You’ve finally made up your mind and you know exactly what you want done. Yep, you know it’s permanent and yep, you know all of the health risks associated with getting a tattoo. But did you know that many tattoo inks are not vegan? Did you know that animal products can be used from when your skin is being prepared, to the tattoo process itself and during the aftercare as well? This doesn’t mean you can’t get one, it just means you have to do a touch more research. Let’s run through the processes of getting a tattoo, where animal products come into play and what you can do to keep being a happy vegan with a beautiful new piece of art!
Depending on where you’re getting your tattoo and the nature of your own body, preparation of your skin is what your tattoo artist will probably start with. This could involve cleaning the area and/or shaving the area as even fine hairs can get in the way. You’ll want to look into the cleaning products used (generally an antiseptic soap) and also check the razor used as well. The soap used may contain fatty acids and the razor’s gel strip may contain glycerin, both of which may be derived from animals.
Different manufacturers use different ingredients for tattoo inks. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to tell what has been put into it. They may use a variety of substances derived from animals, such as glycerin, gelatin and shellac. Some even use animal bones as char. Speak to your artist prior to starting your artwork to see if they know what ingredients are used in their ink. If they’re unsure, you can always ask them what brand of ink they use and then get the ingredients based on that. There are a number of well known vegan tattoo ink brands such as Kuro Sumi, Eternal and SkinCandy just to name a few.
The number one cream to use on your fresh tattoo that you’ll read of in forums, hear of from your friends, view in blog posts, is Bepanthen Cream. Unfortunately, Bepanthen is NOT vegan friendly as lanolin is listed as one of its ingredients. Lanolin is derived from sheep wool. This doesn’t mean that your tattoo will go dry as you can’t put cream on it, instead, stick to a vegan friendly alternative. There are varying reviews out there regarding what works for each person’s skin type but some alternatives you can try include Paw Paw Ointment or check out some of the vegan friendly options we stock at our marketplace.
Do you have a tattoo already and have suggestions for others about what to use or watch out for? Can you recommend any aftercare products or artists who use only vegan products?