Is Cocoa Butter Good For Tattoos? How & When To Use It

The buttery-smooth formula to soothe the skin and preserve your tattoo.

Written by , MA (English) Shreya Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA (English) Gazala Firdos Ansari Integrated MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
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Cocoa butter is not just a mere moisturizer; it is a magical ingredient that elevates tattoo aftercare to its peak. Using cocoa butter for tattoos can do wonders for your skin, like maintaining its essential hydration level and preserving the vivid color of your tattoos and their intricate details. The rich fatty acid and antioxidant profile of the butter may help improve skin moisturization and prevent dry and cracking skin that may affect the health of your tattooed skin. However, you cannot use it soon after getting your tattoo.

So, when should you apply it then? And, how does cocoa butter help my tattoo? How to use it? Is cocoa butter bad for tattoos? Fret not! We can help you solve your doubts. This article deals with everything you need to know about using this ingredient for your tattoo aftercare. Keep reading to know about its benefits, when to apply it, and who should avoid using it. Read on!

Is Cocoa Butter Good For Tattoos?

Cocoa butter for tattoos
Image: Shutterstock

Yes, cocoa butter is one of the most recommended products for tattoo aftercare. Most tattoo artists suggest using it to heal and moisturize the skin. But why is cocoa butter good for tattoos? It stands out as a top-notch natural ingredient for tattoo care due to its natural properties. It is rich in antioxidants, especially flavonoidsi  Natural compounds with antioxidant properties found in various fruits, vegetables, and beverages like tea and red wine. , that help reduce inflammation. The fatty acid present in the butter also contributes to the natural moisturizing properties of the butter (1). In its raw form, it boasts of an exceptionally high fat content, making it an excellent skin moisturizer to maintain optimal tattoo health (2). This indicates that it may help prevent skin dryness as your skin undergoes its renewal process. Also, the antioxidants in butter scavenge free radicals, aiding skin healing and maintaining a youthful, firm appearance (3). It also contains vitamin E, a key natural antioxidant, that helps shield the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation triggered by various factors like direct sunlight exposure (4).  It may also help reduce the risk of infection by supporting the immune system. And unlike petroleum jelly, cocoa butter has a slightly thinner consistency that allows the healed skin to breathe without over-moisturizing the area.

Therefore, applying a cocoa butter formula to your tattoo may help soothe the skin, reduce dryness, and preserve the vibrancy of the tattoo’s colors during the healing process. Also, it is generally gentle on the skin, minimizing the risk of irritation. However, ensure you are not allergic to cocoa butter or any other ingredients in the product you are using.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The moisturizing properties of cocoa butter mainly come from its rich fatty acid profile. 100 grams of cocoa butter oil contains 100 grams of total fat and 59.7 grams of saturated fatty acidsi  A type of fat molecule that are solid at room temperature, found in foods like butter and coconut oil. (2).

So, this is how cocoa butter usually helps keep the skin healthy. Applying cocoa butter products during the tattoo healing process may help relieve inflamed skin and protect the skin barrier. But, are there any other benefits of using it? Find out in the next section.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Cocoa Butter On Tattoos?

Using cocoa butter regularly can offer important benefits, and more so when you are getting a tattoo. These include the following.

1. Moisturizes Dry Skin

woman applying cocoa butter for tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

Tattooing can leave your skin dry and cracking. As the tattoo healing process ends, when the scabbingi  It is the formation of a dry, protective crust over a healing wound or skin injury which may last for 3 to 4 days. stops, the skin may become too dry. Applying cocoa butter may help moisturize the dry skin and prevent further cracking and moisture loss. The fatty acids and polyphenolsi  Natural compounds abundant in plants known for their antioxidant properties and potential health benefits. present in cocoa butter are said to improve skin health (5). The butter may form a protective layer over the tattooed area and help maintain the moisture level of the skin. Moisturizing it and maintaining hydrated skin will also help retain tattoo vibrancy. Some tattoo artists even recommend using cocoa butter over petroleum jelly for moisturizing, as the latter has a thicker consistency.

