Moisturiser is necessary to keep the tattoo from cracking and flaking, but it’s important not to overdo things
I just got my sixth tattoo, and it has prompted people to ask how I care for inked skin. This is no surprise, given that an estimated 40% of under-40s are now tattooed, yet this is rarely reflected in mainstream beauty writing.
I have never been a slave to aftercare leaflets with any of my tattoos or piercings, but I always follow the same drill: removal of cellophane (wrapped around the new tattoo purely to protect others from plasma or blood contamination) as soon as I get home, followed by a rinse in clear, warm water (watch your water pressure: a gentle flow is ideal). I then gently smear on moisturiser, though not the petrol-derived creams commonly recommended. Many swear by Bepanthen Baby Moisturiser (£4.79, boots.com). I’m generally not one for evangelising about the infinite benefits of coconut oil, but I do think its natural simplicity makes it ideal on traumatised skin, if not precious clothing: don’t wear anything fancy for a few days. Vita Coco Coconut Oil (£6.99, Holland & Barrett) is as good a place to start as any. (Incidentally, coconut is a drupe, not a true nut, but do check with your GP if you’re especially susceptible to allergic reaction).
A regular application of moisturiser, coconut or otherwise, is necessary to keep the tattoo from cracking and flaking, but it’s equally important not to overdo things. If skin is kept constantly “wet” it can bubble and blister, which, while probably painless, may result in lengthy healing or damage to the design. A couple of times a day, especially after showering and then maybe before bed, is sufficient.
If you fancy celebrating with something that looks lovely and does the job well, The Body Shop’s new Amazonian Saviour Multi-Purpose Balm (£9, thebodyshop.com) is an all-natural, cruelty-free salve in a tattooed tin; it aids the healing process and makes old designs look a little more vivid.
I’ve no opinion on whether other people should get tattoos, of course, and it’s stating the bleeding obvious to counsel against rash decisions (I’ve always extensively researched my designs and artists, and waited months for my appointment with Rebecca Vincent at Parliament Tattoo). But I do recognise that some people either regret their own tattoos or would occasionally like to hide them, perhaps for a wedding. Details on that and other bridal tricks next week.