An essential guide to the slippery subject of tattoo moisturiser
Tattoo aftercare is one of the best things for happy and healthy tattoos, right? Absolutely! But when it comes to moisturising your fresh ink, it's a case of you can definitely have too much of a good thing.
But how much is too much when it comes to tattoo aftercare? And how do you fix things if you’ve gone a little overboard? Here’s everything you need to know about over-moisturised tattoos.
Can You Over-Moisturise a Tattoo?
In a word: yes. It’s definitely possible to over-moisturise a tattoo. An over-moisturised tattoo can lead to a whole host of issues, including breakouts, soggy scabs, and even infection.
But Isn’t Moisturising Good For Tattoos?
It’s worth clarifying that moisturising tattoos is most definitely a good thing! In fact, keeping your tattoo moisturised is really important while it heals. Not only does it ensure you don’t end up with dehydrated, dry tattoos, but it can help reduce scabbing, promote faster healing, prevent flaking and, of course, reduce itching.
However, because moisturiser is so great at helping your tattoo heal, this can become the very reason why some people get carried away and apply too much. It isn’t moisturising, so much as over-moisturising, that’s the problem. But how much is too much?...
How Often Should You Moisturise Your Tattoo?
Generally speaking, we recommend you moisturise your tattoo only once or twice a day - morning and night often works best. You should apply a small amount of moisturiser to your hand and then smooth a thin layer over your tattoo. Note: Be very careful not to knock off any scabs while you’re doing this as this can lead to scarring and possibly infection.
While your tattoo is in its healing stages, we’d recommend something such as Stories & Ink’s Aftercare Cream, which reduces inflammation while soothing and hydrating your damaged skin. Importantly, it allows your skin to breathe during its recovery.
After your tattoo has fully healed the risk of over-moisturising goes down. It’s then you can use a daily moisturiser to keep your skin nice and hydrated.
Only Moisturise When Your Skin is Dry
While your tattoo is healing, it’s important you only moisturise the area once the skin is totally dry. In fact, not drying your tattoo properly after washing and before moisturising is one of the main causes of over-moisturised tattoos.
So, if you’ve been for a shower, you should wait at least 10 minutes before moisturising. This should give your skin enough time to dry naturally, and the moisturiser will be absorbed properly.
Each tattoo will be different though. The size and placement of your tattoo may influence how regularly it needs to be kept moisturised. So, it’s best to speak with your tattoo artist as they’ll be able to advise what’s best for you.
What’s The Problem with Over-Moisturising Tattoos?
Over-moisturising can lead to inflamed tattoos and potentially infection. Excess moisture can clog your skin’s pores which prevents it from breathing, something that’s important for your skin to heal. This can lead to breakouts on the skin that can damage the tattoo.
Not only this, but the wet conditions can create the perfect environment for infection-causing bacteria to live and thrive - something you definitely want to avoid.
What Does An Over-Moisturised Tattoo Look Like?
Signs of an over-moisturised tattoo include irritated, inflamed skin; scabs may appear on the tattoo, or the skin may look redder on and around the tattooed area. What’s more, the ink could appear slightly blurred. One of the other main signs is clogged pores - this is due to the excess moisturiser restricting the skin’s ability to breathe - so spots, blemishes and similar breakouts might also be another tell-tale sign of an over-moisturised tattoo.
How To Fix An Over-Moisturised Tattoo
If you’re reading this because you’ve over-moisturised your tattoo, don’t worry. There are things you can do to fix it.
Remove any excess moisturiser/tattoo aftercare cream - First, carefully remove any excess moisturiser or cream. Do this with a soft cotton cloth or paper towel. Go gently, being mindful not to scratch any scabs or damage the tattoo.
Leave the tattoo to dry out naturally - Alternatively, you can use a hairdryer to blow warm air onto the tattoo. A word of warning: make sure the dryer is on its lowest setting and keep it at a safe distance else you risk doing further harm.
Don’t reapply moisturiser that day - Let your skin soak up the existing cream. If you shower in the evening, you can apply a tiny amount afterwards if you think the tattoo looks dry.
The next day start your aftercare regime again - Apply moisturiser twice a day, morning and evening, or as directed by your artist.
What Moisturiser Should I Use For My Tattoo?
We recommend tattoo-friendly, fragrance-free, non-irritating moisturisers and creams. Stories & Ink’s tattoo Aftercare Cream is designed to soothe, calm and repair damaged skin immediately after tattooing. It’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, 100% natural and gluten free, making it the perfect partner for healthy, healing tattoos!