Coconut Oil For Tattoos

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 15, 2018
    Last Updated: March 17, 2022

Professional body art is an investment of both time and money. You want it to look as fresh and vibrant as possible for years to come, and the right aftercare is essential to preserve its beauty. You may have heard the suggestion to put coconut oil on tattoos to help them heal great and stay vibrant for longer.

This fatty, natural oil is excellent for many things: for healthy, soft and shiny hair, and even for your skin. What about using it on a new tattoo? Are there dangers you should be aware of or precautions you should take? Let’s take a closer look.

Is It Safe to Use Coconut Oil on a New Tattoo?

Coconut oil is safe to use on tattoos and offers many remedial properties that can contribute to the fast and effective healing of a new tattoo. The white flesh of a coconut contains many nutrients that are able to help boost collagen levels, protect against infection, and keep the skin well-nourished and moisturized while it heals from the tattooing procedure.

Some health professionals advise against consuming coconut oil, due to its high-fat content. This is mainly due to its saturated fats, which cause bad LDL cholesterol levels to rise. Today’s health-minded generation, however, is praising the benefits of this fatty nut as a solution for skin issues, and if you enjoy a ketogenic rotational diet, consumption of coconut oil is likely part of your plan.

Coconut oil is the melted fat within the flaky flesh of the nut. Like all oils, the fat content is extremely high, making it calorie-dense. This is why some people recommend that we shouldn’t consume excessive amounts.

The oil, nonetheless, holds numerous benefits for your skin and tattoo. Some of the components it contains include saturated fatty acids, such as lauric, myristic, palmitic, and caprylic. These have a number of plus-points which are explained below.

Coconut oil also contains beneficial vitamins, such as vitamins E and K. These are excellent for treating dry, broken skin. They provide moisture and rejuvenate the area.

Coconut oil is safe to use, due to its relatively low allergy risks. Many ointments and lotions contain an array of manufactured ingredients, whereas coconuts are completely natural. Although allergic reactions do occur, they are very rare. Coconut oil will also not fade your tattoo.

Benefits of Using Coconut Oil on A Tattoo

As explained, coconut oil is safe to use on your skin. Identifying the specific benefits of using it helps you to know when you should apply it, and when not to.

Especially with new tattoos, it is essential to have some basic knowledge of aftercare. Overdoing it, as well as not doing enough, can also lead to adverse outcomes.


Following the tattoo session, your skin will likely be dry and in need of added moisture.

New tattoos are self-inflicted, short-term injuries. The aftermath of the needles pricking the dermal layer of your skin can leave the area broken and cracked. When your body art is missing moisture, it risks becoming irritated.

The tattooed area will likely itch, and scratching is a big no-no since it could ruin the artwork. Itchiness and dryness can lead to more peeling skin than usual. Unfortunately, too many of us can’t leave scabbing or itchy skin alone.

Coconut oil will not only moisturize the skin, but if there is scabbing or peeling, it works as a gentle exfoliator. The fatty acids within this oil also help to retain your skin’s natural moisture without clogging the pores.

Natural Antiseptic

Your new tattoo may look stunning and colorful, but it can be a breeding ground for infections if you’re not careful. These occur more often than you might be aware of. Because of this, most tattoo artists will advise you to include an antibiotic ointment in your aftercare routine.

Antibiotics are crucial when treating infections, but not necessarily a requirement unless there actually is one. Using them as a preventative measure is problematic. Applying or taking antibiotics when not needed leads to resistance in the future. Not only that, but many medicated ointments contain a petroleum jelly base which isn’t ideal for your new tattoo.

Fortunately, coconut oil contains several nutrients that act as natural antiseptics. The capric, lauric, and caprylic acids which are found in coconut oil, can keep you protected from microbial infections.

Coconut oil is also easier to rinse off than most medicated ointments. Petroleum jelly found in topical antibiotics will stick to your skin and suffocate it. With coconut oil, you will avoid having to scrub your new tattoo, avoiding possible irritation or broken artwork.

Vitamin E and K

These vitamins, present in coconut oil, are powerful nutrients. These can contribute to strong hearts, healthy bones and smooth skin. Both vitamin E and K are fat-soluble substances. In addition to coconut oil, we find them in foods such as leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits, and seafood.

When we extract these vitamins, we get an oil-soluble nutrient that is much more substantial than water. Applying them to our skin can restore previously lost moisture and keep the area healthier.

