Tattoos are on the rise, which is one of the main reasons why the modern man is adopting a casual appearance. There is a newfound appreciation for the traditional inking method, and more people are beginning to challenge stereotypes by decorating their skin.
While tattoos have historically been symbols of status to demonstrate someone’s achievements, like miles sailed, the cultural phenomenon is a fascinating way in which people are expressing themselves and exploring their identity.
There is a multitude of products on the market at the moment, with different reputations for how effective they are. That is why we have collected some of the different options for tattoo care and compared how they can help with the healing process.
Not only that, but we have taken the time to look at the effect of each product on tattoos that have already healed. Some are developed for pre-existing tattoos, while others are more catered for the healing process.
This is why these are some of the most effective options for soap to maintain bold lines and colors of current tattoos, as well as trying to speed up the healing process.
Soap alone won’t be as effective as lotion or moisturizer. That is why we have also outlined the role that a good gel, lotion, or cream can play when combined with a high-quality soap.
It is worth taking the time to consider what your priorities are, and whether you want a sensitive product with fewer additives, or a manly scented one.
For the majority of modern individuals, our different kinds of tattoos illustrate how our personalities vary. This is why we’ve created this guide to teach you how to properly look after your tattoos.
Whether you are new to the world of tattoos, or if you have had them for years and want to check how to keep them fresh, this guide has you covered. These are some of the best soaps for tattoos, which ingredients to look out for and what to avoid.
Table of Contents
One of the highest recommended products for healing tattoos and keeping them looking fresh is Castile soap. While it might be widely recognized as a household product used in other forms of cleaning, it is natural and effective.
When diluted properly to an appropriate strength, Castile soap gently cleans the skin and has little added ingredients that risk causing any irritation.
- Great for eczema and other skin problems
- Multipurpose ingredients can be used as household cleaners, for pets, and babies
- Gentle ingredients
- Natural sources of ingredients
- Most Castile soaps need to be diluted in order to prevent irritation and dryness, so it is definitely worth doing research beforehand. You will only need a few drops of these products in order to clean your whole body.
Another option for maintaining your tattoos is to use a coconut soap that is hypoallergenic. Generally, any soap with skin hydrating properties is a good way to care for your tattoos as it will help to lock in moisture as well as preventing infection from spreading.
- Organic ingredients make this soap environmentally friendly
- Rich lather created from coconut oil enhances skin hydration
- Highly moisturizing
More on the expensive side of the product range, due to the fact that it uses coconut oil as a primary ingredient. However, a little goes a long way, and it is definitely worth the investment
Aloe vera is a cheaper alternative to coconut, and its properties are soothing and cooling. That is why a lot of people enjoy using aloe vera soap on their tattoos and skin in general.
The brand linked in particular is a highly recommended soap which doesn’t need to be dried or rinsed if you choose not to. An added benefit of this is that there is the chance to lock in more moisture into the skin.
- No need to rinse, which means that it can be a great solution for those on the go
- Aloe vera has soothing and cooling properties, perfect for healing tattoos
- Very effective for the healing process
- Mild and unscented
- No rinse technique leaves an unclean feeling
- Can cause irritations, so closely check the ingredients before purchasing and test a small amount of the product on your skin before applying to tattoos.
Cetaphil is a highly recommended brand that enhances skincare and makes the process simple. It can be a great way to lock in moisture and maintain tattoos. The soap itself is gentle and great for those who have acne prone or oily skin.
- Removes excess oil from the skin
- Gentle enough that it doesn’t risk removing tattoo ink
- Dermatologist- recommended
- Ingredients may contain parabens, which can encourage bacteria growth, so it’s recommended that you use a small amount of the product each time. This can make it better value for money because it will make it last a long time
While it might be uncharted territory for you, bar soaps can be another great way to improve moisture and clean the skin without drying it out. These are all potential risk factors when it comes to making your tattoo fade faster, which is why it’s worth looking into some recommended brands of bar soaps. Another benefit of bar soap is that the product will last longer than most liquid products, meaning that it’s far better value for money.
This is one of the most commonly suggested types of soap to use during tattoo healing and keeping it in good condition.
It is hard to argue with how gentle the soap is and how soft it leaves the skin feeling, but it is also highly effective at locking in moisture, which the tattoos need in order to be preserved.
- Good for sensitive skin
- Unscented option
- Widely available
- Lots of scents and variants exist, so make sure that you avoid the exfoliating ones as mentioned before
Moving towards soaps designed for use by men in particular, Dr. Squatch features some interesting scents and have been recommended for men with tattoos who want to smell fresh and ensure that their ink stays in good condition.
The lather is impressive, and these soaps are a great option for someone who is new to the soap market and a little skeptical.
- Unique selection of scents
- Cleaning properties good for the skin
- No exfoliating ingredients, so it will encourage your tattoos to stay as they are
- Nothing to lock in moisture necessarily within the ingredients
- Bars lack structure, as they tend to crumble upon contact with water
Another option within the field of scented soaps is Duke Cannon. A no – nonsense brand produces 10 ounce bricks of soap with more subtle scents like “leaf and leather” or “fresh pine”. Natural scents without the fuss is definitely something we can get behind.
- USA made
- Value for money- you get a large amount of product for the price
- Moisture locking properties
- Awkward shape can easily be dropped in the shower, which adds a risk of breaking
- Can cause irritation, so it’s best to carefully check the ingredients
While it might seem a little unnecessary, a great soap for healing and maintaining tattoos is this product which features rosin, natural oils, and red sage. These all have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be perfect for reducing any swelling and sterilizing.
