How to prepare for your cosmetic tattoo

Jul 5, 2023 | Cosmetic Tattoos, Paradise Guides

Are there any skin products I should avoid using on my cosmetic tattoos?

At Paradise, we want your cosmetic tattoos to stay looking fresh for as long as possible, and your pre-appointment skincare plays a big part in this! If you are planning to get a cosmetic tattoo, there are several things you need to consider before getting one. One of these considerations is your skincare routine. You may not realise it, but certain skin products ingredients can affect the outcome and longevity of your cosmetic tattoo. In this article, we will discuss the skin products that you should avoid before and after getting a cosmetic tattoo.

Why You Need to Avoid Certain Skincare Products Before Getting a Cosmetic Tattoo

Skincare products that contain certain active ingredients can cause the skin to become more sensitive and reactive, which can lead to complications during and after the tattooing process and compromise your healed results. 

We recommend discontinuing use of any active skincare ingredients for 6 week prior to your appointment.

Why 6 weeks? Skincare ingredients, such as AHA’s, BHA’s and Retinoids can continue working in our skin over a period of time, to ensure all traces of these products have left the skin layers it is important to allow your skin to have completed a natural renewal cycle (which on average, is approximately 4-6 weeks for most people). 


This skincare ingredient is the most important to avoid prior to your permanent makeup procedure. Retinoids and retinol are a type of vitamin A derivative that is commonly used in many skincare products; they exfoliate the skin and increase skin cell production (proliferation) and are known for their anti-aging and acne-fighting properties. However, these ingredients can cause the skin to become more sensitive and reactive, which can affect the outcome of your tattoo. Many skincare products and makeup labelled such things as ‘active’, ‘anti-ageing’ or ‘renewal’ can contain retinol so it is important to check all your products and stop use 6 week prior to your appointment.

Retinoids can affect the healing of tattoos in a few ways. First, retinoids and retinol increases the turnover of skin cells, exfoliates the skin and stimulates the blood vessels, making the skin to be more sensitive and reactive to the tattooing procedure and causing faded and discoloured healed results. Whilst it is safe to use retinoids and retinol skincare products once your permanent makeup treatment is completely healed, the continued use of these products on or near the  tattooed area will result in the premature fading of your cosmetic tattoo. It is recommended to avoid the tattooed area to ensure optimal results.


Exfoliants are products that contain granules or acids that help remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. While exfoliating can help improve the appearance of your skin, it can also make your skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. We recommend avoiding exfoliating acids, fruit enzyme masks or peels and facial scrubs 6 weeks prior to your cosmetic tattoo appointment.

Exfoliants to avoid:

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are types of exfoliating agents commonly used in skincare products. AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, work by loosening and removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. BHAs, such as salicylic acid, penetrate deeper into the pores to unclog them and help reduce inflammation.

While these exfoliants can be beneficial for improving the appearance and texture of the skin, they can make the skin more sensitive and reactive whilst having your tattoo, which can affect the outcome of a cosmetic tattoo and compromise your healed results.

Therefore, it is best to avoid using AHAs and BHAs for 6 weeks prior to getting a cosmetic tattoo to ensure optimal results. This also includes professional facials/peels.

Microdermabrasion and Microneedling

Also known as collagen induction therapy, dermarolling or skin needling, these facials (whether professional or at home) must be avoided 6 weeks prior to your cosmetic tattoo appointment. Microdermabrasion and Microneedling treatments work by gently puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles to cause micro-wounds to the top layers of the skin. This triggers an immune response from the body and increases collagen and elastin levels to the treated area, helping to treat a number of skin concerns including, fine lines and wrinkles, scarring and pigmentation. It is important to avoid these treatments 6 weeks prior to your cosmetic tattoo appointment as the skin needs time to heal and complete a renewal cycle before tattooing can be safely performed. 

Sun exposure and tanning products

Avoid sun exposure, including sun beds, and self-tanning products for 4 weeks before or after your treatment. If you arrive at your appointment with sun burn on the area being tattooed, you will be unable to proceed with your permanent makeup treatment. Sun burnt or sun damaged skin will compromise the healed results of your permanent makeup tattoo. Colour choices are decided by your artist based on your skin tone, arriving to your appointment with a sun tan or having used fake tanning products will influence the colour choice of your permanent makeup procedure which, once your tan has faded, may not be the most suitable and natural result for you. This is why it is important to avoid the sun and tanning products prior to your appointment. 

Botox & Fillers

Any Botox or filler treatments must be carried out 4 weeks before or 4 weeks after your appointment. This is to ensure the botox and fillers have had time to settle in the skin before your permanent makeup treatment. Botox can take up to 2 weeks for its effects to fully settle, and fillers need time to settle in the skin and for any swelling or bruising to disappear before having your permanent makeup treatment; proceeding with your cosmetic tattoo procedure before this recommended time frame could influence and compromise the placement of your permanent makeup cause unnatural or uneven results. It is also important to allow your cosmetic tattoo treatment to fully heal before having any botox or filler treatment to avoid the risk of healing complications or infection. 

For more information on how to prepare for your cosmetic tattoo treatment, see our pre-appointment advice: Pre appointment advice

Our top tips on How to Prepare Your Skin for a Successful Cosmetic Tattoo!

Now that you know which skin products to avoid before getting a cosmetic tattoo, let’s take a look at how to prepare your skin for the procedure. Here are some tips to ensure a successful and safe cosmetic tattoo:

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water before your appointment will help to keep your skin hydrated and healthy, which can aid in the healing process.

Avoid Sun Exposure

It’s essential to avoid sun exposure for at least two weeks before your cosmetic tattoo appointment. Sun damage can cause the skin to become sensitive and can also affect the color and longevity of the tattoo.

Avoid active skincare ingredients

Many anti-ageing, active skincare products contain ingredients that can compromise the healed result of your permanent make up. Check the ingredients on all your skincare products and makeup and avoid any actives for 6 weeks prior to your appointment.


Keeping your skin moisturized in the days leading up to your appointment can help to ensure that it’s in the best possible condition for the procedure.

Want to run something by us?

If you have any further questions or concerns about which products to use or would like to avoid using, please get in touch with us here at Paradise Tattoo Studio in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Looking to visit our tattoo studio in Gloucestershire?

We have nearby on-street parking as well as multiple pay-and-display car parks nearby. Cheltenham has great Public Transport links, we’re also easily accessible from the M5 Motorway.

Heading here from Oxford or London?

Follow the A40 from Oxford into Cheltenham. 

Coming from The South – Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Bath? Or even the Midlands – Birmingham, Staffordshire, Worcestershire?

Take junction 11 from the M5 Southbound and Northbound to get to us.

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