This guide will take you through what coconut oil is, why we think it’s THE BEST for new tattoos, and what kind of coconut oil you should use. Coconut oil has some amazing properties that make it great for your fresh ink.
There are a million different tattoo balms out there to buy, so let our guide help you find the best one.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is a natural, fatty oil harvested from coconuts. It’s a moisturizing, healing oil (rather than a drying one) when used for skincare, but it can also be used for numerous other things. Even cooking!
The attraction to coconut oil over other tattoo balms is that it’s completely natural. Although there are several ways it can be pressed and processed (more on this below) it’s still a very pure and simple treatment to use on your tattooed skin.
Furthermore, coconut oil is affordable and can be used on all your skin – not just the inked areas.
5 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil on Your Tattoo
Coconut oil has some unique properties that make it a better moisturizer for tattoos compared to alternatives (like shea, for example).
Moisturizing – coconut oil locks in moisture and softens your skin. It will keep that hydrating tattoo goo locked into your skin, prevent it from cracking and drying out. Furthermore, coconut oil softens your skin and any scabs that have formed, so they won’t be so painful or itchy as they naturally soften and flake off.
Antiseptic – coconut oil has antibacterial properties, so it can prevent bacteria from growing on your tatt and causing an infection. Furthermore, coconut oil has some anti-inflammatory properties, so it will reduce redness and swelling, which are common when you have a fresh tatt.
Promotes Healing – there are very few vitamins found in coconut oil, but the two that are present are vitamin K and vitamin E. Vitamin K can help promote blood clotting, so your skin will scab over and heal faster, while vitamin E is known to reduce UV damage to your skin from the sun.
Great Shine – coconut oil provides a lovely shine when it’s applied to your skin, which can make your tattoo pop. As the fatty oil locks in hydration, it also creates a protective barrier on your skin. The result is a subtle shine and soft skin.
Vibrant Ink – coconut oil hydrates, strengthens and rejuvenates your skin, which is great for both old and new tattoos. If your old tattoo has lost its vibrancy, or your skin is dry and lackluster, applying coconut oil regularly can help to restore it.
These properties of coconut oil make it a brilliant product for your skin, whether you have a new tattoo or an old one. Allergic reactions to coconut oil are rare, but make sure you follow our test patch instructions below, just in case!
How to Use Coconut Oil for Tattoo Aftercare
The first thing you should do is follow the advice of your tattoo artist. They will tell you how to clean the area, what moisturizer to use, and what timeline to follow. When you reach the stage where you can begin to moisturize your new tattoo, you can also use coconut oil to lock that moisture in.
Step 1 – Buy New Coconut Oil
The best coconut oil for your tattoo is virgin coconut oil – we’ll explain why in more detail a bit later.
But regardless of whether you already have virgin coconut oil, you should buy a new pot or tube. Keep this new pot separate and only use it for your tattoo. Don’t forget to always clean your hands and tattoo before you touch the coconut oil and apply it.
This ensures that there’s no bacteria or contamination that could cause an infection. If your tattoo is new and still healing, this is incredibly important!
Step 2 – Test Patch
Virgin coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you will need to melt it.
If you do use the microwave, make sure the oil is lukewarm before you apply it.
Apply a very small amount of coconut oil to a patch of skin that is not tattooed. Forearms are usually the best area, but if this is where your ink is choose another sensitive place. The top of your foot, for example, is a good placement.
Once applied, cover the area with a band-aid or bandage and wait at least 2 days. If no reaction occurs then you’re safe to use the coconut oil for tattoo aftercare.
Step 3 – Apply a Thin Layer
Remember, coconut oil doesn’t provide much moisture. Instead, it locks moisture in and protects your skin. Apply a moisturizer that’s recommended by your tattooist as regularly as they suggest.
Once that moisturizer has seeped completely into your skin, apply a thin layer of coconut oil on top. Scoop a little out with one fingertip – this should be enough oil for a small-medium tattoo. It’s better to apply small, thin layers and build them up if you need to!
When you’ve got the right amount of coconut oil on, your skin should feel smooth and shiny. If it feels sticky or there’s residue, keep spreading the coconut oil over your skin for a thinner layer.
Step 4 – Reapply When Needed
The sun can significantly fade tattoos and speed up the aging process of your skin if you don’t cover up and apply protection.