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6 Best Soaps for a New Tattoo: Keep That Ink Clean in 2024

  • Mar 24, 2024
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6 Best Soaps for a New Tattoo: Keep That Ink Clean in 2024

If you’re trying to find the best soaps for a new tattoo, you’re either imminently getting inked or are thinking about going under the gun in the not-too-distant future.

It also tells me that you’re taking your new tattoo seriously. In which case, you’ve come to the right place. Aftercare of your artwork is as important as choosing its design, position, and even the artist creating your living canvas.

It doesn’t matter what size your tattoo is, either. Whether it’s a minuscule message on your manhood or it takes up your entire torso, keeping it clean is the key to achieving awesome artwork for years to come. You’ll find a great choice of the best soaps for washing a new tattoo. And these are suitable for all areas of your body, including your private parts.

But with so much information flying around, what is the best? In the USA, only a handful of states require tattoo artists by law to provide aftercare instructions. According to a leading health website, “the states that do require aftercare instructions often let the artist decide which information to provide.”

Although some artists will send you off into the world with a clear aftercare regime, others may not be so diligent. Worse still, lousy or conflicting advice about the best soaps for a new tattoo can lead to spoiled artwork, poor healing, and potential infection.

Taking care of your latest inking at home needn’t be a headache. I’ll walk you through the best soaps for a new tattoo based on skin type, size, ingredients, and more.

The road to healing begins here with the 6 best soaps for your new tattoo. 

Key Takeaways

Take it from me, a tattoo veteran: successful aftercare begins with cleaning. Choosing the best soaps for a new tattoo is key to ensuring your fresh body art becomes a boast-worthy inking that stands the test of time.

That’s why I’ve invested countless hours scouring the web and putting in the research to bring you the best soaps for washing a new tattoo. From my overall pick, Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap, to my top-quality budget option, Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash, these gentle, cleansing soaps will help you ace your aftercare.

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Why it’s great: This list-topper of the best soaps for a new tattoo cleanses and soothes tender, inked skin without causing irritation. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap checks these boxes. Its organic, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic formula blends a bevy of nourishing natural oils.

Who is this for? My latest session under the needle was for a matching set of stick-and-poke runes on my inner elbows. If, like me, you suffer from hypersensitive skin, Pure Castile Soap could be your aftercare savior.

If it’s good enough for babies, it’s good enough for me. And for this Reddit user, too, who says, “I have sensitive skin, so it works great for me. Makes me feel squeaky clean without drying me out and I only need to use a little bit as it lathers up so much!”

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Pure Castile Soap is super concentrated. You must mix it with water before splashing on your new body art. It’s not a dealbreaker but an extra step to be aware of.

Scent: Unscented | Feature: Fragrance-free, organic, vegan, cruelty-free, concentrated, sensitive skin-friendly | Size: 32oz | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive skin

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash

Why it’s great: The best tattoos for men don’t come cheap. If you’re looking to save the pennies post-inking, opt for Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash. Creamy, gentle, and soothing, this tattoo-safe soap does the job well without breaking the bank.

Who is this for? Artists generally recommend washing your new tat two to three times a day. If your artwork covers a large area, you’ll get through a lot of soap and fast. Dove Body Wash is the best soap for guys who want a budget-friendly solution to aftercare.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: This body wash is labeled unscented. Yet, it still carries a light fragrance. It doesn’t bother me, but if you’re sensitive to scent, you may want to take note.

Scent: Unscented | Feature: Hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free, moisturizing | Size: 30.6oz | Skin Type: All skin types 

Tattoo Goo Antimicrobial Soap

Why it’s great: As sexy as your new skin art is, during the initial healing process, it’s an open wound and, therefore, a potential breeding ground for bacteria. Antibacterial tattoo soap can protect your new artwork from infection. That’s where Tattoo Goo Antimicrobial Soap comes in.

Who is this for? Tattoo Goo Antimicrobial Soap is a great soap for a new tattoo if you prefer a tat-specific product. Tattoo Goo blends itch-relieving panthenol with premium-grade olive oil to moisturize tight skin. Follow up with one of the best tattoo lotions for a rock-solid aftercare plan that’ll make your artist proud.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The only downside to tattoo-specific soaps is that they tend to be pricier than their drugstore counterparts. But if you’re prepared to pay a little extra for targeted care, it’s a no-brainer.

