8 Best Unscented Lotions For Tattoos That Help Healing in 2024
Fashion & Style

8 Best Unscented Lotions For Tattoos That Help Healing in 2024

About to get inked? Whether you’re popping your tattoo cherry or adding your millionth masterpiece, it’s time to take as much care in choosing the best unscented lotions for tattoos as you do finding an artist.

Going under the gun can be pretty daunting, especially for the first time. But once you’ve got your fresh tat, what happens next? From sunscreen and soap to tattoo lotion, healing your new tattoo using the best aftercare products is key.

I won’t sugarcoat it. For me, the tattoo healing process can be worse than sitting for the inking itself. Once the effect of the numbing cream fades, the area will become sore and may even ooze bodily fluids. Not to mention the irritating itching that’s sure to kick in.

Tat healing isn’t a walk in the park, but it is a rite of passage and one you must battle through to get the most out of your body art. If you don’t take notice of your artist’s instructions, you can affect the eventual appearance of the inking. Worse still, you’ll run the risk of opening the door to all sorts of health complications.

If you aren’t up for adopting a strict aftercare regime the moment you leave the tattoo studio, investing in a temporary tattoo may be a better option. How quickly your artwork heals depends on its size and design. Large tattoos will remain red and swollen for longer because they cause more trauma to the skin.

According to Medical News Today, healing times are also affected by the type of tattooing device and tattoo ink the artist uses. For instance, choosing a tattoo design with red pigments can cause a delayed hypersensitivity reaction and slow the skin’s healing process.

But with the correct aftercare, you can reduce the risk of infection or scarring. Fragrance is a trigger for inflammatory reactions, particularly on a fresh tattoo,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi. While the outer layer of the skin typically heals in 2-3 weeks, Dr Shirazi recommends avoiding fragrance and dyes until your fresh tat is 100 percent healed, which generally takes three to six months.

So, instead of reaching for that random bottle of lotion lurking in your medicine cabinet, check out my choice of unscented lotions below. 

Key Takeaway

While deep in my research for this tattoo topic, I learned that not all lotions are suitable for your new masterpiece.

Beating the rest to take the Best Overall title is Lubriderm Daily Moisture. It gets top marks for being soft on the skin, non-greasy, and is clinically proven to moisturize dry skin for 24 hours. At a close second is an Amazon fan favorite, Aquaphor Healing Ointment for dry skin. This nourishing, soothing product has real healing power, and over 89% of its 105K reviewers agree, awarding it 5 stars.

man pointing to a tattoo on his finger
madrabbit / Instagram

After Inked Tattoo Lotion

Why it’s Great: After Inked has celebrity status after featuring on the TV shows Tattoo Titans and NY Ink. It’s also a firm favorite with professional artists, including Miami Ink’s Ami James. Its formula is clinically proven to keep skin looking healthy and youthful. A massive plus is that you can throw the 3oz travel-size tube in a pocket for application on the go.

How it feels/How to use it: A silky, non-sticky texture and patented vegan formula help preserve rich tattoo colors. Using clean hands, gently massage the lotion over the entire tattoo’s surface to cover. Repeat 2-3 times daily.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: At a little under $40 for a pack of 2, it is on the pricier side, but a little goes a long way.

Size: 3 oz, pack of 2 | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredients: Grape seed oil, glycerin, jojoba seed oil | SPF: None

Lubriderm Daily Moisture

Why it’s Great:  Developed by dermatologists, Lubriderm gets my vote as being the best overall unscented lotion for tattoos. This product also comes highly recommended by tattoo artists, including New England studio Birds&Bones. Why? Because it’s clinically proven to keep the skin hydrated for 24 hours. Its mild formula, which contains Vitamin B5, encourages skin repair.

How it feels/How to use it: Lubriderm is lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs quickly without leaving a residue. The lotion is soft and comfortable on the skin. Its 24oz pump top bottle is convenient for large areas like full sleeves.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: While this unscented lotion for tattoos is one of the milder products available, it does have parabens. These preserve the lotion to increase its shelf-life but can enter the skin and mimic the function of certain hormones, including unwanted estrogen.