Vitamin K, in particular, can trigger a natural process of blood clotting in wounds. This may work better when consumed rather than applied topically. However, direct application to the skin still promotes a healthy healing process, especially when combined with vitamin E.

Relatively Risk-Free

Some skincare products available on the market actually contain substances that can be harsh on the skin.

Allergic reactions are on the rise in today’s world. Some feel that this is due to over hygienic lifestyles, while others suggest it results from excessive use of antibiotics.

Whatever the cause, many people report adverse reactions to antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotic creams are often recommended as part of the aftercare for new tattoos. This means that many experience undesirable reactions, which compromise their art.

Fortunately, coconut oil does not contain any unnatural ingredients, and is rarely an allergen. It therefore provides you with an all-natural alternative, without compromising the need for protection.

My Favorite 100% Natural Coconut Oil

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The best coconut oil I’ve ever personally used for natural tattoo aftercare product called Anjou Coconut Oil.

This stuff works amazingly during the healing process – not only to keep your tattoo really well hydrated but it’s also great at soothing that annoying itch which can sometimes pop up.

Additional Benefits

The benefits of coconut oil are not limited to caring for your new tattoo.

Coconut oil does not contain any animal products and is not tested on animals, making it completely cruelty-free. This oil is also extremely easy to obtain. It is sold at almost every grocery store or health food market. In addition, it’s generally affordable and has a long shelf life. Even when the healing time for your tattoo is up, you can continue to reap the benefits from the oil.

Coconut oil will continue to benefit your tattoo long after the healing process has finished. You can apply some directly to your tattoo at any time to bring out its colors and make it look more vibrant.

How to Use Coconut Oil on A Tattoo Safely

There are various forms of coconut oil available. These include refined, dry-processed, and wet-processed, among others. Because your skin will be quite sensitive, the best one to choose for your aftercare is refined, cold-pressed oil.

Patch Test

With any new product you intend to use on a potentially sensitive spot, a patch test is essential. Although coconut oil is relatively safe to use, compared to other oils, adverse reactions do occasionally occur. These are never pleasant to deal with, especially on your new tattoo.

The way to do a patch test is by applying a small amount of the product on your skin. This should be done away from your tattoo, and preferably on a place like the inside of your forearm, where the skin is relatively sensitive. The area doesn’t have to be large; you just want to aim for a coin-sized section. This way, if you do experience irritation, it is not going to be widespread.

Apply the oil and cover the area with a bandage. Wait at least 72 hours and if no reactions occur during this time, you know it’s safe to use.

Apply to the Tattoo

Since coconut oil is safe to use, in general, you can apply it as often as you like. For a new tattoo, however, you don’t want to overdo it. Applying too much can make it harder for your skin to breathe. Remember, oxygen is vital when you’re trying to heal your new tattoo.

The exact dosage is difficult to pinpoint. Everyone you ask will likely tell you something different. Generally, a fingertip’s worth of coconut oil is enough. Thin layers go a long way, and your skin can’t absorb an excessive amount at one time anyway.

Your skin will likely tell you when enough is enough. If it feels like you’ve applied a heavy coat of coconut oil, take some off or spread it to the surrounding skin to enhance moisture. The area should feel smooth, but not sticky.

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

Apply the oil every time you wash the area. After showering and washing with even just a mild soap, moisture in your skin escapes. Dry skin will leave the area feeling itchy and irritated, and this is what you want to avoid.

Risks & Precautions

We want to avoid any unnecessary risks to ensure our tattoos last a lifetime.

Always consult your tattoo artist for their recommendations. If they don’t believe you should be using coconut oil on your tattoo yet, then it may be best to take their advice and wait a couple of weeks first.

Don’t use coconut oil from a previously opened container, either. Make sure the bottle or jar is sealed to avoid any contamination. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before using it. Keep it away from roommates, kids or pets; germs can contaminate the coconut oil and possibly lead to an infection.

Also, if you feel you may have any sort of adverse reaction from coconut oil. it’s best to stay away from it. Some people develop acne breakouts to coconut oil so avoid applying to an acne-prone area of skin.  There are plenty of other oils and butter you can use to keep you tattoo nourished during healing. Shea butter is great for tattoos and would make a brilliant alternative.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.


Using coconut oil on tattoos can be an effective, natural, and cost-effective way to nurture your ink through the healing process.

The oil provides moisture, nutrients, and protection without clogging your skin or drying it out. Make sure to do a patch test first, and remember that less is better. Following these suggestions can help to promote faster healing and years of enjoyment from your new art.

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