Peony is a tattooed tattoo enthusiast who loves studying and discussing tattoo history and meanings. Japanese themes are her favorite.
Keep your tattoos looking fresh and vibrant with DIY tattoo scrubs. You don’t need to shell out excess cash for exfoliators made “exclusively for tattoos.” Here are some simple recipes using ingredients right in your kitchen pantry.
Exfoliation is one of the ways we can keep our tattoos looking fresh and new by sloughing off the dead, outer layers of our skin that accumulate and clog pores. Proper exfoliation will not only brighten a dull tattoo, but also improve your overall skin condition and help your skincare products (such as moisturizers) penetrate better and work more efficiently.
DIY Tattoo Scrub Recipes
We've chosen to post these particular recipes because we've tried them, they are uncomplicated to make and do not require any fancy cosmetic ingredients.
Simple Sugar Scrub Recipe
Some people might use salt (we have a recipe below for that) to replace sugar and that’s perfectly fine too. However, sugar is a smooth particle (microscopically) as opposed to salt, which has sharp and jagged edges. Due to this, sugar scrubs can be used twice a week, while the more abrasive salt scrubs should only be used once in the same week.
Granulated Sugar : Olive/Coconut oil*
2 : 1
Tattoo Invigorating Coffee Scrub Recipe
Coffee lovers, we got you. This not only re-purposes the used coffee grounds you might otherwise throw out, but it also smells amazing and feels revitalizing.
The caffeine found in coffee grounds is a stimulant that also improves blood flow and may temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Coffee Grounds : Brown Sugar : Coconut Oil*
2 : 1 : 1
Detoxifying Himalayan Pink Salt Tattoo Scrub
Himalayan Pink Salt is said to an excellent anti-inflammation and detoxification ingredient due to the trace minerals contained. However, salt scrubs are generally more aggressive due to their abrasive structure and should only be used once a week at most.
Fine Himalayan Pink Salt : Coconut Oil
2 : 1
Nourishing Oatmeal Honey Tattoo Scrub
Clinical studies have shown that oats are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Not only do they help comfort any irritation, tightness or itch but are skin protective.
* Oats are not recommended if you have Celiac Disease, unless you are using gluten-free oats—most “normal” oats have gluten.
Finely ground oats : Honey
2 : 1
Directions for Mixing Scrub Ingredients
- Clean and dry your air-tight container (we use mason jars because of how versatile it is for other purposes when not storing scrubs, and we get them cheap) or use a new ziplock bag.
- Mix all the ingredients as stipulated in the recipe chosen and store them in your container or bag of choice.
- That’s basically it!
How Long Do These Scrubs Keep For?
In a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight, these keep for around 1 month (or more). But make sure that they are away from humidity or moisture and to avoid having water go in the scrub. Using a spoon or scoop is ideal, it will minimize any chance of water dripping in from wet hands.
TIP: To extend the shelf life of your scrubs, you can prick a vitamin E oil capsule and empty that into your scrub, mixing thoroughly. Vitamin E oil is a natural preservative that is found in many skincare products due to its anti-oxidizing properties.
How to Properly Exfoliate Tattooed Skin
- Make sure that your tattoo is completely healed. (It will take one month or longer, depending on how well you heal.) Do not scrub on fresh tattoos, that’s akin to rubbing salt on an open wound.
- In the shower and on damp skin, grab an amount that is appropriate for your tattoo size and gently rub in circular motions. Do not use force and do not scrub frantically. Easy does it.
- You might feel that the sugar is getting smaller, you might not even feel it anymore. That’s perfectly fine as the sugar will dissolve with body heat.
- Rinse off well to get rid of any remaining sugar and residue.
- Dab dry your skin, moisturize and you’re done!
Tattoo Exfoliating Scrubs to Avoid
Most over-the-counter exfoliants or scrubs will work on healed tattooed skin. However, those with spherical micro-beads are notorious for being environmental pollutants when it leaves our drainage system. They are washed out into large bodies of water by the billions every single day.
If you think that once it leaves you it’s not your problem, then think again. These micro-beads absorb toxins (e.g. pesticide) like sponge to water, they then get ingested by marine life causing a chain reaction that could possibly end up coming back to you, on your dinner plate.
Due to that, they’ve even been banned in several countries because authorities are finding it to be such a huge destruction to the ecosystem and the world's water resource in general.
So the best tattoo scrub would be one that you can easily make yourself — you know exactly what you put in it.
Is It Damaging to Exfoliate Sensitive or Acne-prone Skin?
It’s a misguided skincare myth that sensitive or acne-prone skin should never be exfoliated. Exfoliation is beneficial in so many ways, but should always be done in a method that best suit your particular skin type.
It only becomes a problem when you exfoliate abrasively or too frequently. We wouldn’t even suggest that for normal skin types, however tolerant they may be.
Sensitive and acne-prone skin should opt for exfoliation methods that are gentle, and at minimal frequency in order to protect reactive and fragile skin. One of them is the oatmeal scrub listed below, it's not only an effective scrub but it's also moisture retaining. When skin is healthy and hydrated, it functions like a well-oiled machine.
If you'd like to read more about how to keep your tattoos looking bright and new, read my other article: How to Keep Your Tattoos Looking Fresh and Prevent Fading.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Peony