- A selection of natural ingredients encourage healing of the skin, which is important for tattoos
- Solid structure allows lather and won’t crumble
- Soothing on the skin
- Won’t dry the skin out
- The bar itself is relatively small
- It is a Korean brand, so a lot of the packaging isn’t written in English
Another way that you can get a complete feel for a product is to try out some tattoo healing kits. These can be beneficial for someone who doesn’t know how to take care of their new tattoo, or even double as a thoughtful gift for someone who has a tattoo booked.
These are some of the highest rated kits.
This product features some of the best quality ingredients with a PH-balanced soap, and lotion to encourage healing and maintaining correct hydration.
The combination of the balm and lotion have been highly rated for improving the healing process and locking in essential moisture.
- Selection of products is good for maintaining older tattoos as well as protecting healing ones
- Gentle on the skin
- Smaller product containers mean you will run out sooner
Another kit which features soap and cleanser for tattoos comes with lotion and salve to help with new tattoos as well as old.
Designed for making life easier, and to try to enhance the healing process, this product is marketed as a gender-neutral brand to appeal to all who want correct tattoo care.
- Products are good at adding moisture to the skin and preserving older tattoos
- Salve is effective at helping to heal new tattoos
- Instructions are somewhat unclear
- Irritation can occur, so do a check with a small area of skin first
At this point, it’s worth mentioning the importance of a good lotion. Using a highly recommended soap is one thing, but it is only really half of the story, which is why you should consider investing in a lotion.
Moisture is essential when healing tattoos as well as afterwards, because it can help maintain the vibrancy and boldness of the design, and prevent fading.
There are a few different options to choose from, salves, balms, lotions or simple moisturizer. It’s up to you to decide which type of skin hydration world best for you.
Of course, check the ingredients carefully and look out for things that can cause damage to your skin’s surface. These include salicylic acid, which helps with breakouts but not tattoos, and obviously anything that you might be allergic to.
Lotions can be highly effective at moisturizing the skin, although some have reported that they had to reapply several times in a day.
One of the main properties found in lotions is that they are creamy and often very thick. This means that they often feel slightly oily on the skin and tend not to be the ideal choice for those with sensitive skin or healing tattoos.
Gels or salves often help to resolve this issue, as they act as a barrier between the tattoo and external factors. They are often made with natural ingredients that encourage healing, and people will often use this kind of product on any type of skin irritation on their body.
Gels will also add some cooling properties to new tattoos and other irritations, which help make it much more comfortable and easier to carry on with your daily life.
Creams are a good compromise between lotions and gels, as they often provide the hydration that is needed without the heaviness.
The skin will tend to absorb this easily, and it makes daily application seamless. For a more manly experience, find one that is unscented.
What not to Use
Exfoliants are commonly believed to be good for the skin, but that isn’t the case for tattoos. Of course, the way in which exfoliating products work is by using rough material to aggravate the skin and lift off a layer of dirt and dead skin from the surface.
This reveals a soft texture underneath and makes the skin feel fresh. However, when it comes to tattoos, this isn’t what we want. This is because it can cause the ink to fade when regularly exfoliated, as it makes the skin flake away and will make it appear weaker.
Products that have been designed with skincare in mind, such as salicylic acid, should also be avoided when thinking about tattoo care.
This is because the ingredient which makes it so effective at removing blemishes can also kill the first layer of skin over time. While this isn’t something to be overly concerned about, it can cause damage to tattoos if regularly applied, as it might lead to accelerated fading.
Additionally, you should steer clear of any soaps which include antibacterial or antimicrobial properties. Obviously, these can be great at eliminating germs and potentially harmful bacteria, the safest thing to do is to use these kinds of soaps when washing your hands only.
As their properties involve killing germs, it can be damaging to use this kind of soap on a tattoo for a long period of time. This is because it can make your skin begin to flake on the area that the ink is on after repeated use.
It is generally best to avoid soaps with antibacterial properties when looking for one for your tattoos and body. Many tattoo artists recommend gentle products such as Dove soap.
The time when it is the most essential to care for your tattoo is when it is healing. Try to avoid causing any potential irritation to the area by using gentle products and regularly applying lotion as well as hydrating.
Make sure to leave the area for as long as possible before removing the protective cover that your tattoo artist used. This helps seal the area, encourage the scabbing process, and prevent infection from entering your system.
Additionally, focus your search on looking for soaps that are unscented, as these can cause unnecessary irritation to the area and even lead it to slow down the healing process.
How to Keep Tattoos Looking Fresh
These are some soaps that will keep your tattoo looking fresh, and try to make them last longer. Most people who don’t take care of their skin in general will notice a tattoo fading over time.
This is why looking after your skin will allow you to make the most of your tattoo money, and appreciate it for many years.
In summary, there are a lot of products on the market that can help with tattoos, however, the main thing that you will need to focus on is a good quality soap that can be paired with a reliable lotion or balm of sorts.
Whatever your preference, there are plenty of options to choose from, ranging in scent, overall skin feel, and price. If you aren’t sure what to settle on, you could purchase a tattoo care kit to see what you prefer.
Another thing to do is to ask a friend or your tattoo artist what products they would suggest.
Whether you have a new tattoo and want to know how to encourage the healing process to accelerate, or if you have older tattoos that you want to preserve and try to maintain some of the vibrancy, there are a lot of things you can do to properly care for your tattoo.
It all starts with finding the right soap for you and moving from there. Decide what type of soap you want, such as a bar or in more of a shower gel form, and then pick a reliable brand that you know won’t cause any irritations.
It is up to you to decide which soap works best for your skin, and it’s definitely worth taking the time to see what products react with your skin and what don’t. Avoid putting exfoliating products onto your tattoo as it can make it fade faster.
Like this article? Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this.