How NOT to care for your new tattoo

Don't ruin your new tattoo by making this mistake!

This post was originally about putting coconut oil on a new tattoo.  I wanted to take a natural route in caring for my new tattoo which didn’t involve petrochemicals or other nasty ingredients.  Skin absorbs everything, right?

This was only my third tattoo and so I didn’t know much about the artistry of tattooing.  I didn’t know the artist needs to adjust their pressure based on the individual’s skin, didn’t know that the artist could cause damage that wouldn’t show up immediately and didn’t know that my artist trying to cram 4 clients into one afternoon was a really, really bad idea.

Thankfully many tattoo artists have read this article and let me know that my tattoo damage was caused by my artist, and not the coconut oil which I used post tattoo.

Here was my story:

My mom and my two sisters and I all went to get the same tattoo, a symbol for mother and daughters.  We picked out a really cool Celtic symbol which is four hearts intertwined.  It was perfect for us four.

This was my third tattoo.  I don’t remember anything about what I did to care for the prior two.  I am pretty sure the artist just slapped saran wrap over them and told me to use plain soap and gave me some ointment.  This time, however, the artist said use plain soap and a water based lotion.  He also mentioned not to use a petroleum based product because it can get stuck in your skin.  That really freaked me out.  But I felt confident.  I knew I could just consult good ole’ Dr. Internet and see what people have done to naturally care for their tattoo.

My first thought was coconut oil.  Coconut oil is the best natural moisturizer, right?  (I used to think so, until I read this post from the website Edible Facial.)  I made sure to check out a few tattoo forums and see what people said.  I read everything positive from several people who said they used coconut oil with no problem.  I seemed to remember hearing something my tattoo’d sister had said about coconut oil being bad for tattoos, but after reading the internet I dismissed my memories as me being mistaken.  How could the internet give me bad advice?  I mean, these are tattoo forum posters.  These are people who know from experience.

Well, here is my before picture, right when the tattoo was finished.

tat exhb1

On the second day, I decided to apply coconut oil instead of lotion.  I did not want any weird lotion ingredients settling in my skin.  What happened next was very upsetting.  Here is my picture at day 4:

tatexhb2update

After using coconut oil on the second day, I experienced a lot of ink bleeding out in the bottom portion.  I was hoping it would fade or wash away, but here is my 2.5 week post tattoo picture:

tatexhb3

I only used coconut oil for one day (the second day post tattoo) and this is what I experienced.  Naturally, I assumed that it was the coconut oil which caused my ink to bleed.  Later on, a few tattoo artists commented below letting me know that they recommend coconut oil for all of their clients.  A lot of people have used coconut oil with success and no damage to their tattoo.  Apparently my tattoo damage was caused by the artist going too deep, which causes the ink to bleed out a few days after getting the tattoo.  This is called a blowout.

The story above is my experience.  Of the four of us who received tattoos from the same artist that day, I am the only one who did not follow his post care instructions and opted to use coconut oil instead.  I am also coincidentally the only one with a blow out.  I know he was rushing a little, but I went third out of the four of us and again, no one else experienced any damage.

The moral of this story is:  Make sure your tattoo artist is a.) not an idiot, b.) not over booked and c.) has a LOT of experience.

I personally will not feel comfortable using straight coconut oil on my next tattoo, however I will not say that this damage will happen if you use it on yourself.  I would like to try this Tattoo Balm which incorporates Calendula, Vitamin E oil, Beeswax and Shea Butter with coconut oil, which would be less greasy and more nourishing than just plain coconut oil.

Check out the comments below to read the comments left by experienced tattoo artists.

Don't ruin your new tattoo by making the mistake I did! #newtattoocare #naturaltattoocare

This post was a part of Natural Living Monday and Mamagab.net’s Pin-it Party Saturday.

