Best Tattoo Aftercare Product | Pros & Cons [2023]

Getting a tattoo is a painful journey only a few choose. But what is the point of enduring the pain if you can’t retain the piece of art on the skin? If you have a tattoo already you know the first thing your tattoo artist will suggest to you are the best aftercare products possible. But often these aftercare products are used in the wrong way and result in a faded tattoo or in the serious case might be a skin infection. And that skin infection is the last thing you would want with your tattoo. That’s why choosing the best aftercare product properly and using those is a crucial part of tattoo aftercare.

Types of tattoo aftercare products and usage

There are so many different types of products are available that anyone can easily get confused. As everyone wants to make their way in this huge industry they provide different products with unique selling points. To get you out of that wrong decision just remember the following table and that’s all you need.

Product TypeTime to useProduct Details
OintmentDuring the primary stage of healingHigh percentage of oil and low percentage of waterVery thick, viscous spreading
BalmCan be used during primary healing, and later on the healing processThickest substanceSeems like a solid Ointment
CreamAfter the tattoo healing stageAlmost equal share of oil and water contentLess thick than OintmentAbsorbed easily compared to Ointment and Balm
MoisturizerAfter the tattoo healing stageMore percentage of oil and less waterAlmost similar viscosity as CreamAbsorbed easily like Cream
LotionAfter the tattoo healing stageMore percentage of water and less oilMost watery compared to othersAbsorbed very quickly
Usage of tattoo aftercare products

Why aftercare products are important

Remember, a tattoo is nothing but an artistic piece of the wound. You have to take special care of it for your own health issues. Without that care, you can face serious difficulties like a dripping tattoos, faded tattoo etc. If you consider health issues those are itching, scabbing even skin infection. So it is a must to put some effort for the aftercare of your tattoo. The tattoo parlor will cover the freshly done tattoo with a bandage. It will be discarded after a few hours and then your skin gets to the most vulnerable stage. As soon as you get rid of the bandage wash the tattoo area with antibacterial soap and put on a thin layer of ointment or balm. Be very careful not to clog the pores of the healing which will delay the healing process. You have to continue this practice for the first 7-10 days. After the tattoo area is healed lotion or moisturizer are used. It takes about four to six weeks for healing a tattoo.

In between the worst thing you can do is letting it dry out. Even the dermatologists strictly suggest to keep the tattoo hydrated. This reduced the risk of scabbing as well as the ink leaking or the ‘Oozing tattoo’. After all these there should be none to ignore the aftercare of tattoos. Rather investment on the aftercare will help you to keep this lifelong partner more vibrant.

The best of products of their type:

1. Ointment:

They are skincare product that is a like a thick gel like substance. It has a greater share of oil and thus it is greasy to skin. Because of this reason it is absorbed very slowly in the skin. It works greatly for holding the moisture. Also, it plays a role to prevent skin infection as it works a barrier to the skin. Therefore, ointment is used on the freshly made tattoo. But the important note here is, the skin needs Oxygen to heal. The skin barrier property of ointment closes the damaged or broken skin. That’s why the oxygen cannot pass through. So one thing must be remembered, a very thin layer of ointment should be applied on the skin.

1.1 A+D Ointment and Skin Protectant

A+D Ointment

A+D Ointment and Skin Protectant is one of the brightest product in the aftercare range. It is not only used in the tattoo aftercare but also for minor skin cut and other problems. It contains vitamin A and D and for this reason it surpassed the other medicated ointments. The cod liver oil, sourcing the vitamins made this unique. Moreover, Lanolin is the component which keeps the skin soft and the petroleum creates the barrier on the wound.

  • Components are well balanced
  • Prevents skin infection
  • Great performance at a low price
  • Complaints about scabbing
  • Some people want to avoid Petroleum
  • Greasy substance

1.2 Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment

Aquaphor Advanced Therapy

Aquaphor is one of the great products available for this purpose. Balanced formula having no fragrance and dye keeps it gentle on the skin. This ointment is very popular between dermatologists and Medicare people. Also, this multi-purpose cream helps to cure cracked heels, minor burns and cuts and dry lips. Overall Aquaphor is an all-round healer.

