So, you’ve got a fresh new tattoo and you’re wondering how best to care for it because you’ve heard from just about everyone that aftercare can make or break a tattoo.
And it’s true — aftercare can change your tattoo’s destiny, which is why here at Mad Rabbit, we’ve crafted clean formulas with powerful ingredients known to support your skin’s healing process and nourish that new ink. One of those botanical powerhouses is aloe vera.
Surprisingly, this super plant is sometimes controversial in the tattoo world. Shouldn’t it be a great option for tattoo aftercare with all it can do? Not so fast. It is key to learn about the mechanisms behind how aloe vera benefits skin first, and then we’ll tell you why we choose to include it here at Mad Rabbit.
There are some common misconceptions behind whether or not aloe vera really is a good solution to help support your fragile and fresh ink. Keep reading to discover all you need to know about aloe vera, the tattoo process, and to find out if aloe really should be your go-to ingredient when searching for tattoo aftercare.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is considered to be in the succulent family and basically looks like a green spiky cactus. Aloe vera grows in hot, dry climates around the world. You may have seen it in skincare products or even as a drink, but is it good enough for your amazing art?
Historically, aloe has been promoted for topical use thanks to its soothing, protective, and hydrating benefits. Rich in antioxidants and amino acids, aloe vera may be just what your healing skin needs.
What Are the Benefits of Aloe for Your Skin and Health?
There are a collection of health benefits for skin that aloe vera is responsible for.
Aloe vera can be soothing and moisturizing, working to support nourished and hydrated skin thanks to the vitamins and amino acids that exist within the juice of its leaves. These nutrients can also help relieve feelings of discomfort and soothe irritated skin, working to help that freshly tatted skin feel a little calmer after your session.
Aloe vera is a skincare superhero, which is why we include it in some of our products like our soothing gel and daily lotion. Imagine how good aloe vera feels on a fresh sunburn, then picture the ultra-cooling soothing ability it can bring to your new tattoo!
But how does it actually do all of this?
The way aloe vera actually soothes and moisturizes our skin is pretty fascinating. Our skin is, if you could believe it, the body’s largest organ, and serves as a protective barrier between our entire internal system and the outside world.
There are biologically active substances in aloe vera that are located in the clear gel at the center of aloe leaves. The plant has a mucilage tissue (essentially a gel) containing glycoproteins that work to help soothe that surface-level discomfort and irritation.
We combine it with shea butter and sesame seed oil in our hydrating daily lotion to boost those nourishing and comforting effects.
Additionally, aloe vera contains polysaccharides, which are basically a type of sugar molecule, that can be helpful in protecting your skin as it goes through its natural healing process.
What Does the Tattoo Process Look Like?
Within the last 10 years, tattoos have exploded in popularity and prevalence, with the industry raking in close to 2.3 billion dollars a year. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already on the wave, a part of this growing badass tattoo community — that said, if you’re new, know that we’re here to give you all the info and tools you need to help you keep your ink looking better, longer.
So, because the skin is composed of the epidermis (or outermost layer), the dermis (the middle layer), and the subcutaneous tissue (the deepest layer), tattooing is a precise art. Ink is inserted into the dermis layer of the skin, where cells called macrophages ingest it and hold onto it. When these cells go through their normal life cycle and die, they pass the ink particles onto new macrophages, which is what makes your tattoo permanent.
This process happens via an electric tattoo machine, consisting of a group of needles attached to an oscillating unit. Because the tattoo needle causes a bunch of micro injuries during the process, your body’s natural immune response will be triggered. This is just one of a long list of reasons why tattoo aftercare is key not only for the vibrancy and longevity of your tattoo, but also for your overall health.
How Do Tattoos Heal?
The healing process of tattoos can look different for each client, depending on the person’s body, aftercare, and tattoo artist. But there’s nothing like looking down at your once vibrant and sharp tattoo and seeing a dull, faded image. That’s where tattoo care comes in.
