Tattoos are the art of piercing the skin repetitively with a small needle to deposit ink. This work requires upkeep to keep it healthy.
The two tattoo colors that tend to look brighter as they age are blue and black. Red tends to be the one that starts fading first.
Although the ink brand used by that tattoo artist plays a role in the life of a tattoo, everyone can experience fading issues.
If you’ve noticed your red ink fading faster than other areas in your tattoo, several strategies can help you keep it as bright as possible.
How to Make Red Tattoo Ink Stay on the Skin
The best way to make red tattoo ink stay bright is to keep the area moist while the skin heals. First, clean the artwork with anti-bacterial soap, allowing it to dry for 15 minutes. Then add a petroleum-based ointment to infuse moisture into the skin to encourage healing. This step can be repeated ten times daily for the first two weeks.
When you’ve got a new tattoo with red ink, it helps to protect it from sunlight. Even if it is winter and snow is on the ground, apply sunscreen each time you think the artwork will receive direct sunlight exposure.
If your red ink gets too much sunlight, it’ll bleach out to a pink color.
The reason why heavy moisturization works to preserve red ink involves how the skin renews itself. When the dead cells flake off, they take some of the colors with them.
Should that happen in the days after you’ve had the work finished, you can lose some of the deposits that created the design you wanted.
Even when you moisturize daily, it’s possible that red ink requires more touch-ups as time passes than other colors to maintain its vivid look.
Your artist can provide more details based on the ink quality used, the creation techniques, and other variables.
Ongoing Moisturization Can Help Red Tattoos
If you still have people telling you that it’s impossible to find a job with a tattoo, they’re wrong – unless your goal is to work at a Disney theme park. They have very real rules about what you can and cannot display. Crazy, right?
Getting a new tattoo has become as common as adding a pair of glitzy pumps to your shoe collection.
Selecting the correct cream or lotion for tattoos after they heal can preserve the red ink’s color compared to having zero care habits.
Before you get started, it helps to have a high-quality anti-bacterial soap available to clean the skin.
By giving the creams or lotions better access to your skin, they can work more effectively.
I prefer to use Dial anti-bacterial soap for the cleansing process. It’s gentle, cleans the area thoroughly, and smells nice.
Exfoliating products or a harsh scrub are great for other parts of the body, but not your tattoo.
Once you’ve stocked up on your cleansing agent, here are some of the other products I’ve found useful when caring for tattoos with red ink
1. Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
This product does an excellent job of adding moisture to your skin. Before I got my first tattoo, I had a stock of this protectant to deal with winter’s harshness on my elbows and feet.
I recommend using this product for the first two days after getting your tattoo to give the area an excellent chance to heal.
You can use a basic moisturizer after that for a couple of weeks to continue keeping the area wet.
If your tattoo stings to the point of being uncomfortable, I’ve found that Aquaphor provides a measure of relief.
2. Garden of Life Coconut Oil
When you prefer a more natural relief and moisturization product for a new tattoo, I recommend raw, extra virgin coconut oil.
Different brands are available, but I prefer Garden of Life because it is certified USDA organic and comes from non-GMO sources.
If you shop for something locally, make sure it doesn’t include added preservatives or other unwanted ingredients.
Coconut oil delivers an anti-inflammatory benefit while offering antimicrobial qualities. That makes it safe to use for those with sensitive skin.
3. Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion
Another product that takes care of the red ink in a new tattoo is this vitamin B5 lotion. You’ll receive essential moisturizers with this item that deliver up to 14 hours of support.
When I first applied this lotion to my tattoo, the red ink seemed to pop more than normal. That was enough to sell me!
I also appreciate how it doesn’t use perfumes or fragrances that can dry out the skin, creating the urge to apply more product.
Lubriderm is an essential component of my daily regimen. I apply this lotion in the morning and during my bedtime routine.
4. Dove DermaSeries
Dry skin runs in my family. I can remember visiting a dermatologist when I was little because I’d get these red, scaly patches all over my body after taking a shower.