Size: 1oz | Skin Type: Normal to Dry | Active Ingredients: Vitamin B5, panthenol| SPF: None

Aveeno Daily Moisturizer

Why it’s Great: There are so many reasons why this product rocks. Right off the bat is its value for money, at around 54 cents an ounce. So, if your new tat has left you strapped for cash, this is a must-have unscented lotion for tattoos. Next is its prebiotic oat formula, which locks in moisture to nourish and soothe. Meanwhile, shea butter moisturizes and improves the skin, without clogging pores.

How it feels/How to use it: This product debunks the belief that you only get what you pay for. Its low price point doesn’t come at the expense of a rich yet light texture. It’s quick and easy to apply; all you need to do is work it into the skin until it’s absorbed fully.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Some reviewers report issues with the pump that make it hard to use up all the product.

Size:  18oz | Skin Type: Dry | Active Ingredients: Glycerin, petrolatum | SPF: None

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Why it’s Great: This all-purpose product nourishes and soothes while targeting dry or compromised skin. It forms a protective barrier over the tattoo, which allows the flow of oxygen to create the perfect environment for healing. Moreover, it has a jaw-dropping 105K+ Amazon reviews, with 87% coming in at 5 stars, proving it’s one of the best unscented lotions for tattoos.

How it feels/How to use it: New York tattoo artist and owner of South Shore Tattoo Co. Mike Nomy advises applying Aquaphor for 2-3 days, 2-3 times a day, carefully washing it off between applications. He says it’s best to avoid using too much product and rub it into the skin completely to leave it hydrated rather than tight!

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Aquaphor takes a bit more effort to rub into the skin, and if you’ve applied too much, it can look shiny or feel sticky.

Size: 14oz | Skin Type: Dry | Active Ingredients: 41% Petrolatum | SPF: None

Sorry Mom Tattoo Lotion

Why it’s Great: There are certain buzzwords to look out for when choosing unscented lotion for tattoos, and two of the front runners are revive and refresh. This product has nothing to be sorry about on this score. So, say goodbye to peeling, fading, and itching. Sorry Mom is perfect for healing new tats and brightening aged tattoos.

How it feels/How to use it:  Apply the lotion 2-3 times daily, in the morning and the night. There’s no greasy or sticky residue; a little of the product goes a long way. Also, unlike many other lotions, it absorbs immediately, which is a big selling point for me. Reviewers say tattoos look shinier and that their skin is super soft.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The product is on the watery side, making the tube tricky to squeeze.

Size: 3.4 oz | Skin Type: All| Active Ingredients: Vitamin E| SPF: None

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

Why it’s Great: You should protect your new tattoo entirely from the sun for 4-6 weeks. When it is time to catch those rays, be aware that sun exposure can prematurely fade tattoo ink. To keep your healed tattoo vibrant, check out this sheer, touch-dry sunscreen lotion. It’s water resistant and offers superior protection with a high dose of SPF 70.

How it feels/How to use it:  Apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure and 80 minutes after sweating. From then on, reapply every 2 hours. I’m a big fan of this lotion as it’s light, fast-absorbing texture leaves the skin feeling clean.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: It may leave a white cast, and it can be a challenge to apply it evenly.

Size: 3.84 oz | Skin Type: All| Active Ingredients:  Avobenzone 3%, homosalate 15%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 2.8%, oxybenzone 6% | SPF: 70

Mad Rabbit Replenish Tattoo Body Lotion

Why it’s Great: This clean lotion, unlike many other tattoo aftercare products, doesn’t contain processed ingredients. Instead, nourishing butters, plant-derived ceramides and plant oil lock in hydration and restore skin moisture. It’s suitable for all skin types, preserving your artwork’s bold, bright appearance.

How it feels/How to use it: I’ll leave this one to this satisfied Amazon customer who gives Happy Rabbit a fat 5 stars.Absolutely love the Mad Rabbit lotion. A little goes a long way with this one. It’s thick enough to spread through a large area but feels very light on your skin. Take your time rubbing it in, almost buffering your skin; your tattoo will look fantastic.”

Flaws but not dealbreakers: For me, the only downer is the cost per ounce. The lotion comes in at one cent under $26, making it around $2.74 per fluid ounce, which is high compared to some of the other unscented lotions. But if you can splash the cash, make it an everyday essential.

