Bepanthen is an ointment specifically formulated to prevent and heal diaper rash, but it seems there are quite a number of people who use Bepanthen for tattoo aftercare.
The main ingredient of Bepanthen is Dexpanthenol. It comes from Panthenol. In the cosmetic industry, this is used as an emollient and moisturiser. As an ointment, it penetrates the skin and is used for minor skin irritations such as diaper or nappy rash and sunburn. This is why some artists and people with new tattoos use it to moisturise tattoos.
Next, Bepanthen contains petrolatum, which is commonly known as petroleum jelly. It has been widely used as an over-the-counter skin protection agent and as an additive in many cosmetic products. Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly, which is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It is a good way to prevent evaporation of moisture from the skin, but on the other hand, skin cannot then absorb, excrete, or breathe. Petrolatum can have adverse effects such as suffocation of the skin, premature ageing, acne, and even breast tumours. People who have sensitive skin may also experience allergic contact dermatitis.
Bepanthen also contains Paraffinum Liquidum, more commonly known as mineral oil. Mineral oil is also a petroleum by-product and is basically a liquid form of petroleum jelly. It is popular in cosmetics because of its wide availability and very low cost. Aside from cosmetic products, it is also used as a preservative, coolant, lubricant, and thermal fluid. Although it has many advantages, mineral oil or Paraffinum Liquidum has also been found to increase the risk of cancer in rats that are irradiated twice a week for 20 weeks.
Lanolin and Lanolin Alcohol are also found in Bepanthen ointment. Lanolin is an oily material that is taken from sheep’s wool, thus is also known as Wool Alcohol, Wool Grease, or Wool Wax. It is used as an emulsifier, meaning it binds well with water. This makes it very useful in cosmetic formulations and is generally safe on the skin. However, if ingested, it can cause Lanolin poisoning which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It can also cause allergic reaction or contact dermatitis rash in some people who are sensitive to Lanolin. Other possible skin reactions are: stinging or burning sensation, softening of the skin, feeling as though the skin is soggy, and some people may also notice that the skin appears lighter.
Other ingredients are Aqua or Water, Prunus Dulcis or Almond Oil as emollient, Cera Alba or White Wax which is a bleached form of or Cera Flava or Yellow Wax. It also contains Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, and Glyceryl Oleate as emollients and thickening agents. Most emollients can be used safely but may sometimes cause burning, stinging, redness, or irritation in susceptible individuals.
The reason for Bepanthen’s popularity as a tattoo aftercare product is down to its moisturising properties. However, it is not specifically made for fresh wounds and it should not enter your blood stream, it can cause itching, tingling, urticaria, and pimple like spots on the tattoo area if you have a sensitivity to any of the above ingredients.
If you have a fresh tattoo, you should provide proper tattoo aftercare or you may risk turning your beautiful tattoo into a disaster. Although an ordinary moisturising ointment may work for most people, it is best to use a product specifically designed for tattoo aftercare like After Inked, especially one that is Cruelty-Free, Vegan and Hypoallergenic. A good tattoo aftercare lotion will not only moisturise the skin but will also accelerate healing time and keep tattoos vibrant.