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62 thoughts on “How NOT to care for your new tattoo

  1. Thanks so much for linking in sweet lady. I’m so sorry to hear about what happened. I have too many tattoos but with each one I only used vitamin e oil UNLESS it was infected (I had a few issues) and then the calendula in infused oil form was what I used. I hope it heals up. That ink bleeding actually looks like the artist hit the epidermis. That may not be your fault. I have a couple like that as well. :/ happy healing sweets! Xx

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    • Thank you so much for your comment. I was wondering how the ink could become permanent from coconut oil leaching it out. If tattoo ink was permanent on contact, there would be no reason for needles! I know the artist was rushing because he was terrible at booking and had 6 tattoos scheduled in 4 hours. I’m thinking the damage is due to a combination of events…
      Thank you for letting me know about the Vitamin E oil, I will be trying that next time!

      Liked by 1 person

      • hi there! I am a tattoo artist and I can tell you what you are looking at is most definitely blowout. coconut oil does not cause this. actually petroleum products, which are traditionally used in the tattoo industry, pull ink out of your skin and can make a nasty, bubbly mess if you use too much when healing. the reason why yours looks different from your friends even though you used the same artist is because everyones skin is different. a good tattoo artist knows that the first couple of lines applied to the skin is the “test run” to familiarize themselves with the personality of your skin. I don’t recommend tattoo parties or a group of friends going in to a shop and get something done all in one day. if you get the same artist for everyone it’s likely they may be tired or tired of tattooing the same image and may rush through the process trying to get everyone done in a timely fashion. because of a tattoos permanence make an appointment for only yourself, invite your friends to be with you during the process and sit with them through theirs when they have their appointment if you are getting the same thing. if you use different artists to be able to get everyones tattoo done in one day they will possible all look a bit different. getting permanently altered is a big deal and needs to be treated as such to insure a positive outcome….find a really good tattoo artist, take your time, and you can get a nice cover up then re~do the knotwork in another location :]

        Liked by 2 people

        • to make myself clearer about what went wrong: he/she went just as deep on you as your other friends when your skin actually required a lighter touch than theirs….hence the need for a tattoo artist to pay special attention during the first couple of lines they pull to see what your skin can take :]

          Liked by 1 person

          • tiffany, you mentioned a “bubbly mess” ….. which is exactly what is happening to my new tattoo. I was told to use fragrence free dye free Jergens lotion and Dial soap. Which I did, twice a day as instructed. But I think the I had a bad reaction to the Jergens. I hurt very badly and my skin outside my tattoo became red (not painfully like bright red signaling infection, just like if you scratch a bit kind of pinkish), so i washed it with soap and used a&d ointment which my friend recommended (who owns her own successful tattoo shop and is quite the artist herself). However it turned into a gooey mess. Its finally scabbing over after i let it dry out a whole day and overnight without putting anything on it or washing it. How badly do you think it will affect the lines and tattoo in general? My artist also used Dr Bronners to clean my skin, so maybe i reacted to that also, since i only use one brand of soap. And how long will it feel quite tender? I had a tattoo approximately 6 inches long by 4 inches wide (not done yet but i had to stop lol) And oddly enough, the black portion of the tattoo has scabbed over quite well. Just not the color portion. If you happen to read this, and could email me that would be great. my email is careenprokop85@gmail.com

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  2. I am a tattoo artist and I also make my own coconut oil based/essential oil aftercare, I have had over 100 clients over the last year (which most of them I see on regular basis working on larger pieces) and personally I have not seen what happened to you to anyone. If anything I have observed the opposite, that lines heal sharper and shading/colour heals brighter and nicer then with any other after care I have seen.

    Have you considered any other possibilities for this happening? From professional opinion it looks more like a impact issue, I can’t tell the body location of your tattoo, but could there be a possibility of you hitting it, or putting weight on it in your sleep?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ana, thank you for your professional input! I was really surprised to see what happened after using coconut oil on my tattoo. I am open to the idea that a combination of things may have caused this issue, but because it was fine the day before and messed up the day I used the coconut oil, I came to the conclusion that is what caused it.
      The tattoo is on my left side just above my hip. I was very careful with my tattoo healing because it was sensitive and I wanted it to heal quickly. I definitely did not hit it or sleep on it. I walked around with my shirt rolled up for three days, and also slept on my right side with my shirt rolled up. I didn’t even workout for a week because I didn’t want sweat irritating it or my clothes rubbing on it. So I don’t think any damage was caused by me from that avenue.
      Is it possible this was caused by the artist was rushing? My mom and sisters and I were there for five hours and there was his next appointment there waiting for the last hour. I know he was trying to get through us as quickly as possible. That was the only other thing that I have thought might be the problem. But like I said, the fact it was okay the day before and then damaged the day of the coconut oil use, I really feel that was the catalyst.
      Again, thank you for your comment. It makes me feel better that I’m not a huge idiot, just maybe some bad luck. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! When healing, you do not want to suffocate your tattoo. If you are ever unsure of anything, make sure to ask your artist 🙂

