As Part-Owner of a tattoo aftercare company, I am of course biased as to the use of these products. Some people disagree that they are necessary in the healing process of new tattoos. We beg to differ, and would not have started our company up unless we believed in the effectiveness of tattoo aftercare.
Aftercare spray soap: the reason you want to use a gentle spray soap as opposed to a regular bar of soap for cleaning the site is simple – you do not want to go overboard and include all sorts of chemicals that are not necessary or may impede the healing process. The soap is meant to naturally thoroughly clean the wound site, that's it! Keeping your new tattoo clean is of utmost importance to the proper healing of the site. Without proper healing, you can be left with a mess, an infection that will not look like the tattoo you should have ended up with. Strong soaps that contain all sorts of harsh detergents should be avoided. Soaps loaded down with unnecessary chemicals should be avoided. Just use a mild liquid spray soap and you will be good to go. Remember to keep everything that touches your tattoo clean – including clothes that touch it and even your bedding. Keeping it clean during the healing process really does make a difference in how it heals.
Aftercare Salve: The reason you want to use a salve is to help keep the site moisturized, thereby reducing the peeling and itching that comes along with healing. The salve is to be applied after use of the soap. Again, harsh chemical preparations including alcohol or ingredients you have never heard of should be looked at with caution. For example, many contain alcohol when alcohol dries your skin, so why would you use it? Salve should be soothing to the skin, naturally.
Both products are normally used for the first 3-4 weeks (typical healing period), but can be continued afterward. Anything you do to keep the area clean and uncontaminated during the healing process will help. Of course, sun exposure during this time is a no-no, please read our other articles on that subject.