What Happens If You Use Scented Soap On a Tattoo?


Getting a tattoo might be easy, but taking care of it is hard. While some of these aftercare practices are pretty obvious, some may appear confusing. Like, The prohibition of scented soaps. You might feel confused and ask, what happens if you use scented soap on a tattoo? Is it bad?

The usage of scented soaps on tattoos is discouraged by almost all tattoo artists. Scented soaps have their distinct smell due to complex chemical compounds. These compounds can irritate your skin and cause rashes, itching, and scabbing. Also, some of these compounds can react with the ink and cause tattoo fading. Scented soaps are also known to cause serious skin infections.

Well, no need to panic if you used it once. Just make sure you don’t use it again. In this article, we will guide you about what soap to use and how to clean your new tattoo. Let’s jump the gun and start the fun!

Is Scented Soap Bad For New Tattoos?

The tattoo community might be diverse but they are united about one thing- the absolute avoidance of scented soaps while cleaning your tattoo. Scented soaps contain heavy chemical compounds which are bad for your new tattoo.

We add scents to soap using two ways.

The first and traditional way to add scents is by adding essential oils to the soap mixture. These essential oils are derived from natural ingredients such as lemons, roses, apples, and so on. These oils contain the natural properties of their mother produce and introduce various scents to your soap.

The second and widely used way is by adding synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are derived from chemical compounds comprised of raw, organic materials and imitate natural fragrances. Some common synthetically-fragrant chemical compounds are Calone, Tonalide, Limonene and etc.

It doesn’t matter which type of scented soaps you use as both naturally and synthetically scented soaps are not good for your tattoos.

The essential oil in naturally-scented soaps can seep into your tattoo holes and clog them up. This can lead to pimples and other skin problems. Synthetically-scented soaps contain chemical compounds which are safe on normal skin but on tattooed skin they might cause trouble.

Your tattoo ink is made out of chemicals that can react with the chemical compounds of the soap. This can create allergy-like symptoms such as rashes, itching, scabbing and other problems on your skin.

Also, scented soaps are usually more laden with chemicals than the average soaps. These chemicals can sometimes seep into the skin and wash away the ink which causes your tattoo to fade away.

What Happens If You Use Scented Soap On a Tattoo?

The chemical compounds of scented soaps can be heavy and not harmful to normal skin. But, tattooed skin is a whole different thing. A tattoo is an open wound on your skin. The tattoo machine digs hundreds of holes in your skin to sink the ink into your pours. Your skin, at that point, is like a damaged sheet that needs time and nurture to heal.

Irritated Skin

The chemical compounds present in the scented soaps can irritate your damaged skin. While healing from a tattoo, your skin needs gentle care. The compounds found in scented soaps are harsh. They can enter the skin’s inner part through the tattooed holes and cause skin irritation. Your skin may appear red, swollen, and inflamed.

Allergic Symptoms

For people with sensitive skin, the chemical compounds found in scented soaps can be bad news. These chemical compounds can trigger a number of symptoms that are related to allergies. Symptoms include itchiness, dryness, flaky skin, and swollen and red skin.  

Tattoo Fading Away

The chemical compounds found in scented soaps are known to react with the tattoo ink. These compounds can bond themselves with the ink and wash away the ink away. This can cause your tattoo to fade away or have a distorted appearance.

Bacterial Infection

Scented soaps are sometimes known to introduce bacteria to the skin. Bacteria can live in harsh chemicals, sometimes completely unharmed. These bacteria can infest your skin and cause infections. Common signs of bacterial infections are:

  • Green or yellowish coloring on the tattoo
  • Bad smell
  • Oozing of puss
  • Extreme scabbing.

What Kind of Soap Can You Use On a Tattoo?

Now that you know scented soaps are bad for a tattoo, you may ask what kind of soaps can be used. Lucky for you, any type of non-scented soap can be used on a tattoo.

Experts only advise avoiding scented soaps for newly tattooed skins. Normal non-scented soaps don’t cause any problems like this. Rather, they will clean the oozing blood, and puss and get rid of any bacteria that might be present there.

Tattoo artists advise using gentle soaps that won’t be heavy on your skin. Baby soaps can be a good choice for their skin-friendly and gentle formula. You can also use non-scented anti-bacterial soaps for cleaning the tattooed area.

