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

The only difference between a person with tattoos, and a person without is this. The person with tattoos does not care if you do not have any.

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 t