As scented soap contains fragrance as an ingredient, it is harmful to wash new tattoos with for many reasons.
Even on older and healed tattoos, scented soaps might cause other issues with long-term use.
Other ingredients in scented soap cause adverse effects on tattoos.
What Happens If You Use Scented Soap On A New Tattoo?
There are many problems when you go in for the aftercare wash with scented soap. When you get a tattoo, you are told to wash the area after one or two hours. There, you have to remove the bandages and then wash the body part in sink water. You can definitely take a shower while washing. But tubs and pools are to be avoided completely. When washing or showering, the soap you use is supposed to be fragrance-free. Yet some clients will just ignore the warning and go in with scented soap.
These are the problems that might occur when you use scented soap on a freshly done tattoo:
Irritation of the skin: The tattoos are mostly sensitive on the skin as they will involve a needle. So, when you are washing the skin, you are trying to get rid of the excess fluid that was secreted during the process. The process was sensitive, and the skin went into healing mode. The skin takes a few days to heal completely right after getting a tattoo, but it is still in delicate shape. So, using soap with fragrance on the skin will end up irritating the skin. These kinds of soaps have harsh chemicals that will cause redness and even lead to an uncomfortable experience.
Dry out the skin: one of the main reasons why most people try to avoid scented soap and other skin care products is that they will end up drying the skin. The most common reason why scented soaps dry the skin is that they might contain alcohol. It might be a good product for preserving the soap and also having a good smell. But they will dehydrate the skin as they have a high vaporizing quality. So, the skin will feel as dry as the Sahara, and it might even turn wrinkled. Dried-out skin can be prone to less healing, and then the whole tattooed area will be in a bad situation.
Inflammation on the skin: Another thing about scented soaps is that they might inflame the skin. In such cases, the skin will feel red and itchy, and there might even be tiny red rashes around the tattoo. Some of the inflammation might go away, but the uncomfortableness will linger. Some clients even blamed the artist. The inflammation can be linked to the soap, specifically the fragrance part. As the fragrance is a harsh chemical, it will react with unhealed skin and further damage the skin. The inflammation is the result of the reaction between the scented soap and the tattooed skin.
Longer healing process: after getting a tattoo, usually, it’ll take a few days to a maximum of two weeks for the tattoo to heal completely. In these times, there are some don’ts that you have to follow through on. For example, no dipping and swimming and no beach. So, you might want to get your tattoo healed completely before you jump in the water. Without the healed skin, the chances of getting an infection are high with a new tattoo. When you use a scented soap on the tattooed skin, the chances are high that it will irritate the skin further. And more or less, the skin will be more sensitive. And all of this will lead to a longer healing time for the skin.
Bleeding of the tattoo ink: though this term is not for everyone, there’s a chance. The bleeding of the tattoo ink due to the scented soap is possible. Scented soaps that contain harsh chemicals will eventually cause the ink to bleed, and thus the prominent lines of the tattoos will be less visible. This will mostly happen with a new tattoo as the skin hasn’t healed completely, and the chances are high that the skin will not react well.
What Happens If You Use Scented Soap On A Tattoo Regularly?
Now that we have included the problems that you might face with scented soap and freshly tattooed skin let us also include the long-term use. Using a scented tattoo for a long time will also cause different problems. Here we are including the problems of using a scented soap on tattooed skin for a long time.
Skin allergies: when you have sensitive skin, it will react to almost everything you use. And when you get a tattoo, you are further sensitizing the skin. And then you go ahead and add a scented bar on top of that. Thus, you have two different harsh terms working on your very sensitive skin. All of these will react to skin allergies further down the line. You can contract different kinds of skin allergies, like psoriasis. They will inflame and irritate the skin. Sometimes these allergies can overstay, and you might have to go on medication for a long time.
Fading of tattoos: well, this might be the best example when we say that you have to avoid scented soaps. The chances are high that the tattoo to fade with fragrance in the aftercare. The harsh chemicals associated with the scent will tend to bleed the tattoo ink, and thus the fading will go on. With the regular use of scented soap, your tattoo might need retouching in just a year. Tattoos don’t fade right after getting them done. But with time and the use of soap, they will fade.
Blistering and peeling: The skin will definitely react with the regular use of harsh chemicals. And this is even true for regular skin, let alone tattooed skin. The chances are high that the tattoo will eventually make the peeling worse and even cause small bumps. That would be the worst-case scenario for blistering and peeling of the skin, and the terms do not apply in general. Still, the possibility is not zero.
Change of color: with regular contact with a harsh chemical on the tattooed skin, the tattoos either fade or change color. If your tattoo is not fading, it will change color. In most cases, the tattoo ink turns green or yellow. Further down the line, there can be a bad smell around the place when the infection gets worse. A color change mostly occurs due to dermatitis and infections. The black ink of the tattoo will look greyish with this.
Scented soaps are not good for the skin as they contain different kinds of harsh chemicals. Some soaps contain natural fragrances, but they can even irritate sensitive skin. And for the synthetic fragrance, they work even worse. Besides the scents, the soaps even contain different harsh chemicals that will damage the skin. Here we include different kinds of chemicals in the scented soap that will harm the skin.
Synthetic fragrance: most of the companies will include a secret formula, which turns out to be a smell. Synthetic scents are used to cover the chemical smell, so they end up at the very top of the list of ingredients. Synthetic fragrances can lead to dermatitis and allergies of all sorts.
Organic alcohol: Mostly this ingredient is known as propylene glycol. They are used for the moisturizing properties of the soap. But they are irritating and end up drying out the skin in the long term.
Phthalates: Phthalates like diethylphthalate (DEP) are a way to turn aroma chemicals from powder form to liquid form. They are put in fragrances in soap to also help strengthen the aromatic smell. The FDA has no regulation about the individual ingredients in fragrance so diethylphthalate might be used in the soap in trace amounts. They are harmful to the skin over long-term use so they should be avoided, especially for tattoos.
Is it okay to use scented soap on a new tattoo?
No, you shouldn’t be using scented soaps on your new tattoo, as it might lead to irritation and inflammation of the skin.
What happens if you don’t have unscented soap for a tattoo?
You can use a mild wash, or a body wash for washing the skin. Any kind of gentle, fragrance-free soap would work for washing the tattoo instead of the scented soap.
Scented tattoos will do more harm to the skin, and most tattoo artists will ask to avoid them. A fragrance of any kind would definitely damage the skin, and the chances of getting the tattoo faded would eventually be high. Any cosmetics containing fragrance have a high risk of skin irritation which could lead to infection. Using mild soap is the best way to wash the soap. The scented soaps should be avoided once the tattoo is healed as well because of the after-effects it causes on the tattoo over extended use.
I am a professional tattoo artist for over 10 years and successfully running a tattoo studio in Newton, Kansas. I specialize in custom designs, from traditional to modern, and love to work with clients to create a unique and meaningful piece of art. I am a certified tattoo artist and have been featured in national and international publications for my work. I’m passionate about creating beautiful and meaningful art for my clients. I believe in creating art with a purpose and committed to helping my clients express themselves through tattoos.