Applying CBD to the skin is known to soften it, calm irritation, and support proper wound healing. Considering that, it was only a matter of time before people tried to use it to heal new tattoos! Today, more and more people use CBD tattoo cream on recent tattoos and you can even find dedicated CBD products that have been designed with tattoos in mind. But are these products actually effective? And are they safe to use on a new tattoo?
Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of CBD cream products for tattoo healing, and things you need to be aware of before you choose a product.
Why is CBD Good for Tattoos?
What is it about CBD that makes it so good for tattoos? There are a couple of things. First, CBD works as a natural painkiller. Of course, this is something that’s more useful before the tattoo, but it could also help to relieve you in the first few days following a new tattoo when the skin is still tender. Many people are reticent to admit that their tattoo hurt, but it’s a perfectly normal part of the process! If you want to limit your pain during the first few days, treating your new tattoo with a topical CBD product could help.
When you leave the tattoo studio, you’ll probably receive advice along those lines: “clean it well, and keep it hydrated.” Thankfully, CBD has some very interesting moisturizing properties. Hemp oil itself contains a good mix of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, which can keep the skin well moisturized. And as this 2019 study shows, applying CBD to the skin can improve its hydration, elasticity, and even improve the appearance of scars.
In and of itself, CBD isn’t a disinfectant. When you get a new tattoo, you should make sure to clean it well with soap and water before drying it fully with a clean towel. That being said, CBD could also help in the process because it’s been found to have antibacterial properties, as this 2008 review of studies highlighted. By applying a CBD ointment to your tattoo after washing, you could support its proper healing, free of infection.
Finally, anyone who’s ever gotten a tattoo knows that the most annoying part of healing new ink is the dreaded “itchy phase.” For a couple of days to a couple of weeks after the initial healing stage, you’re likely to find that your tattoo itches—sometimes a lot! And as you’re not allowed to scratch it in any way (it could affect its final look), you’ll want something to relieve the itch. This 2017 review of studies on the use of CBD and other cannabinoids for skin conditions found that it had some very interesting antipruritic (itch-fighting) properties. This means that as well as keeping your tattoo well hydrated and pain-free, CBD could also relieve itchiness during the healing process.
However, there are a few things that you need to be aware of before you rush to apply any CBD oil or cream to your fresh tattoo. In the second part of this article, we discuss the criteria that a CBD tattoo healing cream needs to meet.
How to Choose a Good CBD Cream For Tattoos
If you’ve read a few of our articles, you’ll know that we usually recommend getting your CBD skincare products from a CBD manufacturer rather than a skincare company. That’s because brands that specialize in CBD products tend to use higher-quality CBD extracts and to contain higher doses of it. But when it comes to choosing a good CBD cream for tattoos, you may actually be better off buying from a specialized tattoo aftercare brand.
It’s good to note that CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) are now legal on a federal level in the United States. However, they are not FDA-approved, and may still be illegal in certain states. Check your local laws before making a purchase.
A tattoo is a fresh wound, but it’s not like any other wound. Every decision you make during the healing process will affect the way that it looks in the long term. So it’s not just a question of healing your tattoo without it becoming infected, it’s a question of making sure it looks the best it can.
To do that, there are a few things you need to be aware of when choosing a CBD-infused cream or lotion. The first is that it shouldn’t contain any artificial scent or color. Synthetic products that make a product smell yummy can actually be pretty aggressive on your skin, which is why you should definitely avoid using them on a new tattoo.
You should also make sure to choose a product that doesn’t contain too many comedogenic ingredients. Comedogenic ingredients are ingredients that are known to clog your pores. If you clog the pores of recently tattooed skin, this could slow down the healing or cause problems further down the line. In CBD creams, the most common culprits are coconut oil and cocoa butter. Although these products are great, natural ways to keep your skin moisturized, we don’t recommend using them on a new tattoo. Instead, you could go for a CBD-based product that contains non-comedogenic ingredients like hemp oil, argan oil or shea butter.
To make sure that a product is non-comedogenic and contains only natural, gentle ingredients, you have two options. You could choose a specialized tattoo aftercare lotion that is CBD based, or you could choose a non-specialized CBD product that meets the criteria above. The choice is yours.
How to use CBD Cream on a Healing tattoo
Once you’ve found a CBD-based product that’s appropriate to use on your tattoo, you also need to learn how to use it right.
Every new tattoo should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a day with warm water and soap. After cleaning your tattoo, make sure to pat it dry with a clean towel or even a paper towel. At this point, you can apply your CBD cream or ointment.
Although it’s tempting to slather it on to make sure your tattoo is “cared for,” it’s actually recommended to use a small dose of the lotion. As much as your tattoo needs to be protected and hydrated, it also needs to be able to breathe. It’s better to apply a very thin layer of CBD lotion or cream twice or three times a day than to apply a thicker layer once a day.
When you apply the CBD cream on your skin, take a few seconds to massage it in. This will help the CBD molecules to travel deep into the skin and reach your endocannabinoid system. After all, you need to make sure that the CBD takes effect to soothe that infernal itch!
When using CBD to support your tattoo’s healing, you can’t just choose any product. You have to make sure that it meets a strict range of criteria so that it won’t risk causing infection or irritation. But once you get your hands on the proper product, it has the potential to drastically improve your tattoo healing. With its painkilling, soothing, and moisturizing properties, CBD can support your skin so that your tattoo heals in optimal conditions.
CBD for pain
2018 review of research on cannabinoids and pain
2017 review of the effects of cannabis on pain
CBD for hydration and skin elasticity
2019 study on the effects of CBD oil for scarred skin
Antibacterial properties of CBD
2016 study of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis
2008 review of studies on the antibacterial properties of CBD
CBD for itching
2017 review of studies on the role of cannabinoids for skin disorders (notably itching)