Getting a tattoo is more than simply a work of art and a method to express oneself. It’s also considered to be a medical treatment since it requires artists to insert the ink beneath the skin with a needle.
When someone’s skin is exposed after recently getting a tattoo, their skin becomes vulnerable to bacteria which can cause infections and leave a nasty scar on the tattoo area.
Thus, right after getting a tattoo, it is wise to ensure that it is healing correctly. Thus, to make sure of it, you need to cooperate with your body’s natural healing process as well as with your tattoo artist.
However, taking extra steps from your end will not always solve problems; it may make things worse if you are not careful enough. This is why we have curated this article in hopes of answering your question, “Can You Put Vaseline on a Tattoo?”.
In simple words, you can but it depends on the context and the condition of your tattoo. Applying vaseline on a completely healed tattoo is a good idea if the area feels dry or wrinkly. However, scientifically, it’s wise if you do not apply vaseline on a new tattoo that still hasn’t healed.
That should answer the basics, however, we are opting to answer more in this article. We will go in-depth about the dos and Don’ts of applying vaseline on the Tattoo, the best alternative to vaseline, and a comparison between vaseline and Aquaphor.
When Is It Not Appropriate To Apply Vaseline On A Tattoo?
A common question may lurk among the minds of many, “why should I not use vaseline on my tattoo if my tattoo artists asked me to?”
To answer this question, we will be diving deep into some biological reasoning as to why applying vaseline might not always be appropriate.
If you have just gotten a new tattoo then you are almost always asked to put petroleum jelly such as vaseline on the affected area for relief. However, most of these suggestions from tattoo artists or other tattoo lovers stem from anecdotal accounts.
This implies that it may have worked from the perspective of a few people, but there’s usually no scientific proof or explanation that they may have to back up their suggestion.
Dermatologists have confirmed that applying too much vaseline on a new tattoo can cause it to trap bacteria and moisture together on the open wounds which can lead to infections and scarring.
Just like any natural healing process, your new tattoos also need ventilation and a constant supply of airflow to heal fast. Applying petroleum-based products can cause the open skin to suffocate and help support the breeding of bacteria.
In scientific terms, it is said that petroleum-based lotions are non-porous and can shut down the supply of oxygen to the wound area which is only going to make things worse.
This can cause fading of your tattoo ink and can take longer to heal which can result in you getting a nasty infection later on.
When Is It Appropriate to Apply Vaseline On A Tattoo?
If you are an avid vaseline user and can’t make do without using it then you would be glad to know that there are situations where it’s OK to apply vaseline on your tattoo without having to face any biological consequences.
It is okay for just about anyone to apply vaseline to their tattoo after it has completely healed (2-3 months). Once you realize that there is no bleeding or leaking of ink from the tattooed area.
Generally, we recommend you to apply vaseline if your skin feels dry, or wrinkly and you would like the tattooed area to stay preserved.
When the timing and context are right, applying Vaseline can be a good thing, after all, just make sure you never apply it to a brand new tattoo.
There’s just one exception when you may apply Vaseline on your new tattoo.
That is too when you are about to get a new shower over your bandaged tattoo. Depending on the tattoo size and place, some tattoo artists will wrap a bandage around your tattoo and apply Vaseline just to make sure the tattoo area doesn’t drown in water in case some of it leaks through.
As water can be a breeding ground for bacteria, protecting your open tattoo wound from exposure to water with Vaseline is a better trade-off in this context.
What Is The Best Alternative for Vaseline to Put On A New Tattoo?
If Vaseline isn’t the answer then what is? Many questions in the minds of many sometimes also include the question, “Can I put Vaseline on my tattoo instead of Aquaphor?”
All these questions linger in the minds of many of our readers and we are here to make sure that isn’t the case anymore.
Let’s answer the magnum opus of all questions, what truly can you apply to a new tattoo that won’t cause any harm and instead might even make the recovery faster?
To answer your question, we will both include a short answer and an in-depth scientific explanation to back our statements up.
The aftercare process is a vital step toward ensuring that the healing process of your new tattoo goes as smoothly as possible.
