What Soap Not to Use on a New Tattoo

We've got some important advice for anyone with a fresh tattoo: don't use just any soap to clean it. Using the wrong soap can cause irritation, discoloration, and even infection.

So, what soaps should you avoid? Antibacterial soaps, fragranced soaps, harsh chemical-based soaps, exfoliating scrubs, and colored or dyed soaps are all off-limits.

Stick with a gentle, unscented soap recommended by your tattoo artist to keep your ink looking vibrant and your skin healthy.

Antibacterial Soaps

We recommend avoiding the use of antibacterial soaps on a new tattoo. While antibacterial soaps may seem like a good choice for keeping your tattoo clean and preventing infection, they can actually do more harm than good. Antibacterial soaps contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin and disrupt the natural healing process of your tattoo.

When it comes to cleaning your new tattoo, it's best to stick to gentle, fragrance-free soaps. Look for brands that are specifically formulated for tattoos, as they're designed to be gentle on the skin and promote healing. Some of the best brands include H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap and Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap.

If you prefer a more natural approach, there are also some great alternatives to antibacterial soaps. One option is to use a mild, fragrance-free liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner's. Another natural alternative is to make your own tattoo cleanser using a mixture of distilled water and witch hazel.

Fragranced Soaps

While it may be tempting to use fragranced soaps on a new tattoo, it is important to avoid them. Fragranced soaps often contain harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin and delay the healing process of a tattoo. Instead, it is best to use gentle cleansers or mild soaps that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin.

To help you make the right choice, here is a comparison table of fragranced soaps versus gentle cleansers/mild soaps:

Fragranced Soaps Gentle Cleansers/Mild Soaps
Contain harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances Formulated with gentle ingredients
Can irritate the skin and cause redness or itching Soothes and moisturizes the skin
May delay the healing process of a new tattoo Promotes faster healing of tattoos
Can cause allergic reactions in some individuals Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
Strong, overpowering scents Mild, subtle scents or fragrance-free options

Harsh Chemical-Based Soaps

Using harsh chemical-based soaps on a new tattoo can be detrimental to its healing process. These soaps often contain ingredients that can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause irritation. Instead, it's recommended to use gentle cleansers that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin or tattoos. These cleansers are typically free of harsh chemicals and fragrances, making them ideal for maintaining the cleanliness of a new tattoo without causing any harm.

When choosing a gentle cleanser for your new tattoo, look for products that are pH balanced and hypoallergenic. These qualities ensure that the cleanser is gentle on the skin and reduces the risk of any adverse reactions. Additionally, there are natural alternatives to harsh chemical-based soaps that can be used on a new tattoo. These alternatives include mild soaps made from natural ingredients such as oatmeal or aloe vera. These natural cleansers are known for their soothing and healing properties, which can aid in the tattoo's recovery process.

Exfoliating Scrubs

Exfoliating scrubs can be detrimental to the healing process of a new tattoo. While exfoliation can be beneficial for the skin in general, it isn't recommended for fresh tattoos. Here's why:

  • Increased risk of irritation: Exfoliating scrubs contain abrasive particles that can cause irritation and inflammation on the sensitive, healing skin of a new tattoo. This can lead to prolonged healing time and potential damage to the tattoo itself.
  • Disruption of the healing process: Exfoliating scrubs can disrupt the natural healing process of a tattoo. The gentle scabbing and peeling that occurs during the initial stages of healing can be disturbed, leading to potential scarring or color loss.
  • Potential infection risk: Exfoliation can create tiny micro-tears in the skin, increasing the risk of infection. The open wounds of a new tattoo are particularly susceptible to infection, and using exfoliating scrubs can further compromise the healing process.

Instead of using exfoliating scrubs, it's recommended to opt for gentle cleansing methods that promote healing without causing damage. Natural alternatives such as mild, fragrance-free soaps and warm water are ideal for keeping the tattoo clean and free from bacteria. Remember to always consult with your tattoo artist or a dermatologist for specific aftercare instructions to ensure the best possible healing outcome.

Colored or Dyed Soaps

We recommend steering clear of using soaps with colored or dyed formulations on a new tattoo. While they may seem appealing due to their vibrant hues, these types of soaps can contain artificial dyes and chemicals that can irritate and potentially harm your healing tattoo. The last thing you want is to compromise the quality of your tattoo by using a soap that could cause color fading, irritation, or even an allergic reaction.

Instead, opt for colored soap alternatives that are gentle and safe for your new tattoo. Look for natural soap options that are made with organic ingredients and free from artificial dyes and fragrances. These types of soaps are less likely to cause any adverse reactions or damage to your tattoo. Natural soaps often contain nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut oil, or shea butter, which can help moisturize and protect your skin during the healing process.

When selecting a soap for your new tattoo, it's essential to choose one that's specifically formulated for sensitive skin and tattoo aftercare. Be sure to read the ingredient list carefully and avoid any soaps that contain harsh chemicals or potential irritants. By using a gentle and natural soap, you can help maintain the longevity and vibrancy of your tattoo while promoting optimal healing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Specific Brands of Antibacterial Soaps That Are Recommended for Use on a New Tattoo?

Non antibacterial soaps are ineffective on new tattoos, as they may not kill harmful bacteria. Natural soap, however, offers benefits like gentle cleansing and soothing properties. We recommend using a brand like Dr. Bronner's for optimal results.

Can Fragranced Soaps Be Used on a New Tattoo if They Are Labeled as Hypoallergenic?

Using fragranced soaps, even if labeled as hypoallergenic, can pose potential risks to a new tattoo. It's crucial to prioritize gentle, non-irritating soaps specifically formulated for tattoo aftercare to ensure proper healing.

Is It Safe to Use Harsh Chemical-Based Soaps on a New Tattoo if They Are Diluted With Water?

It is not safe to use harsh chemical-based soaps on a new tattoo, even if diluted with water. There are alternatives to chemical soaps, such as gentle, pH balanced options, that are better for tattoo aftercare.

Are Exfoliating Scrubs Ever Recommended for Use on a New Tattoo After the Initial Healing Process?

Exfoliating scrubs are not recommended for use on a new tattoo after the initial healing process. Instead, we suggest using alternative cleansers that are gentle and specifically formulated for tattoos to avoid irritation and damage.

What Are the Potential Risks of Using Colored or Dyed Soaps on a New Tattoo, Even if They Are Marketed as Gentle or Natural?

Using colored or dyed soaps on a new tattoo, even if they claim to be gentle or natural, can pose potential risks. These include skin irritation and allergic reactions. It's important to choose a soap specifically designed for tattoo aftercare.


In conclusion, when caring for a new tattoo, it's crucial to avoid using certain types of soaps. Antibacterial soaps, fragranced soaps, harsh chemical-based soaps, exfoliating scrubs, and colored or dyed soaps should all be avoided. These soaps can irritate the tattooed skin, delay the healing process, and even cause infections.

It's best to stick to gentle, unscented, and mild soaps recommended by your tattoo artist or dermatologist to ensure proper care and protection for your new tattoo.

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