Monday, April 09, 2012

Coconut oil during tattoo healing process

Today I’m feeding my earthy-crunchy (if “crunch” can be nuts instead of grains, or 90% dark chocolate bars) side and rambling about coconut oil.

Many of us have read about the insane supposed health benefits of coconut oil, which is a medium-chain fatty acid (a really good kind of fat!). I have found it to be pretty beneficial in treating my always-dry winter skin (my skin wasn’t dry upon waking after putting it on before bed – a first), chapped lips, and even my oily face (as long as there’s no existing acne, I never break out and it keeps my skin smoother longer). I decided that since I’d had no bad reactions with it so far, except for that one time I ate too much (stomach not used to it = escape from all entrances, ease your way up, folks!), I’d use it instead of your average, chemical-laden, unscented moisturizer for healing my tattoo, especially since it’s completely natural.

It’s been 9 days since I got the outline done on my tattoo. I have been using coconut oil as a moisturizer almost exclusively since I came home and washed it for the first time. At first, I used way too much, and a pimple started growing in a blank space in the middle of the tattoo, so I lightened up on my application. The first few days, I applied up to 3 times a day to keep it well moisturized. It soaked up the coconut oil pretty quickly, so it was necessary that I re-apply that often. After 3-4 days, the sunburn feeling was gone and the flaking had begun. I was able to get by just moisturizing in the morning and the evening, but was still applying a little more oil when I got home from work, but didn’t need to apply mid-day anymore. Around that time, I tried a lotion instead, but it was not unscented, and I had to rush home to wash my arm of the burning lotion! This past weekend, I used a lightly scented lotion because I had no coconut oil with me and was out overnight unexpectedly. The itching was unbearable! But as of today, there’s only a slight itch that I can easily ignore, the flaking is almost done (probably be done by tomorrow), and the lines are only slightly raised.

So maybe it is not a miracle oil, I don’t know, but it helps my skin stay hydrated for longer than your average lotion, so I will continue to use it throughout my tattooing process (next appointment, to begin coloring, is on the 21st). I’ll be curious to see if it helps along the healing process of the filled in sections when we get to that, but since I have no prior experience, I won’t really know :) My only tattoo experience prior to this is a small, only black tattoo, and I don’t really remember the healing process. I know that I learned bigger tattoos are easier to handle, pain-wise, since you actually have time for your skin to adjust and release some endorphins. Go big, or go home! My tattoo artist has some information of the healing process and what to expect on her FAQ page.

Pictures, when it’s done & healed, I promise.


  1. Very good info. Thank you.

  2. At first I wasn't sure about using the coconut oil as I did do my research on aftercare and only found advice for store bought creams, fancy and pricey "special" tattoo salves.but I have been using coconut oil as my regular daily moisturizer on my lips and hands so why not my back? After all it does have healing properties. Coconut oil has been an excellent alternative to help heal my first tattoo! The outline healed within 1week. Currently, I am on day4 of healing the first half of the colouring and coconut oil has been doing its job beautifully. It is not sticky and absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue (allow a few minutes for oil to absorb into skin).

    1. I didn't find that my tattoo healed any faster using coconut oil, but I do prefer it to lotion. My most recent tattoo, I dry-healed, which isn't recommended by most artists, but it worked fine. I washed it as needed to get any plasma off, but otherwise left it alone. The worst part was waiting for the swelling to go down (the tattoo was on my foot, my feet swell easily & apparently swell a LOT when tattooed).

      I think the key for using CO for skin care is to just as little as possible and to let it sink in before putting clothing over it. I was re-moisturizing in the bathroom at work when I tried CO the first time and left oil blots on the sleeve of my shirt because I put it back on too soon. Oops!

  3. I also have a tattoo that occasionally will become raised and itchy. But it's about 5 years old. It doesn't do it as often anymore, but I would definitely say that the itchiness and raising may not have been caused by something on the outside. My theory is that it has to do with the type of ink and what the equipment has come in contact with...we might have an allergy that is so obscure that almost nothing else would bring us into contact with it, but it occurs in this atmosphere. I only have it happen with one tattoo(of 5) and I got them all in different places, so it's kind of hard to say where the cause lies. But I definitely know that scented and/or high alcohol content will burn the living crap out of you in your first stages of healing no matter who you are!