In the sea of tattoo aftercare recommendations, one cannot help but wonder; which product is actually good for my tattoo?
Among some of the most recommended tattoo aftercare products is Aquaphor. Everyone basically already has this product somewhere in their household, you know, just in case one might need it. This product is versatile and seems to work for so many things; from cuts to healing wounds, and providing relief for irritations; Aquaphor does it all.
But, is Aquaphor a good tattoo aftercare product? Sure, thousands of people swear by it, but is there any proof that Aquaphor actually helps heal the tattoo?
In the following paragraphs, we’ll do some research on this product and see how, and whether, it helps heal tattoos. We’ll also observe the ingredient list more closely and talk about the major pros and cons in regards to one using Aquaphor on a tattoo.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Aquaphor: Everything You Need To Know
What Is Aquaphor?
Aquaphor is actually a line of skincare produces by the German company Beiersdorf AG, a parent company to other brands like Labello, Eucerin, Nivea, etc. But, when we talk about Aquaphor for tattoos, what we have in mind is the Aquaphor Healing Ointment.
It is, apparently, the #1 dermatologist recommended product for dry and cracked skin, as well as for wound care. The product is designed to help create a semi-occlusive barrier on the skin, to help retain its moisture and create a healing environment.
Aquaphor products are clinically tested and proven to help heal dry and cracked skin, cracked heels, minor burns, cuts, and scrapes, as well as diaper rashes.
What Ingredients Does Aquaphor Use?
The Aquaphor Healing Ointment contains the following ingredients;
- 41% Petrolatum (petroleum jelly)
- Lanolin alcohol
These are the main ingredients that help this product soothe and nourish the skin. Because it contains petrolatum, many associate Aquaphor with petroleum-based products like Vaseline. However, these aren’t really the same products, since Vaseline is 100% petroleum-based.
But, because of this ingredient, many questions whether or not Aquaphor is good for tattoos, considering how against Vaseline on tattoo everyone is (including professional tattooists and medical professionals).
Info: one of the minor ingredients in Aquaphor is bisabolol, a component extracted from the chamomile plant. It is believed to promote anti-inflammatory and soothing effects, ensuring the skin heals infection-free.
How Does Aquaphor Work?
Aquaphor works in a rather simple way;
- When you apply the ointment, it creates a protective barrier to helps the skin retain moisture
- Because it is semi-occlusive, it lets oxygen reach a wound to help it dry out and heal
- While it is on the skin, the ointment prevents moisture loss and creates an ideal healing environment
Aquaphor uses petroleum jelly to form a layer on the skin’s surface and prevent moisture loss. However, because the product isn’t made entirely out of petrolatum, it also soothes the skin, keeping it hydrated and promoting its faster healing.
Because of its effects, Aquaphor is one of the most versatile products on the market. You can get it at any local grocery, pharmacy (over-the-counter), or medical store.
So, Is Aquaphor Good For Tattoo Aftercare?
Why It Might Be Good
As we mentioned before, Aquaphor is designed to help the skin heal fast and properly, without leaving any damage on the skin (resulting from injury or a wound). However, there are some other properties of this product that could be useful in the case of tattoo healing;
- Might prevent bacterial infection – because Aquaphor creates a seal on the skin, it prevents bacteria and other types of germs/pathogens from entering a new tattoo, which could otherwise cause a tattoo infection.
- Helps with scabbing and itching – as the tattoo heals, scabs and crust will form due to the formation of new skin layers. As a result, one might experience discomfort and increased the itchiness of the tattoo. It is essential to not touch the tattoo, peel it or scratch it. Instead, ointment like Aquaphor might reduce scabbing and provide instant relief.
- Promotes faster healing – because of the ingredient, Aquaphor may be effective in promoting faster tattoo healing. Because the ointment protects the tattoo and keeps it hydrated, the affected area will naturally regenerate and heal faster.
- Suitable for sensitive skin – the fact that you’re dealing with a new tattoo makes your skin much more sensitive than it would otherwise be. Aquaphor is non-comedogenic, which makes it suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin. The ointment doesn’t clog pores when applied thinly, so make sure to use the product sparingly.
- Affordable and accessible – Aquaphor healing ointment is available at almost every pharmacy, supermarket, or medical store. Not to mention that you can order it online from Amazon or other stores. It is also super affordable, at the price from $5 to $15, depending on the size of the product.