Oftentimes throughout the process of healing a tattoo, a fluid called exudate is released from the tattoo site. Exudate is basically a liquid created by the body and secreted from the blood vessels and tissues through lesions in the skin, like the ones created by the tattoo needle.
Although it’s not the most appealing thought, exudate flowing away from the wound can help mitigate infection and inflammation, and is often part of the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Occasionally it can dry on the surface of the skin, forming a crust. This crust can be responsible for depleting the moisture essential to the healthy healing of a tattoo. When the exudate crust or scab tears away from the skin, it can cause a second injury to the area.
The best tattoo aftercare keeps the wound moist while absorbing exudate to avoid a large scab forming on the area and causing excessive scabbing.
Hint: Aloe vera does a killer job at this.
Double Hint: It’s an ingredient in our mineral-based daily SPF, too! Protecting your skin from the sun and helping to nourish your tattoo? Sign us up.
(But don’t forget that new tattoos should stay out of the sun for at least 14 days following your appointment.)
Aloe Vera for Tattoo Aftercare
In theory, aloe vera can be a great staple in tattoo aftercare. It has the power to let your tattoo properly breathe while also letting exudates escape rather than congregate and leave your skin at risk of infection. So, why do some artists hesitate to recommend aloe vera?
It’s really just all a big misconception. We’ve done our research (and then some) and are here to let you in on the secret that aloe vera for aftercare may be a huge key to your tattoo’s success.
Read below to learn the real benefits of aloe vera in tattoo care, the misconceptions behind why some don’t recommend it, and how you can use it to help heal your ink.
What Does Tattoo Aftercare Consist Of?
Tattoos need a few things in order to heal properly. First, they need to be properly moisturized and cared for. They also need to be able to breathe and be kept clean. It’s crucial to have a multi-step system for tattoo care that leaves your ink moisturized, vibrant, and protected.
Benefits of Aloe Vera in Tattoo Care
Tattoos need access to enough air and enough moisture to stay soft and healthy — an extremely damp tattoo environment can breed viruses, but you should also allow your tattoo to have some breathability. It’s truly all about balance.
Aloe can help keep your skin nice and hydrated while also making sure your tattoo still has ample room to breathe.
Not only this, but aloe vera may also help relieve some of those feelings of irritation or itching while also delivering moisture deep beneath the skin’s surface, all while allowing your ink to breathe.
Oftentimes, a tattoo artist will prescribe some sort of gel to create a protective layer over your tattoo and soothe the area right after the work is done. As it turns out, aloe has amazing cooling properties. Our soothing gel helps your skin’s moisture barrier bounce back fast while providing soothing relief from irritation.
And what ingredient do we have to thank for that? You guessed it.
Aloe vera can help ensure that your tattoo aftercare routine includes everything your skin needs to recover. Aloe vera can also help keep the skin moisturized and renewed so that if any sort of future touch up is needed to your ink, your skin is prepared.
Misconceptions About Aloe Vera in Tattoo Aftercare
Many believe that because aloe vera supports healthy, youthful-looking skin, it will cause your tattoo to fade quicker as your skin renews itself.
However, if you receive a tattoo from an experienced professional, it will be placed at an ideal depth in the dermis layer of your skin where it should remain for decades to come, at the least. Aloe vera will not detract from the vibrancy nor the longevity of your ink. Precisely the opposite, aloe vera is your tattoo aftercare’s new best friend.
Conclusions: Is Aloe Vera Good for Tattoo Care?
Aloe vera is great for tattoo care. Finding tattoo care products that include aloe vera as an ingredient like ours can be key to the health of your art. Aloe vera can help ensure the area is soothed and protected, ease discomfort and irritation, and keep your tattoo moisturized while letting it breathe.
With amazing cooling effects and nourishing properties, your vulnerable-to-infection ink will thank you for using aloe vera. It is an all natural product that yields amazing results. So, yes, aloe vera is good for tattoos. You’re welcome.