Olive Oil For Tattoos

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 7, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Many of us know how beneficial oils can be for the skin. But, can you use olive oil on a new tattoo? If so, is it an effective alternative?

Yes, you can use olive oil on a new tattoo. Derived from olives and a staple of the Meditteranean diet, olive oils have long held a cherished place in history. It can be used as a moisturizer and can reduce the effects of aging skin and wrinkles.

The International Olive Council classifies olive oils as:

  • Extra virgin olive oil — EVOO: This is the highest grade of olive oil. It’s produced from the olive fruit without heat, chemicals or any form of processing
  • Virgin olive oil: Regular virgin olive oil is produced from the olive fruit through mechanical means or any physical means
  • Refined olive oil: This oil is processed through chemical means. It’s generally colorless, odorless and tasteless
  • Olive pomace oil: This is the lowest grade of olive oil and is a result of refining the pomace of the fruit with solvents

Which Olive Oil is Best?

For general skin care, extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil deliver the goods. However, refined olive oil and pomace oil aren’t recommended since they’re refined to the point of lacking the original olive oil natural properties, as we describe below.

Sure, EVOO and virgin olive oil are more expensive, but this is due to their high grade and skin benefits. When hunting for olive oil, make sure you check how it’s manufactured, since lower grades might not be suitable, due to:

  • Not easily absorbed
  • Can cause skin reactions

Not Easily Absorbed by the Skin

Processed olive oils, such as pomace olive oils, are often processed using petroleum-based solvents. As a result of the petroleum base, these oils are too thick to be absorbed by the skin. This leads to your tattoo being denied oxygen.

Also, your tattoo ends up being sticky, making it possible for bacteria and dirt to thrive. This results in a tattoo that doesn’t heal quickly and, very often, loses color too soon. 

Can Cause Skin Reactions

Though not so common, processed olive oils can have an adverse impact on skin. These negative reactions range from contact dermatitis, allergies to eczema. For instance, your skin can react and cause acne in the place where the olive oil is applied since it can trap dirt, oil and sebum in the skin.

Consider Other Options

Extra virgin olive oil will help your tattoo heal well. However, for your newly acquired tattoo, several options can work well. This includes:

  • Coconut oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Myrrh oil

Coconut Oil

Scientists have found that coconut oil has skin barrier and wound-healing properties, both of which are relevant after having a tattoo.

Protects From Infection

The last thing you want is a sinister infection taking over your beautiful ink. Owing to the presence of substances such as capric and lauric acids, coconut oil serves as a natural disinfectant, warding off harmful bacteria.

Rich in Collagen

Collagen is the main protein in connective tissues, and it works by facilitating cells to wounds, which includes a tattoo, thereby aiding the recovery process. The oil revitalizes the skin and helps it maintain its glow.

Lavender Oil


Lavender oil is a naturally occurring oil that acts as a soothing agent and pain reliever. Often, a tattoo may come with mild or intense pain, which is why lavender oil is such a good option.

Wound-Healing Properties

Lavender oil is reputed for speeding up the healing of wounds. With this oil, you can ensure early healing of your tattoo. 

UV Protection

Additionally, it has sun-protection properties that help shield your new tattoo from the sun to avoid sunburn and your tattoo from fading. Even so, it shouldn’t be relied on as a sole source of protection.

Myrrh Oil

Natural Antiseptic

Myrrh is an essential oil that has antiseptic properties. This ensures that your open wound stays clean, fresh and healthy without the infection of microorganisms.

Can Reduce Inflammation

Additionally, myrrh can help reduce inflammation, which is often a side-effect of getting a tattoo.

Other Essential Oils

Other essential oil options that can do a great job include helichrysum, grapeseed, lemon, and frankincense.

To Olive or Not to Olive?

Taking good care of your tattoo is critical. The type of oil you use can go a long way to determine whether your tattoo stays fresh and vibrant. You can use olive oil if it’s pure virgin olive oil, and try and buy extra virgin olive oil for the best quality. Also, try and avoid petroleum-based oils such as pomace oil.

Ultimately, you’re better off using other oils, such as coconut oil, to keep your tattoo looking fresh and vibrant.

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