When you get a fresh tattoo, you’ll need to pay careful attention to it as the skin slowly starts to heal and repair itself. As it tries to regenerate from the trauma caused by the needles your tattoo artist uses, it becomes very delicate, requiring delicate treatment.

Applying the appropriate lotion to the area is a great way to accelerate the process. It nourishes and hydrates your skin, preventing it from drying out, which can cause the tattoo to crack, become irritated, and bleed. However, many people aren’t sure how frequently they should apply lotion and the specific kind to use. Here’s what you need to know about putting lotion on your tattoo:

What Time Should You Apply Lotion to Your Tattoo?

To ensure your tattoo heals adequately and smoothly, you’ll need to apply lotion and other tattoo aftercare products to your tattoo three times a day. This frequency will keep it well-hydrated, giving it the nourishment it needs to heal rapidly. It’s best to use lotions specifically made for tattoo aftercare, as it soothes any irritation and itching.

Generally speaking, you should apply lotion in the morning after cleaning your tattoo. Your body slowly loses water and becomes dehydrated as you sleep, and since you aren’t drinking water, your skin will become dry and tight when you wake up. Putting lotion on this area will loosen it up and hydrate it.

Eventually, as the hours pass, your tattoo will dry up again, so it’s best to reapply lotion during midday. Be sure to clean the tattoo properly before adding another layer of cream, ensuring you wipe it of dirt and lower your chances of infection. If the area you work in is arid, you may want to add more lotion in the afternoon.

Lastly, during the evening, you’ll need to clean your tattoo and apply a fresh layer of lotion once it has dried. Since you lose a lot of moisture at night, you’ll need to ensure that your tattoo has enough hydration to stay supple while you sleep.

When Should You Start Moisturizing?

It is highly advised to apply lotion to your tattoo after you first wash it, though you should definitely consult your tattoo artist for their specific recommendations. Some suggest leaving your tattoo for a day before applying lotion, a precaution to prevent irritating extra sensitive skin. Otherwise, tattoo artists generally recommend using lotion or cream when you remove the wrap from your tattoo.

Putting Lotion on a Scabbed Tattoo

When your tattoo starts to scab, it becomes even drier. While you may believe the solution is to add even more lotion, it’s essential to be careful. Most tattoos scab over lightly, but some have thicker, thick scabs, which is pretty standard.

However, these are exceptionally absorbent, and adding too much lotion can cause them to take in more moisture than necessary, turning them into a gloopy mess. This happens because the fresh layer of cream traps the moisture underneath it, and since the moisture can’t escape, the scab absorbs it instead. This phenomenon is known as tattoo bubbling, and the scabs become more prone to getting pulled off.


Taking proper care of your tattoo is essential to preserving it and ensuring it heals properly. By following our guide to applying lotion, your tattoo will heal quickly, allowing you to show off your beautiful inked work of art.

Lucky Deville Tattoo Co is a Buffalo tattoo shop, home to the finest tattoo artists in the area. We specialize in many tattoo styles, whether you want full color, black and gray, or photo-realistic portrait work. Make your appointment with us today!

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