Getting a tattoo means making an investment in your body. It’s a work of art and a labor of love and pain. Large pieces can cost thousands of dollars, so you will want to take good care of them. Properly taking care of a new tattoo will ensure that it heals well and maintains its quality over time. When a tattoo is not taken care of, it can fade or worse, become infected. The first few weeks after getting a new tattoo are the most important for proper care, so make sure you are using a mild tattoo aftercare soap like Dial soap.
Even though I have five tattoos, I don’t always remember all the details about aftercare. And with such a big investment, I don’t want to make any guesses. That’s why I always double-check online to make sure I’m using the right soap and cleaning my new tattoo correctly. This guide has everything you need to know about tattoo aftercare soaps from the golden standard, Dial soap, to that green soap that tattoo artists use.
What Can I Use For Tattoo Aftercare Soap?
It’s important to only use mild, unscented soap on a new tattoo. Some popular tattoo aftercare soaps include:
- Dr. Bronner’s
Using an antibacterial soap is a good idea to prevent infection in the early stages of tattoo aftercare. An infection could prolong the healing process and alter the appearance of your tattoo. A mild, unscented soap is best because it will clean the skin, removing bad bacteria and dirt without causing any irritation.
When washing a new tattoo, make sure the water is not too hot. Hot water can dry out your skin, but warm water is OK. Furthermore, do not use a loofah or washcloth as these can also cause irritation or infection when the tattoo is still healing. Wash your hands first using unscented soap, then use your hands to wash the tattoo with the same soap.
Soap Ingredients to Avoid
Soaps that have alcohol as one of the primary ingredients tend to be harsh and dry out the skin. Therefore, they should be avoided when washing a new tattoo. That means you definitely don’t want to use hand sanitizer on any tattoos as hand sanitizer is usually made of 60% or more alcohol.
You may want to avoid soaps with sulfates as well. Sulfates can also dry out your skin and cause irritation especially if you have sensitive skin. You want to keep your skin clear and happy during the healing phase of your new tattoo.
Never thought to read the ingredients on your soap before? Well, getting a new tattoo is the time to do it! Check the ingredients list thoroughly for alcohol, sulfates, and perfumes. If your soap doesn’t have these ingredients, it’s most likely safe to use on your new tattoo. However, we recommend using one of the soaps on the list above to get the best results.
Can You Use Dial Soap On A Tattoo?
You can use regular Dial soap on a tattoo. It’s a very popular option for tattoo aftercare because it’s affordable and easily accessible. It comes in a bar and liquid version. The most popular Dial soap is Gold. It’s an unscented, anti-bacterial non-drying soap. They also have a White option that is popular as well.
It is completely safe to use Dial soap on your new tattoo. However, there is a caveat to this. Dial makes some soaps that are scented, and these soaps are not safe to use on a new tattoo. Fortunately, it’s easy to tell which ones are scented and which ones are not because the name of the scent is listed on the front of the package. Some popular scents they sell are Power Berries and Spring Water. While these soaps smell great, they are not safe to use on your new tattoo.
Should You Wash Your Tattoo Every Day?
You should wash your new tattoo at least once every day. You can wash it twice a day, but any more than that and you run the risk of drying out or irritating the skin. We recommend washing your tattoo once each morning and night for at least four weeks after you get the tattoo.
Also, you will probably want to take a break from the gym or any heavy exercise to keep from sweating too much the first few weeks after your tattoo appointment. Sweating profusely could require additional washing and increase your risk of infection.
After the initial four-week process is over, most tattoos will be completely healed. Then, you can go back to your regular hygiene routine using whatever soap you like.
How Long After A Tattoo Can You Wash It With Soap?
When you get a new tattoo, the artist will wrap it with plastic wrap. While you will probably be eager to show off your new ink (I always am), you should leave the plastic wrap on for the amount of time designated by your tattoo artist. This may vary based on the size and style of the tattoo. It may be a few hours to a full day. When you remove the plastic wrap, it’s time to wash your tattoo with the mild, unscented soap of your choice.
Why Should You Only Use Unscented Soap?
Soaps with perfumes, like alcohol-based soaps, can dry out or burn your skin. When a tattoo is healing, the skin needs to be moisturized. The chemicals used to scent soap may not irritate your skin normally, but the skin of a new tattoo is very sensitive and needs to be treated differently. Think of it as an open wound. It needs gentle care to avoid exposing it to bad bacteria and mild soap to keep the good bacteria doing its job.
When Can You Stop Using Unscented Soap?
If you have a favorite scented soap that you just can’t live without, don’t worry! You will only need to switch to unscented soap for your tattoo until it is fully healed. Once the tattoo is healed, you can go back to using your regular soap.
If you are getting a large tattoo, your tattoo artist may decide to complete the piece in multiple sessions. For example, I have a large tree on the side of my torso that goes from just under my shoulder to below my hip. The artist completed the outline first. Then, he filled in the tree over four subsequent sessions. I had to restart the aftercare routine and healing process after each session. Therefore, I used unscented soap on my tattoo, washing it twice a day for several months before my piece was complete and fully healed.
Does Soap Fade Tattoos?
Using harsh chemicals on a healing tattoo could cause it to fade faster than usual. This includes scented soap. Also, overwashing your tattoo or soaking it in soapy bath water while the tattoo is healing could cause the ink to fade. The best way to avoid fading and maintain the quality of your tattoo is to gently wash it twice a day with your hands, using warm water and a mild, unscented soap like Dial Gold.
Can You Use Green Soap During Aftercare?
Green soap is a specific type of soap that tattoo artists use to clean the site before they begin tattooing you. It helps to ensure that the tattoo process is safe and hygienic. The artist may also use this green soap to clean the area after they finish the tattoo before applying plastic wrap.
Green tattoo soap is an unscented, antibacterial soap that is also environmentally friendly, although that’s not where it gets its name. It’s called green soap because of its natural green tint.
Because green soap is usually 30% alcohol, it should not be used for regular tattoo aftercare once you leave the tattoo parlor. Furthermore, it is usually sold in bulk and needs to be diluted before use. It’s best to leave green soap for the professionals and use a mild over-the-counter soap for at-home tattoo aftercare.
The bottom line is, you can use unscented Dial soap on your tattoo. It’s a great option for a safe, readily-available mild soap to use on your new ink. However, it’s not the only option. Generally, any mild, unscented soap without alcohol is safe to use on a new tattoo. Once your tattoo is fully healed, which usually takes about four weeks, you can go back to using your preferred soap on all parts of your body. Taking care of a new tattoo can be a lot of work, but trust me, the results will be worth it!