topic posted Sun, July 13, 2008 - 1:34 AM by  Djinn
Ive done a bit of research on tattoo aftercare and over and over again I have seen dramatic warnings against using Vaseline with claims that it will bleach or leech ink from your tattoo or prevent healing.....Is this really a fact or is it a folk legend based on anecdotal evidence?
I have a large back piece that has taken about 7 sessions to complete. I have tried several different approaches....Just Lubiderm, Aloe Vera and almond oil, just almond oil, and of course Vaseline. Everybody has a unique skin type so what is true for me might not be true for you, but I wanted to talk about my results.
First of all, my skin tends to run dry....I am an incredibly fast healer though. For my first session I followed the artists advice and just used lubiderm unscented hypoallergenic. This in theory was supposed to be the kind that doesnt sting because there is no alcohol, but for some reason it stung like a bitch anyway and made my skin itch. Another problem was that it didnt keep the tattoo moist for longer than half an hour or less and I was unable to reach my own tattoo and had to rely on my girlfriend who was only available after work leaving my tattoo to get dry during the day....This produced a lot of scabbing for me and I think I lost some color even though I followed the directions perfectly.
My next attempt used the almond oil and aloe with comfrey....I healed VERY quickly. It was convenient in that respect. However, I think I lost the most color using this method. It still looks nice. It wasnt a drastic loss of color or anything, but it will need a slight touch up which I am being offered for free.
I tried just almond oil....This worked ok. It lasted longer than lubiderm and didnt sting. Seriously, I cant even use even regular unscented lotion. The oil lasted longer and I lost less color than I did with water based lotion. There was less scabbing.
Finally I tried Vaseline. My experience here runs contrary to every bit of online advice I have read everywhere I went. It was the most comfortable on my skin, didnt dry out when I went to work or school with it on my back even after 8 hours without additional application with my clothing against the tattoo....The area where I used the Vaseline is now the most vibrant and least faded of any of the other tattoo sections.

Why did I have such a radically difference experience than what everybody is saying to be the truth?
posted by:
  • Re: Vaseline

    Sun, July 13, 2008 - 7:10 AM
    The persons who have tattooed me have actually used Vaseline as a skin / needle lubricant during the tattoo process. After, I use Aquaphor. Hubby and I both have tried A & D ointment, but prefer Aquaphor.
    • Re: Vaseline

      Sun, July 13, 2008 - 11:37 AM
      I wonder why people say Vaseline is so bad then. Ive had great results....part of it could be because I wasnt able to keep it moist enough with water based products since I couldnt reach everywhere on my back easily and it ended up getting dry and scabbing more, while the vaseline was something I could just put on once or twice a day. Everywhere I go I hear these dire warnings but I actually got good results with it. I used it for the entire healing process.
      • Re: Vaseline

        Sun, July 13, 2008 - 1:01 PM
        Not sure. Vaseline is petroleum based, so that may be it. It could just be you. Some tattooists suggest a single antibiotic cream (as opposed to neosporin), some say bacitracin. I've been told by several other artists that it can cause color loss. So, who really knows. The body is a wonderous and mysterious thing.
  • Re: Vaseline

    Sat, July 19, 2008 - 3:55 PM
    I have usually just used whatever ointment the tattoo artist gives me, and I follows his/her instructions in its use. Two days ago I had a small tattoo done on my left forearm (a word), and I was given some Fougera ointment with vitamins A+D. Other artists have given me Neosporin ointment. When I got my first tattoo when I was age 18, the artist just told me to use vaseline till the healing was done. In all instances, everything turned out as predicted.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Vaseline

      Sun, July 20, 2008 - 6:05 PM
      When I used to get tattooed in the UK my artist reccomended "Savlon", an antiseptic cream. But this would 'dry out' after a while and the tattoo would get crusty, sometimes extreemely.
      Here in Oz there is a product called "Bepanthem", it is reccomended primarily for nappy-rash as it is an antiseptic plus it contains almond oil which stays 'greasy' and prevents the skin from drying out. It can however leave greasy marks on clothes and bed sheets so beware. My artist here says if it a big tattoo apply the Bepanthem first and then some cling wrap before bed to prevent the cream and any ink, or blood, getting onto the sheets when the tat is fresh. The heat created under the cling wrap can also aid healing to some degree. At night, or when you sweat, some ink can be pushed out through the skin and leave very colourful stains.

