The popularity of tattoos is on the rise — as is the incidence of many forms of allergy. If you’re looking to keep your tattoo moisturised with products free not only from MI and MCI, but other potential sensitising and reactive ingredients too, here’s a selection of options to explore.
After Inked Tattoo Moisturiser and Aftercare Lotion (International)
Interesting natural product, containing synthetic beeswax, hence vegan. Also with grape seed oil, vegetable glycerin, shea butter and orange oil. As well as full size, it also comes in useful, portable 7ml sachets / pillow packs. See the After Inked store here, or for Canadian customers, click here. Available in all countries through Amazon too.
Beeswax Labs Organic Lime & Mandarin Tattoo Balm (Australia)
Said to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to speed up healing, and soothe and relieve skin irritation. Useful portable-friendly mini twist stick and some SPF protection. As well as several natural butters and beeswax, also contains peppermint oil, lavender oil and lime oil. Uses almond oil so not nut-allergy safe, and not vegan due to the beeswax. Find it at the Beeswax Labs site here.
Body Shop’s Amazononian Saviour Multi-Purpose Balm (International)
The Body Shop is a well-known high street isothiazolinone-free brand, and this product “Improves the appearance of tattoos, skin marks and more”. Just nine ingredients, of wholly natural origin, with no added fragrance. Available worldwide, including in the US, and in the UK.
Mrs Frisbee’s Tattoo Aftercare Balm (UK)
Winner of a 2017 FreeFrom Skincare Award (Problem Skin Category). 100% natural and vegan. Small ‘one woman’ brand, which makes a point of being MI free. Balm contains oils and butters of calendula, coconut, avocado, sunflower, cocoa, shea and olive. No fragrance. Formulated with the help and input of a cosmetic safety assessor and a cosmetic medical tattoo artist. Can be used to prepare the skin for tattoo, help heal and soothe new tattoos, and prevent itching and inflammation while healing, and ‘revive’ and enhance colour of older tattoos. Find it via Amazon or the Mrs Frisbee’s site (delivery to some other European countries available).
Ohana Organics Tattoo Butter (US)
Said to be suitable for use “immediately after your tattoo session and for weeks afterward to heal and enrich your newly tattooed skin”. Contains organic fairtrade shea butter, organic olive oil infused with organic calendula, plantain, lavender, aloe, and vitamin E. Find it on the Ohana Organics website here.
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Aftercare Salve (US)
Described as 100% free of synthetics and packed with botanicals such as comfrey, chickweed, st john’s wort and burdock. Contains beeswax. Looks allergy aware … even discloses in its allergy warning that it’s produced in a facility that handles strawberries! Many excellent Amazon reviews. See more here.
Protat Natural Aftercare Cream (Australia)
Described as preservative-free, this cream is also lanolin-free, instead using cotton seed oil derivative – the closest vegan alternative. Also contains aloe, rosemary and rosehip. Find more information here. (We have emailed them for information regarding their other tattoo products, and will update the post when we hear back.)
Skinfix Inked Tattoo Balm (US / Canada)
A water-free and preservative-free balm, containing active ingredient allantoin – which softens, soothes and protects skin. Also contains shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, rice bran extract, orange seed extract and other naturals. For US, click here. For Canada, click here.
Tattoo Goo (Worldwide)
We have both emailed Tattoo Goo and approached them via Facebook to ask about their products’ isothiazolinone status and have not yet received a reply. We have looked at the ingredients and they appear to be safe, but note that the Tattoo Goo Store sells DermaNumb products (see below) which are not safe. The Tattoo Goo branded products appear safe from the ingredients given, but double check if you are interested in using them. The products include lotion, salve and ‘renew’ enhancing lotion. Browse at the store here.
The main danger with regard to tattooing might not be with regard to the aftercare creams, but to the inks themselves — as well as to the numbing products sometimes used to ease pain.
In a survey of tattoo inks conducted by regulators in Switzerland, almost a quarter contained the isothiazolinone preservative benzisothiazolinone (BIT). Read more here. It’s essential you speak to your tattoo artist about this before getting your tattoo.
Be especially wary of numbing products. For instance:
- DermaNumb contains methylisothiazolinone (both spray and gel contain it)
- Hush Anaesthetic Spray also contains methylisothiazolinone
That said, some after care creams do also pose a risk. For instance:
- Derm-Ink After-Tattoo Balm contains both methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
Think before you ink – and think after you ink too!