At first, they thought I had psoriasis or eczema. It turns out that my skin reacts to the disinfecting agents in the water supply.
We used a shower filter to solve that issue. After moving out, I added this Dove product to my routine.
It uses panthenol, niacinamide, and stearic acid to encourage severely dry skin to start healing. The lotion is surprisingly light, and it feels great on the skin.
If your tattoos like to itch, I highly recommend giving this product a try. It might become your favorite lotion to use.
The facial cleansing bar within this series is another essential part of my daily routine.
5. Tattoo Goo Renew
If you’re like me, you don’t always have the time to apply multiple products to your tattoo. Even this morning, the alarm rang early, and I slept through it.
When you have ten minutes to eat breakfast, prep your face, and eliminate the bed head, moisturizing a tattoo doesn’t always happen.
That’s why I keep a container of Tattoo Goo Renew in my car. It provides a moisturizing effect while providing SPF 30 sunblock.
It adds vibrancy to older ink, including red colors, and keeps everything looking great.
If you need to go outside while your tattoo heals, I’d recommend using this option to ensure premature fading doesn’t start.
6. Billy Jealousy Tattoo Lotion
I love this product because a little bit often goes a long way. It takes about a pea-sized dollop to cover my red ink with moisturizing goodness.
This lotion dries faster than most without creating core-clogging problems. If you’re dealing with acne because of heavier creams, I think you’ll love the results that are possible with this option!
It uses grape seed and rosemary oils to protect the skin from sun damage. You’ll receive a good dose of green tea leaf extract with each application to soothe irritated areas, while shea butter encourages long-term moisturization.
It’s not always easy to find products that work with oily skin. This lotion gets the job done without any colorants, sulfates, or parabens.
7. Stories and Ink Tattoo Care
Some tattoos get red and inflamed during the healing process. I’ve even had a couple that seemed like they were healing great at first, only to discover that they’d become swollen and uncomfortable in the third or fourth week.
When that happens, I love applying this product to the affected area. Although a suspected infection should be seen by a doc, I’ve found great results are possible with only a few applications.
I’ve even applied this lotion to the skin before getting a tattoo to ensure the area was ready for the new ink.
The product uses vegan, hypoallergenic ingredients to ensure it provides a smooth and gentle result. One tube gets you about 45 uses on a small tattoo.
8. Curel Itch Defense
This lotion is another solid choice to consider. It contains a lot of ingredients that work well with tattooed skin, including vitamin B5, ceramides, and shea butter.
When I need to take care of my older tattoos in a hurry, it’s nice to have a bottle in the bathroom or pantry.
Some of my tattoos like to itch, even after a filtered shower. When I apply this lotion to the affected area, the problem fades without causing the red ink to do the same.
9. Black Rose Tattoo Care
When heavy-duty protection is necessary for a tattoo, this product steps up to create impressive results. Although it has fragrance (aloe vera!), it still does a great job of delivering a premium outcome.
I like how it works to preserve the intensity of my tattoo colors. My best experience with it happened after applying it right after getting some new ink.
It soaks in fast, is resistant to sweat, and delivers deep moisturization. I typically get about a month’s worth of use from a single container.
Is It Worthwhile to Keep Red Tattoo Ink Bright?
When tattoos start fading, the easiest way to restore their appearance is to have an artist re-color the art. By giving each area a fresh dose of high-quality ink, you can sport the look you love with additional confidence and zero fading.
My first tattoo was an Irish cross to honor my grandma. She was super proud of her heritage, and I wanted to keep her memory alive by commemorating that part of my culture with some fresh ink.
I originally wanted the cross’s interior to be green, but the artist adamantly refused. “I will only do this work in red, or you can find someone else to do it!” he declared.
I went with red. It was a great decision! I still get more compliments on that design than on any of the other work I’ve had done.
Deciding if you want to keep the red ink bright is a personal choice. Some people like the faded look because it adds some charm and character.
Others look for a refresh because newer tattoos make the older ones look dull and boring.
Please remember to follow the instructions your artist provided to ensure you’re taking care of yourself and your new tattoo correctly.