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A Tattoo Artist’s Body Care Tips

January 1 | 5 minute read

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Words by Giorgi Strachan

Originally published on | June 26

As a dermal clinician passionate about exploring all facets of self-expression, from makeup trends to wellness rituals, I've recently found myself exploring the intersection between skincare and tattoos. In a landscape where body art serves as a powerful form of self-expression and storytelling, navigating the plethora of information on tattoo care can be overwhelming.

That's why I sought the expertise of Sydney tattoo artist and creative, Shaun Daniel ’Shal’ Allen. A multidisciplinary artist, Shal’s work spans fine line tattoos through to large-scale paintings that reflect his profound connection to Country and self.

"People explore tattoos for so many reasons – to mark an occasion, coming of age, loss, celebration, and to empower or feel more confident within their own skin," says Shal. "It’s a piece that they want to carry with them forever, so it’s important that you’re aware of how to take care of your tatoos and use the right products to support the skin throughout the process."

Image credit: Alexander Cooke

Here's how you can get the most out of your tattoos for years to come, according to an expert...

The art of skin prep

As with any pursuit, the key to success lies in the preparation. “Before getting a tattoo, taking care of the skin is important for optimal healing and the end result,” Shal explains. “This involves moisturising the area in the weeks leading up to your appointment and avoiding exfoliation the week of.”

When speaking to his favourite daily moisturiser, Shal calls kit:’s Body Nutrition Lotion "great”: "I prefer products that are lightweight but still hydrate my skin – it’s also great product for those who are drawn to earthy scents.”

Image credit: Ben Trueman

Post-appointment protocol

The advice on tattoo aftercare is mixed; some say to do nothing at all, while others insist on maximum skin hydration. Shal sits more on the minimalist side: ”Less is more!” he says, adding,” Avoiding the use of highly fragranced products is important for healing, particularly for the first two weeks. Nécessaire The Body Wash Fragrance Free is a great option for those who want something gentle and non-irritating for the weeks following.”

Embracing lightly hydrating products are also the way to go during this time: “Anything too heavy or occlusive should be avoided so the skin can breathe – even a body serum works well. I like Nécessaire The Body Serum.”

Image credit: Ben Trueman

The maintenance phase

Given that tattoos can change over time, including fading and spreading, maintaining a consistent body care routine becomes an important step in tattoo maintenance. “If you’re hoping to extend the life of your tattoo, I’d suggest regular exfoliating, cleansing, moisturising and most importantly, sunscreen,” shares Shal. "Leaning into products that provide the skin with hydration and protection will make a big difference.”

Augustinus Bader’s The Body Cream is a ”recent addition” to his own routine; the brand is renowned for its skin-supporting benefits thanks to its innovative TFC8® (Trigger Factor Complex) technology, which supports skin’s renewal process. “You can also pair this with a scrub once a week too,” Shal adds. ”REN Clean Skincare have a body scrub which I really like.”

Image credit: Ben Trueman

Staying sun smart

Whether or not you have tattoos, it's universally recognised that minimising sun exposure and using daily SPF50+ are essential for protecting the skin from UV damage. “A high SPF is important to keep those lines from expanding and the colour of your tattoos from fading,” emphasises Shal. “I use the MECCA COSMETICA To Save Body SPF50+ Hydrating Sunscreen. Keep this in your routine and you’ll get the very best out of your tattoos!”

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Sunscreen is only one form of sun protection. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and reapply as directed.

Image credit: Ben Trueman

For those interested in exploring some of Shal’s work, you can view his current exhibition, ‘Distant Familiarity’ now at China Heights Gallery, Sydney, until 30 June. Click here for more information.

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