Is it a good idea to use Vaseline on tattoos?

Basic elements for tattooing


As you know, to start tattooing, you must use more than one product both before, during and after the session.

For this, it is very common to talk about Vaseline as one of the most recurring products. Is Vaseline always the best option?

The truth is that with the advancement of medicine and the creation of new products, many questions its use in tattoos because they believe it is harmful to the skin.

We will go into detail about this controversial topic after defining Vaseline.

What is Vaseline?

Vaseline is a refined derivative of petroleum. For this reason, it is also known as “petroleum jelly”, and one of its main components is paraffin.

It is usually used as an ointment for different purposes, both in medicine and cosmetics and, as far as we are concerned, also in tattoos.

It is composed of saturated hydrocarbons, which makes it have a thick texture and is odorless, generally with a whitish or yellowish color. Also, it is a greasy substance that does not dissolve in water.

Due to its density, it is the base of many ointments and creams for pharmaceutical and cosmetic use.

But you can also find liquid Vaseline. Although it has the same composition, its consistency allows it to be used, as a hair or facial moisturizer, among other cosmetic uses.

Uses of Vaseline in tattoos

It is quite normal to name this product for multiple reasons.

In principle, the skin must remain hydrated and moisturized during the session. Otherwise, an injury could be generated, which should be avoided at all costs.

This product allows you to keep your skin hydrated for a long time because, due to its composition, it does not dry out over time or evaporate, as it happens with water.

This is why tattoo artists always resort to products like this.

In addition, when tattooing complex designs requiring many colors, tones and shades, they accidentally stain other areas when cleaning the excess ink.

This occurs because the skin pores remain wide open, and excessive ink reaches those areas and spoils the design.

To avoid this, some tattoo artists use Vaseline as a waterproofing and protective agent. This way, a very thin product layer is used on the tattooed areas to avoid contamination.

On the other hand, the needles need to work on a surface that allows them to glide well.

This is why Vaseline can also be used to improve the skin's elasticity and thus improve the needles’ work.

Once the session is over, it is essential to cover the tattoo well to prevent unwanted bacteria from entering and subsequent infections.

To achieve this, some artists apply a thin layer of Vaseline at the end of the tattoo and then cover it with cling paper. This way, the tattoo remains protected and free of danger.

Not everything is rosy, and there is controversy regarding this product. Is it completely safe to use it? Does it have side effects? Is it medically recommended? Let's analyze it.

Contradictions in the use of Vaseline

As anticipated in the beginning, some people believe its cons are many more than its pros.

The reason is that, due to its thick and greasy consistency, it can detrimentally clog the pores in a fresh tattoo. This reduces their oxygenation, delays their healing, and may result in long-term problems.

This is the main reason why discussions are generated around the use of this product.

If a tattoo has complications in its healing, it is advisable to change the aftercare measures.

Some people believe that petroleum is harmful because it is a petroleum derivative. But before this, the European Commission declared that this is a safe ingredient and cannot cause diseases.

So, Vaseline can be used as long as it is used correctly.

Some alternatives

To avoid problems, many companies began to manufacture products that replace it.

Thus, it became increasingly common among artists to use vegetable-based gels such as aloe vera, which provide the same benefits as Vaseline. They are much lighter in texture and do not significantly clog pores.

In addition, this alternative product does not contain paraffin; on the contrary, they usually have healing properties.

Many tattoo artists and clients prefer to replace Vaseline with cocoa butter.

This product is ideal in many ways. It has 100% vegetable origin, so it is a reliable option for those who prefer vegan and cruelty-free materials.

In addition, its healing properties are perfect for keeping the tattoo protected and hydrated. This product is very light, allowing proper oxygenation in the skin pores.

However, using it during the first days is not recommended, as this would prevent the scab from forming correctly. Otherwise, you will be constantly hydrated, which is different from what you want in this first stage.

Were you aware of the contradictions in the use of Vaseline?

Knowing in depth the elements with which you work is crucial to improving as a professional. Want to expand your knowledge? Take a look at our educational offerings and level up with the help of experienced professionals.