  • Amazon’s #1 tattoo ointment
  • Great healing power
  • Additional healing other than tattoos
  • Greasy feeling
  • Not absorbed easily
  • May have a breakout

1.3 INK-EEZE Green Glide Botanical Extract Aftercare Tattoo Ointment

INK-EEZE Green Glide Botanical Extract Ointment

INK-EEZE is the rising product in the aftercare industry. Without being the medicated product, it was developed by the renowned tattoo artists of the industry. The botanical extract formula produced in the USA is a cruelty free. The components like cucumber, carrot and cranberry hydrates the skin as well as keeps the moisture locked. The unique property of this aftercare is it can be used during making the tattoo and even at the initial stages of recovery. The ingredients of the product make the needle penetrate the skin easier. As it contains green tea and other natural components, the healing process is greatly enhanced. It resists the skin from damaging and also helps with itching and shedding.

  • Can be used during and after tattooing
  • Great healing power
  • Fully natural botanical formulation
  • Large container for small tattoos
  • Greasy substance and can stain clothes
  • Can be on a bit expensive side

2. Balm

Think about a product that is thicker than the ointment and is in a solid-state. Yes, that makes a balm. Oil or beeswax used as the base compound of the product there is only a little or no water in a balm. For this reason, balms are solid in a normal state. The use of balm is the same as ointments but with extra merit. Balms that are petroleum-based are the same as an ointment and should be applied in a thin layer. This inhibits the oxygen to get to the skin. On the other hand, balms that have a more natural base like coconut oil or beeswax will let the oxygen enter through the layer. Lastly one can easily say balms are just ointments with one extra feather on the crown.

2.1 Fisticuff’s Tattoo Balm

Fisticuff’s Tattoo Balm

If you are looking for a product that fulfills the perfect balm criteria Fisticuff’s Tattoo Balm would be that. It has a really good healing power. Firstly, it takes care of the swelling, cracking, and also the skin infection by fighting the bacteria. Secondly, they don’t use a petroleum base. Rather a range of natural components is used in the formulation. Lastly, the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties incorporated in this product make it out of reach of others. Having said that, this is the most appreciated balm in the industry as the artists love it. And not to mention, after the initial healing period ends, the use of this balm keeps the color of the tattoo in the best condition.

  • Speed healing
  • Keeps the skin color bright
  • Less itching and swelling
  • The natural scent is not liked by all
  • Can have complication on Super sensitive skin

2.2 Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm

Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm

The Canadian brand Skinfix is another favorite of the artists and dermatologists. Almost made of natural products, this one avoided petroleum, lanolin and even has no scent. Moreover, it used rich natural components such as vegetable oil as the base and shea butter, jojoba, etc. Because of avoiding petroleum, it is absorbed quicker than others. It prevents skin infection and also makes the skin soft to ensure fast healing. Lastly, it is not only used in the initial healing stage but can be used later as well.

  • A natural formula that is easy on the skin
  • Less irritation and complication in the recovery
  • Scent-free
  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Complaints about performance

2.3 Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm

Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm

Viking Revolution is well known for their beard growing products. But the tattoo aftercare products are taking the market very quickly. Soon they might climb on the top with their extraordinary product and customer dealing. All-natural product formulation by Viking is not a new approach. Then what makes them so special? You can apply the balm before, during, and after getting the tattoo. The balm makes the skin soft and retains the natural condition if the tattoo area is swollen or itching. Less irritation and less damage to the tattoo is the way it works. Even you can apply the balm on the old tattoos to make it a bit brighter. That’s probably offered by Viking Revolution only. After all, it ends, this brand hits you with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. So, you can contact them if you face any complications using their product.


  • Speed recovery
  • All-natural component
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Affordable price
  • A few people faced a rash
  • No ingredient list

3. Cream

Creams are half oil and half water containing aftercare product. But not to use in the initial healing stage. Creams have a consistency like regular moisturizer and so it is absorbed quickly than ointment or balm. Because of this, they are not the best defense against bacteria to fight infection. Rather they hold the moisture and hydration of the skin and keep the color bright. As they are easily spreadable on the tattoo, creams are used on the large area that is covered in tattoo-like hands and back.

3.1 H2Ocean Tattoo Aftercare Cream

H2Ocean Tattoo Aftercare Cream

H2Ocean Tattoo Aftercare Cream is an all-round product in the aftercare industry. It has a totally different approach to the substance which is foam. This foam product is based on water, so absorbed quickly. Also, it creates a barrier between bacteria or other pathogens. Moreover, it locks the color of the tattoo and nourishes the skin. Because of this, it is also used on old tattoos. The pharmaceutical grade product uses anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties in the cream or foam whatever you say. Thus it makes a perfect tattoo aftercare product.

  • Pharmaceutical grade components
  • Speeds up the healing process
  • Keeps the color of the tattoo intact
  • Contains Parabens
  • Few had skin irritation
  • Somewhat expensive

3.2 Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Butter

Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Butter

If you are looking for overall skincare made for tattoos, don’t go anywhere. Hustle Butter Deluxe is the solution for all the problems inside one tub. It is made for use before, during, and after making a tattoo. It the best replacement for petroleum-based ointment or cream or balm as it does the work of all.