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    • Hi :). Would you mind sharing your blend recipe? I just got my tattoo two hours ago, and would love to stay as natural as possible, but also want to do what’s best for my tattoo. Thanks in advance!!

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      • I was hoping you could post or email me the recipe for your aftercare blend? I used aquaphor in my post all-natural life, now I’m using a homemade healing balm and it seems to be okay, but I’m only on the day after…. less than 24 hrs post-tat. If you could please email it, I’d greatly appreciate it. I’m Mamabiscuit23 at live.com . Thank you!

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  3. I am currently treating a healing tattoo with coconut oil. The artist is a very good friend of mine and he always recommends coconut oil to clients.

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  4. Found this post while looking up info on coconut oil and tattoos. Are you sure that’s from coconut oil? I’ve has that happen before with a tattoo of mine. It’s actually a blowout, the artist went too deep while tattooing so the ink spread, nothing to do with what you used to heal it. It shows after a few days of a new tattoo while it is healing.

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    • Thanks C, that is exactly what I was wondering. My artist was rushing and I thought if it wasn’t actually the coconut oil, that was the only other possible cause. I am going to update this post to include this info. I’m not sure I will ever be able to use coconut oil on a new tattoo again, but I think its definitely possible the artist caused the damage. Thanks again!

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  5. Hi there,

    I’m a vegan tattoo artist and just like Ana, I agree that this is definitely not caused from coconut oil.

    It might be the placement, sorry not sure where you got it done (on the body) some areas are more prone to ink leaking (blowing out as we call it), it can be caused by a few other things, cheap quality ink and very very rarely I have a customer who’s skin reacts like this to tattoo ink (question has it happened to another one of your tattoos in the same area? I think I saw you had a few others? something that cant really be avoided)

    But, the very most likely candidate for this occurring and what I would assume straight away from seeing it, is your artist went to deep into the skin causing it to blow out. Have you spoken to them about it?

    Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about it. It may heal out over time (a few years) as your tattoo fades, but at this stage there is nothing you can do.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to drop me a PM at my FB Page.

    xx

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  6. Hi there,

    I really need to comment and let you know that your tattoo turning out like this had absolutley NOTHING to do with the coconut oil. Many vegan and organic users opt for coconut oil on their tattoos over other lotions because of it’s natural healing properties – just like you did.

    Unfortunately what happened to your tattoo is blow out. The tattooist went too deep. It won’t show until the ink has settled for a few days, as other people have said. Another tattoo of mine, done by an apprentice, has some minor blow out in places that looks like a minor version of what happened to yours.

    The reason I, like a bunch of other people are commenting on this, is because it’s literally the first result in google and so many people would be scared away from using an coconut oil as an excellent tattoo after care product because of this post. I was when I first saw it until I did some more research and found tattoo artists who have declared the opposite.

    I have an intricate piece of colourful artwork healing on my shoulder right now. There has been zero blow out so far, and I’m using coconut oil with great success. Please re-update your post – coconut oil is an excellent aftercare and this post being the first from google search is damaging to the poor oil’s reputation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kat, I will update the post. I still am not sure that the coconut oil had nothing to do with my damage. Of the four of us who received tattoos from the same artist that day, I am the only one with damage. I am also the only one who didn’t listen to his instruction and used coconut oil instead. It is possible the damage is entirely artist error so I will include that more clearly in my post, but the truth is there is no way to be sure. I will also mention that many, many people have used coconut oil with great success. Thanks for your comment and suggestion!

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    • It looks about the same. I think the ink bled out all over because the entire outline looks a little fuzzy. I’m okay with it though, its not like it is a big blob of ink. I can still enjoy it!
      I’m definitely going to try your balm for my next tattoo. Do you ship to the US?

