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What is Bepanthen for tattoos?
Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment has been used for years by tattoo artists to help heal their clients’ tattoos. It’s a popular aftercare product that helps keep the skin moisturized and prevents infection. But, is Bepanthen still good for tattoos in 2023?
Although there is a lot of debate around the use of Bepanthen for tattoos it is still good for healing Tattoos. It creates a breathable layer to protect and moisturize the skin, prevents scabbing and is anti inflammatory. However it isn’t vegan as it contains Lanolin from sheep. Altogether it is safe and effective as tattoo aftercare for tattoos.
However, you need to be careful to use the right type of Bepanthen and to use it correctly.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using Bepanthen for proper tattoo aftercare, whether or not to use it, mistakes to avoid and some alternatives.
If you need general aftercare advice check out this post After Tattoo Care – Everything You Need To Know
Bepanthen For Tattoos – Pros & Cons
Bepanthen has some benefits and drawbacks when it comes to healing tattoos.
Bepanthen For Tattoos – Pros
1 – Skin-soothing ingredients
On the plus side, Bepanthen is known for its skin-soothing properties due to its active ingredient of Dexpanthenol, which is a form of Vitamin B5 that helps promote healed tissue growth.
Additionally, Bepanthen contains ingredients that have been shown to maintain a healthy moisture level to prevent scabbing and help the natural regeneration process of the skin.
It is suitable even for sensitive skin.
2 – Easily available
Another benefit of Bepanthen is that it’s easily available and can be found in most drug stores and supermarkets, making it an affordable and convenient aftercare option.
Most clients can easily pick up a tube on their way home from their tattoo appointment without too much hassle.
3 – Inexpensive option
Bepanthen is also relatively inexpensive in comparison to many aftercare products, making it a great option for those on a budget.
4 – It comes in a tube which prevents contamination risk
This is a really important consideration for me. Bepanthen comes in a tube, not a pot like a lot of aftercare products. Using a pot is a huge risk for contamination of the contents.
Because Bepanthen comes in a tube this reduces the risk of the ointment being contaminated and spreading an infection to the tattoo.
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This is hugely important.
5 – Doesn’t contain fragrances
Unlike some tattoo aftercare products, Bepanthen doesn’t contain fragrances, colorants or preservatives which makes it easier on the skin.
6 – It has stood the test of time
Finally, Bepanthen has stood the test of time. It’s been used by tattoo artists and clients alike for basic tattoo aftercare for years which suggests it is doing something right!
Bepanthen For Tattoos – Cons
1 – Stickiness and Oilyness
One of the major drawbacks of Bepanthen is its sticky consistency, which can make it difficult to apply and remove. It is oily and can seep into clothes and leave staining. However, this can be mitigated by only using a really small amount which is all that is needed.
2 – It Contains Lanolin
Bepanthen contains lanolin, which is a waxy substance extracted from sheep’s wool. Although it is a natural ingredient some people can be allergic to it.
3 – Bepanthen isn’t Vegan
As mentioned above, the cream contains Lanolin which comes from sheep, meaning that Bepanthen is not suitable for vegans. We will discuss some Vegan alternatives later.
Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment Ingredients
So what’s actually in Bepanthen nappy rash cream? If you know what’s in it you can work out if you may have an allergic reaction to it.
Here are the Ingredients:
Aqua, Lanolin, Paraffinum liquidum, Petrolatum, Panthenol, Prunus amygdalus dulcis oil, Cera alba, Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Ozokerite, Glyceryl oleate, Lanolin alcohol.
This amazing skincare ingredient is a derivative of pantothenic acid, a B complex vitamin. It’s Pro Vitamin B5.
Not only does it help to keep your skin soft, supple, and hydrated but its anti-inflammatory properties make this perfect for calming the irritation of a new tattoo.
It also has the ability to deeply penetrate skin layers so it helps tattoo healing from within!
A research study looked at Dexpanthenol use specifically for tattooed skin and found it safe and well tolerated. However, it’s important to note this was not on freshly tattooed skin.