However, the formulation components of this are just above anything. Aloe butter, organic shea, green tea, mango, vitamin E complex, Sunflower oil, rice bran oil, Rosemary Oleoresin, organic coconut, mint parvenus essential oil with the essence of papaya, and coconut inside a tub, and who wants anything else? Also, it does not clog the pores of the skin as other petroleum-based products do. After that, it has a cooling effect on the skin to reduce itchiness. And then, it speeds up the healing process taking care of the swelling of the tattoo area, redness. Moreover, it reduces scabbing as much as possible. That is another reason why anyone would love it. And finally, it doesn’t hamper the stencils a bit. Preserves the color along with moisture. In a nutshell, it is the best thing for the overall process not specialized on a certain stage.

  • Used by professional artists before and during tattooing
  • Reduces swelling and redness
  • All-natural formula
  • Can be used for minor cuts and others


  • Can create allergic problems
  • A greasy product that can make stains on clothes
  • More expensive compared to other similar products

3.3 Redemption Tattoo Care

Redemption Tattoo Care

Redemption Tattoo care is one of the rising products which is liked by the users very much. It is one of Amazon’s Choice products. It is has a very high rating and also comes at an affordable price. Though the cream/ ointment can feel like petroleum-based products, it is a natural formulation. This amazing tub contains organic Castor Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Cocoa butter, Organic Coconut oil, organic vegetable glycerin, organic Arrowroot powder, organic Calendula oil, Organic Arnica, Organic Chamomile extract, organic rosemary extract, and Mixed Tocopherols. That’s why it keeps the tattoo healthy with the ink in its place also the surrounding area. Finally, this product works as a barrier like an ointment and keeps skin safe from infection.

  • Quick recovery
  • Less itching and scabbing
  • Highly recommended by users
  • Required in a more than usual amount
  • Expensive compared to others

4. Moisturizer

Most people face difficulties differentiating moisturizer with lotion. Well, moisturizers are thicker compared to lotions having a bigger portion of oil than lotion. Also, it is absorbed at a slower rate. Because of this moisturizers can retain the moisture for a longer time. One of the best things moisturizers help against is the grave mistake that is not allowed to do after having a tattoo, ‘Drying out the tattoo’. Whenever the skin gets dry near the tattooed area, just put on some moisturizer and that’s what it is needed for. It also reduces the itchiness of the tattoo while recovering.

4.1 Unedited Tattoo Moisturiser

Unedited Tattoo Moisturiser

If there is a competition between the moisturizers for tattoo unedited is going to win that leaving everything else far behind. This is a moisturizer that has the base of coconut oil. It also heals the skin rapidly. Because of the coconut oil skin can breathe oxygen as well. It is not greasy, absorbed quickly. All the natural ingredient makes it a great choice in the moisturizer section.

  • All natural ingredients
  • Speed up healing
  • Great for moisturizing
  • Expensive compared to similar products
  • Customers complained about being too thick and not absorbing.

4.2 Malibu Tan Hemp Tattoo Enhancing Body Moisturizer

Malibu Tan Hemp Tattoo Enhancing Body Moisturizer

Although new to the market this moisturizer is being taken positively by the users. The product makes tattoos look more sharp and bright. Made of shea butter, aloe, silicones and hemp seed oil (naturally free of THC) that creates a highly effective hydration barrier. This Tan Hemp is thus a works as a great natural moisturizer with all the natural components. This product comes in a great packing with 18 fluid ounce bottle and a dispenser pump which makes it very handy to use.

  • Natural formulation
  • Makes tattoo brighter and sharper
  • Great handy bottle to use
  • Aloe can create problems for tattoos sometimes
  • Not a renowned brand

4.3 Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion

Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion

If you are not so concerned about any tattoo specialized moisturizer then Lubriderm might be the best choice for you. Not a tattoo specialist but it is used by many who have one or more tattoos. This moisturizer is a daily lotion for any kind of skin and preferred by dermatologists. It has Glycerin in it which keeps the skin moisture intact. Moreover, vitamin B5 is another component that promotes healing and quicker healing is obtained.

Another plus point is, it is absorbed quickly on the skin which makes people comfortable. Not to think about the staining on the cloth. Also, the moisturizer is affordable by anyone as the price is very cheap. It keeps the skin smooth and soft as well. On the contrary, people can point out one major fact which is Lubriderm contains mineral oil. Some argue on this fact that mineral oil might be harmful to the skin. While they might have logic to argue anti-logic is also there. If you don’t mind having mineral oil in your moisturizer Lubriderm can be a knight in shining armor.