Why it Might Not Be Good
Now that we’ve seen all of the possible benefits of the Aquaphor healing ointment, it is only fair to see the possible disadvantages of this product as well;
- It contains Petrolatum – even though there is only 41% of petrolatum in Aquaphor ointment, we cannot ignore it. Petroleum jelly products aren’t recommended for fresh tattoos for many reasons; from clogging the pores to preventing healing, petrolatum can when applied regularly, lead to a tattoo infection. This happens because petrolatum can overhydrate the skin and create an ideal environment for pathogen development.
- It doesn’t soak into the skin – because it contains petrolatum, this ointment is much thicker than a regular ointment or lotion. Because of this, it just stays on the surface of the skin and doesn’t soak into it. As a result, the tattoo can start being too hydrated or too ‘wet’ for a longer period, which could cause more scabbing and prolonged healing.
- It could cause acne-breakout – even though it is non-comedogenic, Aquaphor could still cause an acne breakout when applied thickly and regularly. If you use this product during the whole healing process, you can expect some pimples in the tattooed area (which you should not touch and let heal on their own). If the pimples do occur, halt the use of Aquaphor and turn to a gentle, light, and mild lotion.
- It could irritate sensitive skin – yes, we mentioned Aquaphor ointment is suitable for sensitive skin. However, in some cases, sensitive skin can react to some of the ingredients within this product. Most often, skin irritations occur due to petrolatum, for example. So, if you think this could be the case with your skin, then simply use organic, natural ointments and lotions.
When Should You Use Aquaphor Ointment?
- Once the tattoo healing has reached the final stage
We do not recommend anyone to apply petroleum-based products like Aquaphor or Vaseline onto a fresh tattoo. A new tattoo is basically an open wound. In order for it to start healing, you need to let it dry naturally. However, if you apply Aquaphor, you could prevent this process, which would keep the tattoo moist all the time, not being able to even start healing.
As a result, a fresh tattoo can become a perfect breeding ground for pathogens, which could lead to serious inflammation and infection. Instead, utilize Aquaphor once the tattoo has closed completely, to keep it hydrated and smooth.
- During showering
Petroleum-based products can be super useful in case you have to shower with a new tattoo. Because you want to protect the tattoo from water and moisture, you can apply a thin layer of Aquaphor ointment during the shower. After you’re done showering, clean the tattoo, wash it and tap it dry using a paper towel or a clean, soft cotton towel.
- After the tattoo has healed
Many think that the tattoo aftercare stops once the tattoo is completely healed. However, that is not true. To keep your tattoo vibrant and prevent it from fading or reacting to weather and temperature changes, you still need to keep it hydrated and moisturized. The best way to do so is to continue using Aquaphor even after the tattoo is done healing. Some tend to use this ointment for years to keep the tattoo looking brand new.
How Long Can I Use Aquaphor On a New Tattoo?
As we mentioned, it is not recommended to use Aquaphor on a fresh tattoo. However, when the tattoo starts reaching its final healing stage (meaning, it is no longer an open, fresh wound), then you can start applying Aquaphor twice a day. Once the tattoo has healed completely, you can continue applying Aquaphor 2 to 3 times a week.
Does Aquaphor Pull Ink Out Of Tattoos?
Now, if you put Aquaphor on a new, fresh tattoo, chances are it will pull out the excess ink from the tattoo. This means that the ink would have left the tattoo even without the Aquaphor. However, once there is no excess ink left, the ointment shouldn’t be able to even reach the ink (since it is placed inside the skin layer known as the dermis).
Will Aquaphor Fade My Tattoo?
If you’ve used Aquaphor on your tattoo, chances are it appeared much more vivid and brighter. That is because moisturized tattoos tend to look much better, due to all the gloss from the ointment. That is why many think that Aquaphor fades their tattoos once they stop using it. So, no, Aquaphor will not fade your tattoo. It might actually help the tattoo stay vibrant and healthy for a longer time.
Will Aquaphor Cause My Tattoo To Break Out?
Now, this is a tricky one. Because Aquaphor contains petrolatum, chances are it might cause a breakout when applied onto sensitive, acne-prone skin. You may witness pimples and zits in the tattooed area if you apply Aquaphor heavily, and regularly. To prevent this from happening, make sure to only apply the thinnest layers of Aquaphor onto the tattoo.
Considering the pros and cons, we would say that sure, you can use Aquaphor ointment on your tattoo if you’re confident it won’t cause trouble. However, before you start using any ointment for a new tattoo, we would always recommend you talk to your tattoo artist or even a dermatologist and discuss the use of petroleum-based products on tattoos.