What to Put on a New Tattoo? (Complete Guide)

In our many years of experience, we get the same question very often: what is the best thing to put on a new tattoo?

There's no short answer to that, that's why we've made this guide.

Long story short, the best thing to put on a tattoo should always combine both the protection of your skin and the preservation of an amazing looking tattoo.

what to put on a new tattoo

As said before, there’s no all-in-one magic product.

The tattoo aftercare process has different stages, and depending on which stage you are, you should be using one or another tattoo aftercare product.

Ready to know more? Let's jump into it.

What to Put On a New Tattoo

If you’ve followed us, you ‘ve probably read this before: aftercare for tattoo is arguably the most important part of getting a tattoo.

The following list shows the most important products for a proper aftercare process, ensuring a healthy skin and a good looking tattoo:

  • Moisturizer

Ensures the skin is properly moisturized, speeding up the healing process of your new tattoo.

If you want to know more about the benefits of using ointments (wet healing) in the healing process of a tattoo, check out this post: Benefits of Wet Healing a Tattoo (According to Science)

tattoo cream aftercare

  • Protective Tattoo Film

It gives you an extra protection against external objects and bacteria the first days of the healing process. The tattoo film MUST be breathable, otherwise you will put your skin at risk. 

Read more: Differences Between Protective Tattoo Film vs Cling Film

protective tattoo film

  • Soap

To make sure we clean the area safely, preventing bacteria from infecting our new tattoo, we need to use the right soap.

To give you the safest and most convenient cleaning process, we developed our professional tattoo foam soap. It's antibacterial, soothing and gives you an amazing sense of freshness

tattoo foam soap sorry mom

What to Put On a Tattoo - Long Term

  • Lotion

Once your new tattoo is fully healed, it's important to keep your skin properly hydrated. 

Our professional tattoo lotion, especially developed for long term tattoo care, is rich on Vitamin E and other hydrating and protective ingredients.

Thanks to its hydrating properties, your new tattoos will look vibrant for the years to come.


Sorry Mom tattoo lotion applied to new tattoo

  • Tattoo Sunscreen

Exposing your new tattoo directly to sunlight is a big no. However, once the tattoo is fully healed (around 2-3 weeks), you should always use sunscreen specifically developed for tattoos if you are going outside. 

Remember that the best solution to avoid tattoo fading is not getting sunlight at all. However, we understand the need of getting exposed to the sun from time to time.

In that case, we strongly recommend the use of a good tattoo sunscreen, with an SPF of 30 or higher.

tattoo sunscreen new tattoo

Is Coconut Oil Good for New Tattoos? 

Coconut oil based products are great for tattoo aftercare, as coconut oil has several inherent benefits. However, using coconut oil only on a new tattoo is not a good idea, as the tattoo is still an open wound, and it can affect negatively the healing process.

Read more about the topic here: 6 Amazing Benefits of Using Coconut Oil on Your Tattoo

What NOT to Put on a New Tattoo

- Don't Put Sunscreen On New Tattoos

Until your tattoo is completely healed, you should avoid sunscreen and sun exposure altogether.

If you want to know more about this, check this post: Can You Put Sunscreen On a New Tattoo?

- Scented Soaps

Generic, scented soaps often contain artificial fragrances and color to make them more appealing, but it just spells bad news for your new ink. Avoid them and use tattoo-specific soaps or neutral soap.

- Excessive Amounts of Moisturizer

It's common belief that the more you moisturize your tattoo, the better. But the truth is, that over moisturizing leads to clogged pores and breakouts in your skin.

A thin layer of your ointment or lotion to the tattooed area to avoid over moisturizing should be enough, as your new tattoo needs to breathe as well.

what to put on new tattoo

- Cling Film

In the past, cling film was used to help clients’ tattoos heal. However, it has substantial cons: it's not breathable and it's very uncomfortable. Use protective tattoo film instead to cover and mend your skin after getting your new tattoo. 

Read more about the topic here: Protective Tattoo Film vs Cling Film - Pros and Cons

NOTE: If your artist uses cling film to protect your tattoo the first hours / first night, it's okay. Just make sure you don't have your tattoo covered with cling film more than necessary (up to 1 day max).

- Home Remedies

Stick to certified products recommended by your artist, and avoid “secret” solutions for your tattoo healing.

8 Things to Avoid After Getting a New Tattoo

1. Sunlight

Sunlight and tattoos don’t usually make a good combo. Left unprotected, your tattoos can fade, and your skin will end up damaged.

Therefore, we recommend you avoid sun exposure altogether until your tattoo is fully healed so you can use tattoo sunscreen

2. Scratching / Peeling Off Dead Skin

This is exactly what you do not want to be doing to your skin when it’s healing from a tattoo.

Pulling attached skin could cause unsettled ink to pop out, leading to scarring, patchiness, and sometimes distortion within your tattoo.

Trust the process and let your skin do its thing.

3. Swimming

Swimming with a new tattoo invites different bacteria and viruses that live in the water to enter the tiny holes that the needle created during the tattooing process.

Keep the exposure to water to a minimum (showers) till your tattoo is fully healed.

Read more: Tattoos and Water: All You Need to Know

4. Excessive Sweating

Sweat builds on your skin and can inch into your tattoo, leading to itchiness and infection.

5. Wear Tight Clothing

Tight clothing won't only be uncomfortable due to constant rubbing against your tattoo, but it can also increase the chances of getting an infection -lack of oxygen-.  

6. (Not) Taking Care of Your Tattoo

We can't stress enough how important it is to take proper care of your new tattoo. 

Although a tattoo is just a cosmetic procedure, its effects go much deeper than your skin. For this reason, aftercare is essential not only for keeping your tattoo looking fabulous, but also for your overall health.

7. Bacteria

This is self explanatory, but it's important to remember that hygiene and a proper tattoo aftercare routine are the best ways to keep your new tattoo from getting infected. 

8. Hot Water

Hot water will open your pores, making your new tattoo more vulnerable to bacterial infection and possibly ink leakage.

Summary

Tattoo aftercare is really important, not only for aesthetics, but also –and most importantly- for your skin's health sake.

Using the proper products on your new tattoo will thus increase the chances of having an amazing-looking and healthy tattoo.

If you want to make the most out of the healing process, remember to follow the recommendations mentioned in this article. We hope with this information you can choose the best for your skin, and show your tattoos the love they deserve.

Our mission is to inspire and educate the tattoo community. We have combined our many years of experience in the industry and our love for tattoos to create useful and enlightening content. Join us in this exciting journey in the beautiful art of tattooing.
Welcome to Sorry Mom.

- Rasmus Cort Hansen, CEO & Founder