This natural waxy substance is derived from sheep’s wool and helps to provide deep skin hydration.
Lanolin is an occlusive moisturizer, a lifesaver for skin! it locks in hydration by reducing water loss and has a protective effect.
Bear in mind it is not suitable for vegans as it comes from the sebaceous glands of sheep.
However, some people can be allergic to Lanolin and it can cause skin irritation and redness if you have a sensitive skin type. If you are allergic to wool you are likely to be allergic to Lanolin.
In that case, it’s best to use an alternative aftercare product to Bepanthen
Prunus amygdalus dulcis oil
This is sweet almond oil. This is a nut-derived ingredient. The manufacturers state that any almond proteins that cause allergy should be removed during the refining process.
However, if you have a nut allergy it’s best to avoid Bepanthen and use an alternative.
Ozokerite is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon wax with origins in both mineral and petroleum sources. It’s used as atexture enhancer in creams and cosmetics.
However, there are environmental concerns around Ozokerite due to its origin in the petrochemical industry.
Skin-wise it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
Cetyl and Stearyl Alcohol
Cetearyl alcohol is a wax-like substance found in cosmetics, derived from animal and plant sources like coconut oil and palm oil. It acts as an effective emulsifier when combined with other fatty ingredients to create a smooth cream.
It’s a pretty benign ingredient and doesn’t often cause problems with most people.
Petrolatum, a byproduct of the distillation of Petroleum with unique properties for skin care applications, is renowned for its ability to form an effective barrier against moisture loss and infection-causing microbes.
It’s a form of petroleum jelly. Its melting point so close to body temperature has led it to become one of the most widely used skin protectants in the world today!
However, as it comes from petroleum refining it is not the most natural of ingredients and there are some health and environmental concerns around it.
However, it doesn’t often cause skin allergies or issues with people and is widely viewed as safe for skin.
Glyceryl Oleate is a naturally derived emulsifying agent found in plant-based oils and fats, providing an effective means to mix water with oil.
Produced from oils high in oleic acid, this sought-after substance is most often derived from sources like olive oil, peanut oil, teaseed oil, and pecan oil.
If you have a nut allergy it may be wise to avoid products with this ingredient.
Most of the ingredients in Bepanthen are pretty harmless when it comes to skin allergies. However, if you are allergic to wool or have a nut allergy you may want to avoid it and use something else.
The “Bepanthen has changed ingredients” rumor
A few years back there was a rumor going around that Bepanthen wasn’t suitable for tattoos anymore as it had changed its ingredients.
I wanted to get to the bottom of this so I contacted Bayer which manufactures Bepanthen.
Bayer consumer care emailed back confirming that NO, the ingredients hadn’t changed at all.
So that’s the truth from the horses mouth.
This rumor started doing the rounds at a time when many expensive new aftercare products started to come on the market.
It wasn’t good for their marketing efforts that there was a cheap, safe, basic alternative readily available in every drugstore and supermarket.
You do the math…
Bepanthen Tattoo Intense Care Ointment
Bapanthen more recently brought out a variation of their product specially formulated for Tattoos.
The Ingredients are: Aqua, Lanolin, Paraffinum liquidum, Petrolatum, Panthenol, Prunus amygdalus dulcis oil, Cera alba, Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Ozokerite, Glyceryl oleate, Lanolin alcohol.
This seems to be the exact same ingredients list as Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment.
It does state ” Same effective formula as Bepanthen Nappy Rash Ointment”
But the Tattoo version tends to be more expensive so you can save money by just using the original tried and tested Nappy Rash Version.
The main difference and advantage is that the Tattoo Care version has been dermatologically tested on tattoos which can put your mind to rest if you are worried. This means they have done a clinical study on its use with tattoos.
However, as the ingredients are the same, you are just as likely [or unlikely] to have an allergic reaction to this as the original version.
So what’s the Difference between Bepanthen and Bepanthen Tattoo?
