A Tattoo Aftercare Horror Story - INKED RITUAL™

March 08, 2018 4 min read

While we don't use any oils in Inked Ritual Anti-Fade Tattoo Serum, we've still recommended a few natural oil alternatives if you are on a budget. These will at least keep the outer surface of your skin moisturized. 

But, it's important to remember that these natural oils were not made specifically for protecting or healing your tattoos: 

1. They often have strong fragrances.

2. They can make your skin feel uncomfortably oily or greasy.

3. They cannot effectively penetrate the outer (epidermal) layers of your skin like a serum.

Now even though the chances of an adverse reaction to natural oils are low, it does happen and should be considered when exploring tattoo care solutions.

We wanted to share a story that originally appeared on the Mommy Lives Clean Blog to raise awareness of the risks in using non-tattoo care specific treatments. 



I wanted to take a natural route in caring for my new tattoo which didn’t involve petrochemicals or other nasty ingredients.  Skin absorbs everything, right?

This was only my third tattoo and so I didn’t know much about the artistry of tattooing. I didn’t know the artist needs to adjust their pressure based on the individual’s skin, didn’t know that the artist could cause damage that wouldn’t show up immediately and didn’t know that my artist trying to cram 4 clients into one afternoon was a really, really bad idea.

Here was my story:

My mom and my two sisters and I all went to get the same tattoo, a symbol for mother and daughters. We picked out a really cool Celtic symbol which is four hearts intertwined. It was perfect for us four.

This was my third tattoo.  I don’t remember anything about what I did to care for the prior two.  I am pretty sure the artist just slapped saran wrap over them and told me to use plain soap and gave me some ointment.  This time, however, the artist said to use plain soap and a water-based lotion.  He also mentioned not to use a petroleum-based product because it can get stuck in your skin.  That really freaked me out.  But I felt confident.  I knew I could just consult good ole’ Dr. Internet and see what people have done to naturally care for their tattoo.

My first thought was coconut oil. Coconut oil is the best natural moisturizer, right? (I used to think so until I read this post from the website Edible Facial.)  I made sure to check out a few tattoo forums and see what people said. I read everything positive from several people who said they used coconut oil with no problem.  I seemed to remember hearing something my tattooed sister had said about coconut oil being bad for tattoos, but after reading the internet I dismissed my memories as me being mistaken.  How could the internet give me bad advice? I mean, these are tattoo forum posters. These are people who know from experience.

Well, here is my before picture, right when the tattoo was finished.

tat exhb1

On the second day, I decided to apply coconut oil instead of lotion. I did not want any weird lotion ingredients settling in my skin.  What happened next was very upsetting. Here is my picture at day 4:


After using coconut oil on the second day, I experienced a lot of ink bleeding out in the bottom portion. I was hoping it would fade or wash away, but here is my 2.5-week post tattoo picture:


I only used coconut oil for one day (the second-day post tattoo) and this is what I experienced. Naturally, I assumed that it was the coconut oil which caused my ink to bleed.  Later on, a few tattoo artists commented below letting me know that they recommend coconut oil for all of their clients.  A lot of people have used coconut oil with success and no damage to their tattoo.  Apparently, my tattoo damage was caused by the artist going too deep, which causes the ink to bleed out a few days after getting the tattoo. This is called a blowout.

The story above is my experience. Of the four of us who received tattoos from the same artist that day, I am the only one who did not follow his post-care instructions and opted to use coconut oil instead. I am also coincidentally the only one with a blowout.  I know he was rushing a little, but I went third out of the four of us and again, no one else experienced any damage.

The moral of this story is:  Make sure your tattoo artist is a.) not an idiot, b.) not overbooked and c.) has a LOT of experience.

I personally will not feel comfortable using straight coconut oil on my next tattoo, however, I will not say that this damage will happen if you use it on yourself.  

We hope you enjoyed this story!


Mike - Founder