Freshly tattooed skin is considered an open wound so it requires special care to ensure proper healing and prevent infections. Using tattoo ointments is a crucial, but convenient and easy way to keep your new ink moisturized as it heals.
If you don’t use the right type of ointment on your fresh tattoo it could dry out and begin to scab, which can lead to scarring and infection. These ointments form a protective barrier around your tattoo, preventing germs and bacteria from breaching the open wound.
Keep reading for the five best tattoo ointments for your new ink, including a helpful guide for what you should look for in an ointment meant for tattooed skin.
Our Top Picks
Aquaphor Healing Tattoo Ointment
Best Color-Enhancing Option
Tattoo Goo Tattoo Balm
Aquaphor healing tattoo ointment is one of the most commonly used products for tattoo aftercare, with many tattoo artists recommending it during the healing process.
This petrolatum-powered formula is better than using 100 percent petroleum jelly because the latter is too thick and won’t allow your skin to breathe. The former formula has occlusive properties and creates a semi-permeable layer on top of the skin, to protect your new ink and prevent infection.
By protecting the skin’s natural moisture, this ointment helps keep your tattoo fresh and promotes faster healing. It contains a mixture of humectants, vitamins, and hydrating ingredients including glycerin, lanolin, panthenol, and bisabolol
Free of fragrances, dyes, and harsh chemicals, this ointment works great for sensitive skin, soothing and moisturizing new ink to keep it looking and feeling healthy. Aquaphor speeds up the healing process and soothes your skin after a tattoo.
- Fragrance-free, anti-inflammatory ointment.
- Safe for sensitive skin.
- The hydrating formula is gentle on the skin.
- Has a thick consistency.
- Leaves behind residue.
- Can be slippery.
Best Budget Option
H2Ocean Aquatat healing tattoo ointment seals the skin with a moisturizing barrier to protect it from irritants while allowing your skin to breathe. This ointment helps to minimize drying and scabbing of the skin.
This formula works wonderfully before, during, and after a tattoo, which is why it’s recommended by tattoo artists all over. The brand is committed to producing all-natural sea salt-based tattoo aftercare products because the unrefined sea salt contains 82 trace minerals that have been scientifically proven to promote fast healing.
A little bit of this thin, non-greasy ointment goes a long way to create a protective skin barrier that works for all skin types. It’s designed to protect your tattoo while promoting skin health with the high antioxidant content and natural key ingredients to provide vitamins A, B, C, D, and E to your skin.
The water-based, petroleum-free formula doesn’t contain any fragrances that may irritate your skin, and protects the tattooed area from bacteria and germs, effectively preventing infection.
- The unscented formula doesn’t irritate the skin.
- Moisturizes the skin.
- Feels a bit greasy on the skin.
Best Color-Enhancing Option
Tattoo Goo tattoo balm is made with the finest blend of humectants, essential oils, and premium natural ingredients for moisturization, anti-oxidation, and antimicrobial properties that stimulate circulation.
This tattoo ointment is designed to help your skin heal itself for the most vibrant tattoos possible. It uses pumice-grade olive oil to help manage the skin’s healing process, as well as wheat germ oil that’s loaded with the powerful antioxidant vitamin E and rosemary extract.
With 98 percent natural healing ingredients including triglycerides, olive oil, lavender, cocoa butter, and beeswax to help soothe inflammation and lubricate and moisturize your skin.
You’ll find this non-greasy, petroleum and lanolin-free tattoo ointment easy to apply, with a lightweight feel. The balm is rich in panthenol, which promises to keep your ink moisturized to prevent scabbing and speed up the healing process without clogging your pores.
The dermatologist-tested ointment for tattoos is designed to make the colors of your new tattoo more vivid, and it also enhances the vibrancy of the color on old tattoos, so it’s perfect for us on your tattoos no matter how long you’ve had them.
- The lightweight formula doesn’t clog your pores.
- Petroleum-free formula.
- Designed to enhance the color of tattoos.
- Comes in a small tin that doesn’t contain a lot of product.
- Not fragrance-free.
A+D moisturizing tattoo ointment is formulated with almond oil, beeswax, and pro-vitamin B5 to help infuse moisture back into dry tattooed skin and promote healing.
The unique formula is specifically designed for tattoos and provides breathable, soothing hydration for your damaged skin. This clinically tested ointment for tattoos gently moisturizes the skin without leaving behind an oily or sticky residue.
