New tattoo? Before you reach for the E45, read our guide on why it's probably not the best choice of tattoo aftercare.
When it comes to tattoo aftercare every tattoo artist and collector may have a different opinion. From how long to leave the clingform on to the type of aftercare you should be using. It can be hard to know what to use, especially if your friend, neighbour, tattooed stranger on the street said they used E45 cream and their tattoo turned out just fine.
But just because their tattoo was ok, doesn’t mean yours will heal just as well, or that E45 is a suitable aftercare option.
We asked tattoo artist Lauren April (@laurenapriltattoo) all about tattoo care, so read on to find out if E45 is good for tattoos and whether you should use it on a new tattoo.
What is E45 cream?
E45 is a cream that soothes and protects skin which has been specially formulated (made) for dry skin and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It’s an emollient which means it’s ultra moisturising, hydrating and creates a protective barrier for skin to lock in moisture.
If you use E45 already because you have sensitive skin or eczema you might be wondering if you can get tattooed, find out in our tattoos and eczema blog.
Is E45 good for tattoos?
Although E45 sounds like it would be good for a new tattoo with its moisturising and protective properties, it’s not the best aftercare cream for a few reasons:
- It’s not designed for tattoos and the ingredients haven’t been tested on fresh tattoos.
- Some of the ingredients help to create a protective barrier which prevents your skin from breathing. Tattoos need to breathe in order to heal.
- It’s a heavy textured cream and could clog your tattoo and the pores around - this could potentially lead to an infection.
Lauren adds that "E45 isn’t recommended for broken skin so isn’t advisable for the first 2 weeks of healing."
Can I use it on a healed tattoo?
To keep your tattoo looking bright and vibrant you’ll want to regularly moisturise your skin. You can use any moisturiser you’re not allergic to on completely healed tattoos. So E45 might be an option, especially if you have eczema or dry skin.
You want to choose a moisturiser that’s full of skin-loving ingredients and hydrating properties. If you prefer a non-greasy finish the Stories & Ink Daily Moisturiser is suitable for all skin types, packed with hydrating coconut oil and other vegan friendly ingredients.
Our best-selling moisturiser fights fade while keeping your skin nourished and hydrated.
What cream can't you use on a tattoo?
A fresh tattoo is essentially an open wound, so you want to avoid any creams or ointments that will clog the skin.
You may have been recommended products like antiseptic creams or petroleum jelly, but tattooist Lauren explains why these aren’t a good option:
"Antiseptic creams can cause extreme drying out during the healing process of tattoos which is not ideal. There is discussion among some that it can affect the actual quality of healing and overall look of the finished tattoo once it’s settled.
"But at the very least they are a bit harsh on the skin when it comes to fresh tattoos and due to the ingredients can cause negative reactions in some people, so it’s not advisable to use these creams."
"Vaseline (petroleum jelly) - while sometimes used by your tattooist during the actual tattooing process - is not so great for healing. It’s not particularly breathable and can block the pores which in some cases can lead to problems and inflammation during healing time if used repeatedly."
Bepanthen or E45 for a tattoo
Years and years ago, Bepanthen was the top choice for tattoo aftercare, maybe even the only choice. Now there’s been more research into what’s best for tattoos, you don’t have to use a cream designed for nappy rash (Bepanthen) or dry skin conditions (E45).
Ideally you’d choose an aftercare product that’s been made for tattoo skin, tested on tattoo skin and reviewed by tattooed folks. Your artist might recommend a certain brand or type during your tattoo session. You can also get prepared ahead of your appointment and buy aftercare online.
What cream is best for tattoos?
When choosing an aftercare cream for your new tattoo, Lauren, recommends using "products specifically formulated for the healing of tattoos during the first two weeks."
What to look for:
- Products specifically tailored for the initial healing of tattoos.
- A non-comedogenic cream that won’t clog your pores.
- Fragrance free as scents can irritate skin.
- SPF or sun protection is a bonus.
- Hydrating ingredients like natural oils.
Stories & Ink Tattoo Aftercare Cream calms and repairs newly tattooed skin.
Top tattoo healing tips from a tattoo artist
Tattooist Lauren shares her preferred routine:
"For the first 2 weeks of healing it’s important to clean your tattoo with warm water and antibacterial soap and to air dry them or use a clean disposable kitchen towel to gently pat dry before applying cream.
"Apply your chosen cream 2-3 times a day. If in doubt and if you feel like you’re having a reaction to the cream, it’s best to stop using it entirely. Then switch to simply cleaning your tattoos 2-3 times a day until the first 2 weeks of healing is done and the tattoo has settled."
During the first 2 weeks you’ll also want to:
- Keep your tattoo out the sun.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Not go swimming or soak it in the bath.
- Not scratch or pick your tattoo even if it’s itchy
Want to be prepared for your next tattoo? Find out more about the stages of healing in our Here’s what to expect after getting inked blog.
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