Can I Use Aquaphor On a New Tattoo?

If you are thinking about getting a new tattoo soon, or you have just had one done, then you might be left wondering what is okay to put on your tattoo and what isn’t. It doesn’t matter if this is your first tattoo, or you have already had many, you will still need to be cautious when it comes to looking after your new tattoo.

Something that a lot of people are talking about is Aquaphor, which is something that can be used for lots of different medical purposes when it comes to your skin. But is it okay to use Aquaphor on a new tattoo? Or should you avoid using this product at all costs? This is something that we are going to address in this article.

We are going to look at Aquaphor as a product, and discuss whether or not it is a good idea to put this on your new and healing tattoo. The last thing you want to do is cause more damage than harm, so it is always best to do your research and find out what is and isn’t safe to use.

What is Aquaphor?

For those that don’t already know, Aquaphor is a type of skin ointment that has been around for a long time. One of the main ingredients of this ointment is petroleum jelly, and the hydrophobic properties of this key ingredient can work to form an adherent layer on top of the surface of the skin in the area that it is applied in. 

This protective layer can work to prevent evaporation of fluid from the skin, which means that it is able to retain moisture on the skin’s surface. As well as this, the high content of petroleum jelly in Aquaphor will offer some soothing properties, and it also forms a physical barrier against bacteria. 

Aquaphor also contains some additional ingredients, like mineral oils and cresins, and these will work to provide even more protection for your new tattoo. It also contains bisabolol, which is something that can be extracted from the chamomile plant, and it is known for having anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

Can I Use Aquaphor On a New Tattoo?
Credit: katiejordan

Aquaphor contains less active stabilizing ingredients, like lanolin alcohol, panthenol, and glycerin, and these components will all work together with more active components to moisturize, nourish, and protect your skin.

Something else that people love about this ointment is the fact that it is so versatile, as it can be used to treat various different skin conditions and prevent dry skin.

Aquaphor can be purchased easily over the counter from your local medicine or grocery store, and it comes at a low cost. Even though it is not a product that is specifically designed for use after getting a tattoo, it is often recommended by tattoo professionals to help keep your tattoo hydrated and protected.

Can I Use Aquaphor On a New Tattoo?

Aquaphor is a great ointment to use if you are looking to speed up the healing process in the first few days after getting a new tattoo. You should be sure to properly clean the area before you apply this ointment.

In the first few days of the healing process is when the tattoo will be the most prone to bacterial contamination from itching and other trauma. You will need to make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning your tattoo with a mild antibacterial soap at least 3 times a day before you apply a thin layer of Aquaphor.

How Long Should I Use Aquaphor?

As long as you are sticking to all of the tattoo aftercare guidance that has been given to you by your tattoo artist, and your tattoo is healing well, you can use Aquaphor for the first 3 days.

You can use it 3 times a day after you have cleaned the area of the tattoo. After this amount of time, you can switch to a lighter water based skin moisturizer.

How Long Should I Use Aquaphor?

Why Should I Switch to Lotion?

After the first 3 days of using Aquaphor, you can start to use a thinner water based moisturizer instead. This will be the point in time where the wound has stopped oozing plasma. Although, you might be wondering why it is recommended to do this, and what difference it will make to do so.

Both of these products will be able to provide moisture to your tattoo in different ways, but the biggest difference between the two types of product is that the lotion will be water based, whereas Aquaphor is an oil based product.

This would mean that the lotion would be much better at moisturizing the skin, but it will also allow the skin to breathe at the same time, unlike Aquaphor. Lotion will also be much easier for you to spread around and cover larger portions of your skin than Aquaphor, which is much better for bigger tattoos. 

In order for you to be able to reap the maximum benefits of the lotion that you choose to use, it is recommended that you use it at least 3 times a day once you have properly cleaned and dried the tattoo. This is to be used instead of Aquaphor.

You should also keep in mind that you should never use any lotions on your tattoo that have heavy fragrances, dyes, or irritating ingredients like alcohol. All of these things can make the irritation of the tattoo worse, and also dry it out. This will make it take longer for the tattoo to heal.

Is Aquaphor Better Than A+D?

Two products that people often compare when it comes to tattoo aftercare are Aquaphor and A+D. If  you haven’t already heard of the latter product, A+D is another petroleum based ointment that is commonly recommended by professional tattoo artists to use on your new tattoo.

So, you might be left wondering what the difference is between these two popular products, and which one you should use on your tattoo. We are going to compare them both for you below, so you can find out for yourself.

Ingredients Used

As we have already mentioned, both of these ointments have a petroleum and mineral oil base. A+D actually consists of around 53.4% petroleum, and this is more than the 41% that can be found in Aquaphor.

Due to the fact that it has a higher content of petroleum, A+D would be more occlusive, although it will still allow oxygen to get to the skin. Aquaphor would allow your tattoo to breathe more efficiently. 

Although, A+D also contains both lanolin and cod liver oil, which are two ingredients that are rich in vitamin A and D, hence the name of the product. Both of these ingredients are great for healing skin. ALthough, something to keep in mind is that A+D  does also contain fragrance, whereas Aquaphor is completely free from fragrance.


Out of the two options, A+D is the slightly more expensive option in comparison to the same quantity of Aquaphor. So, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, Aquaphor is your product.


Due to the fact that A+D has higher petroleum content than Aquaphor,  it does have a thicker consistency.

