Tattoo Aftercare with Essential Oils

I got my first tattoo ten years ago. It was my first and as I decided was my last. I didn’t want to immediately get another one as everyone swore I would. That addictive feeling was not there. Instead I was completely in love with the one I just got. It meant so much to me (and still does). It took months to design it just right to tell my story…

Being born the year of the dragon, I wanted the dragon to symbolize my life at that moment. He’s curled up in the Aum symbol because it’s the force behind my personal transformation … the lotus represents the struggles that I’ve gone thru. It’s not fully bloomed because I don’t feel like I’ve fully blossomed yet. The core of the flower is very prominent to remind me to stay true to myself.. to my core. The lotus is red because I feel full of life, compassion, love and passion, but also anger and frustration. There’s always two sides of a coin. The red lotus leaf to the side completes the Aum sign and represents a part of my life that has completed.. just like the lotus leaves that fall off into the mucky waters once it’s fully bloomed. On the top of the Aum symbol is an unopened blue lotus. The blue lotus symbolizes the victory of the mind/soul over the senses/material things. The blue lotus is rarely seen opened because as long as we’re human, it’s a constant struggle to free our minds and our attachments…. definitely a true state of my mind!

10 years later, I had the itch to get another tattoo as I enter another decade of my life.

I recently went in for a tiny tattoo of the word “Ohana” because my family means the world to me right now. Well… one little word turned into two little turtles which turned into another story to be expressed…

People asked if it hurt on the foot and heck yes it did!  But after it was done, I knew immediately I wanted another one. I now understood what people said to me 10 years ago… that I would get another one and another one. This understanding is difficult to put into words except that I felt so peaceful. It felt like the pain was very healing. Knowing that this pain is temporary, I felt safe to feel it, to allow it to surface and then watch it’s passing sensation. It’s an in your face reminder of the present moment, an opportunity to practice breath control and for me it was not as painful as living in fear or doubt of what others may think of me or what I did or didn’t do in the past. As I enter a new decade of life, this was a gift to myself to break another self-imposed barrier so that I may live more freely and express whatever the heck I want. I am so in love! This reminds me to live with aloha, to be delicate yet strong, to swim with the flow with my ohana with me always.

I never thought I would ever get tattoos or even like them but I love hearing about all the beautiful stories behind people’s body art and they are totally worth the pain, even the pain of caring for them afterwards. With a little more experience with caring for freshly inked skin and the knowledge of essential oils (EO), my aftercare for this piece was painless and so easy.

Tattoo Aftercare Regime

I have sensitive skin and don’t respond well to petroleum based creams  such as aquaphor and other similar ointments, that many tattoo artists recommend. What worked best for me to help the skin heal quickly, prevent infection and reduce itching, scabbing and peeling:

* Daily for the first week: cleanse the skin with cetaphil bar soap 2-3x a day

* Day 1: After cleansing the area, moisturize with a very THIN layer of cetaphil lotion and keep the area exposed to air.

* Day 2: Same as day 1 with added support from essential oils (EO).  Apply a mixture of EOs around the tattoo. Carefully outline it and not put the oils on it yet. At this point I didn’t want to risk applying anything on top of the fresh ink.

Mix the following into a class jar or container and apply 2-3x a day:

  • 2 drops Helichrysum EO
  • 2 drops Lavender EO
  • 2 drops Frankincense EO
  • 1 drop Melaleuca EO
  • 6 drops fractionated coconut oil

Day 3 or 4: Continue to apply the mixture above to the outline and started to apply this luscious body butter type  salve to apply over the tattoo:

Melt the following together either in double broiler or a candy melt pot:

  • 1 Tbsp beeswax
  • 1.5 Tbsp fractionated coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1 Tbsp shea butter

Let the mixture cool for a little bit where you can touch it without getting burned and not too cool where it will solidify. Then add 4 drops of the following essential oils: Lavender, Helichrysum, Geranium (add more if you like more aroma).

Once it’s all mixed up, transfer to a glass jar. It will probably solidify a bit. Use a hair dryer to blast hot air on surface of the salve before you use it. Remember, a small amount goes a long way. You don’t want to slobber the salve on thick. Apply a very thin layer because the skin still needs to breathe.

Why this combination helps to support skin that is healing from a new tattoo:

  • cocoa butter helps hydrate and soothe skin as it’s high in vitamin E.
  • shea butter is also very moisturizing with a concentration of vitamins and fatty acids to nourish skin.
  • fractionated coconut oil is often used as a carrier oil for essential oils because it facilitates the absorption of essential oils without the heavy greasy feeling regular coconut oil often feels and is fragrance free. FCO also has antiseptic and disinfectant properties.
  • lavender is not only all things calming, but it’s also antibacterial, analgesic and regenerative.
  • Frankincense is also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, disinfectant and restorative to promote healthy skin.
  • helichrysum is not only an antibiotic and antifungal to support skin health, it’s also analgesic and haemostatic helping wounds heal.
  • geranium is a detoxifier, anti-allergenic, and regenerative and perfect for helping keep wounds clean and promoting the skin to heal.

Do you have a tattoo? How did you care for it? I’d love to see your body art… feel free to share.

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