nice place, amnd lots of good pix and info. im a 41yr old male, and have about 20 different tats. one thing ive noticed in all the years ive bee getting inked is every artist has their own set of instructions o aftercare. wile one may say ” this is the thing to do” the other guy says ” heck no!…dont do that!”. i myself am not an artist, but two of my best friends are award winning artists, so im around tattooing all the time, both on myself, others finsihed and during

question or two for those tattoo professionals out there though…

why do some professionals advise against neosporin, but yet advocate triple antibiotic?

both neosporin and triple antibiotic have THE SAME EXACT INGREDIENTS in them (Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Bacitracin Zinc Ointment ) only difference i can find on the labels is that neosporin also contains “Pramoxine”, which is a external analgesic to help with pain.

also, some artists say “NEVER use vaseline on a new tattoo because it pulls the color out ( they say the same about neosporin). both neosporin AND triple antibiotic are both PETROLEUM BASED, so it would be the same as putting vaseline on, but with an antibiotic additive in it.

some artists reccomend completely foregoing any sort of antibiotic ointment or creme and want you to g directly to a unscented hypoallergenic lotion ( which depending on the lotion you buy, feels like someone dumping hot salted alcohol doused with warm lemon juice added to it directly on your new tat….OUCH!)
…. i can see that if you got fineline work done with no shading,ect, but for heavily shaded and colored areas, it just doesnt work (for me) unless you like extreme pain!

i spoke to a dermatologist one time who was also a big tat lover, with about 75% of his body covered. he said that most of the aftercare instructions you hear or read are BS.

personally, when i get a new tattoo, this is the aftercare i go by, and i have never had a tat fade or get screwed up.

after the tats completed, either on the spot or as soon as i get home, i take whatever bandage that was put on off, and wash the tattoo completely with 30% green soap tincture and rinse completely. i let the tattoo completely air dry, wash my hands with green soap, and then i apply a very VERY light coating of A&D ointment to the tattoo. if it glosses after a few minutes, i fold a paper towel in 4s and BLOT the gloss off until the tattoo is dull, and the skin only feels SLIGHTLY “greasy”.

i rewash and reapply the A&D about every 2 hours. in the meantime, if anymore plasma appears, i also blot that off…..

that night before bed, i reclean, reapply the A&D and cover the tattoo LOOSELY with non-stick dressing sponges and tape them down.

the next morning, i remove the bandage ( never had one stick) and wash with green soap (little dot in the palm, water and lather good,never concentrated!) let it dry completely, apply A&D….

on the second day, i wash it about ever 4-6 hours or so. i do the same over the corse of day 3 also.

now on day 4, i wash good with the green soap, and then apply either st ives intensive healing lotion,or vaseline deep moisture (its 30% vaseline, and the rest is lotion….goes on non-greasy, and is proven to increase moisture in the skin 250%)…. if i apply the lotion, and the tattoo burns, i rewash it, and continue with the A&D for another day or two.

( you can buy 30% green soap tincture thru any pharmacy for ALOT less than buying it thru tattoo supply houses….i bought a gallon of 30% about a month ago from the local riteaid pharmacist for $17.00)

i found out early on that each artist is different in the way they do their work. personally, i have thin skin, so a light touch with the needle works outstanding on me. some artists have easy hands and find that perfect depth, and keep it there, and others just drill everyone the same. light hand = quick healing and promotes faster healing…heavy hand= longer aftercare, longer healing times (on me)

if the tattoo is on a leg where my levis might rub on it directly, i generally loosely bandage the new tat for at least 3-4 days when im wearing pants. i had a friend who had a new tat on his calf and followed the “no bandage after day 1 ” philosophy . his pants leg rubbed the scabs right off and left 2 distinct lines of nasty scarring right across his new tat. looks like chit now.

i have found that with my tattoo aftercare, my tats heal up and “onion skin”, sometme in just 4-6 days.

any opinions/comments?

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Just in general the reason that neosporin is sometimes advised against is generally around the issue of zinc irritation and/or reaction to the analgesic.

Some people react to zinc or other sulphates in a negative way (not many but if you have the reaction it can be very unpleasant as it can cause immune system defiency or skin irritation if rubbed directly into a wound or taken orally).

Others just do not take to the topical analgesics in the creams.

The resultant itching can often lead to scratching the surface and the dreaded ink pull.

The other issue of petroleum is generally around the fact that some ppl suffer with clogged pores with anything over 45% petroleum oil base of which vaseline has a significant percentage of.

This means the pores get clogged and for some bacteria gets trapped – especially for ppl with oily skin. They also usually have issues with barrier creams for the same reason.

As everybody is different it is really down to them to find what what works best for them – but as stated keeping it clean and moist with a thin film (slapping loads on can cause a build up reaction if sensitive) is usually the best way.

In fairness I think many artists are trying to cover themselves but the customer can easily find what works for them or not.

Take care


yes, but what gets me is triple antibiotic and neosporin BOTH contain zinc in the same amounts. it would stand to reason if a person has an allergic reaction to one, they will have the same reaction with the other.

as far as the ink pull issue, i know what you mean on that. i knew a guy who just couldnt get the inch “slap” down, and scratched and hooked his fingernail under a scab and pulled it of, with a big olde hunk of meat and ink stuck to it…..now hes got a great looking piece of art with a big old white skin spot right in the middle. looks funny. alot of people dot realize also that “ink bleeding out” of their tattos are generally normal to a extent, and generally i believe its mostly ink colored plasma anyway. unless you let your tat dry, your going to see a little of that regardless.

i think its like you said, its really up to whomevers wearing the ink to decide whats best for them, and above all use common sense.

ill have to dig up some pix of my ink and post them when i get a chance.


you know, there was another product i used to buy also. i cant for the life of me remeber what it was. i was like some sort of super lotion made for dry cracked elbows and feet ( sounds nasty dont it?) . cant remeber the name of it, but man, talk about goooooood for aftercare. it was a creme lotion type in a small tube and it had antiseptic properties to it. it was sort of like the vaseline deep moisture i mentioned, but antiseptic, wereas the vaseline deep moisture is not.