Scent: Mild soap-like scent | Feature: Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, cruelty-free, antibacterial, itch relieving, moisturizing | Size: 3oz | Skin Type: All skin types 

Cetaphil Moisturizing Relief Body Wash

Why it’s great: Skin gurus hail Cetaphil as one of the best soap brands. I’m prepared to splurge on quality skin art, but when it comes to aftercare, I’m a sucker for a value product. Not only is Cetaphil super affordable, but their Moisturizing Relief Body Wash is enriched with shea butter and soybean oil to nourish freshly tattooed skin.

Who is this for? You’ll see your tattoo oozing in the first few days following your appointment. Although it’s not exactly pretty, this clear fluid, aka plasma discharge, is a part of the natural healing process. Use Cetaphil Body Wash twice a day, or as recommended by your artist, to gently wash away dirt and plasma buildup.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Cetaphil Moisturizing Relief Body Wash is free from fragrance, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic dyes. If that doesn’t sound like a flaw, it’s because it isn’t. I can’t think of one downside to this top Amazon pick, which is why I’ve put it on my list of the best soaps for a new tattoo.

Scent: Unscented | Feature: Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, moisturizing, soothing, dermatologist recommended | Size: 20oz | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive skin 

Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash

Why it’s great: If you’ve ever gone under the needle, you’ll know one of the worst things about the healing process is the itching. Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash has a triple oat complex that soothes tight-feeling skin to beat the itch.

Who is this for? Are you on the hunt for an everyday hero to keep your new tattoo clean? Then, Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash is a worthy choice, one of the best soaps for washing a new tattoo.

Wet the skin and massage a small amount of body wash into the tattooed area. Rinse well and gently pat the area dry with a clean paper towel. Follow with your favorite unscented tattoo lotion.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Aveeno Body Wash has a thick, creamy texture. It takes a little extra rinsing to ensure it’s washed off the skin.

Scent: Unscented | Feature: Fragrance-free, soothing, itch-relieving, moisturizing | Size: 18oz | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive skin

RetroDeco Green Soap

Why it’s great: Green soap is widely used in the tattoo industry. Professional equipment supplier Tattoo Unleashed explains, “What sets green soap apart from regular soaps is its specially designed to be gentle on the skin, ensuring thorough cleansing without causing excessive dryness or irritation.”

RetroDeco Green Soap comes with a squeeze bottle for sanitary and precise application.

Who is this for? It’s smart to protect your ink investment with the best tattoo aftercare products. Especially since proper aftercare plays a big part in how well your new tat heals and eventually looks. If you’re serious about protecting your pride and joy, it makes sense for one of the best soaps for washing a new tattoo to be an artist-approved product.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: This soap is crazy concentrated. Unless you’re braving a full body session, it’s unlikely you’ll finish or even make a dent in the bottle.

Scent: Unscented | Feature: Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, all-natural, vegan, concentrated | Size: 16.9oz | Skin Type: All skin types

Buying Considerations for The Best Soaps for a New Tattoo

Scent

Learning the difference between “unscented” and “fragrance-free” took me a while. After all, as McGill University says, “Can a fragrance-free product have a smell? Absolutely. Can an unscented product contain any compounds that have a smell? Absolutely.” Clear as mud, right?!

In a nutshell, fragrance-free products do what they say on the tin. They shouldn’t contain added fragrance chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. However, they may still contain ingredients that carry a natural aroma.

That means the top soap for a new tattoo can have a subtle smell and still be a smart choice for protecting your body art. Take, for instance, Tattoo Goo Antimicrobial Soap.

On the other hand, if you’re not a fan of skin care with a strong smell, the best soap for washing a new tattoo will be both fragrance-free and unscented. Reach for Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap and Cetaphil Moisturizing Relief Body Wash.

Price

When it comes to choosing soap for a new tattoo, it’s horses for courses. If your new tat is more micro than mega, you won’t rip through much soap during your cleaning aftercare.

It stands to reason that you can invest in a higher-priced, tattoo-specific soap like Tattoo Goo Antimicrobial Soap or RetroDeco Green Soap. These options hardly break the bank, but they are more costly per ounce.

If you’re caring for a full sleeve, leg work, or chest piece and cleaning a large area, why not save some dollars for your next session? Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash, Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash, and Cetaphil Moisturizing Relief Body Wash are just a few of my wallet-friendly yet high-quality picks.