If you can’t decide which product to use, then it is definitely worth talking to your tattoo artist about it to see what they recommend. Ultimately, they are the professionals in this situation, so it is definitely worth asking for their advice when it comes to looking after your new tattoo.

Although, with that being said, it might also be worth talking to your doctor if you typically have allergies to ingredients in skincare products, like lanolin. This might also come into your decision making. 

Can I Sleep With Aquaphor On My Tattoo?

Yes, you can sleep with Aquaphor ointment on your tattoo, and this is something that is actually recommended for you to do during the first few days of the healing process. During this stage, the wound is still fresh, so you don’t want to cover it up, but applying this ointment will provide the extra layer of protection that it needs.

You will need to clean up the wound, dry the area, and then go ahead and apply a thin layer of Aquaphor over the tattoo just before you go to bed. The thickness and oil based nature of this product will work to soothe and protect your tattoo.

What If I Use Too Much Aquaphor On My New Tattoo?

It isn’t the end of the world if you use too much Aquaphor on your new tattoo, but you should try to apply a thin and even layer. Using too much Aquaphor or using it too often can lead your pores to become blocked, which can lead to skin breakouts on the area of your tattoo. This is much more likely if the tattoo is on your face or upper chest. To prevent this from happening, you should:

  • Always properly clean and air dry your tattoo before you apply a layer of ointment
  • Only use a thin layer of Aquahor because this is more than enough for what you need
  • Switch things up and use a lighter water based lotion after the first few days of healing
Can I Put Aquaphor On a Peeling Tattoo?

Can I Put Aquaphor On a Peeling Tattoo?

Peeling is a normal stage of the tattoo healing process, and this is when the outer layer of the skin starts to flake off, like when you have sunburn. During this stage of healing, the area of the tattoo and around the tattoo can become very dry and itchy. It would be counter productive to start using a petroleum based product like Aquaphor at this time.

Instead, you should switch to using a high quality and water based lotion that is free from any fragrance.

What Are the Benefits of Using Aquaphor On a New Tattoo?

Some of the main benefits of using Aquador on a new tattoo are that:

  • It contains anti-infection and anti-irritation properties
  • It can efficiently hydrate and moisturizer the skin while offering protection
  • It can reduce the chance of excessive scabbing
  • It will ensure that less damage is left behind under the tattoo while it is healing
  • It will decrease the amount of time that the tattoo takes to heal
  • It will seal the tattoo away from irritants
  • It is a cost effective solution in comparison to tattoo aftercare products
  • This product is widely available and easy to get your hands on

What Are the Downsides to Using Aquaphor On a New Tattoo?

While Aquaphor is a great product to use on your tattoo when it comes to aftercare, just like any other medication, it does have some potential downsides that you should be away from. Although, these mostly occur from using too much of the product or using it too often.

Some of the main downsides to using Aquaphor on a new tattoo include:

  • The possibility for skin breakouts due to clogged pores
  • Some people can be sensitive to certain ingredients, leading to a rash

What You Should Know About Tattoo Aftercare

As well as knowing how and when to apply Aquaphor to your tattoo and knowing when to switch to a more moisturizing product, there are some other things that you can do to reduce the risk of infection and help the healing process to move along nicely.

Firstly, you should always avoid immersing your tattoo in water, like in a swimming pool or natural water source for at least 2 weeks after you get the tattoo. Otherwise, the ink can leach from your skin, causing the tattoo to fade more quickly.

You should also try to protect your tattoo from direct exposure to sunlight for at least the first 2 to 3 weeks after you get the tattoo. Always be sure to wear clothing that covers your tattoo or use high SPF sunscreen. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can work to break down the ink within the tattoo, which will only cause damage.

Never scrub the tattoo when you are cleaning it. Always be really gentle when you are cleaning and drying your tattoo. As well as this, make sure that you are not scratching your tattoo or picking at the scabs, and this will cause damage to the tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know almost everything there is to know about using Aquaphor on a new tattoo, you can take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions that we are going to answer below to find out more.

When Should I Start Using Aquaphor On My Tattoo?

You can start using Aquaphor on your tattoo once the covering has been removed from your tattoo after the recommended amount of time by your tattoo artist. After this point, you can keep using Aquaphor on your tattoo for the first 3 days after getting your tattoo done.

Make sure that you are only using the product three times a day, and that you are cleaning and drying the tattoo before applying it. As well as this, make sure that you are only applying a thin layer of the ointment. 

Will Aquaphor Draw the Color Out of My Tattoo?

If you were to put Aquaphor on your new tattoo, it may pull out the excess ink from the tattoo. However, once all of this excess ink is gone, the ointment should not be able to reach the ink, and this is because the ink will be inside of the skin layer that is called the dermis.

So, it will not continue to pull ink from your tattoo.

Does Aquaphor Help With Itchy Tattoos?

Yes, Aquaphor can be really useful for preventing itchiness. This is because dryness can lead to excessive scabbing and itchiness, but Aaquaphor will work to hydrate your skin while it is healing, which should work to reduce the level of scabbing later in the healing process.


Aquaphor is a great product to use on your new tattoo during the first few days of healing, as long as you are using it properly. You will need to keep on top of cleaning the tattoo before applying this ointment, as it could otherwise get infected.

Always make sure that you are only applying a thin layer of the ointment to your tattoo, and avoid using it more than 3 times a day as this is not needed.

Megan Ivy