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Derm Ink Tattoo Balm

Saturday, 18 March 2017
derm ink tattoo balm healing tattoos review

Last year I did a video all about tattoo after care and how exactly I look after mine, including what products I use to keep them healthy and healing. 

After my YouTube channel blitz at the end of 2016, however, the video did end up being deleted along side 99% of my channel content. I intend on writing a blog post containing a lot of the info I spoke about in my video, but until then, let me catch you up a little. Obviously, to keep your tattoo and skin moisturised and healthy, it's best to apply a lotion of some sorts to help with the healing. There are loads available, and your tattooist will probably point you in the direction of the one they prefer to use. For the longest time, I was using Bepanthen, a nappy rash cream you can buy in stores like Boots, and in supermarkets. It's affordable and easily accessed, and has always done a bang-up job of keeping my ink in shape while the healing process is ongoing.

The only real drawbacks of using Bepanthen is that it's a very thick, sticky and heavy cream. It'll stick to clothing that you wear on top, and it can be a little difficult to rub in, especially as you don't want to rub very much on the raw skin where you've just been tattooed. I find the best way to apply it is to let the tube soak in hot water for a while before applying, as this softens the cream and makes it a little easier to blend into the skin. That said, whilst I am happy to use Bepanthen, I was browsing online recently and a company called Derm Ink caught my eye.

Specialising entirely in tattoo aftercare, this French-born brand offers you a product for every step in the aftercare process, believing that choosing the right products for your piece whilst it heals is just as important as choosing the right artist to ink it in the first place. I think this is a very smart and healthy approach to tattoo aftercare as after all, how we care for our piece will be reflected in how well it lasts in the future.

Whilst I've noticed it seems to be available frequently on sites aimed at men such as Mankind and Mr Porter, I've also found Derm Ink available from the likes of Harvey Nichols and Look Fantastic. I purchased my first tube of the Tattoo Balm from Mankind for £7. It contains 40ml of product and at first I thought, there's no way this will last.  I was quite disappointed at the size of the tube compared to the price tag - for about half the price I could buy around the same size of tube by Bepanthen. That said, this is an extremely travel friendly little product - I'm a big fan of the packaging, as Bepanthen, due to the thicker consistency, is generally a bit harder to squeeze out the tube, and the tube itself can often split if you buy the smaller size as it's like one of those foil tubes (you know what I'm talking about, right?). I also enjoy how photogenic this is compared to Bepanthen - sad, I know, but true. It's very simple and timeless, and I appreciate how easy it is on the eye. It definitely makes photographing the product more interesting and enjoyable!

The tattoo I chose to test this product out on was the Ankylosaurus thigh piece I recently got done by Rizza from the Bath St Tattoo Collective in Glasgow (the images on my phone above are taken from her Instagram). I was surprised at how long this stuff actually lasted, as I had this tube for just over two weeks, and I was slathering my Ankylosaurus 2-3 times a day in the stuff. I'm very liberal when it comes to applying tattoo creams and don't use it sparingly, so I'm impressed by the lasting power. The large size of Derm Ink Tattoo Balm is 125ml, and whilst it comes in at £12 - a little steep for me - I'm reassured to know that this will go a long way. If I can make 40ml last a week and a half, I'm sure the 125ml will last me months and several, if not a handful, of tattoos. 

Whilst the Derm Ink Tattoo Balm is said to have healing properties to quicken the process, I'm not sure that's something I really bought into when buying the cream. I was just looking to give it a shot and see how well it performed. That said, I feel like my thigh piece began to heal up a lot quicker than it would have had I still been using Bepanthen - I was tattooed on a Tuesday afternoon, and by Friday morning my ink was starting to get that peely way, and even then, it was healing in a different way to normal. I don't know if having my tattoo wrapped whilst I was at work was what made a difference, but normally when my tattoos are healing, I get a bit of the thin, papery layer peeling away and I also get a lot of hardened line work peeling and it's very crusty (ew). For my Ankylosaurus, I feel like it was almost entirely just papery, like dried PVA glue and you start picking it off your hands, that kinda thing. So that was new, as well. Perhaps the Tattoo Balm has a lot more moisturising properties in than I ever gave it credit for, and that's why it turned out this way. I was surprised, anyway!

One thing I would say is that for some reason although it healed up, my skin felt a little raised and textured when I ran my hand over the tattoo after. This was very unusual - I have some scarring on that leg but none of it is still raised. I decided to slather on a bit of Bepanthen before bed for a couple of nights and I noticed a difference in texture - the tattoo felt a lot smoother and flatter. This sounds so odd and tbh, I don't really know what the issue was exactly, but it's fixed now. 

Overall, I'm really impressed by how Derm Ink's Tattoo Balm healed up my little dino. I'm also impressed by how easy it is to apply, how quickly it absorbs into the skin, and how little it sticks to clothing put over the top. It's a non-greasy, lightweight, moisturising product that does what it says on the tin and healed up my tattoo beautifully. I've already repurchased the larger size in anticipation of my next tattoo session and I'm very excited to have made the discovery, simply for the pros of using it over Bepanthen - it's much easier to apply, and I don't have to worry about it taking ages to sink in before I can put clothing on. That said, I think what my routine will be now is to use this for the first week or so when the tattoo is still a little swollen and tender, and then use Bepanthen on the second week round when I'm going to bed/don't have to worry about clothing stick to it etc, as this seems to produce the best results for my tattoo.

You can buy the full-size 125ml bottle of Derm Ink Tattoo Balm for £12, or the smaller 40ml tube for £7 from the online retailers I mentioned earlier above. There's also a Tattoo Protection Cream for £16 that I believe is to be used after healing process is over - if you're serious about keeping your ink sharp, it might be worth checking out, and it's something I plan on looking into in the future.

What's your favourite tattoo healing product?

Edit: I used this for the first week on my two latest arm tattoos (done March 6th), then switched to Bepanthen for the second and they've healed perfectly. Defo a great pairing and how I'll continue to look after my tattoos from now on!

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