2. Aids Tattoo Healing

Infected skin can completely ruin the tattoo art. The tattoo is an open wound that is more prone to infections when left unprotected. Cocoa butter may help prevent skin damage and reduce the chance of infection, as its antioxidant profile could protect the skin barrier and improve skin elasticity (5). It may create a protective barrier over the skin that may speed up the recovery process and prevent infections. The antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols help nourish the skin and support the skin barrier to reduce the recovery time and maintain the outer layer with all its vibrancy.

3. Reduces Itchiness

Woman scratching her tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

When the skin becomes dry and inflamed, itchy skin reactions can often intensify, leading to discomfort, a heightened urge to scratch the affected areas, and a risk of scarring. Scratching the tattooed skin will only make things worse and cause scarring. Cocoa butter may help, as moisturizing the inflamed skin may help reduce the itchiness (6). By minimizing the itchiness, the healing process may also speed up.

Though cocoa butter helps in the healing process, you should not use it as a tattoo balm, soon as you get a tattoo. Read on to know more about it.

Can You Put Cocoa Butter On A New Tattoo?

Woman applying cocoa butter on her new tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

It is not safe to use cocoa butter formula during the tattoo healing process. It is best to avoid using it until the tattoo stops scabbing and begins peeling because your skin will be at its most sensitive during the initial healing stage. Using a strong formula like cocoa butter as a tattoo balm may cause irritation, leading to a rash or inflammation in the area.

Applying cocoa butter right after the tattooing process is not a good idea. It has a dense texture that could affect the tattooed skin’s breathing capacity. Its dense texture may also increase the moisture levels in the skin, fostering an ideal environment for bacterial growth and skin infections (7).  Using it too often may lead to increased moisture leaves that could contribute to infections around the tattooed area, making it less than ideal for the healing process.

So, if not as a tattoo balm, then when should you put cocoa butter on a tattoo?

The initial healing phase begins after treating a fresh tattoo with a medicated cream or tattoo artist-recommended ointment and covering it with a plastic wrap, about three days after being inked. During this stage, it is necessary to keep the skin consistently moisturized to prevent flaking, maintain smoothness, and avoid any cracking or dryness. You can apply the cocoa butter formula after 4-5 days of getting a tattoo to keep your inked skin hydrated and moisturized.  It creates a protective tattoo film over your inked skin, protecting the middle layers of skin that is still healing.

Here is how to apply cocoa butter on a tattoo:

  • Take a pea-sized amount of cocoa butter.
  • Apply it evenly without using too much pressure.
  • Massage the area gently for better absorption.
  • You can use it 2-3 times daily or per the artist’s advice.

Wash your hands before applying cocoa butter. You can also use a clean cotton swab or a small spatula to apply the butter to the area. This prevents any microorganisms from infecting your new ink. It also recommended to pair using cocoa butter with the proper tattoo aftercare steps such as avoid going out in the sun until the tattoo is completely healed and to wear loose clothing.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Always wash your tattooed skin before applying the cocoa butter and wait for it to dry. You can also use a soft cloth or paper towel to pat dry your skin.

You can put cocoa butter on your older tattoos too, not just on fresh tattoos. If you feel your tattoo looks lifeless and dull, applying cocoa butter may nourish the skin and make the tattoo ink look vibrant and bright. This works more so for color tattoos. The butter makes the tattoo look fresh and newer-looking long after healing. You can follow this tattoo aftercare tip once or twice a day.

Steph Webber, a YouTuber, shares her experience of using cocoa butter as a moisturizer in her tattoo aftercare routine. She says, “I have been using cocoa butter for years and my tattoos have turned out fine. Nothing has gone wrong. So I’ve always used this and I always will use this (i).” She also added that she uses it about 2 to 3 times a day.

Using cocoa butter as an aftercare product may help keep your skin healthy. However, you should be careful while using a cocoa butter formula, as it may not suit everyone. Scroll down to read more about it.

Who Should Avoid Using Cocoa Butter For Tattoo Aftercare?

