Over-Moisturized Tattoo: Everything You Need To Know

How much is too much when it comes to moisturizing a fresh tattoo?

Written by , BA (English Hons) Pahul Nanra BA (English Hons) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MSc Manjari Uppal MSc linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Last Updated on

In the realm of body art, caring for tattoos is crucial to maintain their vibrancy and longevity and prevent infections. However, a common mistake made by new tattoo artists and even those getting inked for the first time is over-moisturizing tattoos. An over-moisturized tattoo may lead to unwanted skin infections, breakouts, gooey scabs, and color distortion. The adverse effects are caused due to an imbalance in hydration and aeration. Tattoos are delicate masterpieces that require proper healing but the act of over-moisturizing tattoos can lead to a hindrance in the natural healing process.

While it is important to nourish the tattoo, it is also crucial to not overwhelm it. In this article, we attempt to understand all about over-moisturized tattoos, common symptoms of it, curing tips to follow, how much moisturizing is ideal, and more. So, let’s jump right in!

What Is An Over-Moisturized Tattoo?

Woman over-moisturizing a tattoo with excessive lotion
Image: Shutterstock

Applying a moisturizing cream or lotion on your newly inked skin thrice a day or more frequently can lead to an over-moisturized tattoo. This excess moisture causes various skin issues such as wet scabs, color fading, change in design appearance, and an increase in the overall healing time. An over-moisturized tattoo can also become the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to skin infections. It may even lead to a delay in the healing process. This incorrect practice is common amongst new tattoo artists and people with less tattoo experience and knowledge.

Identifying the signs of an over-moisturized tattoo can help you give it proper care. Check out its common symptoms below.

Signs Of An Over-Moisturized Tattoo

Wet scabbing on old tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

If you have been wondering what an over-moisturized tattoo looks like, then the symptoms mentioned below will help you recognize it clearly.

  • Shiny Appearance: Your tattooed skin is too slimy and shiny.
  • Prolonged Redness: Your newly inked skin continues to show redness even after healing.
  • Excess Scabbing: Formation of excessive, soggy scabs on the tattoo.
  • Color Distortion: The tattoo becomes discolored, faded, or has a cloudy appearance.
  • Skin Irritation: Unwanted itchiness and discomfort post the expected healing phase.
  • Skin Inflammation: Increased swelling and skin inflammation around the tattooed area.

While these were the symptoms of an over-moisturized tattoo, let us understand why basic hydration and the need for a moisturizer is also important. Scroll down.

Why Does Your Tattoo Need Moisturizer?

Applying moisturizer on a tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

While over-moisturizing tattoos should be avoided, applying a moisturizer during the healing process is necessary. After getting inked, the skin undergoes trauma and requires adequate hydration for optimal recovery. Using a moisturizer prevents excessive dryness and boosts the healing process, while also maintaining the tattoo’s vibrancy. Clearly using a moisturizer is important but what happens if you use too much of it in the healing stage and end up with excess moisture?

What Happens If You Moisturize Your Tattoo Too Soon?

Moisturizing your tattoo too soon, especially after the initial hours of getting inked can have unfavorable effects on the healing process and lead to an over-moisturized tattoo. The freshly tattooed skin forms a protective layer that could be disrupted by prematurely applying a moisturizer, resulting in possible skin infections and other problems like scabbing, a decrease in tattoo quality, and color distortion. After getting a tattoo, the skin requires adequate time to breathe and start its own healing process. Ensure to only use a gentle moisturizer after removing the protective tattoo film or bandage and cleaning the tattoo. Opt for a nourishing, fragrance-free product recommended by your professional tattoo artist.

Mei Tang, a Youtuber, has close to 80 or more tattoos. She says, “For the first day or half a day I don’t put anything on the tattoo after it’s dried. I like to dry it and heal it for maybe again 12-24 hours. That’s just how I always did it… It has worked for me and has been working for me for the past…6 years (i).” She adds that when she takes the bandage off, since it’s still an open wound, it doesn’t heal the normal way if she puts any type of moisture, oil, or occlusive immediately on the tattooed skin. So she avoids doing that. She starts applying a non-fragrance lotion once she notices that the skin is scabbing. However, she does add that she is not a tattoo artist and that each person’s skin is different so they should consult their artist for the best advice.

protip_icon Quick tip
Gently pat the tattooed skin with a fresh paper towel. Do not rub it to avoid unnecessary friction on the healing skin.

Scroll down to understand how often you should moisturize your new tattoos to prevent an over-moisturized tattoo.

How Often Should You Moisturize A New Tattoo?

Applying lotion on a tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

After removing the protective tattoo film and gently cleaning the new tattoo, you should apply a light moisturizer on it. You can apply a moisturizer 2-3 times a day or as suggested by your professional tattoo artist during that initial healing stage to ensure you do not end up with an over-moisturized tattoo. Reduce the frequency of the moisturizer to once a day as the tattoo gradually heals.

It is crucial to use a good moisturizer to ensure that your newly tattooed skin heals properly. There are numerous things you can use to effectively moisturize your tattoo, let us explore a few options below.

What To Use To Moisturize A Tattoo?