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  7. That’s quite odd,i myself have never heard of coconut oil being detrimental to the healing process of tattoos neither. But i have found it NOT to be as effective as stuff like aquaphor or tattoo majik. CO also leaves a putrid “waxy” smell after a few hours and that’s using organic coconut oil. I used it on a torso tattoo a few times ( 3 days ) & i didn’t like it so i went back to my ointment routine,the tattoo healed fine. I only use coconut oil as a hand moisturizer ( I have hand tattoos ) and that’s it,it works well but it’s very comedogenic so other body parts don’t like the stuff. Some people swear by CO but I’ve found it to be over hyped and messy. If you want to go natural with healing a tattoo,I would suggest tattoo majik balm,all natural ingredient.

    That looks more like something the sun/tanning or long water exposure would of caused. I don’t believe coconut oil was the culprit in your case.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love coconut oil for everything. So decided to go against my much experienced tattooed sister and use it anyway. I found if you didn’t use enough it didn’t keep it moist enough and too much made my skin spotty. So ended up being really scabby and itchy and now have started using the same as my sister bepanthen ointment from the pharmacy, it’s clearing up nicely. Also the pharmacist said if you get an infection the coconut oil could feed the bacteria. Hope this is useful.

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    • Serena, thank you for your comment. A lot of people think I am wrong to criticize coconut oil, however it turns out that coconut oil is actually a really poor choice for skin care. Coconut oil is highly comedogenic, which means that it is not absorbed well by the skin and can clog pores. Coconut oil just does not contain the proper fatty acids to be a nourishing choice for our skin. So that explains why it was not helpful for either of us.
      I am glad you found a good alternative, thank you for sharing it!

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      • wow you are incredibly miss informed about coconut oil. I had sever acne and black heads it does amazing things for my skin. Now I understand that it may not work for everyone’s skin but what you we’re stating about the fatty acids is scientificlly wrong.

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        • Hi Elizabeth, that is great that coconut oil works as a moisturizer for your face. I am not misinformed about coconut oil, however.
          You can find an excellent article about coconut oil as a facial moisturizer here. To quote, “It’s not that it’s a bad oil—there are just many better oils out there. The epidermis has a layer of barrier lipids that help protect the skin, to keep it moist and plump. That barrier lipid layer is comprised of mostly linoleic acid. Molecules containing high levels of linoleic acid are found to have the highest permeability factor [Coconut oil contains low levels of linoleic acid. More on that below]. Also, the dermis, right below the epidermis, is composed of many essential fatty acids which help provide physical and nutritional support to the epidermis. Basically, by topically applying EFA 3 & 6 we can introduce important nutrients for the epidermal layer. As coconut oil does not contain those EFAs there are many other oils which are much more effective at keeping the skin healthy and providing the nourishment it needs.”
          Interestingly enough, I was talking to an esthetician who speculates that people of European descent seem to be the majority of those who react poorly to coconut oil on their face, while those whose ancestors came from places closer to the equator do well. She also follows the work of Weston A. Price and wonders if it is because coconut was never part of their ancestor’s diet. I haven’t seen any science on that, but it’s something interesting to consider!

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          • Coconut oil worked wonders for my son who had acne so so bad. He mixed 2 drops Lavender oil and 4 drops Frankincense oil to 1/4 cup CO rubbed it on his face generously . Leave for 10 min and took a WHITE washcloth as warm as he could stand it and wiped it off well. He used no soap. He did this twice a day and in 3 days it was so dramatic. He loves it and he is 17.

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      • I believe you are wrong. I use coconut oil every night and morning. It is completely absorbed within a half hour. It is also antimicrobial (kills bacteria). I never have breakouts anymore. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. Not sure where you are getting your info.

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    • You have been misinformed. Coconut oil (if virgin, raw, and organic) is 100% anti viral, anti fungicidal and kills bacteria instantly. Whoever told you it can harbour bacteria is simply wrong. I have used coconut oil for my last 2 tattoos and due to its natural vitamin E content, both have healed exceptionally quickly, with the lines remaining crisper. I react to something in most mainstream tattoo salves, luckily tested before I applied to my ink!

