For thousands of years, we’ve used tattoos to express our beliefs and individuality. From ancient Egypt to contemporary times, tattoos have certainly changed, but some fundamentals have remained. And one of those constants is the skin inflammation and swelling you experience after getting a tattoo. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way when it comes to addressing those conditions effectively.
Additionally, CBD’s antioxidants may assist in fighting against free radicals in the body. Studies suggest that black ink tattoos can trigger free radical production, and these agents have the potential to trigger severe health issues. So, in addition to helping you recover after a tattoo, taking CBD may offer additional protective health benefits.
How Tattoos Work
Now, one product that may help speed up tattoo healing is CBD oil. Of course, cannabidiol (CBD) oil products aren’t exactly new: CBD has been valued as a medicinal supplement for centuries. And modern research suggests that CBD may help reduce swelling and inflammation while promoting cell repair. So it’s not surprising to see CBD topicals such as lotions, balms, and ointments finding their way in the tattoo industry and gaining traction for their potential healing benefits.
Unlike over the counter painkillers, CBD is a plant-based, natural compound. Additionally, many painkillers come with minimally effective anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, they often carry a risk of triggering numerous adverse effects. As such, exploring an alternative option, that carries few potential side effects, may be a great choice to speed up the healing process for your tattooed skin.
It’s just a fact: getting a tattoo is painful, and not everybody can endure the physical process. Some may be fearful or anxious. And after the tattoo is done, you’ll still need time to heal. To help ease the pain, tattoo artists may now recommend CBD products, leading industrialized hemp companies to launch tattoo-targeted, natural CBD products.
Don Hayes-Ranns is one of many people creating CBD tattoo products. Leveraging his background as a chemist, Hayes-Ranns co-founded Tattoo Lovers Care, a line of CBD-infused creams and salves designed to help tattoos heal faster and look their best. “Most [tattoo] aftercare companies are really just focused on the healing [the wound] immediately after being tattooed,” he says. Instead of just focusing on healing, Tattoo Lovers Care creates products that are aimed at keeping tattoos looking as fresh as possible after they’re healed, too.
The company currently stocks two products: a salve, which is step one in what is meant to be a two step process. Containing 100 milligrams of CBD per a two ounce container, the salve is designed for use during the first few days of the healing process, when the tattoo is still raw and swollen. The second product is a cream, which contains 50 milligrams of CBD per two ounce container and is meant to be used once the tattoo reaches the peeling and flaking phase of healing, though you can continue using the cream for as long as you’d like after the tattoo is healed.
What’s the purpose of CBD tattoo products?
CBD is shorthand for cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in cannabis (AKA hemp and marijuana plants). Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the other major chemical component of cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive, so it won’t get you high. Instead, users laud it for its ability to limit anxiety by activating serotonin receptors, dampen pain, and even treat seizure disorders by reducing the frequency and severity of episodes—it’s worth noting that there’s no significant clinical evidence verifying these claims, though.
Nevertheless, some studies suggest that in a serum, balm, or lotion, CBD has anti-itch, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2007 study from the Journal of Dermatological Science even found that CBD can help treat psoriasis; reducing redness and flaking and leading to more balanced skin. This is why skincare companies are increasingly incorporating the ingredient into their products. It’s also why some tattoo artists are incorporating CBD-aftercare into their routines—tattoos swell the skin and can cause itching during the healing process.
Because the recreational usage of cannabis is still federally illegal in most countries (it’s only legal in Canada, Georgia, South Africa, and Uruguay), very little research has been conducted on its effects and how it’s processed by the body. One of the few things we know is that when inhaled or ingested, our bodies process cannabinoids using our endocannabinoid system. But what happens when we apply them topically? Since so little research has been conducted on the subject, there’s no definitive answer on whether cannabinoids can penetrate the skin’s surface (and surface penetration is necessary if the CBD products are going to affect tattoos, which are embedded in the dermis, the second layer of skin).