Is Coconut Oil Safe For Tattoos? - Your Complete Guide To This Natural Remedy

We know that not everything that is advertised as natural, such as aloe vera or olive oil, is good for a new or existing tattoo. But with all the health benefits being thrown around for coconut oil, along with the ingredient being added into skincare products worldwide, you’ve got to wonder how coconut fairs in this all-natural moisturizer game.

It’s hard not to buy into the hype, especially when everything looks good on paper, but are there any dangers to using coconut oil on your tattoo? Let’s have a look.

Coconut Oil and Tattoos

coconut oil on tattoo

Benefits of Using Coconut Oil on a Tattoo

It’s been said that coconut oil is the best natural tattoo aftercare option when it comes to both healing and moisturization, but what exactly are those beneficial factors?

How to Use Coconut Oil on A Tattoo Safely

So by now, you must be asking: can I use this on my brand new tattoo?

Tattoo artist and shop owner Rosa Perr says, "Coconut oil is what I recommend my clients use on their tattoos during the healing process. It has high levels of lauric acid in it which is found to be an effective protector against bacterial growth, so it can help to protect the tattoo against infection. It also reduces redness and inflammation and is rich in collagen, which helps to heal the tattoo well and quickly.”

Putting moisturizer on your new tattoo isn’t recommended until it stops weeping. The weeping stage is when your wound is pushing out excess plasma, blood, and ink, and it requires around two to four days to be thoroughly washed and have time to breathe, and then move through this stage prior to adding hydration. At which point, coconut oil might be a good option for you.

Although it may seem harmless enough, it’s always important to ensure that any product you are using for the aftercare of your tattoo is done safely so as to not compromise the art you’ve invested in.

Can You Use Olive Oil On New Tattoos? See What Experts Say

Olive oil: it tastes great, it seems like a natural product, and it’s been referred to as the “nectar of the gods” by ancient Romans, so surely it must be safe to use on that brand new tattoo, right?

Well, maybe not so much.

There are a few factors to consider before you go slathering on that EVOO to your new tattoo, and we’ve got you covered.

Can You Put Olive Oil On Your Tattoo?

olive oil on tattoo

Lipids like olive oil should be avoided on fresh ink.

A lipid is an organic compound that includes fats and oils, and olive oil certainly falls into this category. While products like olive oil have been used for centuries for it’s antibacterial and anti-aging properties, these products are recommended for unbroken skin.

Lipids on unbroken skin create a protective barrier that acts as a shield to impurities and dirt, while also retaining moisture in the epidermis. In addition, they can rapidly promote wound closure and scar healing.

This may sound like a good thing for your new tattoo, but you don’t want your “wound” to close; you simply want the upper layers of your skin to heal over the new pigment. You don’t want to risk the olive oil drawing out the ink as it works to close your wound.

Olive oil is still a food product and the olive oil industry is no longer heavily regulated.

The main issue with using a food product on your new tattoo is that food products can be a breeding ground for bacteria. The largest concern regarding olive oil, in particular, is that the olive oil regulation has gone downhill in the past ten to fifteen years.

Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity - The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, wrote in his book about poor manufacturing and processing, lies on labels that advertise “first press” or “pure”, and, worst of all, additives like solvents, mixed inexpensive oils, and natural flavors and fragrances being added to olive oils in order to create larger and cheaper batches. Any additional additive to natural lipids - especially water and solvents - is how bacteria is enabled to grow in a product.

oil-descriptions

With so many classifications of olive oil, and since the industry regulations cannot 100 percent guarantee that you are truly getting Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO - the purest form), it’s better not to risk it on your fresh tattoo. Processed or refined olive oils put you at risk of infection.

Your healing tattoo doesn’t like the olive oil as much as you may believe.

One large issue with olive oil as a moisturizer during the healing process is that olive oil is not easily absorbed by your skin. This would result in you having to reapply the olive oil numerous times during the day.

If your olive oil is processed with other additive oils, you may also risk the oil sitting on the skin and not allowing your tattoo to breathe during the most crucial moment of it’s healing.

As with all food products, you also risk the chance of having an allergic reaction to the olive oil on your skin - especially on skin that is opened. Even if you are able to eat olives or olive oils with no issue, you could still be prone to a contact reaction on your new tattoo. An allergic reaction puts your tattoo at risk for being morphed, damaged, or infected.

Olive oil is a great option for your tattoo during the last days of healing and onwards.