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  9. Hi there-reading threw all the comments. This is the first link on Google search that shows up for “can you use coconut oil for tattoo care”

    Looking threw your comments, I promise you 100% this had nothing to do with the coconut oil. As many have said, its a blow out. The artist went too deep. I see you still are unsure because everyone else’s turned out fine. Unfortunately for you, the artist just went with the flow and tattooed you as he did your friends. Your friends skin were mostly similar to each others as to where yours was quite different. He should’ve known what he was doing and that everyone’s skin can vary. Nothing to do with coconut oil. Coconut oil is probably one of the best things you can use for tattoo healing.

    It may seem like it was something the coconut oil did because you were the only one who used it. But following his after care lotion instructions verses the coconut oil would not have made a difference.

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  10. aquaphor. that’s the only thing iv ever been told to use & the only this that doesn’t sting. I use coconut oil after a week of healing after all the scabs have come off just to heal my skin around the piece.

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    • I use aquaphor for my exzema on my hands, I never thought of it as aftercare because it was so heavy on my skin. I will definitely ask my artist about it because that would be great. I use coconut oil a day or two after the tattoo and I’ve never had any problems and my tattoos haven’t itched or burned at all. I am always open to new methods though

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  11. My artist said to do nothing. No creams, ointments nada. Little sore since saturday but doing alright. Doing all this snow removal does not help

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  12. Please, please PLEASE put your *update* as the header for your article. While I understand you are confused and dissatisfied with the results of your tattoo work, you have been told over and over by numerous professional artists leaving comments as to what caused this issue. “Blow outs” are well documented within the tattoo and even dermatology industries; your case is nothing unusual. They are simply caused by migration of ink in the lower fatty areas of the skin, NOT by the application of topical agents. This can be caused by multiple factors, such as placing the ink too deep or thin skin, but again it has nothing to do whether you use coconut oil, aquaphor, A&D, or even bacon grease for that matter. The internet is an open forum, but please respect the gravity of your post, as for whatever silly reason it comes up #1 on Google Search and unfortunately your post is both misinformed and misleading. A better representation would be given if you post your *update at the beginning so readers know ahead of time that there have been multiple attempts by educated readers to inform you on what caused this. Many people will not bother to read the article in its entirety, much less the comments.

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    • The vastness of the Internet & the sorts of people who are likely to research this topic makes this an article that the largest percentage of viewers unlikely to search for again. The author should certainly keep the impact of her article in mind, but we, as readers, should do the same… & respect the author.

      She did a good job of summing the events that occured & explaining the results of her own research — that the product was recommended for use after a certain time period, & she did indicate that the artist was rushing. It’s the responsibility of readers to understand that information & experiences may become outdated; we cannot forget the gravity of our responsibility to educate ourselves adequately. It’s also the responsibility of readers to understand that NOT ALL EXPERIENCES ARE EQUAL & that NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE OR ACCEPT EVERY PRODUCT. She had the courtesy of editing the article to her own satisfaction to highlight, with more severity, the artist’s potential faults. As she reforms her opinion, she may edit the article at her will…. but 3 has no obligation to edit the title.

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  13. I’m pretty sure you just got a bad ink job. I’ve used coconut oil on my last three with excellent results. No disrespect to you or your artist.

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  14. I have over 13 tattoos and have experienced what u experienced one of mine…. I and most definitely guarantee you that it was the artist that caused the bleeding of the ink and not the oil….. There are a number of reasons why u had the bleeding and not ur other family members….. If your skin is more sensitive and the artist had a heavy hand…. The way you were positioned…. Your body’s reaction to the ink just to name a few…. But I personally prefer shae butter as my healing agent because it’s not as greasy or messy as coconut oil and I also believe it preserves the colors better….. The tattoo is pretty neat none the less

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  15. My last tattoo has the same bleedings, i used bepanthen just like all of my tattoos. But only this one is bleeding. I think you just got a bad ink job, just like mine last one.

