Whether you’re a soap or body wash kind of person, it’s important to choose one that won’t irritate your new tattoo while it’s still in the healing process. The thing to keep in mind is that tattoos are wounds, and you wouldn’t wash broken, healing skin with something that could do further damage, right? When it comes to cleansers, gentleness is key. To learn more about what to look for when soap shopping, we talked to dermatologists Dr. Mona Gohara and Dr. Ellen Marmur for their tips and product recommendations for the best soaps that are raising the bar.
Dove Body Wash and Beauty Bar
Gohara’s go-to recommendation for those with new tattoos? Dove Body Wash ($9; target.com) or Beauty Bar ($13 for 8; target.com). Gohara says the most important thing is to identify a non-soap cleanser that isn’t irritating, and to look for one “that doesn’t strip the skin of essential nutrients.” The body wash is sulfate-free and is formulated with the brand’s sulfate-free cleansers, while the beauty bar is clean-rinsing and is made with the brand’s signature moisturizing cream and DEFI technology to replenish nutrients lost in the skin during cleansing. “Irritating the skin with other more harsh cleansers can fade tattoo colors and create itchy dry skin that further irritates,” Gohara explains. “This is perfect for use when your tattoo is fresh and the skin needs more TLC.”
H2Ocean Blue Green Canadian Foam Soap
Great for travel thanks to its compact size, this water-based foaming soap ($6; amazon.com) is vegan and super gentle. It’s packed with aloe vera to moisturize the skin while keeping your art disinfected. It’s also free from parabens and fragrance, in addition to being vegan.
Pears Transparent Soap
This tried-and-true brand boasts 100 years of history and its transparent, fragrance-free soap ($5 for 3; bedbathandbeyond.com) is a favorite for a reason. Its glycerin-based formula also features natural oils like rosemary and thyme for a clean that won’t harm your art.
Neutrogena Transparent Facial Soap Bar
A classic that’s wallet-friendly ($3; ulta.com), Marmur likes this soap for those with tattoos and notes that those of us with new tattoos should avoid scented soaps. “They can irritate your tattoo and make the color fade faster,” she says. Her advice is to wash gently with your fingers and avoid harsh washcloths while your tattoo is in the healing phase. Neutrogena’s pure, gentle formula is hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain detergents or dyes. It can be used on the face or body, as well.
Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
Because she believes in avoiding fragrances, Marmur is also a fan of the Dove Beauty Bar ($13/8 bars; target.com), but advises that those with new tattoos opt for the sensitive iteration. If you’re prone to fragrance-related irritation, this soothing formulation cleanses skin gently without scent.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap — Baby
Designed for babies, this certified organic, vegan option ($16; amazon.com) works well for those with skin sensitivities in general. It’s also fragrance-free, but contains double the olive oil as Dr. Bronner’s original version, making it good for those with new tattoos, in addition to those with allergies. Though it is formulated without detergents, it still produces a satisfyingly rich lather so your regularly scheduled shower experience won’t be disrupted.
Babo Botanicals Sensitive Skin Fragrance-Free Hydra Therapy Wash
Marmur recommends this unscented cleanser ($6; babobotanicals.com). Another one that works for face or body, this gentle, sulfate-free sudsing liquid works for those with skin that’s dry, sensitive, or even eczema-prone. The plant-based formula soothes and relieves itchiness as it cleans, too.