This ointment is hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and free from fragrances and dyes that can dry out your skin and cause irritation and itchiness. This product is great for sensitive skin and infuses the tattooed area with the hydration it needs to heal quickly, without clogging your pores.
You’ll find the ingredient panthenol in this ointment, which is well-known for its healing properties.
- This ointment was formulated for tattoo aftercare.
- Clinically tested.
- The breathable formula is lightweight and doesn’t clog pores.
- Reviewers state that this product doesn’t last very long and must be applied often.
Hustle Butter tattoo ointment is made from the finest ingredients including shea, mango, aloe butter, as well as coconut, sunflower, and rice bran oils. It also contains rosemary oleoresin, green tea, vitamin E complex, papaya essence, and mint Arvenis essential oil.
This ointment is part of the original luxury tattoo aftercare brand for new and existing tattoos. It’s safe to use right after you get your tattoo and will help it heal by reducing irritation. It will also make the color of your older tattoos pop by rejuvenating the skin, which revives color and encourages the healing process while preventing the fading of ink.
Use this ointment as a replacement for petroleum-based products that can smother the skin, because it helps moisturize the area before, during, and after the tattoo process. It’s petroleum and paraben-free, with a cruelty-free vegan formulation. This ointment provides a barrier for the surface of your skin to protect the open wound from bacteria and germs that may lead to infection.
- Created by tattoo artists.
- Made with clean, natural ingredients.
- Has a pleasant scent.
- May be a little tacky on application.
- On the expensive side.
How to Choose The Best Tattoo Ointment
Choosing the best ointment for your tattoo can be challenging, especially with the daunting number of products out there marketed toward tattoo aftercare. There are a few factors you’ll want to consider while choosing the best ointment for your ink.
What to Consider
If you just had your ink done, you’ll want to use an ointment that helps heal your tattooed skin. Since tattoo needles puncture the skin, you should treat your new tattoo as if it were an open wound. This means choosing products that are free of harsh chemicals and rich in vitamins and antioxidants and other naturally-derived ingredients with anti-inflammatory healing properties.
You should avoid any ointments with fragrances, alcohol, or dyes for best results. All-natural, organic products usually don’t contain synthetics and chemicals that may cause your newly inked skin to become irritated or itchy.
Although some popular brands of tattoo ointment contain fragrances, you should typically avoid fragrances, especially artificial scents, whenever possible. Unless the ointment has a fragrance that you know is safe for your skin, steer clear. Instead, look for fragrance-free tattoo ointments.
Lotion VS Ointment
The biggest difference in lotion is how heavy the formula is as it’s applied to the skin. Lotions are more spreadable and breathable than ointments, but tattooed skin has unique moisturizing requirements while it heals so it’s vital to choose the best formula for the stage of healing.
The thicker viscosity of ointment is necessary right after getting a tattoo because it infuses moisture into your skin as it dries out from damage from the tattoo needle. The thickness of the ointment prevents bacteria from crossing your skin’s barrier, protecting it from infection, which is crucial in the first few days after getting new ink.
Just be sure to only apply a thin layer of ointment to your tattoo regularly throughout the day, rather than globbing on a thick layer all at once so your skin can breathe.
Safe for Sensitive Skin
When choosing the best tattoo ointment for your skin, look for a gentle formula that allows your skin to retain moisture while restoring the skin barrier. Generally, these formulas contain things like vitamin E and calendula, as well as anti-inflammatory ingredients like sunflower, olive oil, or beeswax.
Ointments containing panthenol, a skin-rejuvenating, moisturizing, and elasticizing ingredient that keeps your skin moisturized throughout the day, are excellent for sensitive skin. It also works as a barrier to keep infection at bay.
Avoid products with alcohol or other common irritants such as parabens or fragrances to avoid allergic reactions and possible infections as your tattoo heals.
When it comes to an ointment, you don’t want a product you have continuously dipped your hands into, unless you have no other options, because these can develop bacteria. Instead, look for an ointment with a dispenser, or one that comes in a squeezable tube.
If you do use a product that you dip your hands into, just make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before using the ointment to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
Wrapping Up the Best Tattoo Ointments
Taking care of your new ink is a crucial part of the healing process. Ointments help your tattooed skin retain moisture, which prevents scabbing and itchiness.
Whether you have a smaller intricate design or a large tattoo with vibrant colors, we hope this guide has helped you choose the best tattoo ointment for your skin.
Now that you’ve found the right ointment for your ink, check out our Best Tattoo Aftercare post for more helpful tips and tricks for top-notch care of your tattoos.