“Can I put Vaseline on my tattoo?” is one of the most common questions concerning tattoo aftercare. If you have just gotten a new tattoo, you may also have this in mind.
It is not surprising that this classic wonder product tops the list for healing and pampering delicate skin. However, its use is a misconception among tattoo enthusiasts. Nonetheless, it is worth knowing the answer to this question. Read on to find out!
Can I Put Vaseline On My Tattoo?
Vaseline is not your go-to option after getting a tattoo! It may do more harm than good. You should avoid it until your skin is completely healed, and even then, consider it only for irrevocably dry cases.
This is because Vaseline can prevent your skin from breathing, accumulate germs and lead to infections, and potentially draw ink from your skin.
For more details on this topic of Vaseline for tattoos, continue reading!
Essential Facts About Vaseline
First, let’s explore what Vaseline is.
Vaseline is made of 100% pure petroleum jelly, which contains a lot of healthy mineral oils. As a moisturizing agent, it is clinically proven to heal dry and damaged skin—working safely on stressed and sensitive ones as well.
The healing power of Vaseline was introduced in 1872. Today, it is a proud product of Unilever, one of the largest multinational corporations on the planet.
It is not without good reasons that Vaseline is a wonder product and household staple. It is versatilely effective for chapped lips, flaky elbows, and minor burns, to name a few. You can also use it as a makeup remover and lubricant. On top of that, Vaseline is very affordable and accessible.
So, why can’t this multipurpose wonder jelly be used for fresh tattoos? Tattooists and skin experts cite at least three reasons:
- Vaseline prevents your skin from breathing.
- Vaseline can accumulate germs and lead to infections.
- Vaseline can potentially draw the ink from your skin.
Hence, even though Vaseline is an excellent choice for moisturizing and healing skin, it can backfire when applied on newly-done tattoos.
Vaseline prevents your skin from breathing
Vaseline is a super thick product containing occlusive agents that can clog the pores on your skin, restricting breathability and lengthening the time it takes for your skin to heal. This is because behind your beautifully inked designs are open wounds that need oxygen to dry out and form new layers of skin.
If you apply Vaseline, you will suffocate your skin and have to wait much longer to show off your tattoos!
Vaseline can accumulate germs and lead to infections
This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that Vaseline does not allow your skin to breathe. Aside from prolonged healing time, Vaseline can lead to nasty skin infections. Its thick consistency becomes a non-porous layer that traps moisture, which, in turn, creates an ideal environment for bacteria and germs.
Needless to say, these pathogens are incredibly hazardous to still-vulnerable open wounds. They can be infected and, if not addressed fast enough, can leave permanent damage. In more severe cases where your bloodstream is contaminated, it can be life-threatening.
Vaseline can potentially draw the ink from your skin
There are many cases where ink is pulled out of the skin because of Vaseline. Even though this is not common, it is possible with fresh tattoos because the injected ink has not settled in the skin.
As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. You should avoid using Vaseline to keep your tattoo design intact and permanently impressive.
4 Situations When Vaseline Is Useful For Tattoos
Nevertheless, there is a role for Vaseline in tattooing. Sometimes, right after the tattoo is done, your tattooist will slab a thin layer of Vaseline on your skin before wrapping it up in cling film to send you home. Here, Vaseline serves as a protective layer.
When you bid the tattooist goodbye
You should only keep the Vaseline on for a few hours. Leaving it on for too long can breed bacteria and germs. Upon removal, it is advised that you wash the Vaseline off using lukewarm water and mild, non-fragrant soap.
Vaseline can also be a handy tool when you hit the showers with a new tattoo. Without a doubt, you cannot go for weeks without showering. You will still have to clean off the oozed blood plasma and ink accumulating as junk on your skin.
To avoid soaking your tattoo with water while showering, you can apply Vaseline as a shield. This works well because Vaseline is watertight. After you are out of the shower, however, you still need to take the Vaseline off.
