Bepanthen for tattoos: Seriously?

Bepanthen is an ointment  specifically formulated to prevent and heal nappy rash but it seems there are quite a number of people who use Bepanthen as a tattoo aftercare.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients of Bepanthen nappy ointment.

The main ingredient of Bepanthen is dexpanthenol which is derived 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 irritation such as diaper rash and sunburn. This is why some use it to moisturise tattoos.

Further, Bepanthen contains petrolatum which is commonly known as petroleum jelly. It has been widely used as an over the counter skin protectant and additive in many cosmetic products. Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly which is a waste product from the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. Essentially this product prevents evaporation of moisture from the skin so the skin cannot then absorb, excrete or breathe. Petrolatum can cause adverse effects such as suffocation of the skin, premature aging, 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 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 secreted from the sebaceous glands of sheep. It is used as an emulsifier meaning it binds well with water which makes it very useful in cosmetic formulations and is generally safe on the skin. However, if it’s ingested it can cause lanolin poisoning which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also cause allergic reaction or contact dermatitis rash in some people who are sensitive to lanolin. Other possible skin reactions include stinging or burning sensations, 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 use in tattoo aftercare is due to its moisturising properties. However, since this is not specifically made for fresh wounds, it can cause itching, tingling, urticarial and pimple like spots on the tattoo from the skin reacting to any one of the above ingredients.

If you have a fresh tattoo that you’ve probably invested a considerable amount of money in, you really should apply a tattoo aftercare formulated for tattoos or you may risk turning your beautiful tattoo into a disaster. A good tattoo aftercare lotion will not only moisturise the skin but will also accelerate healing time and keep tattoos vibrant. Sure you may pay more for a premium aftercare, though when you factor in what you paid for your tattoo and concerns for your health, a $20 or $30 investment is negligible.

It’s baffling sometimes to ponder why some people would use Bepanthen on a baby’s rash let alone a fresh skin wound which is essentially what a tattoo is. All too often people place too much trust in advertising and the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, if the pharmacy sells it, people have been so thoroughly brainwashed into thinking it must be good for them. They don’t think of the fact that many of these alleged “skincare” companies are simply out for big profits and if you did have an adverse reaction now or later down the track, it’s virtually impossible to prove it resulted from your aftercare.

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