Part 2 - What’s In Your Aftercare

Finally, in this second part of the series about tattoo aftercare, I want to break down ingredients found in common products used to protect and heal tattoos.  The typical (but not so good) products that people use are usually Aquaphor, A&D Ointment, random lotions, and sometimes Vaseline.  There are others such as Tattoo Goo and tattoo lotions, but we'll be going over the most common and worst products.  Let's get nerdy ya'll, but first...



Why Am I Talking About This.

You can check out the previous blog post here.  We strive to bring something unique to the tattoo world in our area.  We do this by creating our own handmade tattoo aftercare; adapting new tattoo technology in our shop; and caring about every single customer's experience that walks into our shop.  We care about how our tattoos heal on the body, and we care about our clients wellbeing.  From on going research we know that common products, which have been used for the past two decades or more, are not the best for making sure your tattoo maintains its look since it was first received.  This includes staying protected during the healing process.  That being said, let's get into what's in those popular products.


The Bad.

Please keep in mind that all of the research we've done is based on the knowledge accessible to everyone.  We don't have a lab and years of time to test the negative effects of every ingredient.  But if we take into consideration the information available to us, and what we've experienced over the years, we can make our own conclusions on what's good, bad, real or fake, or doesn't even matter. 


Amongst the list of strange ingredients is Petrolatum.  This is something all products like Aquaphor, A&D and Vaseline have in common.  Petrolatum is an oil based material processed and refined from petroleum.  There are degrees of refinement that can affect how many carcinogens a product with petroleum can have.  It's believed that products with petrolatum in the United States aren't as refined as others and contain carcinogens.  You might be asking, what's a carcinogen?  Put bluntly, they're chemicals that can cause cancer in the body.  Petroleum jelly, or petrolatum, is believed to heal cuts, burns, abrasions, and all sorts of things.  With our experience in tattooing, it tends to over saturate the skin, clogging the pores and cutting air flow which is important for healing.  It can even cause the skin to dry out when used in excess.


Photo from  Which states how bad vaseline is for dogs noses, random I know.

Photo from  Which states how bad vaseline is for dogs noses, random I know.


Some of these same products, like A&D Ointment and various lotions, have Fragrance.  Now, what is "fragrance"?  Nobody knows!  It's a term that manufacturers can use freely to describe a scent, but can keep confidential.  It could be the worst for you, but how would you know?  Most 'fragrances' are synthetic and contain toxins that accumulate on the skin, causeing breakouts and other negative reactions.  When you add synthetic fragrances with the open skin of a fresh tattoo, you risk causing allergic reactions and possible damage to the tattoo.  This is something you definitely don't need.


Aquaphor and A&D alike have another ingredient you don't need, called Mineral Oil.  Mineral Oil is made from the distillation process of turning petroleum into gasoline.  It's a cheap product used in tons of ointments, creams and lotions.  Like petroleum jelly, it's made with possible cancer causing toxins.  It can also clog your pores.  By covering the surface of your skin thickly, it can trap all the bacteria that's already there.  This can cause breakouts.  Just like petroleum jelly and fragrance, it also doesn't benefit your skin.  You won't find any nutrients or vitamins that heal your tattoo in mineral oil.  Yeah it's cheap, but with something that's on your skin forever, why skimp on quality?


Speaking of, if you're vegan and you like tattoos, you might want to consider an alternative to A&D and Aquaphor.  They both have ingredients called Lanolin and Glycerin.  These are typically derived from animals.  Lanolin is a thick wax that comes from sheeps wool, and Glycerin can come from animal tallow, also known as animal fat.  There is vegetable glycerin, but since these products don't specify, maybe we should assume it comes from animals.  Animal derived Glycerin and Lanolin don't really have any negative side effects to the skin in terms of tattoos.  But if your conscious of other creatures besides our own, then maybe it wouldn't hurt to explore the alternatives to animal products.


What We Offer: The Good.

Our product is an alternative to the vague and potentially damaging ointments typically used.  We use minimal amount of ingredients that all have a purpose.  That purpose is to help the skin heal and provide a moisturizing barrier for a new tattoo.  It can also help moisturize and repair the skin of an existing tattoo.  We use ingredients such as hemp seed oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, castor oil, raw cocoa butter, beeswax (or carnuaba wax for a vegan alternative), vitamin A & E, rose hip seed oil, lavender essential oil, tea tree essential oil, and vegetable glycerin.  All of these ingredients are naturally derived and some are certified organic (such as the raw cocoa butter and beeswax).  Every single one is beneficial and is used in our product because of its potential to alleviate the skin.  Let's quickly go over some of the benefits of these ingredients we use.