Woman with acne-prone skin
Image: Shutterstock

Is cocoa butter bad for tattoos? No, it is not bad for all tattoos. But are there any negatives to using cocoa butter? Yes, there is a negative side to using this aftercare product; it may not suit certain skin types.

Though it is safe for normal to sensitive skin types, some people may find it too oily. The rich fatty acid profile of the ingredient may not go well with someone who has oily skin or is prone to acne breakouts. Since cocoa butter melts and behaves like oil on the skin, it may clog pores and contribute to acne during tattoo healing, leading to another potential risk – pimples on a tattoo. This issue may arise due to the ‘oil’ being absorbed by the skin. Additionally, it is advised to avoid cocoa butter products for skin care if you have a cocoa bean allergy.

Using cocoa butter for tattoo aftercare offers an array of benefits, such as promoting a healthier healing process and maintaining the vibrancy of your tattoo ink. Its rich antioxidants, moisturizing, and healing properties and ability to soothe inflamed skin make it a popular choice among tattoo enthusiasts. Most tattoo artists recommend it due as it is effective in moisturizing dry skin and reducing itchiness. However, though gentle, those with oily skin or prone to acne should be cautious due to its oil-like properties that may clog pores.  It should not be used as a tattoo balm during the initial healing stages. Additionally, individuals allergic to cocoa should steer clear of cocoa butter products for skincare. Also, remember to follow the proper tattoo aftercare process to ensure your tattoo heals well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will cocoa butter fade tattoos?

Cocoa butter, when used appropriately and after the tattoo has properly healed, does not fade tattoos. However, if you use it on a fresh tattoo, during the initial healing phase, it may lead to ink bleeding.

For a tattoo, which one is good: cocoa butter or aquaphor?

Cocoa butter hydrates and improves skin moisturization and can be used as a tattoo aftercare product once the tattoo has healed. However, Aquaphor aids the initial healing of the inflamed skin. Therefore, both are good aftercare products that can be used for different purposes. However, consult your tattoo artist or a professional healthcare provider before using either.

Key Takeaways

  • Cocoa butter offers natural moisturization, aiding tattoo healing and maintaining skin health with its hydration and antioxidant properties.
  • Wait until after the tattoo stops scabbing before using cocoa butter to prevent potential irritation.
  • You may start using it 4-5 days after getting your tattoo and continue using it as long as you want to preserve tattoo vibrancy and freshness.
  • People prone to oily skin, cocoa bean allergy, or acne should be cautious with cocoa butter.
cocoa butter for tattoo

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Cocoa butter can help soothe and moisturize your skin and that makes it one of the best aftercare products for tattoo healing. Watch this video to learn the array of benefits offered by cocoa butter to improve your skin health. Check this out!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Cocoa bioactive compounds: significance and potential for the maintenance of skin health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145303/
  2. Oil, cocoa butter
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171421/nutrients
  3. Systemic antioxidants and skin health
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23135663/
  4. The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7633944/
  5. Cocoa polyphenols and their influence on parameters involved in ex vivo skin restructuring
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18822039/
  6. The role of moisturizers in addressing various kinds of dermatitis: a review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849435/
  7. Moisture-associated skin damage: an overview for community nurses
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23299141/
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Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya MukherjeeBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Shreya is a beauty and lifestyle writer with two years of experience. After graduating from Christ University, Bengaluru, she started as a writer for a non-profit organization, Bhumi, as an intern. She then wrote for a progressive content website.

Read full bio of Shreya Mukherjee
Anjali Sayee
Anjali SayeeAssociate Editor
Anjali is an associate editor at StyleCraze. She specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. She has 7 years of experience, and her philosophy about hair and skin care is simple: if you love and care for it, it will be healthy.

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Gazala Firdos Ansari
Gazala Firdos AnsariBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Gazala Ansari is a beauty and lifestyle writer with two years of experience. She writes on relationships, makeup, and lifestyle and has bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from the Central University of Jharkhand.

Read full bio of Gazala Firdos Ansari