Is Bar Soap Bad for Tattoos, and Should You Use It?

Cleansing your skin after getting a tattoo is important, but what cleanser should you use? Is bar soap bad for tattoos?  Lets have a look.

Your skin is an excellent barrier against harmful chemicals and bacteria and even aids temperature regulation to cool you down or warm you up. However, your skin isn’t an impenetrable barrier, and certain chemicals can cause skin irritation.

If you’ve just gotten a tattoo, you will have to pay closer attention to what you put on your skin because a tattoo is essentially an open wound, making your skin more vulnerable to infection and damage from chemicals in your skincare products.

While changing your body lotion, serums, moisturizers, and toners may be an obvious cause for concern, should you worry about the kind of soap you use? Can bar soap harm your tatted skin?

The truth is that there is no clear evidence to prove that bar soap may or may not damage tattoos. Still, tattoo artists agree that the soap you use to cleanse the tattoo ought to be mild, antibacterial, and free of harsh chemicals, including alcohol and fragrances.

How Soap Affects Tattoos

Since tattoos can become infected, keeping the area clean is important. When the skin scabs covering the wound weaken, inflame, and eventually lift off the skin, your tattoo could easily be ruined.

While it is healing, the chemicals you use to clean your ink could be just as damaging as poor personal hygiene. Many soaps have abrasive components that can irritate the skin and slow the healing process when applied to a new tattoo.

In the section below, we’ll discuss some of the most common components in bar soaps and how they can affect your tattoo.

Fragrances in Bar Soaps Could Cause Adverse Skin Reactions

The majority of soaps include fragrances as one of their primary constituents. While having a pleasant scent is usually desirable, the harsh chemicals used to remove odor are the main factor in severe skin reactions.

Since freshly inked skin is a wound, these synthetic substances could result in rashes and other skin conditions.

What About Essential Oils?

To provide a sweet aroma or offer antimicrobial characteristics, “naturally fragranced” bar soaps typically contain essential oils, which tattoo artists advise against.

Due to their links to inflammatory reactions, infections, blistering, and even potential phototoxicity, essential oils can be harmful to the skin. Therefore, it is advisable to steer clear of soaps that contain essential oils if you have newly tatted skin.

Can I put Sunscreen on My Tattoo?

Sunscreen is a good idea for protecting tattoos from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Make sure you apply sunscreen liberally every day and look for a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Keeping your tattoo bright and vibrant for years to come is as easy as applying sunscreen! When you have a new tattoo, soap plays an important role in the healing process, and Dove bar soap is one of the best soaps to use.

The product is gentle and non-irritating, which makes it ideal for tattoos. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer after washing your tattoo with Dove bar soap twice a day.


The bar soap manufacturing process requires the use of alcohol. It is used as a catalyst in the chemical reaction between the melted fats and sodium hydroxide solution. You will generally find alcohol in glycerin soap.

Alcohols damage the skin’s natural barrier, enabling skin irritants to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. It also allows moisture to escape. The delicate skin surrounding your tattoo will become susceptible to inflammation and irritation with continued use, so we recommend avoiding soaps that contain alcohol.

Sulfates in Bar Soaps

You may have heard that sulfates are often listed as “bad” chemical components of shampoos and other skincare products.

These chemical components are what make these products foam. However, it can cause itchiness and irritation to sensitive skin, so you should avoid soaps with sulfates.

Are Bar Soaps a Breeding Ground for Bacteria?

Many believe using bar soaps on a tattoo isn’t a good idea because microorganisms may thrive on them. However, there is no evidence to prove that bar soaps contain more bacteria than liquid soaps. If you prefer bar soap, it may be a good idea to use an antibacterial soap that is safe for tattoos.

Tattoos on the foot and wrist:

It is notoriously difficult to heal tattoos on the feet and wrists. As well as door knobs, keyboards, computer mice, dirty shoes, carpets, and other surfaces, these areas have a higher risk of becoming infected.

To avoid touching your tattoo with dirty hands, keep these areas EXTREMELY clean. A new pair of cheap shoes that can easily be cleaned in the washing machine is recommended after getting your foot tattooed. It is recommended that you wash the shoes in the washing machine before wearing them.

On the inside, all socks should be smooth and “fuzz-free”. Make sure they fit loosely.

A Few Tips for Cleaning Your Tattoo

As we have already mentioned, keeping your tattoo clean is an essential part of aftercare, but how do you do this without irritating the skin or causing adverse skin reactions? We’ve come up with a few tips to help you clean your tatted skin correctly.

1. Always Wash Your Hands First

Your hands can transfer bacteria from one place to another, so to prevent causing infection to your delicate skin, it is important to wash your hands with hand soap before cleaning your tattoo.

2. Try a Fragrance-free Soap

Whether you prefer liquid or bar soap, you should ensure that the variation you choose is free from fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin. Ensure that you wash your tattoo three to four times a day.

3. Don’t Use a Washcloth

After getting a tattoo, your tatted skin is prone to damage, so you should never use a washcloth, loofah, or anything abrasive when cleansing your skin. Simply use soap and water, cleaning the area in circular motions. Always treat your new tattoo with care, as any harsh movements could cause irritation, bleeding, and infections.

4. Rinse the Area Thoroughly

Once you’ve cleaned the area with soap, it is important to rinse all the soap off your tattoo. If you leave soap behind, you’ll find that your skin will become dry.

5. Don’t Waterlog Your Pores

Exposing your tattoo to water for a long time can cause your pores to become waterlogged, which may lead to the ink draining.

6. Pat the Area Dry Instead of Wiping

Drying the area should be done with the utmost care. Use gentle patting with a towel to remove excess moisture. Never wipe your sensitive skin abrasively, as you could risk damaging your skin and exposing it to infection.

The Best Products to Use to Clean Your New Tattoo

Here are our recommendations for soaps that you can use on your tattoos:

Dove Beauty Bar or Body Wash

The beauty bar is clean-rinsing and prepared with the brand’s exclusive moisturizing crème to restore nourishment lost during cleaning, while the body wash offers a sulfate-free alternative if you don’t want to use bar soap.

Other harsher cleaners can aggravate the skin and cause the skin to become dry and itchy. These products are ideal when your tattoo is new, and the skin needs additional care.

H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap

This foamy, gentle soap is one of the best tattoo cleansers on the market. It is made to hydrate and cleanse your tattoo while safeguarding your skin’s moisture barrier. The soap promotes hydration while cooling the skin by incorporating aloe vera into the composition.

Moreover, the water-based, vegan range is exceptionally mild and devoid of additives like parabens and fragrances that could cause irritation.

Dr. Bronner’s Baby Pure Castile Liquid Soap

This vegan, organic liquid soap is specially designed for babies and works well for anyone with skin sensitivity. It’s a great choice if you’re not a fan of bar soaps.

Additionally fragrance-free, it has twice as much olive oil as the traditional Dr. Bronner’s formulation, making it suitable for both allergy sufferers and people with new tattoos. Even though it is free of harsh chemicals, it still creates a pleasingly rich lather, ensuring that your routine shower experience is not interrupted.

Final Thoughts

On whether bar soap is bad for tattoos, tattoo lovers are divided. With liquid soap, you can pump out the product only once to prevent contamination. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is safer than bar soaps.

Whichever type of soap you choose to cleanse your tattoo, you should always go for mild, fragrance-free soaps specially designed for sensitive skin. It is also a good idea to choose antibacterial varieties to reduce the chances of infection.

Want to learn more about tattoo care? Browse our website for more useful content!