  • Smooth and soft skin appearance
  • Very affordable
  • Quickly absorbed in the skin
  • Contains mineral oil
  • Not tattoo specialized

5. Lotion

Lotion is a kind of aftercare that has more water content than oil, compared to moisturizers. It can be spread easily as the lotion is very watery. They are also cheaper compared to other type of aftercare products. However, they keep the skin hydrated and make it soft. Lotions can be applied right after the tattoo stops ‘weeping’ which means leaking ink. As soon as the pores made by the needles are closed, lotion can be preferred aftercare product as it is both cost effective and gets absorbed very quickly. This reduces irritation of the greasy texture.

5.1 After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer & Aftercare Lotion

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer & Aftercare Lotion

If anyone is asked about a prominent brand and product in the tattoo or piercing industry the first name that would come is After Inked. They make a regular moisturizing lotion for fresh or old tattoos. The brand has some outstanding points to make it on the top. Even it is one of the highly recommended products on Amazon. The reasons would be, firstly, it is a totally natural product with 100% vegan formula. Its petroleum-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. Secondly, they are clinically tested for skin type meaning people with sensitive skin doesn’t have to scroll more. You have got the best product available in the market.

Moreover, it is highly recommended by world-famous artists. Having said all this, one unique point that makes this standout is, if anyone does a laser tattoo removal he/she can use this product as well. This property is the specialty of After Inked. The natural ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, jojoba, orange, and grape seed oils make a subtle natural scent that is liked by most. Although users reported a sting feeling when applied on the fresh tattoo After Inked is a standout lotion in the aftercare market.

  • 100% vegan composition
  • Very good moisturizer without being thick or greasy
  • Spread easily and absorbed quickly
  • Pleasant and subtle natural aroma
  • Many customers reported skin complications like rashes etc.
  • Can increase scabbing
  • Can sting on freshly  done tattoo

5.2 Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

When it comes to using a natural but totally different component Aveeno is the lone ranger. Colloidal oats are what they use in their lotion which is a prime ingredient to lock the moisture. It is not specialized for tattoos but the lotion keeps the skin hydrated for long and also makes the skin rejuvenate. This enhances the natural property of retaining moisture. Also, the scent-free character is preferred by most. Aveeno keeps the tattoo hydrated as well it makes the skin soft and nourishes it. Highly recommended by dermatologists this is a gem in the aftercare industry.

  • Very affordable price
  • Natural colloidal oat based
  • Can be used on tattoo as well as daily lotion
  • Contains more oil compared to others
  • Not tattoo specialized

5.3 Tattoo Goo The Lotion

Tattoo Goo The Lotion

Tattoo Goo is a popular name in the tattoo industry as many of the artists recommend this product. This is one of the highly-rated products with a wide range of customer satisfaction. However, they have a fan base because of the performance they show on colors. Most of the people have found this helpful on the black, grey and different colors. They penetrate deep into the skin and improves skin quality. Moreover, the clinically approved lotion has a fine consistency to apply and get absorbed. The natural formulation is very light on the skin and has no side effects. Cocoa butter, olive oil being the ingredients, it is totally petroleum-free, lanolin-free.

  • Natural formulation which is very easy on the skin
  • Works greatly on the tattoo colors
  • Pleasant and mild scent
  • Gets expensive for large tattoos
  • Might face problems with sensitive skin

6. Tattoo Aftercare Kit

Aftercare kits are a perfect set with all the products needed. Different brands include different products though. One aftercare kit is enough to take care of the tattoo done. It can contain ointment, moisturizer, balm, and cleanser. Though tattoo artists prefer to use particular products of a particular brand, these kits are gaining popularity in the market recently.

6.1 Billy Jealousy Marked IV Life Tattoo Care Kit

Billy Jealousy Marked IV Life Tattoo Care Kit

This aftercare kit contains a tattoo cleanser, a tattoo lotion, and a tattoo salve. The cleanser is one of the best available in the market. It helps to get rid of the extra oil of the skin, dirt, and dead skin cells. The salve and lotion both are comprised of natural ingredients. Cucumber extract works to retain the color of the tattoo and also helps the skin to keep the moisture. It enhances the vibrant colors of the tattoos. Glycolic AHA and papaya extract help the skin to refresh and rejuvenate. They polish the tattoo colors. Essential oils and shea butter included in the lotion makes the skin lively and soft. Also, makes the tattoos look bright. The green tea leaf extract contains an anti-oxidant that is one of the essential ingredients to keep the skin healthy and shields from free radicals.

