Treating Tattoos Organically
For many Americans, the thought of getting an image or word permanently cut into you seems about as asinine as it gets. Yet an ever increasing amount of us are taking the plunge to get things like animals, flowers, quotes, and the acronym “YOLO” inked on our skins forever. Recovery time of these never-regretted pieces of art is usually around three weeks and require a strict regimen of rules, part of which includes washing with soap and applying lotion multiple times a day. While recommendations for which items to use will range from one artist to the next, often times these recommendations are products full of nasty chemicals. Luckily there are now several innovative brands in the natural product industry offering organic topicals guaranteed to provide a safe and healthy healing experience to those who go under the needle.
According to end of year 2013 statistics from the Pew Research Center, fourteen percent of Americans (around 45 million) have at least one tattoo. This percentage is also much higher at thirty-six percent for US adults who fall into my age bracket (18-25 years old). What started as a way of personal decoration, denoting social status, identifying crimes committed, or grotesquely marking prisoners from antiquity to present has now become a 1.65 billion dollar industry in the United States alone. To put that into more perspective, there are over 21,000 tattoo shops in the country and thirty-two percent of those with at least one tattoo claim they are “addicted to ink.” Addiction may be a strong word among those in my ilk, yet it is safe to reason that there are far worse things to be addicted to.
The majority of Americans are increasingly coming around to realize that there are many harmful ingredients in a lot of the foods we enjoy (or rather especially in the foods we enjoy). This is also true of many available body care items, which can contain more harmful ingredients than one might realize. Soaps and lotions used in tattoo care are no exceptions and often contain many petroleum-based chemicals like petrolatum and mineral oil. The leading conventional lotion brands often include many potentially or debatably harmful ingredients such as methylchloroisothiazolinone, oxybenzone, ceteareth, aluminum, and many others.
To take care of my tattoos, I have always ritually used Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile liquid soap to wash and clean them. No artist has ever recommended using this to me, but Dr. Bronner’s products are the epitome of natural products and all carry a boatload of certifications, which I blindly assume can only be good for cleaning and healing. For the longest time I have used the most conventional of lotions, yet my time here at SPINS has taught me to seek out cool natural products in all aspects of what I do. Currently I am using a product called Tattoo Goo, which has a label claiming that it is a 95% natural olive oil formula, is “dermatologist tested” and the list of ingredients doesn’t seem too long.
Doing a little research and talking to some of my fellow SPINS colleagues, I discovered many wonderful natural and organic products aimed at post-tattoo treatment. The first product suggested to me was actually a winner of the popular vote NEXTY nominations from Expo West 2014 by NEXT Forecast, called Ohana Organics – Tattoo Butter. This Northern Californian brand makes USDA Organic certified tattoo butters with a fun and refreshing Hawaiian theme. Another brand brought to my attention was Motherlove Tattoo Care, a company from Colorado that also makes USDA Organic tattoo balms. These great products are definitely on my list to try and I am sure there are many other wonderful brands out there as well, which will help to make the art on your body last a lifetime and promote healthy healing.
The bottom line here is that it is not good to put bad things in or on our body. We all know it is bad to consume unhealthy food and beverages, but many of us are likely not aware that it is also not good to use topical products with potentially dangerous or harmful ingredients on our body. I don’t know anything about the science here, but I am guessing that chemicals probably get absorbed into our blood and then perhaps cause a whole mess of shenanigans to happen. This goes twice for tattoos, which immediately after receiving probably can be classified as an open wound. I encourage everyone who gets inked in the future to spend perhaps a little extra time and money to seek out natural care products for their tattoos. Then you can focus on the beauty of what is new on the outside of your body, while resting assured that what is inside is equally well off.