Olive oil certainly has its benefits, and that can’t be denied. Potential benefits for your skin are:

You can most certainly use this product on your healed tattoo safely, as the vitamin content alone helps maintain the health of your skin. It’s important to note that you may find the greasy feeling of olive oil to be irritating, and you certainly should not apply olive oil prior to going out in the sun. You are not a rotisserie chicken - let’s not get cooked!

Before you decide to reach into your pantry for that bottle of extra virgin olive oil, you may want to consult with your tattoo artist first. We don’t think it’s the best option for your brand new tattoo, and we want to ensure that you’re keeping to safe aftercare practices so that your tattoo stays perfect for an entire lifetime.

Can You Put Aloe Vera On Tattoos? A Guide For Aloe & Ink

Are you considering using aloe as part of that moisturization process, whether during healing or afterwards? We're here to help you out!

Tattoos are a complex art that permanently alters your skin’s pigment and provides you with a memory that lasts a lifetime. Aloe vera, on the other hand, is a complex plant that is well known for its multiple healing properties and medicinal qualities. So the question is: where do these two stand with one another? Is it a harmonious relationship, or is using aloe vera on a tattoo something you should be cautioned away from?

Keep reading to find out!

Can Aloe Vera Be Used in Your Tattoo Aftercare?

According to the US Natural Library of Medicine, aloe is known to have, “potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties,” and has been known to also be a virucidal, antifungal agent, meaning it combats viruses and fungus growth. It would make sense then that you’d turn to aloe when you’re in the process of healing your brand new tattoo.

We all want our tattoos to be free of bacteria and infection, especially in the first few days of healing when our skin is most vulnerable. It’s for that reason that we turn to unscented products with antibacterial properties. But at the same time, we are healing a piece of artwork on our body that requires a different healing process than a normal scar, wound, or injury. Does aloe fit into that need?

The opinion on this subject from artists and professionals in the tattoo industry are pretty evenly scaled between yes and no.

Because aloe promotes the growth of new and healthy skin by stimulating the immune system and encouraging repair, there is some concern that the enzymes used during this process may adversely affect the tattoo ink that is located in your upper epidermis layer.

In addition, because aloe concentrates on the upper level healing of the skin, it usually doesn’t get absorbed as deep as a new tattoo requires while it’s going through the healing process. This can have adverse effects to the hydration you are looking for, and can, in fact, be drying on your tattoo. As such, some artists may advise against the usage of aloe gel during the first days of healing.

On the other side of the coin, many professionals believe that it’s for that exact reason - it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and upper-level moisturizing properties - that aloe vera should be used during the tattoo’s healing process. Many say it is comparable to other tattoo ointments that have similar natural ingredients and properties, and that this thin layer of moisturization helps avoid scarring and allows your tattoo to breathe during the most important time during its healing process.

Luis Pedroza of AMB Wellness suggests that tattoos truly do benefit from aloe vera, stating,

“A hydrogel formulated with Aloe Vera can easily improve wound healing of a freshly applied tattoo, while also reducing the formation of exudative crusting and preventing further ink loss. It also absorbs exudate, allows oxygen through, adheres to the moist wound [sic] surface and can be removed with little inconveniences for the user.” 

He continues by saying that using aloe vera through a spray solution on your new tattoo,

“has many benefits such as fostering hemostasis to a fresh tattoo, a moist wound healing environment, and ability to absorb any ongoing exudate from the micro-punctures created during the creation of the tattoo on the skin.”

In layman's terms: aloe vera is the perfect balance of moisturization and dryness, of anti-bacterial goodness, of absorption, and of cell reproduction to lead you to the precipice of tattoo perfection - a shiny, healed, and smooth new tattoo.

What To Consider When Using Aloe For Tattoos

As you can tell, this isn’t a simple yes-or-no answer. In addition to tattoo artists and professionals being torn on the subject, there is another factor to consider: allergic reactions.

Allergic Reactions

Aloe vera and aloe gels are one of those natural products that can cause reactions in sensitive individuals. It’s always recommended that if you’ve never used aloe vera before, that you conduct a patch test inside of your elbow to see if you have an irritation or reaction.

Reactions can include symptoms such as:

No Additives

In addition, you have to be sure that you are purchasing aloe vera that has no additives, such as fragrances, coloring, or fillers. On an open wound like a tattoo, a sensitivity or additives in your product could lead to an artistic disaster, or worse, a serious infection or allergic reaction.