You can opt for a specialized tattoo aftercare moisturizer suggested by your tattoo artist. These are usually formulated with hydrating, natural ingredients and are fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and hypoallergenic. Some tattoo artists may recommend healing tattoo ointments that have hydrating properties, if your skin is showing signs of too much trauma. You can also use some natural alternatives like olive oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, sesame seed oil, and shea butter. These keep the skin healthy, nourish your tattoos, and maintain their vibrancy. The organic oils are also ideal for sensitive skin types and will prevent possible allergic reactions.

protip_icon Pro tip
Make a DIY blend of 1 teaspoon each of vitamin E oil, olive oil, and coconut oil. Apply a thin layer of the blend once a day to nourish the new tattoo without clogging it and to prevent dryness.

Moisturizing freshly tattooed skin plays a key role in how well your skin recovers. But, how much moisturizer should you be applying? Keep reading to learn more.

How Much Moisturizer Does Your Tattoo Need?

During the initial stages of getting a new tattoo, simply applying a light, thin layer of moisturizer twice a day should suffice. Do not apply a heavy dollop of moisturizer. This will ensure you do not over moisturize your tattoo. Pay attention to your skin! If it appears dry, then using a little amount of the moisturizer again is not a problem. Simply ensure not to over moisturize it.

However, in case you end up over-moisturizing your tattoo, here are some ways you can fix the common issue. Continue scrolling.

How To Fix An Over-Moisturized Tattoo

Wearing loose clothes with a fresh tattoo
Image: Shutterstock
  • Gently Cleanse: Wash the tattoo gently with a mild cleanser to remove excess moisture from the skin without stripping it dry.
  • Air Drying: Air dry the tattoo after you shower to ensure there is no excess moisture on the skin.
  • Avoid Tight Clothes: Tight clothes may also cause friction with the skin, leading to new bruises. Wear loose clothing to let the tattoo have enough breathing space and remain dry at all times.

Mei Tang also says, “One of my biggest tips is to wear loose clothing and clothing that you don’t really care about while your tattoo is healing, cause it is quite leaky and you don’t know if the ink will bleed on clothes that you really really enjoy.”

  • Moisturize Less: Reduce the frequency of moisturizing the tattoo. For instance, instead of applying a moisturizer daily, use it on alternate days.
  • Avoid Water Bodies: Stop going swimming or participating in water activities for some time, apart from your daily shower.

Please consult a dermatologist If you notice any itching, redness, or stinging for a prolonged period of time. You may notice pus or a bacterial infection in some cases. Stop moisturizing your skin and seek dermatological help immediately.

While we have covered how to moisturize a new tattoo, let us understand how you can effectively hydrate an old one. Scroll down.

How To Moisturize Your Old Tattoo

Apart from caring for your new tattoo, it is important to moisturize old tattoos as well. This prevents the skin of the old tattoo from scaling or flaking due to dryness and the hydration may even keep the tattoo’s vibrancy in check.

You can opt for skin-safe, hypoallergenic moisturizers, tattoo ointments, or tattoo balms to hydrate your old tattoo. Simply apply a pea-sized amount of the product post showering. Gently pat the skin with a clean towel to ensure it is not wet and only apply a thin layer of moisturizer.

Caring for tattoos and ensuring a healthy tattoo requires a delicate approach to moisturization. While proper hydration is crucial for a new tattoo and optimal healing, over-moisturizing should be avoided as it can lead to various complications and skin issues. Striking a balance is important to prevent color fading, extended healing process, and excess scabbing. Always remember to monitor your skin issues post getting freshly inked and check your tattoos for any symptoms shared above. Ensure to have a proper aftercare routine and consult a dermatologist, in case the over-moisturized tattoo does not heal properly even after following the given tips and tricks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of a lack of tattoo moisturizing?

Neglecting tattoo moisturization can lead to common risks such as skin peeling, excessive itching, tattoo infection, tattoo fading, and change in color and overall aesthetic.

Can I use vaseline to moisturize my tattoo?

Yes, vaseline is a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturizing option, thus can be used to moisturize the tattoo. However, since it has a thick texture, ensure to apply only a thin layer to prevent over-moisturizing.

Should I moisturize my tattoo after it’s fully healed?

This depends on your skin type. If you have dry or cracked skin, then you may have to regularly moisturize your new tattoo even after it completely heals. If you use a body lotion, that might be enough to keep your skin moisturized if you have normal, sensitive, or oily skin.

Key Takeaways

  • Using excess lotion or oil on a fresh tattoo can lead to over-moisturizing and cause negative effects.
  • Over-moisturizing a tattoo carries the risk of infection, breakouts, excess scabbing, color fading, and prolonged healing.
  • Only apply a lotion on a new tattoo once or twice a day or as recommended by the professional tattoo artist.
  • Opt for a fragrance-free and hypoallergenic moisturizer to apply on a freshly-inked tattoo.
  • Always allow the tattoo to air dry before applying any lotion or oil.
Over-Moisturized Tattoo: Everything You Need To Know

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Over-moisturizing a freshly-inked tattoo can bring numerous risks with it, from excessive scabbing to acne breakouts. Learn all about them in the video below, along with how often you should be moisturizing your tattoo!

Personal Experience: Source

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Pahul Nanra
Pahul NanraBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Pahul Nanra is a content writer with a penchant for all things fashion and beauty. She has two years of experience in writing across beauty and lifestyle genres. She is an English Honors graduate from Delhi University with a diploma in Fashion Designing from YMCA.

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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.

Read full bio of Anjali Sayee
Manjari Uppal
Manjari Uppal Beauty & Lifestyle Writer
Manjari is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over three years of experience in writing across different niches, including beauty, health, wellness, and technology. She first discovered her passion for writing in school and has since honed her craft to perfection.

Read full bio of Manjari Uppal