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  16. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/coconut-oil-for-skin.html These are great benifits of coconut oil for skin care. I am a nurse I get rather severe eczema even on my face I have steroid creams that when I have flare ups I am to use for two weeks after it is gone. Well steroid creams thin your skin and I am very fair so I already have rather thin skin. I started using coconut oil right out of a warm bath with slightly damp skin. applying this way absorbs much better.It truly helps my eczema just as well if not better than my steroid cream. Anyway on to the tattoos I have always used bacitracin until it was just dry then avveeno baby lotion(I am extremely sensitive). This is always what I have done and I have been getting tattoos for 21 yrs. My whole thought process with using coconut oil is its getting hot and its a natural sunscreen, my dad ruined one of his because he wasnt thinking and the ointment fried it! Also coconut oil is a natural antimicrobial which can help prevent infection. I am working on a sleeve and the one we started today is on my forearm. With it warming up the coconut oil can moisturize, protect from infection, and frying it. I am gonna do more research, but I am pretty sure I’m gonna try the coconut oil. I would love to put a before and after up so everyone can see the progress, I am just not sure how?

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    • Thats great coconut oil works for your eczema! I tried it when my son had eczema as a baby and because it is a warming oil it did not help. Every body is so different. Also, I haven’t ever read coconut oil is a natural sunscreen. I would test that cautiously, if you haven’t already.
      I would love to add your before and after pictures to the post. What a great way to further the experiment! You can email me at mommylivesclean@gmail.com. Thanks for your comment and great idea!

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      • Coconut oil is scientifically proven to have an SPF of 8, as does olive oil. I swear by the stuff and have stopped using all moisturisers and solely use coconut oil. It is also a great tooth whitener when you pull with it three times a week. I really wish you would update this post, as others have mentioned, this is the first one to show up after a google search and you seem very misinformed as what exactly happened to your tattoo. Speculation is not fact, it is truly unfortunate that you had a bad tattoo experience however the subsequent unfounded claims are unnecessary.

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  17. I’ve used organic coconut oil on my last three tattoos. My experience has been great with a shorter healing period and a crisper, more colorful finish after the healing process. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil alone is probably a good enough reason to use it as an alternative to some of the other stuff that’s out there. I had a terrible experience on my very first tattoo with a product called ‘Tattoo Goo’. I wound up getting an infection which completely destroyed my tattoo.

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  18. I specifically asked my tattoo artist if coconut oil was ok and he said yes as long as it dies not have fragrances in it. Did yours perhaps have fragrances in it?

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  19. I also have a brand new tattoo 4 days. I havent had no problems with mine…Caring for it 1st I wash my hands the I take a paper towel NO wash clothes or bath towels and use unsented soap such as hand soap. Start from the top making cicles gently all the way to the bottom. Then use a second paper tower and gently wiping the soap off of tattoo. Then use another paper towel to tap it dry NO rubbing. Then lastly use 1 more paper towel to administer NON SENTED lotion gently. Rub it in completely..On ur case ALL tattoo has leak leakage its call excess ink because the pours of ur skin can only hold so much ink.When the tattoo starts peeling LEAVE IT ALONG.thats normal. Just keep tattoo moiste ay all times and it will prevent it from drying up and cracking therefore leaving scars…SORRY FOR UR BAD LUCK….

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  20. I just had the same thing happen with a tattoo I got five days ago. I now have “blowout” in two areas and am heartbroken. Unfortunately, my new tattoo was done by someone who had done beautiful work for me before this. He must have had a long day and was over tired. I did have a feeling that he might have gone too deep because the tattoo was extremely painful in the first couple days, and is still sore. I have never had this happen before. I have always used only natural products (most have coconut or olive oil) to heal my tattoos and people remark at the clarity of some of my older ones. I’ve been getting tattoos for over 30 years and have a regular method for healing them, and have always had great results. So I know it wasn’t anything I did.

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  21. Hey there,
    I am on a healing process for my first tattoo.. And made a blunder of not applying anything I it for three days… On first day I washed my tattoo and applied an oil recommended by my artist, after that I left it alone for all natural healing. It’s been four days today I can see the scanning all over it, but I am afraid if the “applying nothing” after care may cause some color loss. Please suggest what can be done now.. Please anyone.. My tattoo is on my right hand wrist and it’s a text for my father. I really want to have a bright and vibrant tattoo 😩

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  22. I just had to comment on this subject and help continue the educating on this … I’ve been getting modified for 22 years and am in the industry as well. I recently put coconut oil on a healing tattoo for the first time and I’m having issues. And the main issue I wanted to touch is the spreading of the ink… I DID have a bit of this in the very beginning and it stayed for a couple of weeks. Now almost a month later,it became very itchy-which we usually note as a sign of healing-but this was different…so very intense itching… I now have eczema looking marks throughout the tattoo that continue to crazy itch,so much so that I wake in the night scratching! I’m searching for healing advice here if anyone has experienced this too throughout time… I believe the culprit to be spores in the coconut oil… Soooooooo….. coconut is NOT always recommended for tattoo aftercare!!! Refined versus unrefined and things that get through the fingers in between….

