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Tattoo Lubricant: A Complete Buyer's Guide

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more people than ever before adorning their skin with beautiful and meaningful designs. But many of these beginning tattoo collectors might not be aware that proper aftercare is crucial for the healing and preservation of their tattoos. 

One important aspect of tattoo aftercare is using tattoo lubricants or soothing gels, which can support the healing process, soothe scabbing and itching, and protect the tattoo from sun damage and fading. 

With so many new tattoo lubricants on the market, it can be as overwhelming as the sound of the tattoo machines to choose the right one, which is why we put together this complete buyer's guide that explores everything you need to know about this tattoo supply product: lubricants!

What Is Tattoo Lubricant?

Tattoo lubricant is a product specifically designed for the aftercare of tattoos compared to standard lotions. It is typically used during the healing process, which can take several weeks, and can come in the form of a tattoo ointment, tattoo cream, salve, or lotion. 

The main function of tattoo lubricant is to prevent scabbing, itching, and cracking, which can lead to loss of tattoo ink and a less vibrant final result. Some tattoo lubricants may contain ingredients that help with the healing process, such as vitamins and natural oils. In contrast, others, unfortunately, use harmful chemicals that don’t do you any favors in the long run. 

Choosing the right tattoo lubricant can be an important factor in achieving a successful and long-lasting tattoo.

Why Use Tattoo Lubricant on Your New Ink?

Using tattoo lubricant can have several benefits for the overall health and appearance of your tattoos, such as:

Supports Healing Time

When you get a tattoo, your skin goes through a process of healing and repair, which can take several weeks. Applying a tattoo lubricant can help support this process by moisturizing the area and creating a barrier against external irritants, which can otherwise slow the healing process.

Soothes Scabbing and Itching

Another benefit of using tattoo lubricant is that it can help soothe scabbing and itching. Scabbing is a common side effect of getting a new tattoo and can be uncomfortable and unsightly. 

Tattoo lubricants can help soothe scabbing by keeping the skin hydrated and reducing the likelihood of dryness and flakiness. Additionally, tattoo lubricants can soothe any itching or discomfort that may occur during the healing process.

Helps Maintain Vibrancy

Tattoo lubricant can also maintain the vibrancy and longevity of your tattoos, which is worth it, considering how much it hurts being worked on by tattoo needles. The moisturizing and protective properties of tattoo lubricant can help keep the tattoo ink looking bright and vibrant, preventing it from becoming dull or fading over time. 

This can be especially important for tattoos exposed to sunlight or other elements that can cause fading or discoloration.

Protects from the Sun

While you might consider getting a sunscreen specifically designed for tattoos, some tattoo lubricants contain ingredients that can protect against sun damage and fading. These ingredients can include UV blockers, which help prevent the harmful effects of sun exposure on your skin and tattoos. 

This can be especially important for people who spend a lot of time in the sun or have tattoos in areas frequently exposed to sunlight.

Additional Skin Benefits

Moisturizes the Skin

Tattoo lubricants are designed to keep the skin hydrated, essential for maintaining healthy and glowing skin. These products are formulated with ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which help draw moisture into the skin and keep it there. 

Proper hydration can also help to soothe dryness and flakiness, which can be especially important during the healing process when the skin is more prone to dryness.

Soothes Irritation

Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury, infection, or irritation. However, excessive inflammation can lead to various skin problems, such as redness, swelling, and itching. 

Tattoo lubricants contain ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and calendula, known for their calming properties. These ingredients can help soothe irritation and support healing.

Improves Overall Skin Texture

Combining moisturizing and calming ingredients in tattoo lubricants can help improve the appearance of skin texture. When the skin is properly hydrated, and irritation is reduced, the skin appears smoother, softer, and more supple. 

In addition, the collagen-supporting ingredients in tattoo lubricants can also help to support skin texture over time by maintaining healthy cell turnover and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Types of Tattoo Lubricants

There are several types of tattoo lubricants available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Here are some of the most common types of tattoo lubricants:

  1. Water-Based Lubricants: This style of lubricant is made with water-soluble ingredients, such as glycerin or aloe vera. They are less greasy than petroleum-based lubricants and can be easier to wash off, and they’re less likely to clog pores or cause skin irritation. But it’s worth noting that water-based lubricants may not provide as long-lasting moisture as petroleum-based lubricants.

