How to care for a tattoo with natural cosmetics

Tattoo

  1. Engraving drawings on human skin by introducing coloring materials under the epidermis through previously arranged punctures or stings

  2. Mark, leave a mark on someone or something

- Royal Spanish Academy

Piercing the skin with ink has been a custom carried out since ancient times for different civilizations and reasons. There are as many reasons to mark the epidermis as there are individuals who want to do it. A tattoo always begins as a wound on the skin to become - later - a voluntary and very personal scar.

Our goal today is not to ramble about the process and/or ritual of initiation but rather to delve deeper into the healing process; the most important part of the tattoo if we want it to heal very well.

Basic tattoo care

Speak from experience sharing everything I heard, read, learned and discovered with my own tattoos:

  • Protect the tattoo: your tattoo artist may have covered your new print with plastic wrap (transparent and very thin plastic or a bandage), respect the time he or she has recommended. If it's 4 hours it's 4 hours, don't remove the film ahead of time even if you really want to see how it turned out.
The reason is obvious: you must keep the newly made tattoo protected so that bacteria does not adhere to it and so that the blood clots. Avoid any contact with dirty surfaces and once the paper is removed, do not cover it again with that same film, you run the risk of infection. In fact, it is best to let it air out, it will heal much faster if you do it correctly.
  • Cleaning: the first wash has arrived, don't be scared. Too easy. Your tattoo artist has probably recommended that you wash the tattooed area 3 times a day with an antibacterial soap. It is essential that it be hypoallergenic, that it does not contain perfumes or dyes. Even though it is antibacterial, check the INCI and check that it is natural. Your skin absorbs 65% of what you apply to it, but when injured, this percentage is higher and the damage will also be higher. If you apply hygiene or care products with sulfates and other potentially harmful ingredients, there is a good chance that that area will become irritated and dry out very easily. It's easy, don't get too complicated, you don't have to choose a weird soap. It is as simple as using  a neutral soap . Always use warm or cold water and very important: dry the area very well (humidity is always a source of infections). When drying the tattoo, do not drag or rub, Gently press until you completely absorb all the moisture . Kitchen paper is ideal for this. Never scratch or remove scabs from the tattooed area.

Soaps that I have used to clean my tattoos (they are practically the same ones that I use all year round)

  1. Dr.Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap, my favorite is the one from mint and almond but when When I get a new tattoo, I always use Baby Mild (fragrance-free and for sensitive skin, it has no smell and is made with castile oil, it is ideal for this ).
  2. Soap Fragrance and sulfate free for extremely sensitive skin, perfect for the entire body including the face. It is ideal for cleaning all tattoos because it is a very mild soap-free soap, it does not foam at all .
  • Moisturize: use a moisturizing lotion on the tattooed area every time you clean it and massage gently until your skin has completely absorbed it. If you can, avoid direct contact with clothing. If it is in a visible area, protect it with a cream with sun protection factor, although avoid direct contact with the sun as much as possible. Bathing in rivers, beaches and/or swimming pools is completely prohibited during the following weeks (recommendations vary from 15 to 30 days). This care is essential if you want your tattoo to heal very well and not lose color in the future.

Although sea water is natural, there are also other types of naturalities and waste that navigate in it. Keep this in mind if you want your tattoo to heal sooner and not itch and look the way it deserves.

The balms that I have used the most to care for and scar my tattoos (more than 10), in order of preference:

  1. Buriti Balm by Pai Skincare; It spreads a lot, is absorbed very well, smells wonderful and is 100% natural. I use this balm all year round, as a maintenance balm (my favorite)
  2. St. John's Wort repair balm , it has a very intense smell and is very nutritious. It is fantastic because it is absorbed very quickly and greatly relieves the sensation of heat, especially the first few days. I always recommend this balm if you have had a very large, colorful tattoo with a lot of fill. There the skin suffers a lot.
  3. Beeswax ointment with propolis : relieves instantly, heals very quickly and is absorbed quite quickly. It only has one but, if it is very cold it solidifies, but with a little heat it dissolves easily.
Before using these balms I discovered Skin Savior from One Love Organics, an American brand that is no longer sold in Europe.

Cleaning, moisturizing and protecting will be three basic and routine care during the following days. Depending on the tattoo – if it is shaded, with relief… -, the area and the size, it will take more or less to heal (from 15/20 days to 5 weeks). If you want to speed up this process, remember to take care of that new scar daily. Always . The first care and time you dedicate to your tattoo will influence and be essential for it to heal very well.

My experience

My first tattoos were small, flat and in black ink*. I followed my tattoo artist's advice at all times -except for the cream he recommended: Bepanthol-. I only used it the first two days of the first tattoo. I have never used it again, why? Because of the ingredients it contains:

Aqua. Panthenol. Isopropyl myristate. Cetyl alcohol. Stearyl alcohol. Propylene glycol. Lanolin. Potassium cetyl phosphate. Pantolactone. Phenoxyethanol .

* Colored ink is more harmful than black ink. Always ask your tattoo artist, but nowadays black ink comes from natural pigments, mostly charcoal and logwood.

The first organic balm I used was Skin Savior, from One Love Organics and it no longer exists in Europe.

Why did I like Skin Savior so much?

Mainly because the INCI of this natural balm was impeccable, it had never let me down and it was just what I needed:
– Of course it did not contain petroleum jelly (hydrocarbons), plastics or Phenoxyethanol (no harmful ingredients).
– It was made with organic wax (creating a film that slows the loss of moisture), ideal for tattoos.
– Contained Coconut oil, Jojoba and Mango butter that regenerates, calms, hydrates, nourishes and leaves the skin soft.
– All ingredients were natural and came from plants.

INCI: Organic cocos nucifera (virgin coconut) oil, organic glycine soja (sweet soy) seed oil, organic beeswax, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, salvia hispanica (chia) seed extract, Avena sativa (oat) extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel wax, simmondsia chinesis (jojoba) seed oil, organic vanilla planifolia fruit extract, tocopherol (natural, non-gmo vitamin e).

There was no drama, I soon discovered the balms that I mentioned before and since then Buriti Balm always goes with me in my backpack and when a new tattoo is coming up, especially if it is large, I always buy a new container of St. John's Wort Balm, it is intensive care which is phenomenal, especially the first week that the skin has been left open.

In case you still have doubts… Summary

  • Do not use bepanthol. They almost always recommend this cream as a treatment. I only used it the first 2 days of my first tattoo and threw it away (I kept the piece of paper so I wouldn't forget the INCI). I soon got a natural balm (which I always use). Use a natural cosmetic that hydrates and nourishes. And remember to apply a small amount and not all the time. We insist on constantly moisturizing our tattoo and that is not correct. It should be clean, hydrated but not constantly moisturized otherwise it is difficult to heal and the scab will be constantly soft and will not dry as it should (or fall off).

  • Keep it clean , use a mild soap/gel, preferably without fragrance or aromas.

  • Avoid exposing it to the sun , especially during the first month. And when it is completely healed, always protect and hydrate it.

  • Once the healing process is over, take care of it every day . It is part of you, so never forget to hydrate and nourish it. It's only a couple of minutes but you should get used to doing it daily.

“A scar is never the same as real skin, but the wound stops bleeding anyway.”

Robin Hobb

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