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Why Lanolin Can Be Baaaaad for Tattoos

Lanolin is Baaaad for Tattoos

When you get a new tattoo, recommendations on how to take care of it vary depending on who you ask. The information can be overwhelming and conflicting. Many products that probably come up as recommendations are products that aren’t made for healing tattoos and, due to some offending ingredients, can actually harm fresh ink.

One of those offending ingredients is Lanolin. Here, we break down what lanolin is, and why it’s not recommended for tattoos.

What is lanolin?

Lanolin is an oily substance that is extracted from sheep’s wool. It goes through a refining process and the resulting substance (anhydrous lanolin) is then used in personal care products like lotions, makeup and shaving cream.

Lots of products traditionally recommended for healing tattoos contain it

Specifically, products like Aquaphor, A&D Ointment and Bepanthen contain lanolin.

Why is it bad for tattoos?

If you’ve ever worn a wool sweater and noticed skin irritation, chances are you could be allergic to lanolin. It has been known to cause allergic reactions in some, and can also pull color out of tattoos and clog pores. All things you don’t want when your skin is healing from a tattoo.

Lanolin contains pesticide residue

Sheep are commonly dipped in pesticides because they are susceptible to pests. Even after the lanolin extracted from their wool is refined, residue of these pesticides linger. To be fair, the amount of pesticides found in lanolin is seemingly similar to the amounts found in non-organic foods. (Source 1 and 2 respectively) But for those who are attempting the daunting task of avoiding toxins all together, avoiding lanolin would be a good idea.