Using Bepanthen On Tattoos

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 12, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Tattoo aftercare is about cleaning and treating your new ink. You may be tempted to let it heal naturally, but this could leave you susceptible to infections. Removing bacteria and protecting your skin is essential to guaranteeing a smooth healing process.

There’s a wide range of ointments, creams and lotions available designed for tattoo aftercare. You may have heard someone suggest Bepanthen for aiding in the healing process. Bepanthen’s designed as an anti-rash treatment for babies. This may indicate that it’ll be useful for treating sensitive skin, but it’s not!

Bepanthen isn’t suitable for tattoos because it contains many harsh chemical additives:

  • Petrolatum
  • Lanolin and lanolin alcohol
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol

What is Bepanthen?

Bepanthen is a popular antiseptic cream that’s specially formulated to treat diaper rashes. It primarily serves as a moisturizer and skin protectant. This leads people to believe that the formula is gentle enough for vulnerable post-tattoo skin.

Bepanthen Ingredients

By analyzing some of its main ingredients, it’s evident that Bepanthen isn’t the best product for new tattoos. It’s not formulated with tattoos in mind. Fresh tattoos are open wounds that need more than just moisture.

Bepanthen might work for those who don’t have sensitive skin, but why risk breaking out and ruining your new ink? Keep in mind that Bepanthen doesn’t have any anti-bacterial or anti-septic properties, which are essential for ensuring your tattoo heals properly. Bepanthen is full of harsh chemical additives that shouldn’t be anywhere near your new tattoo.


Its main ingredient is dexpanthenol, which is derived from panthenol. This is typically used as a moisturizer and emollient. It penetrates the skin and is often used to treat minor skin irritations. Keeping your tattoo moisturized is an essential part of the healing process, so this might sound good so far.


Keep in mind, however, that Bepanthen contains a wealth of other chemical additives that may irritate your skin further. Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, is one of those additives. You probably have a product containing it somewhere in your house since it’s used in a wide range of cosmetic products.

Petrolatum is a waste product from the distillation of petroleum when producing gasoline. It prevents the evaporation of moisture from the skin. It stops the skin’s ability to absorb or excrete to lock in moisture, which isn’t good when your skin needs to recover from a tattoo.

Vaseline/petroleum jelly is very thick and non-porous

Petrolatum can have adverse effects on people with sensitive skin and can cause some even to develop allergies. It can also cause clogged pores and acne, which is the last thing you want when caring for a new tattoo. Petrolatum also contains paraffinum liquidum — a non-natural mineral oil. It can’t be absorbed by the skin and just sits on top of it, exacerbating skin clogging.

Lanolin and Lanolin Alcohol

Lanolin is an oily substance that’s secreted from the sebaceous glands of sheep. It’s typically used as an emulsifier, which means it binds well with water.

Keep in mind that lanolin can cause contact dermatitis rash for some people. It can also create a burning sensation in the skin. Lanolin is also known to lighten the skin — something you don’t want happening to your new vibrant tattoo!

Cetyl and Stearyl Alcohol

Cetyl and stearyl alcohol are similar to lanolin alcohol because of their emulsifying and thickening qualities. Their sole purpose is to keep the water and the oils from separating. They’re essential to keeping the product together, but they may cause redness and irritation in some people.


The primary reason people use Bepanthen as a tattoo aftercare product is its moisturizing and protective properties. It’s presumed that if it’s safe for sensitive baby skin, it must also be safe for vulnerable freshly- tattooed skin. Bepanthen, however, is not formulated for fresh, open wounds. Due to its ingredients, it may cause itching, breakouts and allergic reactions. 

If you have particularly sensitive skin, Bepanthen may actually exacerbate your symptoms. It’s best to apply a tattoo aftercare product formulated explicitly for tattoos. Having moisturizing properties isn’t enough. You need a lotion or ointment that will moisturize, protect and accelerate the healing process. You’ve invested a good amount of money into that tattoo; don’t risk ruining it.