Don't Use Petroleum Jelly on Tattoos: Here's Why

There are so many products on the market these days. As you scan the shelves of a drugstore, local CVS, or Target, it can be extremely overwhelming. Which product is the right one for your needs? Do you have dry skin and are on the hunt for a non-greasy, nourishing moisturizer? How do you know which to purchase? What makes a quality product? We wanted to clear the air around the tattoo process and how to get the most from every tattoo session.

There are many lotions, moisturizers, and hydrating skincare products out there. So what makes Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm different? We will explain a little bit about our philosophy when crafting these products, common misconceptions about comparable products on the market, and what’s best for you!

On top of that, we want to address the elephant in the room in the tattoo care and skincare industry at large: petroleum jelly and products derived from similar substances. This stuff is everywhere, but what is it, and how does it affect your skin and overall health? As it turns out, there are a few secrets the industry might not want you to know about, and getting to the truth is part of our Mad Rabbit mission.

At our core, our mission is to create superior, all-natural, tattoo aftercare products for our amazing customers. We believe that the quality of ingredients matters and that what we put on our bodies should be wholesome. When you purchase a Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm, you can expect your tattoos and skin to be revitalized, replenished with nourishment, complete with hydration, and preserved.

Let’s find out more about petroleum jelly products, how they compare to our natural alternatives, and what you can do to create a safe and effective skincare routine for your ink moving forward.

The Truth About Lotions, Balms, and Creams

With a team of experts and a dermatologist on our board, you can trust our tattoo balm/moisturizing cream is the best in the market. We crafted three primary scents: frankincense & lavender, cucumber, and vanilla & coconut. We never add chemical scents to our balm, but instead, we carefully curate and mix our ingredients to create a natural, wonderful scent. Why does this matter?

Many products on the market, including many lotions, contain artificial fragrances, parabens, and preservatives. Why is this dangerous? First and foremost, as we all have different skin types, it's important to acknowledge that not all body lotions or creams actually moisturize.

Skin types are more complicated than they may seem at first glance. The skin is a complex organ that responds to many stressors, inputs, and environmental factors. It’s not as simple as “dry” or “oily” skin — there’s much more to consider when evaluating your skin and choosing the right products.

The problem with petroleum jellies is that you’re getting a one-size-fits-all solution for a certain type of skin when the situation just isn’t that simple. Petroleum jelly can create an impenetrable barrier on the surface of the skin, keeping germs in and not allowing the ink to breathe.

Artificial fragrances are quite commonly used in many body moisturizers and body creams. Said artificial fragrances use a series of chemicals, at a lower cost, to create scents. This is used in drug-store moisturizers, many known cleansers, soaps, etc. The appeal is obviously the aroma and tantalizing smell. You would naturally want your moisturizing lotion or body wash to have a pleasant scent, but you don’t want to sacrifice your health for it.

A common question we hear is, “if a product smells good, it can't be bad for me, can it?” Yes, it can be very bad for you. Some artificial fragrances can cause extreme skin irritation and prevent you from maintaining healthy skin.

So, if you have sensitive skin, be mindful of purchasing products that use synthetic or chemically derived ingredients. Additionally, many fragrances are tested on animals, which means they fall short of the “cruelty-free” label that shouldn’t be ignored.

A daily moisturizer should ideally be fragrance-free or have an all-natural fragrance. Moreover, some artificial chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and a disruption in hormone activity. Your skin is your largest organ.

Meaning, what you put on your skin is ultimately absorbed into your body. The point of a moisturizer is to apply daily and hydrate the skin, leaving your skin feeling healthy and replenished. The danger with using said chemicals is that you are eventually ingesting the products you place on your body.

The National Academy of Science reported that approximately 95% of synthetic or chemical fragrances are derived from petroleum (aka gas/oil). You would never knowingly put gasoline on your skin, would you?

So why is it acceptable to include such an ingredient in your aftercare routine? The simple’s not. Yes, it’s tempting to use Vaseline, but it can cause irregular scabbing because it is too occlusive of a barrier. This can cause ink pulling, leaving a patchy tattoo in its wake. There are better ways to care for your tattoo area without petrolatum and other undesirable substances.

Our Key Ingredients and How They Work

Petroleum might be great for fueling your car, but when it comes to skin? We think there are better ways to keep your skin nourished and looking great.

So what are the ingredients that make our tattoo balm different from the norm? And what do they do? We have seven. Yes, you read that right – seven simple ingredients in our tattoo balm. They are all ingredients you can remember and pronounce. Now you know, that’s good stuff. Additionally, each ingredient serves a purpose for the effectiveness of our product.

Shea butter helps with skin tissue regeneration, softening skin, and moisturizing several layers deep. Next, cocoa butter helps to slow the aging of the skin and promotes firming. Young skin means better-looking tattoos and more vibrant ink pigment.

How did cocoa butter do this? It improves blood flow and creates a protective barrier with the skin to hold moisture in, preserving the hydration your skin experiences for hours. In conjunction with this, it helps to prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin too deeply with this secure layer of locked-in moisture.

Next up, we have carnauba wax, which helps to attract and gather water molecules. This helps to keep and maintain skin hydration, which is key to preserving your moisture throughout the day. Carnauba wax ensures that the hydrating effects of our balm last more than just a few hours.

In other words, you don’t need to constantly reapply this balm to achieve that invigorating glow and feel-good hydration on the skin. Instead, you can apply the balm as part of your morning routine and enjoy a full day at work or play while maintaining all the effects you love.

We take it one step further to promote ingredients with properties that support healing, such as calendula, which has calming and soothing properties.

Calendula is a Mediterranean flower with therapeutic benefits for the skin, loaded with terpenes, flavonoids, polyphenols, and more. It’s often used to soothe minor cuts or wounds in traditional medicine while bolstering the body’s natural fight against foreign germs.