Proper & Consistent Care

Moisturizing your tattoo is essential to a successful healing process because it manages so many factors, such as itching, peeling, hydration, and scabbing, and a perfect balance of moisture is crucial. Aloe vera seems to fit this bill because it ensures that the tattoo is:

The safest bet as to whether aloe vera is right for your particular new tattoo is to consult with your artist or the professionals in your tattoo parlor. They may suggest alternatives that are better suited for your needs, and will allow you to avoid the topic of aloe gel all together.

But it’s important to remember that tattoo care should continue far after the 3-10 days of primary healing are through. Once your tattoo wound is no longer fresh, and after you’ve proceeded with a patch test to ensure you aren’t sensitive to aloe, it is definitely a moisturization option that should be considered.

Tattoos do need moisture, and skin needs to stay healthy in order to benefit your overall health. Aloe maintains the hydration of the epidermis, keeps itching and dryness at bay, while also initiating the development of new cell growth. This means your healed tattoo will continue to look bright and shiny, just like it was the day you walked out of the tattoo shop.

How to Use Aloe Vera As Part of Your Tattoo Aftercare

Usually, your aftercare should look something like this:

Tattoo Peeling - The Least A-PEEL-ing Side of Tattoos

So, you got some new ink - congrats! But now the endorphin buzz is wearing off, you might notice that your skin is starting to look a little alien and snake-like, complete with shedding flakes of skin. You’ve officially come to the worst part of tattoo aftercare, but with the help of this article, it should be a breeze.

Related: Tattoo Cracking

Why Do Tattoos Peel?

Tattoos hurt because the needles used to get the ink into your skin penetrate the outermost layers– the epidermis and dermis. Basically, this means that your new tattoo is a big ol’ open wound which needs to heal. Our skin does this by regenerating the epidermis, and closing up that newly created gap.

During the tattoo process, your body sends platelets to the tattooed area. These tiny cells also work in scabs and blood clots – they’re responsible for building up a little layer of cells that prevents blood or fluid escaping from your skin. This cell layer is what gives new tattoos that tell-tale red blush, and slight swelling.

But once your injured skin cells die, along with those platelets, the epidermis has to regenerate. That means bye-bye to the layer of dead stuff; the peeling flakes. This process isn’t unique to the tattooed, our skin sheds almost constantly, and the average person loses around 40 000 dead skin cells every day! The only reason that tattoo peeling is so noticeable is because the flakes are larger, and shed together.

Just like a wound scab, or blisters from sunburn, dead skin cells fall off in scale-like flakes. Thankfully, peeling skin is the final stage in tattoo healing – once you get through this, you can go back to enjoying your new ink.

How Long Do Tattoos Peel For?

Most tattoos start peeling between three days and a week of getting inked. Sadly, there’s no hard and fast rule about how long a tattoo will peel, because this depends on a bunch of factors like your skin condition and the size of the tattoo. But having a patch of reptile skin can make it feel like that healing is taking forever.

Generally, tattoos take a few weeks to heal completely. Larger tattoos or designs with loads of color take longer, but your skin should have recovered within 14 days of being tattooed.

Although, this also depends on where you get inked. If your tattoo is on an exposed or tougher area of skin (such as your hands), it’ll take a little longer to heal.

And now here’s something weird: some tattoos might even peel more than once – a heavy peel followed by a lighter peeling. This is also normal, unless accompanied by a symptom of infection, such as excessive redness, swelling or oozing.

Is It Normal If My Tattoo Doesn’t Peel?

Everybody heals differently. For example, some people’s tattoos just don’t peel.

But that is nothing to worry about!

If you have naturally oily skin, it’ll be less prone to peeling, while the opposite is true of dry skin. The depth of the needles used, and your tattoo artist’s technique, will also affect how much or how little your skin peels. Finer lines tend to peel less than larger, solid blocks of ink.

Also, some people heal faster than others – blame it on genetics.

If you’re worried that your tattoo isn’t peeling, especially if it’s large with lots of color – you shouldn’t be. Unless the lack of peeling is accompanied by the symptoms of infection discussed above, you’re in the clear. If you’re symptom-free and still don’t have peeling, consider yourself lucky!

What To Do When Your Tattoo Is Peeling

1. Keep Washing

Your peeling tattoo should be washed daily, and preferably with antibacterial soap that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Once it’s clean, gently pat it dry with a paper towel.

2. Keep it Moisturized

Keeping your skin soft and supple accelerates the healing time while minimizing the size of skin flakes, and itchiness (even if it is just to a point). But not all moisturizers are created equal. There are tons of options on the market, but a dedicated tattoo aftercare ointment is best. You could also try a fragrance-free lotion without colorants or additives. Just remember to apply the lotion to clean, dry skin.

