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Dry Skin & Tattooing

By Michelle Powell-Smith ; Updated July 18, 2017

Dry skin can impact the health and appearance of your tattoos during and after the healing process. Moisture is key to the healing process and can make a difference in the color and intensity of your tattoo. Keeping your skin well-moisturized will keep the color fresh, prevent flaking and maintain the beauty of your ink.

Time Frame

Maintaining adequate moisture is essential when your tattoo is fresh and healing. Tattoo artists have their own moisturizer preferences, but most recommend that you apply a rich lotion, cream or ointment frequently during healing. Apply moisturizer frequently during the first few weeks, reapplying when the skin feels dry, tight or itchy.

Types

An unscented moisturizer is ideal for tattoo care, particularly after the initial healing period. Any good quality moisturizing lotion can maintain the health of your tattoo and preserve the rich colors in your design. If you opt for ointment for tattoo aftercare, apply only a thin layer and switch to a moisturizer after two days.

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Function

Use your fingertips to gently apply lotion or ointment to your tattoo as recommended by your tattoo artist. Work with a light touch to avoid knocking loose scabs or flaking ink during the healing process. Once your tattoo has healed, moisturize as needed to keep your skin healthy. If you have dry skin, plan to apply a moisturizing lotion more frequently.

Considerations

Your tattoo artist will recommend the aftercare products he prefers; however, some common choices are not the best option. Also be wary of products with common allergens, like zinc and lanolin. If you typically use a good quality, unscented hand or body lotion, ask your artist if you can use the product you prefer.

Warning

Tattoos breach the skin and do require at least two weeks to heal fully, according to the CNN Health. It is normal for the tattoo to scab and flake during this time. If you notice significant redness, irritation or itching, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Pus, oozing, redness or significant discomfort may be a sign of a bacterial infection. Consult your health care provider about these complications.

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