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Coconut Oil and Tattoos – All You Need to Know [2020 Information Guide]

The health benefits to the use of coconut oil are many and varied, but can it be used in the tattoo healing process? The following article looks at coconut oil for use in body art related skin care and health.  

Coconut Oil Coconuts Palm Fronds

Health fads come and go. From eating placenta pills after pregnancy to aerated chocolate bars, people are constantly on the hunt for new and alternative options to treat health issues and increase wellness. One of the more recent products that has been purported as a cure for all sorts of conditions is pure coconut oil.  

As opposed to other natural ingredient curatives, given the restorative power of coconuts there might be something to the hype.  

In fact, there is a growing body of scientific research documenting health benefits associated with this natural oil. Besides the different ways that ingestion can be beneficial, external uses for coconut oil – balm, lotion, ointment, salve and butter – have caught the attention of those in the industry as a powerful tattoo aftercare product. 

Here, we will discuss coconut oil -and the myriad reasons why more and more artists are recommending its use as an aftercare cream for their clients tattoo healing process.  

Coconut Oil & Tattoo Aftercare 

Besides a long history of dermatological use around the world, what specifically makes coconut oil so perfect for use as a tattoo aftercare product?  

Close Up Tattoo Artist At Work

1. An Antimicrobial Aftercare Lotion 

During the initial period, directly after a tattoo session, the fresh ink affected area is basically a big, open wound and as such it is highly susceptible to infection. One of the remarkable things about coconut oil is its natural antimicrobial properties. Thanks to high levels of lauric acid —a known antimicrobial compound—coconut oil tattoo cream when applied to a fresh tattoo, can reduce the risk of infection as the skin is healing. 

Along with lauric acid, coconut oil is also rich in capric and caprylic acids, other antimicrobial compounds. They further reduce the risk of infection, ensuring that freshly tattooed skin will heal without any additional risk to the wearer. 

2. It’s a quality Moisturizer 

One of the reasons that coconut oil has received so much bad press in the food world is for its high levels of natural fats, however, this high fat content makes it perfect as a moisturizer or balm to protect dry or tattooed skin. These fatty acids are great at protecting sensitive skin and retaining moisture, ensuring that your fresh ink won’t dry out and turn flaky.  

In fact, thanks to the super-hydrator Vitamin E cream, some people even recommend using coconut oil as a salve for chronically dry skin and conditions like eczema. 

3. Anti-Inflammatory 

Another beneficial element of coconut oil is its naturally ability to reduce inflammation during the healing phase. Thanks to the high level of proteins in coconut oil, application after a tattoo can promote natural healing of the damaged tissue. The natural anti-inflammatory characteristics of virgin coconut oil increases anti-oxidants and can actually improve the overall health of the skin cell and reduce “oxidative stress”.  

The naturally occurring collagen in coconut oil also works to reduce healing time and increasing the overall health of the skin, regardless of your skin type. 

Close Up Person Getting Musical Note Tattoo

4. Hypo-Allergenic 

For those with specific allergies, a more traditional tattoo aftercare cream may not be usable thanks to some of the artificial compounds used. Coconut oil on the other hand, is all natural and safe to use on sensitive skin and those with common skin allergies. It can be applied in a variety of ways – as an unscented lotion, ointment or the central ingredient in shea butter.

5. Vegan Friendly Healing Tattoo Salve

Organic and Virgin Coconut Oils are also heavily used in the rapidly growing market of Vegan friendly tattoo healing, most often being sold as an “unedited tattoo moisturiser” – 100% vegan and organic.

For those with specific allergies, some tattoo aftercare products may not be usable thanks to some of the artificial compounds used. Coconut oil on the other hand, is all natural and safe to use on sensitive skin and those with common skin allergies. 

Tattoo Antibacterial Added At End Of Process

How to Apply Coconut Oil to a Fresh Tattoo

Despite the very low risk of allergic reactions or irritation associated with coconut oil, it is always best to start with a small test area before applying a large amount of the mineral oil on sensitive skin. After applying lotion or cream to a small area and letting it sit for 24 hours, if there are no adverse effects then coconut oil can be considered safe to use as an aftercare cream. 

When applying to freshly tattooed skin, it is best to start by cleaning the area with antibacterial soap, then patting dry gently with a clean paper towel. Start with a small amount of salve and then add more as needed.

Virgin coconut oil can be a bit deceptive in terms of how far a little bit goes, so it’s better to apply a little than go overboard and end up with an oily mess. Organic coconut oil can be applied as regularly as needed with no adverse effects. Depending on the size of the ink a bandage may not be needed. 

Tattooed Arms With Antibacterial Soap

What is Coconut Oil? 

Pure coconut oil—alternately known as copra oil—as the name would imply, is the edible essential oil extracted from the nut of the coconut palm (cocos nucifera). Naturally occurring in tropical coastlines around the world thanks to the coconut’s ability to travel long distances, floating in sea currents and catching trade winds, this tree has been utilized by humans for millennia as a natural ingredient in all types of product. 

Around the world, over 60 million tons of coconuts are cultivated annually. A large percentage of this cultivation goes towards coconut oil production, as demand around the world grows. 

Coconut oil is big business and besides the fact that many people around the world choose to cook with this versatile oil, there is also a long history of using coconut oil in beauty products.  

Coconut Palms In Group

Added Benefits 

Along with the obvious health benefits of using coconut oil for tattoo care, there are numerous other factors that make coconut oil the perfect choice.  

Coconut oil can be used at any point in the life of a tattoo. As a tattoo lotion when as the bandage comes off tattooed skin, to replenishing moisturizer ten years down the line, the natural benefits of coconut oil for the overall skin healing process means that it will help aging tattoos just as well as a fresh tattoo.  

It’s also cheap and easy to find. Health food stores in cities around the county are sure to have plenty of coconut oil available, and many even offer it in bulk. Thanks to its high fat content coconut oil is slow to oxidize, meaning that it can be kept at room temperature (75˚F) for up to six months without spoiling.  

The variety of other uses for coconut oil also means that it’s not a bad idea to have some lying around. From cooking and moisturizing, to first for aid burns and abrasions, coconut oil truly is an exceptional product in treating skin afflictions.  

Given the variety of uses, abundance, and affordability, it is no surprise that more and more people are turning to coconut oil during the healing process of a fresh tattoo. 

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