You can use wet wipes or lightly wash with lukewarm water and mild, anti-bacterial soap. Do not leave it on for too long, and always make sure that you dry it either naturally or with clean napkins.
When your skin is too dry
Dry skin is what Vaseline specializes in. As mentioned above, Vaseline is a powerful moisturizer. If your skin is drying out, apply Vaseline around the tattoed area. However, be careful and do not put Vaseline on the tattoo itself.
Try to do this when you have just gotten out of the shower and are resting at home. If you are going out, Vaseline can attract unwanted particulates that remain on your skin. It can become greasy and heavy as well.
When your tattoo is healed completely
Vaseline is a good product that may have previously been a part of your skincare routine. So, rest assured that you do not have to throw it away just because you have gotten a tattoo.
It is alright for you to use Vaseline on your tattoo after it has healed completely. This is typically within three to four weeks. Hence, after that, you can continue to use Vaseline as a moisturizer for dry skin.
4 Substitutes For Vaseline In Tattooing
Although you cannot use Vaseline to take care of your tattoo, there are plenty of other aftercare products in the market for you to consider.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
The Aquaphor ointment is an excellent product, widely known for its use on baby bottoms. It protects your skin while also allowing it to breathe. This is probably because, unlike Vaseline, it only contains 41% petroleum jelly.
The other percentage includes panthenol and glycerine, both of which nurture your skin. Moreover, it is easy to handle and does not cause discomfort because it is not as greasy.
Eucerin Healing Ointment
Eucerin is a fragrance-free moisturizer that works well for pampering tattoed skin. You just need to massage this transparent ointment a few times to see noticeable improvements in your skin. Like Aquaphor, it has panthenol and glycerine to speed up the regenerative and repair process.
Eucerin is one of the most popularly recommended aftercare products for tattoos. You should apply thin layers and allow your skin to air dry after every application. It is possible to use regularly, about four times a day, before your skin begins to peel in the second week of healing.
A+D Healing Ointment
This is another good alternative to Vaseline for taking care of your tattoos. It has roughly 53% petroleum jelly, so it is slightly more occlusive than Aquaphor. However, it does not stop your skin from breathing like Vaseline.
It also contains lanolin and cod liver oil that together effectively moisturizes the skin while supplementing it with vitamin A and vitamin D. A+D healing ointment is recommended by many tattooists on community forums as well.
Hustle Butter is a non-petroleum-based product that is known for its natural aftercare effects. It contains four types of butter, which are mango, coconut, papaya, and shea butter. You can use it before, during, and after tattooing. So, it is the most well-rounded product to opt for from this list of alternatives.
The four products mentioned are better alternatives to assist you in your tattoo healing journey. But, if they do not suit your taste, browse through more options from this comprehensive 2021 review
When looking for tattoo aftercare products, you should select ones that are non-fragrant and free of preservatives. Anything with harsh chemicals will do you more harm than good.
In addition, ointments that do not consist of artificial colorings and alcohol can keep your skin hydrated without causing itching or irritation. They will be handy in making your healing process more bearable as well.
- Read more: How to stop tattoo itching?
Bonus Tip: What If I Am Already Applying Vaseline On My Tattoo?
If you have already used Vaseline for your tattoo(s), do not panic. It is not too late to replace it with a more suitable aftercare product. However, still check carefully for signs of infections, such as swelling, redness, or discoloration. For peace of mind, you should also consider contacting someone with expertise for official medical advice.
Watch this short video if you need help checking infection symptoms.
With that, you have reached the end of this article on “Can I put Vaseline on my tattoo?” You now know that you should steer clear from Vaseline until your tattooed skin is healed entirely.
Even though it is a good product in daily life, it is a big no-no for tattoos. Instead, go for other aftercare products, like the ones we have mentioned.
If you have any follow-up questions or thoughts on this topic, please let us know in the comments. Also, share this with others!
- How long to keep tattoo wrapped in cling film?
- Should i wrap my tattoo at night?
- How to sleep with a new tattoo?