Hemp Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, and Castor Oil all have hydrating properties for the skin that do not clog pores (this includes Olive Oil as well).  Castor oil in particular can fight bacteria growth and sooth irritated skin, amongst a slew of other benefits.  Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil and Hemp Seed Oil  are light oils that all have antioxidants and fatty acids which aid in skin health.  They both also have anti-inflammatory properties, this means they reduce redness and irritation.  All these good things and more, including various vitamins that the body needs.  This is a must if your tattoo has heavy shading, which is typically swollen and painful during the first few days of healing.  These ingredients will help reduce that redness, swelling and pain.


Not many ingredients are edible, but raw Cocoa Butter is!  Don't worry, we don't eat ours, we use it as a natural way to harden our aftercare a little, and treat dry or sensitive skin.  It has tons of fatty acids that the skin loves to absorb.  Also strong antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.  Not to mention it naturally smells great.



Speaking of smelling good, all great skin care products need a humectant.  A humectant is a substance that retains or preserves moisture.  We choose to use Beeswax, a natural, harmless by product of the honey bee.  Beeswax has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to prevent dry or damaged skin.  It doesn't clog the pores and seals in moisture at the same time.  This smell good ingredient has so many good things about it, it's hard not to use it in our products, but we do have an alternative for vegans called Carnauba Wax.  This vegan wax is derived from the Brazilian palm tree Copernicia Prunifera.   



Everything we use has some degree of anti-inflammation, and anti-bacterial properties.  We use Rosehip Seed Oil, Lavender Essential Oil and Tea Tree Essential Oil because of their antioxidants and vitamins that regenerate healthy skin as well as hydration.  Both rosehip seed oil and lavender essential oil treat skin issues such as wrinkles, psoriasis and other inflaming conditions.  Tea tree oil is an excellent bacteria killer, which makes it a great anti-septic.  Because of these elements all three heal wounds, sunburns and reduce scar tissue.  This is great for a tattoo that may have been overworked in some parts, these will help reduce any scar tissue.  Not to mention Lavender essential oil has an amazing soothing smell.

DORK Aftercare with Hemp Seed Oil.  We've changed our packaging a couple months after this photos was taken. 

DORK Aftercare with Hemp Seed Oil.  We've changed our packaging a couple months after this photos was taken. 

Hemp Butter is whipped to make a thicker and smoother texture.  Feel the glide when you scoop and apply it to your skin!

Hemp Butter is whipped to make a thicker and smoother texture.  Feel the glide when you scoop and apply it to your skin!


Bottom Line.

Why put something on your tattoo that isn't made for tattoos?  These big brand products aren't good for your skin.  They're advertised like they are, but they have no beneficial ingredients.  There are so many healthy alternatives to these petroleum products, it's amazing we even still purchase them.  They're made cheaply with no concern towards the health of their consumers.  These products will probably always be staples in our bathrooms, but they don't have to be for our tattoos. 


We sell our products at DORK Tattoo Parlor.  They're made in small handmade batches to ensure quality.  To inquire about purchase email us at or come by the shop during business hours.  Stay connected with any new products by following our Instagram: @dork_goods

Eventually our aftercare will be available on our online store here, but until we're positive that our product can be shipped and produced in high quantities while still maintaining quality—we are exclusively selling them in our shop.


For now, we're selling DORK Aftercare in tin containers.  Oooh, so sleek.

For now, we're selling DORK Aftercare in tin containers.  Oooh, so sleek.

We made a box of small samples for the Villain Arts Louisville Tattoo Convention.  We're thinking of making more of these for the shop as well!

We made a box of small samples for the Villain Arts Louisville Tattoo Convention.  We're thinking of making more of these for the shop as well!


All the information found for this post is available on the internet in multiple articles, videos and scientific essays.  Just google anything you want to research.  We highly advise you do, it's best to know what you're buying.  For more information on our sources, send us an email!


With Love <3

Doree x DORK