You don’t need to be a trained herbalist to enjoy the effects of calendula essential oils for your skin — they’re included in every batch of our tattoo balm!

Finally, our scents: Frankincense & Lavender, Cucumber, and Vanilla & Coconut. Lavender not only serves as a natural scent but is full of antioxidants.

Frankincense is great for soothing minor wounds and also doubles as one of our combination scents. Finally, the Cucumber serves as a scent and has a high water concentration to moisturize the skin. We recently added Vanilla & Coconut as a warm, comforting scent.

How Petroleum Jelly Performs

Now that you’ve learned more about the specifics of our products, let's chat briefly about some other products on the market that may appear to do the same thing…but, in reality, do not. First: Vaseline/petroleum jelly.

At its core, petroleum jelly is made of minerals and waxes. Why might a wax not be ideal for tattoos or your skin?

As we stated before, your skin is an organ, meaning it constantly needs to breathe. While the skin might not breathe in the same way as our lungs, the outermost layer of the dermis does react and adapt to environmental stressors to maintain homeostasis!

These small and frequent adaptations allow us to keep a healthy body temperature, protect against pollutants, and regulate other key processes like metabolic waste elimination (think sweat and sebum).

The problem here is that petroleum jelly acts as a sealant, which instead of moisturizing, locks in moisture and creates a seal. So whatever moisture, or lack thereof, your skin had, is now locked in by a thick barrier.

Remember: your skin, and especially your tattoos, need to breathe. Therefore, putting a sealant on your tattoos is most certainly not a good idea. Your skin acts as a skin barrier to outdoor elements, as your first layer of defense, and should be replenished with moisture and hydration, not a dryness that is locked in by a barrier of sealant.

This is why it's important to distinguish between a moisturizing product and a product that creates a strong barrier or a sealant. When your skin can breathe, you stay cool, smell better, and everything works as it should. That’s why a thin layer of the best tattoo balm goes a long way, keeping your tattoo ink looking great and promoting happy skin.

Another problem that crops up when dealing with this sealant effect common in petroleum skincare products is bacteria. It’s easy to forget that millions of microorganisms are constantly floating around our environment, and typically we pay them no mind.

However, when using petroleum products for skincare, some of these unwanted bacteria can become trapped on the top layer of the skin and unable to escape.

This is a dangerous proposition when you’ve got a healing tattoo, an open wound, or skin susceptible to infection. It’s smarter to use antibacterial balms and lotions that allow bacteria to escape while letting the skin breathe and thrive as it should.

Navigating the Skincare Scene

Modern skincare has no shortage of options, but making the right choice for your skin can be tricky with so many possible paths. You might think you're picking up a best seller or the best moisturizer at the grocery store, when in fact, it could be quite misleading and full of chemicals.

It's commonly agreed upon in dermatology that a superior moisturizer should leave your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed while locking in moisture. The key is finding a product that does this while leaving those artificial chemicals at the door and not creating a seal.

Some brands may try and appeal to the consumer by advertising anti-aging properties or a superior night cream; however, at the end of the day, ingredients matter. Just because a product contains vitamin C, aloe, or vitamin E, does not mean it's good for you.

The summation of the ingredients is ultimately what your skin is absorbing. We took this to heart and not only created a superior tattoo aftercare product but did so with superior, all-natural ingredients. The harsh reality is that many leading skin care products hide behind buzzwords and don’t actually deliver on their promises.

Will a few dabs of petroleum jelly ruin your skin or compromise your ink? If you put Vaseline on healing skin, will you ruin a fresh tattoo? Probably not.

However, we’re here to offer a safer, more effective alternative to the skin industry standard. You deserve ingredients that work as advertised and give you the actual effects you want. It’s about time things changed, and Mad Rabbit is leading the charge!

Crafting Your Tattoo Care Routine

After exploring some of the primary properties in our products, most specifically our Tattoo Balm, it’s clear to see: not all lotions, creams, or vaselines are the same! Some products serve great purposes for certain situations, but conscientious skincare demands more.

This is especially true with a new tattoo navigating the healing process. Just packing a product with petroleum and synthetic vitamins is not going to deliver the nourishing effects your skin craves.

Therefore, we’re proud to present the healing properties of our Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm. We care about bringing our customers only the best, most effective, all-natural, cruelty-free products that work!

The takeaway here is to remember that petroleum-based products are everywhere in the skincare industry, whether it’s anti-aging creams or nourishing lotions for tattoos. As we’ve discovered, these waxy sealant substances are simply not ideal for the skin, whether freshly inked or untouched. Just because a product might say all the right things on the label, that doesn’t mean it’s suitable for your skin’s long-term health and well-being!

Always look beneath the surface and discover what’s really going on with the skincare products at your local pharmacist or cosmetics shop. More than likely, you’re getting petroleum-based products that fall short on many levels — unnatural at best, potentially harmful at worst. The good news is that more tattoo artists are learning the realities of tattoo lotion products and how to provide optimal aftercare instructions.

Our balm is a best-seller for a reason, but we apply the same principles to all our products, including lotions, sunscreens, soothing gels, and more. From healing to soothing and long-term care, we’ve got something for every stage and skin type.

The Mad Rabbit approach to skincare is all about keeping things honest and transparent and using proven ingredients to get the best effects, present and future. Give your skin and your body art the fuel it needs to thrive and look good for years to come, all while supporting your health and longevity.


Does Your Skin Need to "Breathe"? | Allure

Trending – Petroleum Jelly | Michigan State University

The Ultimate Guide To Topical Vitamins In Skincare | AEDIT

"Cruelty Free"/"Not Tested on Animals" | FDA

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