  2. Organic/Natural Lubricants: These lubricants are made with natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, shea butter, rosemary extract oil, organic castor oil, or beeswax. They are often marketed as a natural alternative to petroleum-based or water-based lubricants. They can be gentle on the skin and provide long-lasting moisture without synthetic chemicals or fragrances. Still, they can be more expensive than other types of lubricants and may not be as widely available.

  3. Petroleum-Based Lubricants: These lubricants are made with petroleum jelly or other petroleum-based ingredients. They are popular because they are affordable and widely available, however, some people may be allergic petroleum and tocopherols, they can be greasy and difficult to wash off, and they reduce the air circulation your skin can get, which is crucial during the healing process. The majority of tattoo artists and enthusiasts do not ever recommend petroleum-based products, and instead choose natural lubricants like Pro Tattoo Glide, which is safer and supports the healing process.

How Do I Choose a Tattoo Lubricant?

Choosing the right tattoo lubricant can be crucial for the healing and preservation of your new tattoo. 

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a tattoo lubricant:

  • Ingredients: It is important to carefully read the ingredients list of any tattoo lubricant you are considering. Look for products that contain safe, high-quality ingredients that are not known to irritate or damage the skin. Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals or fragrances, as these can cause inflammation or allergic reactions.

  • Consistency: The consistency of a tattoo lubricant can vary depending on the type of product and the brand. Some people prefer thicker, creamier lubricants, while others prefer thinner, more easily absorbed products. Consider what consistency you prefer and look for products that match your preferences.

  • Fragrance: Some tattoo lubricants may contain fragrances, while others may be fragrance-free. If you are sensitive to fragrances or have allergies, it may be best to choose a fragrance-free product. Alternatively, if you enjoy scented products, look for a tattoo lubricant with a scent you enjoy.

  • Packaging and Ease of Application: Consider the packaging and application method of the tattoo lubricant. Some products come in tubes or jars, while others may come in spray bottles or other types of applicators. Choose a product that is easy to apply and convenient for you to use, which you can generally check customer reviews for additional input on.

  • Price and Value for Money: Tattoo lubricants can vary in price, with some products being more expensive than others. Consider your budget and look for a product that provides good value for money. Remember that a high-quality tattoo lubricant can be an investment in the health and longevity of your tattoo.

How Do I Use Tattoo Lubricant?

  • Wash Your Hands: Before applying tattoo lubricant, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the transfer of bacteria onto your tattoo.

  • Clean Your Tattoo: Gently clean your tattoo with mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Pat dry with a clean paper towel.

  • Apply a Small Amount of Tattoo Lubricant: Take a small amount of tattoo lubricant and apply it to your tattoo. Spread it evenly over the tattooed area, covering the entire surface.

  • Massage Gently: Massage the lubricant into your tattoo gently. This will help to ensure that the product is absorbed into the skin and helps to support healing.

  • Repeat as Needed: Depending on the brand and the instructions provided, you may need to apply tattoo lubricant several times a day. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for directions on how many times daily you should be using it. 


Using a lubricant during the tattoo aftercare process can be essential to achieving a healthy, vibrant tattoo that lasts for years to come. With so many types of tattoo lubricants and aftercare all-in-one products available on the market, it's important to consider factors such as ingredients, consistency, fragrance, packaging, and price when choosing the right product for you. 

Whether you prefer a petroleum-based, petroleum-free, or organic/natural lubricant, selecting a high-quality product that suits your needs can help you enjoy your tattoo for a lifetime. At the end of the day, a little bit of extra care and attention during the healing process can go a long way toward ensuring that your tattoo stays healthy and looks its best.



Share of Americans With At Least One Tattoo by Age

UV Radiation

Aloe Vera Administration Topically -- Anti Inflammatory Properties.

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