There really doesn’t seem to be any difference between Bepanthen and Bepanthen Tattoo ointment other than Bepanthen Tattoo has been dermatologically tested on Tattoos. Plus it has a nice tattoo design on the packaging.
Bepanthen Plus is an antiseptic version of the ointment.
It contains Chlorhexidine Hydrochloride, an antiseptic that can cause skin irritation.
While this antiseptic cream is a great product for cuts and scrapes it is NOT recommended for use on tattoos.
Benefits of Bepanthen for Tattoos
So why is Bepanthen so great for healing Tattoos? How does it work?
1 – It Creates a Breathable Layer
Bepanthen creates a breathable, protective layer on your skin that helps to keep out irritants and bacteria while also allowing oxygen to reach the wound area.
2 – It Prevents Moisture Loss
Bepanthen’s formula helps to lock in moisture and prevent it from escaping, keeping the tattoo nice and hydrated and stopping scabbing [which can lead to pigment loss].
3 – It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Bepanthen’s Panthenol ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce swelling and irritation.
I have recommended Bepanthen to my clients as an aftercare product for many years, before switching to using Saniderm more recently.
I still recommend it to people who are allergic to dressing films. I also still recommend it to clients to use after they have removed their tattoo bandage if their skin is dry.
I have been using it for around 10 years. That is literally thousands and thousands of tattoos.
In all that time I have only had one case of someone having a mild allergic reaction to the Bepanthen.
Even then it was only minor skin irritation.
A lady contacted me several weeks after her tattoo to say that her skin was red and itchy.
However, on further investigation, it turns out she had been using large amounts of the cream for much longer than the three days I recommended.
She had gone through 2 big tubes and was using it 3 or 4 times a day for 3 weeks after the tattoo.
This was just way too much and had left her with irritated skin.
As soon as she stopped using it, the allergy went away. She had just been overdoing it.
The tattoo had healed perfectly.
So really, in my experience over thousands of tattoos, Bepanthen is pretty safe to use.
How to Use Bepanthen for Tattoos
Applying to a Fresh Tattoo
It’s important that you speak to your own tattooist as to what they recommend for aftercare.
However, here is a basic aftercare plan using Bepanthen
- Wash your hands with soap and water before doing anything.
- Wash down the fresh tattoo with gentle soap and lukewarm water
- Pat the tattoo dry using something clean like a paper towel.
- Apply a very thin layer of Bepanthen to the tattoo.
- Repeat this sequence 2 to 3 times a day for around 3 days after you get the tattoo.
NB – If the Bepanthen is too thick you can warm the tube in a glass of warm water to make it spread more easily.
Applying to an Established Tattoo
Bepanthen is great if you have dry skin over your tattoo when it’s fully healed. Use a very thin layer to soothe and moisturize the skin to have a vibrant tattoo.
Dabbing a few dots of the ointment on the skin and leaving it a minute to warm up makes it easier to spread without dragging the skin.
When to stop using Bepanthen on tattoos
Most tattoos should do their initial healing within the first 3 or 4 days. They then have fresh skin grown over them and are out of the most vulnerable zone. You can stop using Bepanthen at this point.
Once you are happy that your tattoo is fully healed and has no scabs or open areas, start using a high-quality moisturizer or tattoo balm to keep the skin hydrated and maintain the color vibrancy of your tattoo.
Bepanthen Vs Sudacrem For Tattoos
Sudacrem should never be used to heal tattoos. It doesn’t allow the skin to breathe and may cause infection due to moisture being trapped under the ointment layer.
Bepanthen is the preferred choice by tattoo artists due to its active ingredients, which aid healing and prevent infection.
Bepanthen also locks in moisture, helping to stop scabbing/crusting and reduce pigment loss during the healing process.
Bepanthen Vs Vaseline For Tattoos
Vaseline should never be used to heal tattoos.
It is oily and blocks the natural skin barrier function as well as potentially drawing out the tattoo ink. Bepanthen is much better for healing tattoos as it allows the skin to breathe while still locking in moisture and preventing dryness.