  • Doesn’t clog the pores
  • Keeps the tattoo bright and clean
  • Polishes and exfoliates the skin
  • A single product of the kit is not available
  • A bit expensive

6.2 Nat-A-Tat2 Tattoo Care Kit

Nat-A-Tat2 Tattoo Care Kit

What can you ask for when you get a certified natural and 100% vegan tattoo care kit? This kit includes a foam tattoo cleanser, tattoo lotion, and a tattoo balm. Also, as a little gift, you’ll get a mint-flavored chap stick. The foam wash is a great cleanser that helps to get the unwanted dirt and dust cleaned out from the tattoo. Helps to reduce the pressure on the skin of the freshly done tattoo because of the foam form. The lotion is another great one with a natural substance. It has a cooling effect that relieves you from the itchiness during the healing process.

The balm of this kit is another desirable one. It has shea butter and Vitamin E which keeps the skin nourished and moisturized. The coconut oil, castor oil makes the color of the tattoo bright. Finally, the best part of this kit is that each product is available individually if anyone wants only one or two of it.

  • Certified natural and vegan
  • Works very well on tattoo colors
  • Does both the healing and moisturizing
  • Cleanser can sting on fresh tattoo
  • Full kit might be a bit expensive

7. Additional Aftercare

These are not a crying need for an art piece on your body, rather they can support the longevity and enables great maintenance of your tattoos for the rest of your life.

7.1 Ed Hardy Get Ripped Cooling Bronzer Tattoo Fade Protection Tanning Lotion

Ed Hardy Get Ripped Cooling Bronzer Tattoo Fade Protection Tanning Lotion

This product from Tanovations is a wonder and lone standing aftercare. This is an oil-free serum that stimulates tyrosine activity and prevents the fading of the tattoo. The vibrant tattoo is maintained properly without any design hampering. Also, the cooling technology keeps the skin protected from irritation. The serum makes the tattoo stay longer, pops the colors, and maintains healthy skin. Overall, it is a worth investing product in the aftercare category.

  • Prevents the tattoo from fading
  • Enhances elasticity of the skin
  • Cooling effects reduces skin irritation
  • Masculine scent
  • Might seem extra costing for aftercare

7.2 INK Tattoo Brighter Balm

INK Brighter

It is another standalone product in the aftercare that might be the exact one you need. This balm from INK The Original brand is an instant tattoo brightening product. How about just improving the detailing and color of your tattoo before going somewhere out? However, it has vitamin C in it which makes the skin healthy. As a result, the skin exfoliates more. But that’s not the limit for this. It works as an organic moisturizer and contains anti-oxidant. So, the skin gets the perfect blend of nutrition it needs. Finally, this is a toxin-free, and cruel product.

  • Instant brightening
  • Balanced organic ingredients
  • Helps the skin to retain natural condition
  • Might seem expensive
  • Fragrance might be bothering


Well, the debate about tattoo aftercare products has been going on for quite a while now! These are the common questions that are often asked.

Which are the products I must buy for the aftercare?

There are no such guidelines for the most needed products. However, during the initial stage, any product that will heal the skin as well as save it from infection have to be used. Try finding one that suits your skin by applying any other place rather than the tattoo. After that, any product for long term maintenance should be used.

Is there any extra advantage of tattoo specialized products?

Regular moisturizers or ointments are not specialized for any specific purpose. So they can be used in any case. But recently the tattoo specialized products are including ingredients that keep the tattoo in a very good condition for a long time. So there might be some advantages of the tattoo specific aftercare but it is debatable.

What substances or ingredients should be avoided?

Some of the ingredients might seem harmless for the skin but they can be a nightmare for freshly done tattoos. They can leak the ink or further damage the damaged skin where a tattoo is done. These ingredients should be avoided after having a fresh tattoo.
• Aloe
• Baby Oil
• Bag Balm
• Mineral Oil
• Neosporin
• Noxzema
• Peroxide
• Vaseline
• Vitamin E

What are the common mistakes done after having a fresh tattoo?

When a tattoo is done, your skin is damaged to some great extent. So it should be taken care of as well as the ink or tattoo should be considered sensitive. Some small mistakes can just discard the ink or permanently damage the tattoo. Some of those are:
• Submerging your tattoo in water
• Stretching the skin or underlying muscles via exercise
• Wearing skin-tight clothing over your tattoo
• Scratching, rubbing, or picking at your new tattoo
• Spending too much time in direct sunlight