Size:  9.5oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, Vitamin A, Vitamin E | SPF: None

Everyone Nourishing Lotion

Why it’s Great: If you want to go eco-friendly, this is the best unscented lotion for tattoos. Everyone is made using organic herbs and promises to be GMO, cruelty, gluten, paraben, triclosan, and synthetic fragrance-free. If this weren’t enough, its generous 32 oz plastic bottle is 100% recyclable.

How it feels/How to use it: This lotion markets itself as an everyday lotion for everyone. Its ultra-gentle, unscented formula more than lives up to this claim. Its light consistency works as well on the face and neck as it does on the body, making it perfect for big and small artwork. Massage gently into the skin to nourish, heal, and stop the itch.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: I can only find one flaw in this lotion – the pump bottle. Amazon reviewer Barbara Lillibridge loved the product but shared this comment, “the lotion can’t come out of the bottle when the pump gets below a certain level. All the time, I have to tip it over a glass to drain the remaining lotion out.”

Size: 32oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredients: | Coconut oil, Vitamin E SPF: None

applying a tattoo lotion on the arm
sorrymomtattoo / Instagram

Buying Considerations For Unscented Tattoo Lotion

Ingredients

Some tattoo aftercare lotions and products can hinder the healing process and may even put you at risk of infection. When searching for the best unscented lotion for tattoos, you need to be aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ingredients to avoid are synthetic fragrances, alcohols, dyes, retinol/AHAs parabens, lanolin, and mineral oil. Luckily, eco-friendly products such as Everyone Nourishing Lotion are a safe buy featuring coconut oil and Vitamin E. Another winner is Mad Rabbit Replenish Tattoo Body Lotion with shea butter, glycerin, and Vitamins A and E. Both products will keep your tattoo looking fresh.

SPF

Tattoo aftercare doesn’t end once your ink heals. Finding a great unscented lotion for tattoos is something you should commit to for your entire life. Sun protection is non-negotiable. Tattooed skin, just like the rest of you, is open to sun damage. Think like a vampire and keep new tattoos out of direct sunlight for the first few weeks. After that, you’ll need a lotion with SPF 30 or higher. When I’m basking in the sun, I go for Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, which has a heft SPF70 and is paraben-free.

Size

Depending on your tattoo’s size and how long you’re considering using the lotion, pick a size that suits your needs. For instance, my best eco-friendly option, Everyone Nourishing Lotion, in its 32oz container, is great for full sleeves, back jobs and tattoos larger than 6 ins. When traveling or after the gym, I go for Lubriderm Daily Moisture, which comes in a convenient 1oz container.

lubriderm as an essential tool
lubriderm / Instagram

Why you Should Trust Us

I got my first tattoo many moons ago. My skin can be sensitive, so even back then, I went unscented. At the time, there wasn’t a great selection of unscented lotions for tattoos. As a writer for FashionBeans, I get to test and research a lot of skincare and grooming products.

So, when I got the opportunity to review the unscented lotions, it was right in my wheelhouse. After talking to tattoo artists and many hours spent scrolling, I compiled my collection to help keep your skin healthy and your ink vibrant.

Final Verdict

A tattoo is a permanent form of body art unique to its wearer. While you can expect some degree of fading over time, you can help extend your artwork’s vibrancy using the best unscented lotion for tattoos. For me, and a bevvy of professional artists, the best overall vote goes to Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion. This product, developed by derm doctors, encourages skin repair and is clinically proven to keep the skin hydrated for 24 hours.

FAQ

    • A tattoo is essentially an open wound. So, if you wouldn’t apply a product to a sore, it’s not suitable for your artwork either. Reddit user Darkchyylde explains, “the chemicals that provide the scent can be very irritating to the tattoo and cause irritation and increase chances of infection and scarring.” To eliminate the ouch factor and banish the burn, avoid lotions containing alcohol, dyes, and fragrance.

      • “Scented lotions may cause scarring and premature fading of tattoos,” reports a case study from the Dermatology Online Journal. It’s why I always opt to protect my tat using an unscented lotion for tattoos. Also, unscented lotions are creamy and smooth, which helps the tattooed area breathe.

        • Listen to your tattoo artist’s instructions when it comes to the right time to begin using unscented lotion, as timing can make or break a tattoo’s appearance. Some artists say it’s best to wait 1-2 days before applying an unscented lotion for tattoos. Meanwhile, others may say go for it after the first wash.

Originally Published Here.

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