Will My Tattoo Fade And Lose Color When It Peels?

When your tattoo peels, it shouldn’t fade or lose color significantly. Normally, a tattoo should start peeling in the first week of healing, anytime from 3-7 days in.

The peeling of a tattoo is the body’s way of regenerating dead skin cells. A tattoo is basically a wound; therefore, the dead skin it produces will have to be replaced naturally. This is when peeling happens, but your color can still fade.

Your Tattoo Cracking Rescue Guide - How to Heal and Prevent It

That brand new tattoo that you’ve invested time, money, heart, and soul into always feels like a new pride and joy. The thrill of going out a few days after healing and pulling up your shirt to show off your new sleeve is palpable! And although it’s quite common, there’s nothing more annoying than going to share your new tattoo with a friend and being the victim of excessive tattoo cracking.

Tatto cracking is most commonly caused by very dry skin during the healing process. A tattoo that dries out too much can produce thick scabs that are susceptible to breaking open in multiple areas. Scabs that crack can lead to bleeding, infection, and possible fading or scarring.

While it ultimately can’t be entirely avoided, knowing why it happens and the possible avenues of preventing extreme tattoo cracking are an essential part of ensuring your healing process is smooth and comfortable; we’ve got you covered.

Related: Tattoo Peeling

Why Does Tattoo Cracking Happen?

Tattoo cracking can be a normal part of the healing process, but it can reach a certain point that can be a cause for concern.

While some scaliness, irritation, and milk scabs are almost always to be expected, excessive dryness, thick crusts, or thick scabs across your entire tattoo are a sign that something is missing from your aftercare routine.

Tattoo cracking can happen for a variety of reasons:

SorryMom states that some minor tattoo cracking should not be a cause for concern unless it is paired with symptoms that indicate an infection, such as pus coming from your tattooed area, a fever, or other concerning signs of infection.

3 Easy Tips to Heal and Prevent Tattoo Cracking

While the key to managing tattoo cracking is to spot it right away and narrow down the reason for this issue, the first step to minimizing it completely is to ensure you start your healing and aftercare process on the right foot.

It’s important that the moment your wrap comes off your arm that you are taking the time to properly wash and care for your tattoo. It’s crucial that your first few washes take the time to remove all plasma, excessive ink, and blood that may have gathered on your tattoo. Here are a few tips for the first few days of healing which will help prevent tattoo cracking.

While some artists may recommend dry healing your tattoo, this can easily lead to a severe lack of hydration during the healing process which can end up ruining your tattoo. Results of this can be:

A cleaning and proper aftercare routine started from day one is a great way to minimize tattoo cracking.

If you want to nip tattoo cracking in the bud, hydration is your best friend.

Not only should you moisturize your healing tattoo on the regular, but it’s important that you also stay hydrated and drink plenty of water during your first few weeks with your new tattoo. Eating healthier foods will help with the hydration and healing process, and drinking excessive caffeine or alcohol may lead to a lack of hydration that may have adverse effects on your tattoo.

Moisturizing your tattoo should begin as soon as your tattoo stops weeping, which is the process when your tattoo pushes out plasma or even ink as it begins to heal. Your moisturizing routine should take note of the following:

It is especially important to make moisturizing a part of your aftercare routine in the winter months, when skin is generally drier.

While showing off your new tattoo is to be expected, you should avoid unnecessarily touching or picking at your tattoo. This can easily lead to tattoo cracking issues because you are disturbing the natural healing process.

Peeling and scabbing of tattoos can last a few weeks, especially if you have a large or complicated design. It may be tempting to peel or pick at the scabs or to scratch your tattoo when it irritates you, but you need to let any peeling skin, flakes, or scabs fall off on their own terms. Peeling them may lead to tattoo cracking, or worse, distortion of your tattoo.

It is also recommended that during these stages you do not shave or wax the tattoo area, and, as previously mentioned, always pat your tattoos dry with a paper towel if possible and never rub them.

Extreme Tattoo Cracking Stops With Proper Aftercare

While tattoo cracking is a natural part of the healing process and can’t be completely avoided, ensuring you are following proper aftercare cleaning and moisturizing techniques is a sure way to prevent excessive cracking.

Tattoo cracking is easily treated and very avoidable if you start meticulous aftercare from day one of your new tattoo. Cracking is simply a response to your body trying to heal this area of your body and should not be a cause for concern. If this tattoo cracking is paired with other signs of infection, you should talk to a medical professional. Otherwise, getting on top of aftercare treatment will help quickly minimize this annoying healing process.