- 1 Tattoo Aftercare Soaps
- 2 What Tattoo Aftercare Do You Really Need?
- 3 Do Tattoos Heal Differently From Ordinary Injuries?
- 4 Allergies?
- 5 Why These Ingredients In Soaps Should Stay Off Your Tattoo
- 6 Product Review – Best Tattoo Soaps
- 7 SUMMARY
- 8 WRAPPING IT UP
Tattoo Aftercare Soaps
You did it! You finally got a brand new tattoo and it looks glorious, that’s why you’re now looking for best tattoo soaps for aftercare process.
It is very important, however, for you to remember that your tattoo is essentially an open wound right now. So without proper tattoo aftercare, you risk blurring up (with scars) the intricate lines your artist created.
Here’s a breakdown of what you should expect to learn in this article.
First we’ll get a few tattoo aftercare facts straightened up. Next we’ll see how different and similar tattoos are, compared to ordinary injuries (that is, the conditions suitable for each to heal well). Afterwards you’ll see why some ingredients in basic soaps cause discomfort to your tattoo (so you’ll know the ingredients to run far away from). Finally, we’ll review some of the best tattoo soaps in the market before concluding.
This is a pretty detailed article, so if you’d rather skip all that, you can check out the summary at the very bottom.
What Tattoo Aftercare Do You Really Need?
If this is your first Tattoo, the first aftercare advice, really, is not to listen to family members (those without tattoos anyhow).
The general idea behind aftercare is to keep your tattoo clean and well aired, but without exposing it to opportunistic microbacteria. (1)
This aftercare usually begins right from the artist’s shop, with the salve applied and then the bandage covering on the tattoo (which should be left for at least an hour, depending on the size of the tattoo and type of bandage used).
Your part begins after you’ve taken off the bandage (ask your tattoo artist about the recommended time frame before you leave). Avoid the temptation of taking off the bandage early to take a peek, it’s there to protect against the sun, microbes and clothes rubbing off on it.
After taking off the bandage, you’re to wash your tattoo carefully with warm (not scalding hot) water and antibacterial soap (more on this later).
Gently pat it dry with a clean paper towel (not your bath towel as they’re a haven for bacteria). Do not rebandage your tattoo after washing, let it air out. You may apply a very thin layer of antibacterial soothing ointment after an hour or so.
You’ll need to do this a few times a day (about 3 times), for the immediate weeks.
What have you noticed about aftercare?
Common sense will let you know that washing is the most important part (hence why the focus of this article is on the best tattoo soaps).
Aftercare is really quite easy once you get the hang of it.
Let’s now move on to the section regarding the differences between ordinary wounds and tattoos, so you’ll understand better, why they both require different approaches to care as well as products.
Do Tattoos Heal Differently From Ordinary Injuries?
For starters, tattoos leave pretty markings when fully healed so there’s that.
But for the first few days, both injuries are sore, reddish and warm to the touch. After a few days, they lose their vibrant reddish colors and become a bit dull. Down the line, they both develop scabs, which begin to flakie during the second week or so. Tattoos leave a colored skin pigment afterwards, while injuries leave scars behind.
While accidental injuries require rebandaging after most wash/clean ups, rebandaging is forbidden on tattoos. This is primarily because they need to breath to heal just right. Constant rebandaging can irritate the skin, which has been prodded by needles a couple of times already.
It’s alright, though, to keep a cloth over it when you’re out and about, because sun can fade the ink away.
Your Tattoo, like most open wounds, can get infected easily if you don’t keep it clean (make sure your hands are clean as well before touching the new tattoo).
If you notice rashes, or pus oozing out, it’s time to pay your doc a quick visit.
Generally, ordinary wounds require less attention. You could be covered in band aid the whole day and not have a problem (since you’re expecting a scar). Your new tattoos however, will need to be cleaned several times a day (based on how dirty or sweaty you get). (2)
Most artists do a skin test to find out whether you’ll be allergic to some of the properties of their ink (black ink usually contains carbon, while red ink contains mercury sulfide).
They’re also pretty knowledgeable about what reacts best with their ink, so pay careful attention when they’re prescribing aftercare.
The most common don’ts are;
1. No submerging yourself in water (especially swimming pools) for up to a month,
2. Not leaving your house without sunblock so the tattoo lines don’t fade
3. AND NO SCRATCHING! (No matter how itchy it gets, resist the temptation).
Moving on, let’s see some common ingredients found in most soaps and how they’d react on tattoos.
Why These Ingredients In Soaps Should Stay Off Your Tattoo
With ingredients, the more organic the better.
Note that the ingredients stated here are mostly fine on uninjured skin.
1. Petroleum derived ingredients
Soaps with petroleum bases tend to be a bit greasy (even if you can’t tell) on open wounds. The effect is that they’d clog pores, which can create a good breeding ground for bacteria.
2. Alcohol bases
Clearly you need to use antibacterial/antiseptic soaps. Using products with ethanol, however, will leave you with the pains of a thousand burning suns. We’re presuming of course, that the pain from needles, used in making your tattoo, prodding and poking you is enough. You should try to look for products with salt or even lavender bases instead of alcohol.
3. Scented Soaps
Different companies use different chemicals to generate specific fragrances. While some people may not experience irritations on their tattoos after using scented Soaps, others do. If this is your first tattoo and you don’t know what will cause a reaction, it’s best to stay away from scented products.