Interesting thread this. I’ve been tattooed by 5 different artists, and as Tattooedhunter said they all have their own after care theories. My ex housemate was a very experienced tattooist and I watched him work a lot and found his aftercare seemed to work the best for me. I’ve heard some artists recommend keeping the tattoo covered for a few days!! He reckons, depending on the size of the piece, around 4 hours later take the bandaging off, wipe the “slime” plasma” off very gently. Using normal unfragranced soap…

Then pat dry it, and cover it in a very thin layer of what he calls nipple cream. Basically unfragranced, NON anti bacterial cream. Then about 3-4 times a day reapply the cream.

This has worked really well for me. Talking to subsequent artisits who’ve done work on me, they are happy for me to follow the method I mentioned. One artist told me the reason some prescribe anti bacterial creams and cleaning more often than required is that 90% of people who get tatts tend to neglect them in terms of after care. I guess the idea being rather clean it more than required, than less, with slightly harsher stuff than required…

Anyways my 2cents!


Welcome. Great thread. Your aftercare instruction are almost identical to mine, and I have had great success on both mine and my wife’s tattoos. The only thing I do differently is in the first day or two, I used Bactine spray to clean the tattoo. I also use antibacterial hand soap rather than the green soap you listed.


i use antibacterial soap once in awhile, if i dont have green soap…..

believe it or not, i use dawn antibacterial handsoap/dishsoap when i dont have green soap. works great.

i think the whole gush of it is it really doesnt matter what you use, as long as you keep it clean and free of critters.

ill tell you a it of irony though. im always very meticulous about cleaning my tattoos and keeping them in tip top shape an d have never had an infection, UNTIL NOW….

the other day, i had my ink uncovered ( i just had two bear paws done on my inner calf) and my neighbor came over and had his dg with him. the dog brushed up against my tat, i ran in, washed it real good,ect and though it was fine. by that evening i had a killer infection in it and ended up having to go to the emergency room my leg swelled up so bad……got antibiotics,and cleaned it well, but i had one spot the ink came out of…..pissed me off bigtime. first tat ive ever had get a infection in.


I know people who keep it bandaged for as much as a week. Change every day of course, but still. Sounds crazy to me. I tried keeping it on over night once, never again. I

Me? Wash and moisturise. Simple :p About 4-5 hours after getting tattooed I remove the plastic/bandages, clean away the blood and left over ink, and put a cream on it. Repeat when necessary. K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Stupid ๐Ÿ™‚


there are actually several different schools of thought on the use of “plastic wrap ” .

most say NOT to use it, that it traps the plasma and bacteria that may be present directly on the skin. others say it doesnt hurt a thing. orignally, the plastic wrap idea came about as a way for the freshly inked to “show off” their tattoo to their friends without having to pull the bandage off to do so. seems like a joke to me as by the time you get somewere to show it off, the plastic wrap is just a big mess of bloody plasma and ink thats leeched out. ive NEVER left plastic wrap on a tattoo except long enough to get out of the shop and into my car where i pull it off and wipe it down with sterile 4×4 sponges…LOL


Strange… In Norway EVERYONE uses plastic wrap. Pretty much every single artist I’ve ever seen does, actually. Both here and in the UK. Most recommend to keep it for 4-6 hours.
I’ve never had any problems with it at least ๐Ÿ™‚


and most likely you never will… my point is that its not some sort of trick or required thing, its put on there so whenever someone who just got a tat wants to show it off to their friends,ect they can do so without having to remove the covering bandage.


Hey all. As you can see in my thread on here, I just got my tattoo “re-done”. My artist told me to put A&d on it, but that’s what I did last time and it healed like crap so I’m a little wary. I’ve read wonderful things about emu oil though I can’t find anything on it at this forum… I happen to have some emu oil that I use for my skin and I am considering trying this route this time. I know it has better penetrating properties than A&D, which basically sits on top of the skin, and it is my understanding that emu oil can be used the whole duration of healing so I won’t have to switch to a lotion I could potentially react to (sensitive skin). Emu oil has been used in studies for burn victims and bruises etc and seems to accelerate healing time and minimize scarring, and of course I’ve read other great things about its role in tattoo aftercare (helps the color “set” etc). Has anyone used emu oil and would you recommend it? The ONLY thing I am wary about with going this route is if for whatever reason I happen to get an infection or poor healing (which I am not anticipating due to the emu oil) my artist will be mad and probably blame the fact that I didn’t follow his aftercare ๐Ÿ™ I don’t think he is familiar with emu oil though…. What do you guys think?


i dont advise using emu oil, i have heard of people trying it on other forums and they all said about ink loss with it.


Really?? Man. I’ve read nothing but good things. I used a little bit today and it seems to soothe the tattoo but if that’s true then I may be switching back to A&D


Udder balm, the stuff for milk cows. The artist I go to puts it on every one she does right after she cleans it out. Rub it on a dogs ears if theyre fly bitten too, it not only heals the wound, but deters the flies too. just an extra bit lol.

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