This includes no fading of the ink, crusting, or any form of scabbing, irritation, or infections forming from it.
However, what exactly is the perfect lotion that you can apply to your new tattoo that won’t hamper the healing process nor cause any additional harm.
Usually, different people have varying opinions on what works best for them as factors like the weather, skin condition, and skin type come into play, thus, whatever may work best for you might not work best for others!
The safest option compared to vaseline, that is approved by dermatologists will be moisturizers that are breathable (are porous). These lotions are specially curated for tattoo healing and usually have water as their primary ingredient.
You have to make sure that the alternatives you use do not contain any strong ingredients which can irritate due to allergies or scabbing. Also always double-check that your options are fragrance, alcohol, and color free.
Enough mumbling about what the characteristics of a proper aftercare tattoo lotion should include. To name some would include the following: Coconut oil, Cocoa butter, Curel, Eucerin, Shea butter, Lubriderm, and Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion.
They are tested and guaranteed to be a hundred times better than vaseline!
Aquaphor Vs Vaseline: Which One Should You Put?
If you are confused between aftercare products and are under the dilemma of choosing between two specific most recommended lotions, then this section is for you.
In this section, we will be specifically comparing Aquaphor and Vaseline and help you choose the one you should opt for between the two! No longer will you have to google, “Can I Put Vaseline on my Tattoo instead of Aquaphor?”.
Disclaimer: Before we dive deep into the comparison, I would like to mention something vital. Aquaphor itself is not a moisturizer in the traditional sense. It will only trap the water that is already on your skin. This is because it contains petroleum which also renders the surface of your skin impenetrable.
Hence, both vaseline and Aquaphor are not recommended for newly formed tattoos. However, if you plan on using them after your tattoo has completely healed or during showering sessions while your tattoo is in the healing process, then this comparison is for you!
What Vaseline Has To Offer:
Vaseline is fully 100% petroleum-based. It creates a barrier around your skin which prevents the loss of moisture from the skin. Hence creating a barrier that does not allow germs and other invaders to attack your skin and cause trouble.
What Aquaphor Has To Offer:
Aquaphor is only 41% petroleum jelly which is the same as the compound in vaseline with a far lower percentage. Mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, and glycerin (a popular humectant), are some other constituents in Aquaphor that are not usually present in vaseline.
However, If you are allergic to lanolin, it is not recommended that you use Aquaphor healing ointment as it can cause skin imperfections and breakouts.
Which One Should You Use?
If you are hellbent on using petroleum-based products on your new tattoo and are in a severe dilemma between choosing Aquaphor and Vaseline, then we would suggest you go for Aquaphor.
Aquaphor is a superior moisturizer to Vaseline since it includes humectants and is occlusive, whereas Vaseline is merely occlusive.
Vaseline has been demonstrated to generate less redness at the wound site than Aquaphor when used for wound healing following tattoo procedure. Only if you are allergic to lanolin, use Vaseline instead of Aquaphor.
Aquaphor healing ointment may be more effective on tattoos than Vaseline, which prevents air from reaching the tattoo. Air is required for your tattoo to cure quickly, since Aquaphor is only 41% petroleum-based, it can easily allow some air to enter and help heal faster.
It does not block air out 100% as vaseline does so it is a much better option if you are sure of using petroleum-based products on your new tattoo.
However, our advice still stands out to use water-based tattoo aftercare lotions instead of petroleum-based products.
That pretty much wraps up what we had to say about putting vaseline on your tattoo. Our final verdict will be that it’s best you do not under normal circumstances, it is only advisable for you to do so if you have extremely dry skin or if you shower a lot after getting a new tattoo.
Other than that there should be no alternative to water-based aftercare tattoo lotions. The second best option would be Aquaphor given you are not allergic to lanolin. All in all, we would highly suggest you keep vaseline away from your tattoos at all costs unless by all means necessary!
We thank you for spending your time with us on this article. We hope you have garnered a lot of information that may have been unknown to you in the past. Our best wishes to you and your future and current tattoos! Take care and stay safe!