If you just got a tattoo, one of the first things any reputable tattoo artist will tell you is how crucial aftercare is. “A tattoo takes approximately four to six weeks to completely heal, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make after getting a tattoo is to let it dry up,” says Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. If you just stepped out of the tattoo studio, your next step is to grab one of the best tattoo aftercare products on the market to soothe, nourish, and moisturize the skin while maintaining color vibrancy.
According to Dr. Marchbein, after getting new ink the ultimate goal is to avoid scab formation during the healing process, which will also help prevent lightened spots or scars from developing on the design. To stop the scabbing, you should always use a protective ointment, salve, or tattoo-friendly moisturizer (i.e. one that will protect it and keep it hydrated) following your appointment up until your ink heals completely. “Thick and occlusive products are ideal for tattoo aftercare to help protect the new tattoo, decrease the risk of infection, and promote healing,” says Carmen Castilla, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist. In order to get the best results, Dr. Castilla also recommends avoiding swimming for at least two weeks post-tattoo, keeping the tattoo covered with a non-stick gauze with paper tape, and not picking at the skin as it heals.
Chances are, you already have a salve hanging around in your medicine cabinet, but just in case, we took the liberty of compiling some of the best tattoo-healing balms, ointments, and elixirs on the market. Ahead, find nine picks that will leave your new tattoo in tip-top shape.
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