ones to try. You’ll also find advice on how often and how long to use them, so check out the tips and info below to learn more.
What do tattoo balms do?
Tattoo balms are designed to protect your skin and help it heal more efficiently following a tattoo. When you get a tattoo, your skin is pierced over and over again by a needle. Even though you see this experience as art, your skin sees it as a wound, and it will go to work right away trying to heal itself.
Unfortunately, without the proper protection, your skin may develop infections or scar over following a tattoo. This can make the tattoo look bad and can also lead to further complications if left unmanaged. With the help of a tattoo balm, you can prevent this outcome and get your skin back to its usual self—plus new ink—as soon as possible.
Do you really need to use a tattoo balm?
Not everyone who gets a tattoo uses a tattoo balm during the healing process, but they probably should. While it’s not necessarily a requirement, using a high-quality tattoo balm can make a huge difference in the way your skin looks and feels during and after the tattoo heals.
Additionally, your skin will feel better when you use a tattoo balm. The healing process following a tattoo usually leaves your skin dry, flaking, itchy, and scabbed. When you use the right balm, you can get rid of most, if not all, of these symptoms.
Tattoo balms are recommended over using regular body lotion. Most lotions on the market contain chemicals that should not be applied to your new tattoo to avoid damage and skin irritation.
When should you start applying a balm after getting a tattoo?
Although some tattoos may have different requirements than others, it’s generally a good idea to remove the bandages from your fresh tattoo about four or five hours after it’s finished. This way, you’ll give your tattoo enough time to start healing, but you can also give it a chance to breathe shortly after.
As soon as you take the bandages off, you’ll want to start using a tattoo balm. The sooner you begin the use of a balm like this, the easier it will be for your skin to heal properly.
How long do balms last after applying?
Once you apply the tattoo balm of your choice, you can expect it to moisturize and heal your skin for about eight hours. This length of time may vary depending on how big the tattoo is and the overall health and condition of your skin. Additionally, you should remember to stay hydrated so your balm will last longer and keep your skin moisturized more easily too.
Your balm will need to be reapplied about three times a day, give or take. Plan to apply it at least twice and no more than four times a day for best results.
How long should you use a balm after getting a tattoo?
You should continue using your tattoo balm until your tattoo has fully healed. The size and location of your tattoo as well as your skin’s overall health will all play a part in determining how long it takes your tattoo to heal completely, but the general rule of thumb is about two weeks.
Use your tattoo balm at least twice a day (and three times a day if possible) every day for the two weeks following your tattoo. Check your skin at this point. If it looks like it still needs a little more time, there’s no harm in continuing to use the balm for another week.
What are the most common ingredients in a tattoo balm?
There are a lot of different types of tattoo balm on the market, and each one has slightly different ingredients. It’s a good idea to choose balms that are made up of all-natural ingredients so you can give your skin plenty of nutrients during the healing process.
Ingredients you might find in your tattoo balm include cocoa butter or shea butter, beeswax, almond oil, mango butter, green tea, or peppermint oil. You might also find a tattoo balm that includes vitamins and essential oils to help soothe your skin.
What are some of the best brands of tattoo balm?
By now you might be wondering how to pick a tattoo balm, or if it really matters which ingredients or type of balm to consider. It does matter, and learning what to look for in a good balm can ensure you end up with the right product for your needs.
It’s best to stay away from any balms that contain lanolin or petroleum, since these ingredients can clog up your pores and actually make it harder for your tattoo to heal the right way. Sticking with natural ingredients is best, and there are a couple of top brands you should check out if you’re looking for the perfect balm.
As one of the most well-known and widely recognized brands of tattoo balm on the market, Mad Rabbit (Amazon link) is a great choice if this is your first tattoo. It works well to preserve the ink as well as keep your skin healthy and moisturized, and it doesn’t leave behind an oily residue.
This balm features high-quality all-natural ingredients that are gentle for sensitive or irritated skin. It can be used on color tattoos as well as black and grayscale ink, and it is scented to make it more pleasant to use. Many tattoo artists recommend this product as their top choice in balms.
Ora’s Tattoo Salve
Ora tattoo salve (Amazon link) is one of my favorite aftercare products on the market. It’s completely all natural and does an excellent job of relieving the annoying itch that develops on your skin within a few days of your tattoo session.
I also like using Ora’s on my tattoos after they have healed. I usually apply a small amount of the salve every week or two on all of my tattoos. For a more detailed review on this salve, you can check out my article here.
Hustle Butter Deluxe
Hustle Butter Deluxe (Amazon link) is another of the most commonly recommended tattoo balms and is frequently used by tattoos artists as well. This product includes green tea and vitamin E in addition to its other all-natural ingredients, making it a well-rounded balm that heals and moisturizes quickly.
This balm is made specifically to reduce inflammation and irritation in dry and damaged skin. It can help take down any swelling that may occur on the surface level after your tattoo, and it doesn’t leave behind any grease when you put it on. This balm is another excellent choice for first tattoos.
When you take the time to choose the best tattoo balm, you’ll be taking the first step in healing your skin. Whether this is your first tattoo or you’re a pro with plenty of ink, you need to do your part to take care of your own skin following a tattoo of any size.
And don’t forget, when it comes to aftercare, make sure to listen to what your tattoo artist has to say. Your artist knows best and can give you the most accurate information specific to your needs. Be sure to ask them for their tattoo balm recommendation while you’re there!