What's In Your Aftercare
Since forever, tattoo artists have used products like Vaseline, Aquaphor and A&D to lubricate the skin while tattooing. And for a very long time, clients have been told to use the same products to keep their fresh tattoos safe and moisturized. It wasn't until maybe the last decade or so that the tattoo industry has strayed away from these products and started making it's own balms, ointments, creams and sprays, for healthy, new looking tattoos. Which is good, because those old ointments suck.
Why Fix Something That Ain't Broke
Well, because it is broke, and we just never took the time to really investigate it. Since the 90s, artists have been ignoring a crucial part of tattooing. One might argue the reason for not exploring alternatives was becasue of ego, or an old idea of macho-ism. Either way, why not start caring?
Putting weird ingredients on the skin after getting a tattoo is broken for so many reasons:
1. It does the opposite of its intention—it can actually dry out the skin faster. This can increase scabbing and not allow your dermis layer of the skin to really absorb those inks. Tattoo looks faded after less than a year? This might be the reason. This is bad news for people with dry skin.
2. Synthetic ingredients can have carcinogens. Due to the way lab ingredients are sometimes synthesized and refined, many are believed to promote cancer. A carcinogen can be radiation or a substance that disrupts the 'cellular metabolic processes' (gotta love Wikipedia). A.k.a that stuff is toxic.
3. Big Brother has made a wonderful salve that cures all ailments. *Sike* He's made a horrible product that's cheaply produced and sold for way more money than it's worth. We buy into their products at Walmart, or CVS, because its cheap, accesible and seems like a good deal. Somtimes convience is not the best way to go. Especially if we care about our tattoos and overall wellbeing.
4. If you're vegan, these big brand ointments are not for you. Many of them contain ingredients produced from sheep or fish, such as cod liver oil or lanolin. If you're an environmentalist, these big brand ointments are also not for you. At the scale of production that they're at, tons of waste is made. Not to mention ingredients are either unsustainably harvested, or just straight up fake to keep up with demand and lower costs.
Whats the Alternative?
Thankfully there are lots of alternatives, including products like InkEeze, Tattoo Goo, Hustle Butter and more. These are all great options made specifically for tattooing, but of course, I have to recommend our own aftercare and tattoo lubricant. DORK+ is part of our identity at DORK Tattoo Parlor, we nerd out and research the positives and negatives of many manufactured ointments and greases, and it's safe to say, many of them aren't much different than A&D. They just have a 'cool' grungy looking font and an anchor on the sticker, and pow, it's supposdly tattoo worthy.
We are not a big company, we make our aftercare and lubricant in small batches, with only raw natural ingredients. Because of the small batches, we can focus on putting only great quality ingredients in our products. Ingredients that protect and moisturize a tattoo during and after the process of putting ink into the skin. We activily use and test all of our products on a daily basis, and package them with recyclable materials.
We take aftercare very seriously, and have started to make tattoo safe soaps for cleaning of the tattoo. It's important to keep your tattoo clean during the healing process with soaps that do not have irritating chemicals or fragrances. Water by itself is good, but soaps that don't strip the skin and actually help moisturize, is even better.
"Okay This Is Cool, If You're Getting A Whole Sleeve or Something."
Even if you're just getting a small tattoo, it's important to respect not only the creative industry of tattooing, but your body. You may not care about whats toxic in Aquaphor or A&D, but you should care about supporting your favorite shop or artist, and deffinately how your tattoo is going to look for the rest of your life.
In this day of artisan-everything, (you know what I'm talking about: craft beers, handmade beard oils, all the billions of craft coffee shops popping up, hand-sewn clothing in pop-up shops, locally made Kombuchas, etc.) tattooing needs to step it up, and appreciate it's own art form in another whole way. We should respect this ancient craft and not degrade it with weird ointments made by big companies. All the while nurturing the good things about the industry, and not over-commercializing it. This includes help from new customers and long time tattoo getters.
Tattooing is 50 percent artistic expression, and knowledge from the tattooer; and 50 percent collaboration, and trust from clients. It's important for us to care about our clients as much as we care about our craft. We know that it takes alot of guts to go into a shop you've never been before and get a tattoo from an artist you've never met, that's why we care so much about the little things that go into tattooing. We want every client to get an awesome tattoo and a healthy way of taking care of it.
We'll go into the details of what's in some of the other popular aftercares in another post. But for now, let us know if you have any questions! DORK+ can currently be purchased at DORK Tattoo Parlor, or requested through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us on this journey of producing quality tattoo goods, and taking the shop to the next level!
Doree x DORK