So, are you on Twitter? I am–click the link on the right to see what I’m talking about.
One of my Twitter friends (someone I have met offline as well) is thinking about getting a tattoo. Naturally, I leaped at the opportunity to plug this blog. (I’ve also handed out a few of my new spiffy MOO MiniCards this past week–yes, I’d love to have more readers). My friend asked me about whether aloe is used in tattoos, since he’s allergic to it.
Which gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about skin care and tattoos. I’ve talked about this in the past (see the sidebar on the right? Scroll down to the Tags section and click on “aftercare” or “skin care”) but it’s always a subject for discussion because once you’re multicolored you have to take better care of your skin if you don’t want your
investment to fade or flake away. Today I’m going to talk about natural (and more-natural) remedies.
Aloe vera juice is a favorite natural skin-problem remedy for many people. I’ve had aloe vera plants for many years, starting when my kids got diaper rash. Using it is simple–you just clip off a segment of leaf, squeeze it gently to press out the juice, and apply it to your skin. It’s a clear gel that smooths on easily and protects your skin for quite a while. If you don’t have plants, you can buy aloe vera juice products in most of the places where you’d buy other skin care products, but read the ingredients carefully so you don’t get a bunch of extra chemicals you don’t want. Some of the aloe vera products sold in stores are designed to soothe sunburn and contain a mild topical anaesthetic. You may not want to apply this to newly tattooed skin. The idea is to keep as many possible irritants off the tattoo until it’s well healed. After it’s healed it’s not so critical.
It’s also a good idea to keep the skin protected and moisturized during and after the healing process. A lot of tattoo artists warn against applying petroleum products to the tattoo as it heals–but I’ve seen some of those people turn right around and recommend A&D Ointment, which is petroleum based. Go figure. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is not a moisturizer, per se, but once you’ve got the skin well hydrated it helps keep the moisture inside. Judging by how many “don’t use petroleum products” warnings I’ve seen, I would not advise putting Vaseline on a new tattoo, but once the healing is complete, you could put a very thin layer on after you bathe. The down side to that, of course, is that petroleum jelly forms a coating on the skin rather than sinking into it and you may end up getting it on your clothes or on your bed.
As for commercial skin care products, there are zillions of them out there. Today I’m only going to talk about the ones I have personally used and liked. I am not a fan of putting layers of glop on my skin, tattooed or not, so I look for products that are light, contain as few noxious chemicals as possible, and are not tested on animals.
Burt’s Bees has several really good skin care formulas. I have mentioned their Hand Salve before, because it contains almost the same ingredients as some of the products designed specifically for use on tattoos, and is more readily available. It’s light, not greasy, and has what is to me a pleasant scent. I know some people are sensitive to scents, though, and this one does have eucalyptus oil in it, so you might want to see if you can sniff it before you buy it.
LUSH Cosmetics has stores all over the world and a mail order catalog. Their products use natural ingredients and are processed in small batches, and each comes with a “best used by” date. A little LUSH goes a long way, too. If you’re anywhere close to one of their retail outlets I recommend going in and talking to their super helpful salespeople, who will happily give you a generous sample of anything you’d like to try. I’ve tried their skin creams, shampoo, soap, and powder and have liked them all. One caveat: These products tend to be strongly scented, although the scents do fade after application. If you’re not sure, definitely get a sample and see how it “wears” for a few hours before you buy.
Avalon Organics and Kiss My Face, which you can find in health food stores and in chains like Whole Foods, also make skin care products with natural ingredients, and their formulas are designed to be kind to skin. I currently use a lavender-citrus skin lotion from Kiss My Face, and lavender-citrus face wash and toner from Avalon. I happen to like that combination of scents, but once again, it’d be a good idea to sniff before you buy.
I have no recommendations for more natural sunscreen products and I’d sure like to find one. Do any of you have any experience with those that you’d like to share?