Skin Type

Powering through the discomfort of a new tattoo is a rite of passage. But that’s not to say that you can’t make life easier while you wait for your new masterpiece to settle. The best soaps for a new tattoo will moisturize tender skin and help to relieve that dry, tight feeling. Not to mention, soap cleanses the area to prevent a nasty infection from damaging your inking.

If your skin tends to feel dry normally, then you need to take extra care when choosing your tattoo soap. Prioritize formulas with added moisturizing ingredients such as natural oils, butters, and panthenol, like Cetaphil Moisturizing Relief Body Wash and Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap.

Is post-tattoo itching your arch-nemesis? Repeat after me; do not scratch unless you want your artist to hunt you down. Tattoo Goo Antimicrobial Soap and Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash boast soothing formulas. These banish the itch and safeguard your skin art. 

How We Chose 

The internet is awash with a mixture of helpful and downright clueless advice. So, what is the best soap for a new tattoo? Lucky for you, I’ve not only gone under the needle a dozen times but also aced the aftercare process, if I do say so myself. To bring you the best soaps for washing a new tattoo, I judged products with a critical eye and a key set of criteria:

Affordability: Correct tattoo aftercare should be accessible to all. To prevent infection and safeguard your skin, be consistent with cleansing and don’t skimp on the soap. I’ve gone a long way to ensure that the tattoo soaps in my roundup are wallet-friendly. You don’t want to worry about rationing and re-purchasing costly products.

Customer Experience: In the same way that tattoo designs are highly personal, so are our preferences for the products we slather on our skin. I read countless rave reviews and rambling rants from fellow buyers to ensure that brands’ claims are backed up with actual results.

Brand Ethics: When evaluating products, I don’t consider only the price, ingredients, quality, and user experience. I also investigate the brand’s ethics. Wherever possible, I prioritize cruelty-free, organic, and vegan options to help you make a sound choice that’s easy on your conscience.

Why Trust Us? 

As a FashionBeans writer, Mal takes recommending beauty and grooming products seriously. From tattoo numbing creams and lotions to removal creams, when giving advice on the best tattoo products, it’s a whole other ball game. A tattoo leaves an indelible mark on your skin. It’s not like searching for a signature scent or buying the best boots.

For tattoo aftercare, Mal makes it his responsibility to research and review as many products as he can before putting together his top picks of the best soaps for a new tattoo. You’ve invested time and pain to bring your vision to life. So, you need to treat your skin and inkwell with suitable products to aid the healing process.

Mal has stalked countless tattooist websites. He’s also read plenty of expert medical advice, and the word is that correct tattoo aftercare is a big deal. Moreover, guys, when choosing the best soaps for washing a new tattoo, remember they aren’t all created equal. And this is why he’s spread his net far and wide, searching for quality products.

If you have sensitive skin, you wouldn’t look for a shaving soap that’s heavily scented. The same goes when washing your treasured tat, especially if it’s below the belt! Size also matters. If you’ve braved a backpiece, the best soap for that new tattoo isn’t in a 3-ounce bottle!

These are the 6 best soaps for a new tattoo to prevent infection and ensure healthy healing! 

Final Verdict

When choosing the best soaps for a new tattoo, only the best will do. After all, we’re not just talking about body art but a wound that needs proper care if it’s to turn into an envy-inspiring ink masterpiece.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is an organic wash suitable for even those with the most sensitive skin. This soothing soap cleanses and hydrates tight, freshly tatted skin, minimizing the dreaded itch caused by dryness. It’s your secret weapon to handle the healing process like a champ.

FAQ

    • Whether you’ve left the chair for the twentieth time or it’s your first inking, deciding on an aftercare routine is as vital as choosing an artist. The best soap for a new tattoo is one that’s unscented and hypoallergenic. Focus on gentle products that are free from alcohol and harsh chemicals. Get this right, and you’ll avoid irritating the skin and aid healing.

      • According to LA’s Rabble Rouser Tattoo, the best thing to wash a new tattoo is a mild, antibacterial soap and warm water. Then, while washing, carefully remove traces of plasma and blood. Scrubbing the new tattoo with a washcloth or other abrasive material is a big no-no. But you can gently pat it clean with a soft, clean paper towel or cloth and let the design air dry until you feel the skin tighten for about 10-20 minutes.


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