      This is his advice.

      When I first started getting tattoos I thought the scabbing was necesary, but I have since heard that the scabs can also draw the ink out of the tattoo like a sponge. so the thinner the scab the better the result, keeping the skin moisturised can help keep the scabs thinner.

      Again, just passing on what different advice I have been given.
      Hope it helps.
      • Re: Vaseline

        Sun, July 20, 2008 - 7:07 PM
        Right. It was very difficult for me to keep the tattoo moist with regular lotion because first of all It was difficult to reach all the areas myself without help and because it didnt last very long. Lotion rarely would survive the night until morning. Vaseline however does last all night or all day with my tank top and shirt over it and only requires a morning and an evening application after my morning shower and before bed. When I use vaseline I barely scab at all and I believe this lack of scabbing is what makes vaseline superior to lotion. From personal experience I dont believe the hype about it leaching color. I think the scabbing and/or allergic reactions are what leeches color.

        I have never felt the need to use anti-bacterial anything. Despite the terminology that is often used anti-bacterial products are rarely "healing" unless they also include something like aloe that promotes it. I have a very efficient immune system and I heal fast so I dont use anti-bacterial ointments unless I suspect possible infection.
  • Re: Vaseline

    Sun, October 17, 2010 - 10:50 PM
    Hey man, I'm a tattooist and here's what I can say on the subject:

    1. Lotion needs to get into the skin, not on top of the skin. Oxygen needs to get to the skin to fight infection and heal. So any petroleum based product is no good. Scented lotions and lotions that list alcohol as a top ingredient are also out. I tell my clients to use the most simple, white lotion they can get. Often that means cheap generic lotions.

    2. You don't want to keep the new tattoo moist, you want the skin to just stay soft. Moistness invites infection.

    3. Wash the tattoo with gentle soap 3 times a day, and only apply lotion after washing. Never put lotion on a dirty tattoo, it just invites infection.

    4. Simple black and grey tattoos can be healed wonderfully without any lotion. Just wash it a little more often and you're golden.

    It's all just based on the biology of our skin and healing mechanisms.
    • Re: Vaseline

      Sun, October 24, 2010 - 8:03 AM
      Yo Pedro... You are not the only one in ANY tattoo tribe that is a 'tattooist." Me, behind the needle a little over 9 years, Bek the same. Except she's spent time in a big city street shop. So, we know too...
    • Re: Vaseline

      Fri, October 29, 2010 - 5:39 PM
      The main issue with Vaseline is that some folks will sort of gop it on, and then it blocks the oxygen and creates a warm wet environment for anaerobic bacteria. It also stays moist and sticky, which means plenty of bacteria and lint and hair and stuff sticks to the greasy layer and breeds(well, to be exact, the bacteria multiples, the lint and hair just seeeeem to breed). Lastly, a lot of folks will get the tub of vaseline and stick their fingers into it to spread it onto the tattoo, then back into the tub, etc, which contaminates the whole tub. Same reason I hated the Tattoo Goo tins, they just begged to be contaminated.
      I have very dry skin, so vaseline, applied lightly and blotted, over a clean tattoo, with clean hands, has healed me nicely in the past. Recently, I have switched over to using TatuDerm, since with the dry skin I usually scab, and the TatuDerm works really well for me. The main ingredient in most of the white generic lotions that do not contain alcohol is usually a petroleum product; mineral oil and/or petrolatum (vaseline) are in the top of most of those ingredient lists (YMMV, data based on a quick survey of lotions on sale at Family Dollar) so using straight up vaseline isn't all that different. It also has the added bonus that not too many people have a serious allergic reaction to it, unlike lanolin (tattoogoo and a&d) or aloe vera( lots of healing lotions) or neomycin (neosporin) and finding a sensitivity by mucking up your lovely art is a real bummer, to say the least!

      • Re: Vaseline

        Sun, October 31, 2010 - 8:45 AM
        Then, poor Bek runs into someone like me who reacted to the derm. Made me raw and super duper itchy! Like I said, ever BODY is unique.

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