Dry Healing Tattoos vs. Moist Healing: A Scientific Comparison

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If you’re planning to get a tattoo, you’ve probably heard a lot of different opinions about aftercare. One topic that’s been debated is whether to let your tattoo dry heal or to use a moisturizer (aka “moist” healing).

Dry healing tattoos refers to the process of allowing a tattoo to heal naturally, without the use of any ointments, lotions, or other aftercare products.

While some people swear by dry healing, others claim it’s a recipe for disaster. So, which one is the right choice for your tattoo?

Instead of relying on opinions, let’s explore what science has to say on the topic. In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of dry healing tattoos and give you the information you need to make an informed decision about aftercare for your tattoo.

What is Dry Healing?

Dry healing refers to the process of allowing a tattoo to heal naturally, without the use of any ointments, lotions, or other aftercare products. This means that the tattoo is left to dry out and scab over on its own, rather than being kept moist and protected with a healing agent.

While this might sound like a natural way to care for your tattoo, there are some risks involved.

…and moist healing?

Moist healing is a method of wound care that involves maintaining a moist environment around the wound to promote faster and more effective healing.

moist healing tattoo

What Research Says About Dry Healing Tattoos vs Moist Healing

After researching this topic for several days, the conclusion is clear: medical literature and wound care experts recommend moist wound healing as the optimal method for healing wounds and tattoos.

The most important points we found in the medical literature we analyzed include:

  • Keeping wounds moist is generally recommended to speed up the healing process and reduce the chances of complications like infection and scarring.
  • On the other hand, dry healing tattoos can cause tissue dehydration, which can slow down healing and increase the likelihood of complications.

To back this up, we’ve compiled a list of relevant articles for you to refer to for more information:

Benefits of Dry Healing Tattoos

Although medical literature and wound care experts recommend moist healing for wounds and tattoos, dry healing has some “benefits”:

  • Price: dry healing tattoos requires no costs for moisturizers or other skincare solutions.
  • Minimal interference: with dry healing, there is no need for additional aftercare products or wrapping, which can be seen as a benefit for those who prefer a hands-off approach.
  • Natural scabbing: dry healing can result in a natural scab forming over the tattoo, which (weirdly enough) some individuals find aesthetically pleasing.
dry healing tattoo

Benefits of Moist Healing Tattoos

As mentioned earlier, medical literature and wound care experts have agreed that moist healing is the recommended method for healing wounds and tattoos. There are several benefits associated with moist healing, including:

  • Provides a moist environment that can accelerate the healing process: By keeping the wound moist, it creates an environment that helps promote faster and more effective healing. Can reduce the risk of infection and scarring: By keeping the wound moist and clean, it helps to prevent infection and reduce the risk of scarring.
  • Helps prevent tissue dehydration: Moist healing can help to prevent tissue from drying out, which can impede the healing process.
  • Provides relief from pain and discomfort: By keeping the wound moist, it can help to soothe any pain or discomfort that may be associated with the wound.
  • Can promote the growth of new tissue: Moist healing can help to promote the growth of new tissue, which is important for the healing process.
  • Helps maintain a healthy balance of fluids and nutrients in the wound: By keeping the wound moist, it can help to maintain a healthy balance of fluids and nutrients in the wound, which is important for the healing process.
moist healing tattoo

Discover how to properly care for your new tattoo using moist healing with our step-by-step tattoo aftercare instructions.

What Can I Put On a Dry Healing Tattoo? Dry Healing Instructions

If you choose to dry heal your tattoo, it’s important to take proper care of it to keep it healthy and clean.

Treating your tattoo like an open wound is essential, so you should clean it regularly. Use a gentle tattoo-specific soap and warm water to clean it two to three times per day. Handle it with care to avoid irritation.

Dry it with a clean, paper towel or air dry it. During the dry healing process, avoid applying any lotions, creams, or other moisturizing agents.

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is important for skin hydration from the inside out.

Avoid touching your tattoo as much as possible, to prevent the introduction of bacteria into the open wound. To prevent lint and debris from sticking to the open wound, wear loose and breathable cotton clothing.

Are you wondering how to clean your tattoo properly? Check our guide on the right way to clean your tattoo.


Moist healing is the optimal method for healing tattoos, as recommended by medical literature. It promotes faster healing, reduces the risk of complications, and promotes the growth of new tissue.

While dry healing tattoos may be an option, it’s important to weigh the potential drawbacks. Proper aftercare is essential for maintaining the health and longevity of your tattoo, and seeking professional advice is recommended.

Make your choice between dry and moist healing with care and attention to aftercare.


Can I let my tattoo air dry?

When washing your tattoo, you can let it air dry or pat it dry gently with a clean paper towel. It’s essential to avoid covering the tattoo immediately after washing it because this can trap excess moisture and create an environment for bacteria to grow. This is different from “dry healing” a tattoo, which involves not using any ointments or lotions during the healing process.

Does moisturizer speed up tattoo healing?

Yes, by using moisturizer, you can promote faster healing and reduce the risk of complications, like becoming dry and dehydrated, which can lead to scabbing, flaking, and itching.

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