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  23. I’m really confused as to why nobody has brought up the difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil.

    For proper use and maximum benefit of coconut oil as a skin care product, purchase a smaller glass jar of UNrefined, virgin coconut oil (cold pressed is my recommendation) and don’t use that jar for anything but your skin. DO NOT use your fingers to remove the oil from the jar! A cotton swab works well, and you should use a new swab every single time you go into the jar for more oil. A thin layer does the trick.

    Also, I wanted to address a comment that said coconut oil can trap and feed bacteria and make it worse. This is incorrect. “The antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of the medium chain fatty acids/triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil have been known to researchers since the 1960s. Research has shown that microorganisms that are inactivated include bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses.”

    In short, coconut oil is a fantastic option for skin care. I had horrible acne and originally used oil free products, but I had much better results by making sure to cleanse my face very well with a mild soap and warm water twice before bed, and immediately applying coconut oil.

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  24. I just received my fifth tattoo yesterday. There were four of us going for scheduled appointments, and we were there for 5.5 hours. Two of us had small pieces about two inches in diameter while the other two of us had larger pieces about five/six inches long by three inches wide. There was plenty of time to have all artwork done, and our artist even took a small break. I am the only one who has a bruise twice the size of my piece, but other than that, everyone’s artwork looks great. We’re using the Dial fragrance-free soap, but while the others are using other lotions, I am sticking with the lotion that worked best for me for my last four tattoos, Aveeno fragrance-free lotion. My tattoo was placed in a very sensitive area so I’m hopeful the bruising goes away quickly. My daughter who dates a tattoo artist said not to use coconut oil, that it would make the color fade away quickly, according to her tattoo artist boyfriend. I don’t know if that is true, but I’m sticking to what has worked best for me, Aveeno.

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    • Bruising is not an uncommon side effect, particularly in a sensitive area. I have a tattoo on the inside of my bicep. Starting the day after, and for about two weeks, the area was black and blue. In addition, for most of the first week, my arm there was swollen to nearly twice normal side. A little ice to reduce swelling wont hurt, and the bruising will go away.

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  25. I have tried a variety of products during the tattoo healing process. Results of these products will vary depending on various circumstances. Location is one of the primary items that can impact tattoo healing. For example, on the inside of the bicep the skin is more sensitive, whereas the skin on the legs is generally drier. Not to mention that everybody has different skin to some degree or other. I have tried Bag Balm, moisturizing foam, and A & D ointment to name a few. The foam did not provide suitable moisture for me. Bag Balm provided protection, but blocked the pores, A & D helped accelerate healing, but because it, and Bag Balm, are petroleum and/or lanolin based they can adversely affect the ink of a tattoo; particularly if you use them before the skin has healed. A LITTLE A & D once the first scab has peeled will help healing. There are too many products to name here, but much of the success of these products is based on the individual. Some are specific to tattoo care (Tattoo Goo for example), while others are general skin care products. Different artists will recommend different techniques and products for tattoo after care. Generally speaking, follow these suggestions 1) avoid petroleum based products and 3-in-1 ointment, which is meant to pull foreign material from the skin, 2) keep the tattoo clean using an antibacterial soap, especially the first few days, 3) do not use excessive amounts of your chosen after-care product; your skin needs to “breath” in order to properly heal, and 4) remember that too much moisture is just as bad as not enough; don’t overdo it with the product you choose.

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  26. @Matt Riedel, my bruise ended up being blow out. I’m so disappointed. Artwork still looks great, but it’s surrounded by a nice halo of what looks like a permanent bruise. Looks like I need additional work done . . . oh well =)

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