What Happens If Your New Tattoo Dries Out?

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

Take it from us; getting a tattoo on a whim isn’t the best idea. For instance, you might discover a hidden allergy to one of the care products your artist is using. If that isn’t enough, some body parts are more sensitive to the pricking sensation of needles than others.

Our best advice to you before getting a tattoo is to do your research. Don’t worry, though; we’ve done most of the hard work and compiled this guide for you. It’ll cover everything you need to know about what will happen if you decide not to moisturize your tattoo.

By not using a moisturizing lotion on your tattoo and letting it dry out, you could cause your skin to dehydrate, causing it to crack, bleed and potentially become infected.

However, if you’re careful and follow the correct steps, keeping moisturizing creams and tattoo lotions away from your ink can actually be quite an effective way of healing the area.

It should be noted, though, that results will vary from person to person depending on skin types, healing abilities, and environmental factors such as air dryness, etc.

Why Keep Your Tattoo Un-Moisturized?

Why would you want to dry your tattoo in the first place? If you’re like some, your skin won’t agree with all the post-care oils and lotions on the market. Dry healing your tattoo is a legitimate way of healing your tattoo without all of the fancy products involved.

Okay, so maybe there is one product we recommend. Anti-bacterial soap without any irritants will ensure your tattoo is free of bacteria so you won’t get infected. Additionally, you’ll want to stay hydrated, keep yourself away from those sun rays and wear loose clothing.

Advantages of Letting a New Tattoo Dry Out

Dry healing your tattoo is a simple method. If you’re healthy, your body will know exactly what to do. Just adhere to the precautions listed above, and your skin should be as good as new in no time.


Another advantage of dry healing is the fact that it’ll save your skin from a lot of unnecessary chemicals. Topical drugs such as lotions are known to have adverse effects. If lotions irritate your skin, then you’re most likely better off without using them.

Save Money

Who doesn’t like to save money? If you’re experienced when it comes to tattoo application, you’ll know exactly how your body is going to react to a new tattoo. Use this knowledge to determine if you need to be spending more on post-tattoo skincare products.

Preserves Your Tattoo

Dry healing allows the scabbing process to happen on the surface of the skin. This is important because the top layer is more superficial. This means your tattoo will look great in the long term!

Disadvantages of Letting Your Tattoo Dry Out

Cracking is a real risk when it comes to letting your tattoo dry out. Some of us have a real weakness when it comes to scabs. We have an uncontrollable urge to pick at them, but this can pull some of the colors out.

Itchy Skin

The itchiness and discomfort that comes with dry skin can make you want to pull your hair out. In our opinion, this is the worst thing about dry healing a tattoo. You can use an ointment to help with this, but it won’t do any favors for your tattoo because it’ll stick to everything.


If that isn’t bad enough, cracked, itchy skin can expose you to infection. This is one of the worst things for you and your tattoo. It means that you’ll need to get your tattoo touched up once you’re healed, and depending on your artist, this can be expensive.

Bonus Tips

Listen to Your Artist

Follow your artist’s aftercare instructions! This one comes as no surprise since the professionals that apply your tattoo do this for a living. They know what they’re doing and will be sure to guide you accordingly.


An ointment can help, but it’ll leave you sticking to everything — your clothes, dust, dander and anything else you come into contact with. Use ointment wisely if you choose this option.

Do Not Touch

Avoid touching your tattoo. This keeps germs and other harmful microbes from infecting your skin.

Loose Clothes

Wear loose clothing. It prevents rubbing, and it’ll also protect your skin from the sun. Increased exposure to sunlight will wreak havoc on your skin and prolong the healing process.


Your healing method is going to be as unique as your tattoo — we’re all different, and dry healing isn’t for everyone.

Drying your tattoo as a means of healing it is a safe and natural process. Not only will it enhance the look of your tattoo in the short term, but it can also leave your tattoo looking great for years to come! Regardless of the method you choose, an awesome new tattoo deserves exceptional care.

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