4. Artificial colors
Again, you aren’t sure how the artificial colors will behave when in contact with the ink on your skin. They might leave a stain that will distort your tattoo, forcing you to get under the needle again for adjustments.
Basically preservatives. They’re found in so many products, that it’s difficult to isolate its effect. Some products without paraben are considered safer (without much scientific research backing), so if you’re concerned about that, note products with or without it.
Some manufacturers aren’t very forthcoming with the ingredients in their products. You’ll want to stare clear of those as the best soap for tattoos try to be as transparent as possible.
Product Review – Best Tattoo Soaps
H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap – One of the Best Tattoo Soaps
It is paraben free (if you’re worried about that), and it is one of the few soaps that contains aloe vera.
Note that while you’re encouraged to pat your tattoo dry after every wash, you shouldn’t let it get too dry (to prevent excessive scabbing). Using an antiseptic soap that soothes and moisturises on the side can mean you won’t need to buy a moisturizer separately.
It’s also fragrance and color additive free.
Ingredients – purified water, poloamer 188, benzalkonium chloride, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, salt, Disodium EDTA
Note that it uses a salt base instead of alcohol, so you won’t be experiencing any excruciating pain.
Also note that you can use it on piercings as well. Since it uses aloe Vera, you could just apply some on your tattoo and wipe it off with a clean paper towel.
While the reviews on this H2Ocean Blue green foam soap are generally positive, the primary complain from customers is with regards to the quantity. It’s a 1.7 ounce bottle. So while those with smaller tattoos may be able to use it for up to two weeks, those with larger tattoos will definitely need to consider buying a second bottle. It all depends on the size of your tattoo.
Cosco Green Soap, Cosco Tincture Tattoo Green Soap – 1 Gallon
Costco has been around for so long, it has become a staple cleaning soap in many tattoo shops. It has such a wide range of use, that some families even keep it as part of first aid in their homes.
Ingredients – salt ethyl alcohol, Glycerin Potassium
It has very basic ingredients. But unlike the H2Ocean, you’ll notice it doesn’t have aloe Vera in it, or any other soothing ingredient or moisturizer. So you’ll need to buy a moisturizer separately so that your tattoo doesn’t dry out.
It’s neither “perfumy” nor medicinal scenting. Just a clean plain fragrance.
Note that it doesn’t state whether or not it’s paraben free (so it might not be).
Overall, this would be a great aftercare soap if you have a massive tattoo. It’s the most pricey on our list, but it’s also the largest, so the price is justified.
If you still aren’t satisfied, check out the last PRODUCT amongst our best tattoo soaps list.
Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap For Tattoos And Piercings – 2 Oz
This new formula is designed to remove dead skin cells from your tattoo. Remember it’s normal for tattoos to get flaky as they heal. The scabs coming off can be really itchy (and super tempting to peel off). This new formula is meant to gently remove the flakes faster, so that the tattoo heals well.
It also contains a little olive oil (note that olive oil isn’t petroleum based, so it won’t clog your pores).
Ingredients – sodium PEG-7 olive oil carboxylate, chloroxylenol (PCMX), sodium laurel sulfate, cocamide MES, Polyquaternium-10, cocamidopropl Betaine, olive oil PEG-7 Esters, Diazolindinyl Urea, 1% water (aqua), propanediol.
Customers who have used this new Tattoo goo formula generally have positive reviews of it. You’ll notice that this is slightly bigger than the H2Ocean. It is however, the cheapest product on our list. So it gives a really great value for your money. If you want a mild soap that will last a bit longer than the H2Ocean, you should get Tattoo goo.
Note that both H2Ocean and Tattoo goo come in kits (full aftercare kit with sunblock).
If you skipped all the way down here, here’s a recap of what you’ve missed.
Amongst all the aftercare routine you’ll have to go through, you’ll spend most of your time washing your tattoo. So it’s important you get the best tattoo soap, since it’ll determine how well your tattoo turns out.
Accidental injuries differ slightly from tattoos in the type of care you’d need to give. Ordinary wounds require less attention and can be rebandaged. Tattoos however, shouldn’t be rebandaged after you first take it off (at least one hour after your tattoo artist placed it).
Try as much as possible to follow the aftercare instructions your artist gives you. He or she knows the composition of the ink of your Tattoo, so s/he will know what will react badly.
The don’ts of aftercare are simply – No submerging in water (swimming pool, Jacuzzi, ocean) for at least a month, not wearing sunblock (your ink will fade, but don’t use within first week), no scratching.
Once you get the hang of it, aftercare is quite easy.
We noted a few ingredients you should stare clear of when you find them in products; petroleum, scented, and colored additives in soaps should be avoided as they can irritate the skin or even distort the ink pattern of your tattoo.
Lastly, we reviewed three products. The H2Ocean (very mild vegan friendly option), Costco green (budget option for those with large tattoos) and Tattoo goo (soothing option, with great value for money, sizewise).
WRAPPING IT UP
Tattoo aftercare really isn’t rocket science.
As an open wound, your responsibility to it is to make sure it stays clean and dry, but moisturized, at all times.
Doing this right the first time can really motivate you towards getting your second body art. We hope you found yourself one of the best tattoo soaps after reading this buying guide.
Happy Tattooing !