No more dried up tatts!
February 13, 2007 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Calling all tattoo junkies! In the absence of A&D ointment, what should I use on my fresh tattoo?

I got my 7th and 8th tattoos today and somehow neglected to get a packet of A&D from my artist. I can't seem to find any unscented A&D in the stores (which I swear is what he gives me) and the scented stuff has given me a nasty, nasty rash in the past. What else can I use for the first few days of healing? (I'm hoping for personal experience here - I'm sure I can google it and come up with a million responses). Thanks.
posted by denimflavored to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
To be honest, I've never put anything on my tattoos after I got them, never heard of this "A&D" stuff before and mine look fine - what does it do? Relieve the pain? Based on my own experiences, I'm tending towards "Unnecessary product they try to sell you post-tattoo" but others can feel free to tell me otherwise.
posted by Jimbob at 4:12 PM on February 13, 2007

I have heard/read that Neosporin will fade tattoos, but I've used it on all of mine and have never had a problem. I did it on the recommendation of a friend who is pretty much tattooed from neck to ankles, and she's never had a problem either.
posted by suki at 4:12 PM on February 13, 2007

Just anecdotal info here, but when I got my tattoo, in addition to some type of ointment they gave me (not sure which), the artist said that I could also crack open a vitamin E gelcap and rub that stuff on.
posted by nakedsushi at 4:13 PM on February 13, 2007

a non-greasy lotion (lubriderm, keri, curel, etc.) should do the trick. you should also wash it twice daily with warm soapy water, patting it dry with a clean paper towel.

congrats on the tattoos!
posted by ms.jones at 4:15 PM on February 13, 2007

I used lubriderm with vita E on mine, once the special ointment they gave me ran out. I was told the goal was to prevent unnessecary scarring that might detract from the image. It certianly helped keep it from itching too much.
posted by nomisxid at 4:23 PM on February 13, 2007

I've gotten tattoos from three different artists. Two of them are of the new school (i.e., been tattooing for less than 10-15 years) advised me to use A&E or any unscented lotion (like Lubriderm) three times a day for the first week - after gently washing the tattoo with a mild soap and patting dry. These tattoos healed with a minimum of itching and the colors set in very nicely.

The third artist was of the old school (former draftsman, been tattooing since the 70s). He suggested that I merely wash the tattoo thrice daily, again with a mild soap and patting dry, and eschew any lotions or products. These tattoos also healed with a minimum of itching (although they were "flakier" than the others) and the colors set in very nicely.

Big difference between these two experiences: The first two artists had "light" touches, the third (being of the old school) really set the ink in hard.

What I got from this - follow the instructions of your artist. They know their work and how it heals best.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 4:29 PM on February 13, 2007

nth-ing Lubriderm. I was always told it keeps the scabs from coming off too early and causing a scar or weird mark in the design. Keeping the tattoo moist while it heals is supposed to prevent cracking, and like nomisxid said, it's great to help with the itching.
posted by jesourie at 4:31 PM on February 13, 2007

My current tattoo artists swears by Noxzema. I was skeptical at first, but tried it anyway. It works like a charm! It really helps with the itching and it seems to heal a lot faster than A&D.
posted by arishaun at 4:42 PM on February 13, 2007

I've used A&D, neosporin, and Lubriderm (unscented), and I've not noticed any difference in healing/itching/flaking (minimal in all cases except for the ink-heavy blackwork pieces I have, which flaked and itched like crazy, and my artist said that was pretty normal). My tattoos are all blackwork/greywork; YcolorworkMMV.
posted by rtha at 5:50 PM on February 13, 2007

My tattoo artist recommended pure vitamin E ointment or breaking open vitamin E capsules as it keeps the skin elastic and promotes healing. (Rather than the creams with vit E in them).

I used Polysporin on my first tat and got a rash (and the tat bled) but I never had a problem with the vitamin E ointment. You can get it at the drug store easily and fairly cheap. It also lasts forever!
posted by aedra at 6:03 PM on February 13, 2007

I had a hard time finding A&D in actual stores, so I ordered some from
posted by xo at 6:06 PM on February 13, 2007

I was told to use bacitracin.
posted by drezdn at 6:17 PM on February 13, 2007

Thanks for all the help. I finally got in touch with my artist - he told me to just skip it and go for the Aveeno. I thought I might need something with a little more moisture for the first few days, but looks like I'll be fine. :) I was afraid of it drying out because I have very sensitive, dry skin.
Jimbob - A&D is a kind of diaper cream. He doesn't sell it, he gives packets of it away to help keep the moisture in your tattoo.
posted by denimflavored at 7:03 PM on February 13, 2007

after easily over 100 hours of work, best stuff i've found is aquaphor.

though, sometimes i don't have it and use nothing. i also enjoy lubriderm with the spf 15 in it.

honestly, the bigger concern is wearing sunblock later on to help prevent fading and sun damage.
posted by teishu at 9:55 PM on February 13, 2007

a pal of mine who is allergic to A & D always uses Neutrogena hand cream. I tried it and though it might work for smaller pieces, but i never tend to that...big pieces just ended up a mees with that crap. I have used cracked Vitamin E gel when in a bind in the past. The posters who use nothing shocks me. Um...cracking and scarring of spendy ink is amazing to me... though i do tend to the 5-7 hour sessions, so lots of layering and maybe that is the difference. To me, keep it moist for the first couple days with anything mild enough, then switch to lotion for a few more days...Oh, and I've never heard of "aquaphor." will have to look into it... I'm at around hour 45, so what the heck do i know?
posted by metasav at 10:46 PM on February 13, 2007

I've only got two tattoos, but I didn't really have itching or flaking on either of them, and I didn't use any ointments at all. One's a decade old and the other's six years old, and they're both doing OK despite the lack of A&D. Are you sure you need this stuff?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:48 PM on February 13, 2007

aquaphor. if you can't get tattoo goo, get aquaphor.
posted by ilsa at 10:59 PM on February 13, 2007

I was told Vaseline/petroleum jelly. Mine healed fine - the lines are not as thick as I'd like in parts, but that's probably more down to the artist than the cream, I'd think.
posted by corvine at 5:27 AM on February 14, 2007

I treat my tattoos as wounds, really. Keep it clean, well lubricated and let it breathe.

There are so many different ways to go about it. Some work for others, some don't.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:06 AM on February 14, 2007

Nthing lubriderm, the unscented, undyed stuff. I follow the advice of my first artist, who told me that what you want is lotion that's neither too good (makes it heal too quickly; cracking) or too bad (gets scabby, end with ink loss.) Lubriderm is perfect; right about in the middle.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:03 AM on February 14, 2007

Another vote for Lubriderm. Unscented, no dyes. Don't get the stuff with SPF either, bad bad bad for wounds.
posted by wildgarlic at 8:17 AM on February 14, 2007

We go with Aveeno right away. That's on four different tattos between two people. :)
posted by santojulieta at 1:54 PM on February 14, 2007

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