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Saturday, 21 March 2015

TATTOOS: Healing with Palmers Cocoa Butter

From my many years (OK seven) of getting tattooed I have been through the healing many, many times. From this post you can see I have a tried and tested process for healing my tattoos.
However, I'm  also quite happy  to try new techniques if advised by a knowledgeable person i.e. a tattooist. 

After my recent tattoo at Brighton Tattoo Convention, Jenna Kerr recommended using Palmer's Cocoa Butter (fragrance free) to heal colour tattoos. I decided to give it a try, and I'm really pleased I did.

Normally I  would go with the highly recommended Bepanthen and cling film combo, which does give the desired  outcome, but there were some big differences between Bepanthen and Palmers Cocoa Butter.

1. The price

There is a pretty big price difference.
Bepanthen is a good quality nappy rash cream, loved by mums and tattoo fans, but it comes with a price tag to match. For a 100g tube of Bepanthen  from Tesco, you're  looking at £6.99, compared  to Palmers from Tesco, which for a 250ml bottle is £2.25/£3.00. I think the price difference speaks for itself.

2. Coverage

Bepanthen is a thick cream which is pretty sticky. Of course it is designed to moisturise sore baby bums, so you don't  necessarily  want it to be absorbed too quickly into the skin. But for tattoos it brings with it a mix of problems, including stained and greasy clothes, and a slimey consistency.
Palmer's is a much smoother cream, which glides on much easier. You need a much smaller amount of cream to cover a tattoo. For my thigh tattoo, a ball around the size of two peas would cover the tattoo sufficiently.

3. Stickiness

As mentioned before, Bepanthen is sticky. It needs to be wrapped in cling film to stop it sticking to clothes, which not only ruins the clothing, but also runs the risk of ripping  any dry skin on your tattoo off, which could affect the colour and finish.
Palmer's isn't  sticky. It absorbs into the skin quite quickly making the tattoo moisturised fast. I haven't  had to use cling film at all whilst usimg it.

4. The itch

Anyone with extensive tattoos will know about the tattoo itch. I would say 90% of my tattoos have experienced the itch whilst healing. But using the Palmer's the tattoo hasn't  itched once. I also asked Dann, who has been trialling the technique  with me and he agrees. No itch.

5. Colour

When using Bepanthen I always find I get the horrible slimey, ink/blood/Bepanthen  mix which has to be cleaned which to be honest can be quite gross, and smells pretty awful. Using Palmer's, meant no cling film, which avoided this. Thus I believe it aids with keeping the colour in the design.
I've honestly no idea on the science, but I do think the colour pigment is better with the new cream.

All in all, I am super impressed with Palmer's Cocoa Butter (fragrance free - this is pretty important) and will 100% be using it on future tattoos.

DISCLAIMER: I'm no expert in tattoo aftercare - I'm purely just sharing my impressions and experiences. If you are unsure at any time about the healing of your tattoo please consult your tattooist or GP. Tattoo infections can be very serious, though uncommon if you see a reputable studio and ensure clean and hygienic aftercare. 

What do you use to heal your tattoos?
Will you be trying Palmer's Cocoa Butter?


  1. I was always of the Bepanthen camp with my own tattoos (mainly because it came free with the tattoo), but i'll give Palmer's a try in the future!

    1. My husbands tattoo artist told him today they have changed the formula of bepanthen. It explains why when I had mine done in October (on my wrist) these little spots, almost like goosebumps, appeared on the tattoo :-(

    2. i also used bepanthen since the formula change and got the same goosebump type spots which took around 6mths to compleatly dissapear, im now using vitamins A&D ointment and so far its working a treat but ive just got the tattoo itches and ive put some palmers on and its sorted it right out.

    3. Hey i have two tattoos, one on my arm and one on my shin, i experienced the little spots on my arm a year down the line i'll still get one once in a blue moon but never had this with my leg, i dont think its the bepanthem i think its just how easily your pores get blocked with dirt as i am prone to cloged pores on my arms, i just think the contrast of the spot and the tattoo give it that goose bumpy look, stick with any breathable moisteriser like bepanthem and if you are a sufferer of clogged pores stay away from coco butters as its this and will cause the same if not worse situation which is what my artist reccomended to me when i asked about palmers :)

  2. Aveeno cream is just amazing! I'd def recommend a try. It isn't as 'hard' as this, but moisturises without clogging pores too x

  3. Hi! Thanks for the great information you havr provided! You have touched on crucuial points!

  4. I've been using Palmers on mine - got it done friday - so far no itch but the scabs have already started peeling and I'm a bit concerned. Did this happen to you too? Did it speed up the healing or have I done it wrong?

    1. I'm sure your issue is resolved by now... but I got a tattoo on Friday of last week.. using the Palmers CoCoa Butter...and by Monday it was peeling and now seems almost healed and it's not even a week later ! This is my 8th tattoo..none of the rest have healed as fast.

  5. El Gato Negro tattoo balm is great. You use a tiny amount so it doesn't feel sticky and it lasts forever. It's a solid cocoa butter mix balm in a little tin. I like that it's a vegan friendly product too. I got mine free from my tattooist though so not sure what it's like on price by comparison to Palmer's.

  6. I got my tattoo yesterday and was told by my tattooist to use bepanthen, but in work today I was told by a girl to buy cocoa butter (fragrance free) as the bepanthen started to show through my work tshirt which is pretty thick. They were told by a tattooist in New York about the cb. So on a whim I went and bought some and then looked up the internet only to find this blog post and realise I bought the exact cocoa butter. When going to take my tshirt off before trying the new cream my tshirt was stuck to my back (place of tattoo). I have just applied the Palmers cocoa butter and am hoping for the best! I found this post extremely helpful in making my decision to switch cream.

    1. You should find that the cream absorbs better than bepanthen, because bepanthen is a barrier cream so doesn't absorb as quickly as a normal moisturiser,and it shouldn't stick your clothes to you either which is always a plus!! Hope you get along with it. x

  7. I've used Bepanthen on two of mine and my most recent I used coconut oil and it was a dream! Really helped reduce the itching and I'm planning on using it for my next ones too

  8. I reacted badly with bepanthen and my tattoo ended up being rejected which I got re-done and just used moisturising cream. When I had my colour leg piece last year I used palmas coconut oil lotion and omg it's amazing it had pretty much healed within a week. I have had a foot tattoo done yesterday and I'm going down the palmas route again

  9. Bepanthen have changed their formula which now contains alcohol which isn't good for tattoos this with some of the other new ingredient is an irritant to tattoos and prolongs the itching.

  10. I’ve always used savalon on all of my tattoos, I tried bepanthen once and it made me itch badly, so reverted back to Savalon. 4 days ago I had some colour work done to my sleeve, and my sister in law told me to use Palmers Coco butter as it helps with the colour and healing. 4 days gone, and I’ve got to admit I’m shocked at how quick the tattoo is healing, I’ve had 7 tattoos and none have healed this fast by using Goo or Savalon. 100% would advise others to use Palmers Coco Butter.

  11. I have an extensive collection of tattoos and always used bepanthenam but for my last 7 I switched to Fade the Itch and I will never go back it's designed for tattoos and I never scabbed or itched and the colours are amazing no loss I highly recommend.

  12. I'm not vegan but once I found bepanthenam contained animal products I switched to Pawpaw ointments and found it worked so much better. It goes on thinner, isn't as sticky, smells fantastic and I reckon it cuts healing time down. It also has more uses than just on your fresh ink! I put it on small cuts and my dry lips.


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