Normal soaps like Dove and Liquid soaps like Dr. Bronner pure Castile liquid soap can also be used if they contain no scent. You can also buy soaps that are specially made for tattoos.

When Can I Use Scented Soap On a Tattoo?

You can use the scented soaps after your tattoo has healed completely which generally takes up to 2 weeks.

The healing time depends on your immune system and the tattoo size. Some can take 5 days to heal and some can take up to 15 days to heal. In general, Your body takes 14 days to heal properly.

After your tattoo heals properly, you can use scented soaps without any worries. But, You have to ensure that your tattoo is healed properly. Or else, your skin and your tattoo might face some serious problems. So, Consult your tattoo artist before using scented products on your tattooed skin.

Should I Avoid Soaps While Taking Showers with Tattoos?

No, you can use soaps that are gentle for tattooed skin. But yes, showering with a new tattoo can be a hassle. Gone are the days when you can just jump into the tub and rub soap all over.

Now, you have to be methodical and thorough with your cleaning to ensure the well-being of your skin and artwork.

Here are a few tips for you while taking shower with tattoos.

When To Wash The New Tattoo

You have to wash the newly tattooed area within the first 24 hours.

Your tattoo artist will wrap the tattooed area with a bandage to protect it from dirt and germs. So, you have to wait for a few hours before you can wash it. The waiting time depends on the area and size of the tattoo. Generally, You can wash the area after 3-4 hours.

Your tattoo artist will tell you the exact amount of time you have to wait. Don’t get impatient and abide by your artist’s words!

The Temperature of The Water

Like any wound, you have to be careful when you have a tattoo and deal with water. The water cannot be freezing cold or very hot. Instead, it has to be lukewarm; just warm enough to feel the heat while not scorching the skin.

If the water is too hot, then it will inflame your blood vessels. On the other hand, Cold water will shrink down the vessels and prolong the healing time. So, be careful about the temperature.

Wash The Tattoo In The Right Way

Before you start washing the tattooed area, clean your hands thoroughly to ensure no cross-contamination occurs. Gently wash the area with lukewarm water.

Use little cups or your hands to pour the water into the area. Avoid shower heads for they can pressurize the wound openings. Do not submerge the tattoo in water. Use a non-scented and gentle soap on the area. Wash away the soap and start the drying process.

Ensure Proper Drying

Take a paper towel and gently pat the tattooed area to dry it. Avoid using towels or clothes. Towels or clothes have little micro-fiber in them which can attach themselves to the tattoo openings. Removing them can cause pain so it’s better to avoid using towels.

Also, You can naturally airdry your tattoo. After ensuring the area is dry, use a moisturizer on the tattooed area.


How Often Should I Wash My New Tattoo? 

You can wash your newly tattooed area up to 2-3 times a day. More than this can cause damage your skin.
Your tattoo is a living thing. It needs to stay clean to heal quickly and properly. By showering, you are cleaning the area of things that can cause harm to it. Also, showering ensures that bodily fluids such as blood, puss, and sweat are cleared from the area.

Can I Use Alcoholic Wipes To Clean My New Tattoo?

No; it’s highly discouraging. Alcohol will dry your skin which can cause skin chaffing, dryness, flaky skin, and other problems.

Your tattoo will ooze puss, blood, and other bodily fluids while healing. Cleaning these bodily fluids is essential for your tattoo to heal properly.
Showering is the most obvious and safe choice but, some use alcoholic wipes to clean their tattoo. Cleaning your tattoo with alcoholic wipes is a very bad choice. Alcohol dries your skin and causes irritation.
Dried skin can result in a number of problems such as skin chaffing, and flaky skin. Alcohol can also cause your tattoo to flake off or get cracked due to a lack of moisture. So, avoid using alcoholic wipes to clean your tattoo.


Well, We think now you know what happens if you use scented soap on a tattoo. 

Scented soaps have complex chemical compounds which help them achieve their scent. These compounds can irritate your skin, resulting in rashes, itching, and scabbing. Furthermore, some of these compounds can react with the ink, causing tattoo fading. Sometimes, these compounds can cause skin infections. 

We hope this article helped in your tattooing journey. We wish you all the best and hope that your ink stays pristine!

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