Bepanthen also has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce swelling.
Is Bepanthen Vegan?
No, Bepanthen isn’t vegan as it contains Lanolin which comes from sheeps wool.
Vegan Alternatives to Bepanthen
Thankfully other good tattoo aftercare lotion products on the market are vegan-approved.
I recommend After Inked to my Vegan clients
Alternatives to Bepanthen
There are plenty of alternatives to Bepanthen. I now mostly use Saniderm Tatoo bandages for most of my clients.
I think this is the most hygienic and safest way to heal a tattoo as it protects it from bacteria for the crucial first 24 – 48 hours
Saniderm or plastic tattoo wrap for healing tattoos
- Protects the tattoo from bacteria in the vulnerable early stages.
- Stops the new tattoo sticking to clothes
- Prevents the oily residue of tattoo ointments getting on clothes
- You need to have a tattooist who is willing to use this. However, most do these days.
- Tricky to put on some areas
You may find this post helpful.
My Tattoo Looks Smudged Under Saniderm. Help – What Do I Do?
Also rarely some people have a Saniderm allergic reaction – find out more here.
Saniderm Allergic Reaction and Tattooing – The Truth
Coconut Oil For Tattoos
Some tattooists recommend coconut oil for healing tattoos. Although coconut oil is gentle and mildly antiseptic I’m not a fan of using it to heal tattoos.
This is because it always comes in a tub or pot. Not a tube.
Any product in an open pot or tub is vulnerable to contamination wih bacteria. People keep putting unsanitized hands in it to remove the product.
This is a huge infection risk.
It’s an aspect of tattoo aftercare that is often overlooked.
So for this reason I don’t recommend coconut oil.
Infection risk of Aftercare products in a tub or pot
This also applies to other aftercare products that are packaged in a tub or pot. It’s unsanitary and these should only ever be applied on fully healed skin.
Make sure that any aftercare product you buy is in a tube to protect it from contamination which could infect your new tattoo.
What is the best thing to heal tattoos?
So in summary, Saniderm or similar plastic film dressing is the best thing to heal tattoos.
However, if you can’t use these wraps, Bepanthen is safe to use and will heal your tattoo nicely.
What else can you use Bepanthen for?
Bepanthen is actually a nappy ointment so of course its is good for Diaper Rash.
It can be used for other sensitive skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, and dry skin.
Bepanthen can also be used to protect wounds from infection and promote the healing of cuts and scrapes.
It’s a useful item to have in your medicine cabinet.
Bepanthen for Lips
Bepanthen is also a great moisturizer for dry and chapped lips. Bepanthen locks in moisture and helps to protect the delicate skin on your lips from further damage. Bepanthen is also fragrance-free so it won’t irritate sensitive lips. It’s an inexpensive yet effective option for lip balm.
Using Bepanthen in the tattooing process
Bepanthen is really useful to use in the process of Tattooing. You can use it alongside your usual process cream.
Because of its oily nature it is helpful for…
- Removing traces of the stencil once you have completed the outlines and don’t need it any more
- Removing ink which has got ingrained into the skin, making it difficult to see what you are doing.
Final Thoughts on Using Bepanthen For Tattoo
Bepanthen is an effective, affordable, and safe aftercare product for standard tattoo aftercare. It can be used as a substitute for other plastic film tattoo dressings if you are unable to use them. Bepanthen prevents dryness while locking in moisture, reducing swelling and inflammation of the skin which works well to heal tattooed skin and prevent scabbing.
However, if you are allergic to wool, lanolin, or nuts you should probably use another product to avoid an adverse reaction.
I hope this post has helped you to understand that Bepanthen for tattoos is still good and safe to use in 2023.
If you need advice about using cling film on a tattoo this post may help – How Long Do you keep cling film on a tattoo?
The information on the site is for entertainment only. Anything you do is at your own risk. Consult with your own Tattooist, Piercer or Doctor for advice.
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