Long term tattoo care
October 9, 2013 8:35 AM   Subscribe

After my tattoos are healed, what skin care (besides the obvious sunblock) should I use for long term skin/tattoo care?

I already know sunblock is a must, and that direct sunlight is the worst thing I can do to my tattoos. But beyond that, I'd like to start using something like moisturizer to keep the tattoos looking good as long as possible. Trouble is, I'm a nerd. I know video games and beer and D&D and programming and such. I have no idea about skin care. And the stuff you find on the Internet seems to fall mostly into either probable marketing BS, or dubious anecdotes. My main questions -

1) Are pricey lotions worth the money? And which are the best?
2) Are there skin care products that will actually make my tattoos look better?
3) Is rubbing my skin with this stuff actually going to make the tattoos blur faster? It seems like rubbing the ink under my skin is a bad idea. But that's just an intuitive notion.

These are all tattoos on my arms.
posted by y6y6y6 to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
There is no way to rub your tattoos off with lotion. The ink is inserted into the layer under the topmost layer of skin. Lotion will make your tattoos look temporarily better (in my experience, wet inked skin appears brighter and more crisp) but otherwise, aside from avoiding sun, scarring, and drastic weight changes, there's really nothing you need to do to maintain tattoos.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:48 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The number one piece of advice I would give you is just accept that your tattoos will blur and fade and age with time.

The number two piece of advice I would give you is to drink enough water.

Okay, both of those things said:

1. Probably not--I mean, pricey lotions have advertising budgets and fancy packaging and shit. And, while this varies with one's skin type and sensitivities and whatnot, I've had good experiences using oils like like coconut, jojoba and emu on my dry elbows in the winter. People who know more about skin care than I do might have better advice.

2. If your skin is sufficiently moisturized, your tattoos will look better. Presuming you already have healthy skin, I'm not sure there's anything that will make your tattoos look better beyond that point.

3. No, it won't.

(Not a skin-care expert, but fairly heavily-tattooed.)
posted by box at 8:49 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

> Are pricey lotions worth the money? And which are the best?

I think not -- I like the stuff I get from Trader Joe's. It smells like lavender, which might not be the best scent for you. For me, the key factors are scent and that it comes in bottle with a pump top.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:07 AM on October 9, 2013

Stay in shape so as not to stretch the skin the tattoo is on. Get it touched up if it starts to fade or blur in a decade or 2.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Unscented lotions are best, with unscented Lubriderm, Curel, and Aquafor among the relatively inexpensive and frequently recommended tattoo-friendly moisturizers.

But mostly, drink water and keep them out of the sun. And enjoy!
posted by ldthomps at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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