Can You Put Too Much Lotion on a Tattoo?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 01, 2022
    Last Updated: March 12, 2022

Aftercare is important for your tattoo, as to how the tattoo is looked after for the first week or so will dictate how perfect it will look when fully healed. 

Moisture is key for your healing tattoo. However, you must make sure that you’re using a suitable moisturizer at the right times.

Many people ask if you can over-moisturize your tattoo. The answer to this question is a definite yes.

We’ll let you know how moisturizer should be used in the few days following your tattoo procedure and we’ll also explain how to fix a tattoo that is showing signs of being over moisturized. 

More people are now having tattoos, and the trend has become increasingly popular over the last few years. This popularity is set to continue, with body art currently appearing on over 30 percent of Americans. 

However, the tattoo process isn’t for everyone as it requires a significant commitment along with lots of care and attention.

The tattoo will be permanently inked onto your skin, and you will have the tattoo for many years to come. Therefore, it’s vital that it’s completed by a reputable tattoo artist and you continue to care for it with a great aftercare routine.

Tattoo Moisturizing

When you get a new tattoo, you need to make sure that you have a suitable aftercare routine in place. Moisturizer is an essential part of the wet healing process, but you don’t want to go overboard and moisturize too often or use too much.

Using moisturizer on your tattoo will keep it hydrated as it heals and this will give you a perfect tattoo once healed. It will keep the colors of your tattoo vibrant and strong and will increase the longevity of your tattoo.

It is possible to over-moisturize your tattoo, and this can be counterproductive, leading to healing issues for your tattoo and the skin around it.

Can You Over Moisturize a Tattoo?

Moisturizing your tattoo is a great way to improve the healing process and give you a vibrant, long-lasting tattoo. However, if you use too much moisturizer on your tattoo or don’t dry it thoroughly after washing, it could hinder the healing process.

You can over-moisturize your tattoo, and this can lead to all kinds of issues. It can prolong the healing process and could even cause an infection. All of this can damage your tattoo and leave you with a less than perfect tattoo on your body that you have to live with for many years.

Your tattoo artist will discuss the tattoo aftercare regime with you before you leave the tattoo studio after getting your tattoo. They know what they’re talking about, so it’s best to listen and make sure that you understand what’s needed before leaving.

This is FAR too much lotion and some should be blotted off with a paper towel

Why Does Your Tattoo Need Moisturizer?

Your tattoo is an open wound when first completed, and it needs to be treated as such. The healing process will begin after 24 to 48 hours when blood and ink have stopped seeping from the wound.  

Keeping the skin moisturized during the healing process will help to keep the tattoo hydrated and will help the tattoo to heal perfectly. 

As the skin starts to heal, it will itch and may peel. By moisturizing your tattoo, you will reduce the itching and prevent any peeling of the tattooed skin. 

Moisturizing will help to keep the skin from drying out and will prevent scabbing. If your tattoo scabs there is a greater chance that it may crack or flake, which will damage the skin and your tattoo. 

By adding moisture to the tattoo, your skin will produce new skin cells that will help the tattooed skin to heal quickly.

What Moisturizer Should You Use on Your Tattoo?

You can’t just slap on any old moisturizer that you find. The type of moisturizer you use is important as many can damage your tattoo and cause issues with the healing process. 

The lotion or ointment that you choose needs to be fragrance-free and dermatologically tested. You must never use a fragranced lotion, cream, or ointment to your tattoo. The fragrance will irritate the skin, causing more damage than good to your tattoo.

The moisturizer needs to be a gentle formulation that’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skins. An organic moisturizer is often a safe bet as they don’t have any fragrances or artificial ingredients included. 

Some of the ingredients that will help with the healing process of your tattoo are; shea butter, glycerin, hemp, vitamin E, and vitamin B5. These ingredients will aid the healing process, add much-needed nutrients to your skin, and will keep your tattoo moisturized for up to 24 hours.

How Much Moisturizer Does Your Tattoo Need?

Now, this is where many people go wrong and apply far too much moisturizer to their tattoos. In order for the tattoo to heal, it needs to be able to breathe. It can’t do this if it’s coated in a thick layer of moisturizer at all times.

The skin only needs a thin layer of lotion or ointment for the tattoo to heal properly. Once you’ve cleaned the area, you need to let it dry. Don’t put moisturizer on your tattoo when it’s still wet, or this will cause damage to the area. 

Once dry, you need to apply a thin layer of your dermatologically tested, fragrance-free lotion or ointment. If you add too little, you can always add more. If you add too much, it will be difficult and could be painful to remove.

Your tattoo artist will be able to advise just how much is the right amount of moisturizer to use on your tattoo to give it the ideal healing conditions.

What Happens When You Over Moisturize Your Tattoo?

If you apply thick layers of moisturizer to your skin throughout the day, your tattoo will become over moisturized. This will prevent the skin from drying out and healing, creating the perfect environment for bacteria that may cause an infection.

Excess moisture in the tattoo can cause the pores of your skin to clog as your skin is unable to breathe. This can lead to inflammation of the skin and possibly infection. Breakouts may occur on the skin that will damage the tattoo and will irritate the skin around the tattoo.

The best way to avoid these issues is to follow the aftercare process above or, as discussed with your tattoo artist. 

Your tattoo needs moisture to heal, so be careful not to under moisturize it or leave it dry. The dryness will cause the skin to crack or peel and will damage the tattoo. You need a balanced amount of moisture to give your new tattoo the healing process it needs. 

Can You Fix an Over Moisturized Tattoo?

If you over-moisturize your tattoo, there are ways that this can be fixed. 

You can remove any excess lotion or ointment from your skin as soon as you realize that you’ve overdone it. This needs to be removed using a soft cotton cloth or a paper towel. The excess moisturizer should be removed slowly and gently, making sure not to damage the tattoo.

If you don’t want to risk removing the moisturizer and damaging the tattoo, you can leave the lotion or ointment to soak in and not reapply any additional moisturizer that day. 

When showering, leave the tattoo for around 10 minutes after getting out of the shower before applying a thin layer of lotion or ointment.

You could dry the area using a fan if your tattoo is over moisturized. However, the fan needs to be on the lowest setting possible, and you must be positioned away from the fan to prevent any further damage.


As you can see, it’s very easy to over-moisturize a tattoo if you don’t get into a regular routine or overdo the application of moisturizer. 

Moisture is a crucial element of the healing process of your tattoo. By doing it right, you will have a vibrant and long-lasting tattoo that will look stunning for many years to come. 

However, by applying too much moisture to the tattoo, you can run the risk of breakouts and infection. The excess moisture will damage the tattoo and the skin around it, giving you a less-than-perfect tattoo.

You need to have a good balance between moisture and dryness. The tattoo needs to be completely dry before applying any lotion or ointment, and you only need to apply a thin layer to get the best results. 

The lotion or ointment must be fragrance-free to avoid irritation and contain healing ingredients and vitamins to give you a faster healing process.

We hope that we’ve answered your question and you now know just how much moisture to apply to your new tattoo for the best healing conditions and the perfect tattoo.

Related Tattoo Aftercare Articles