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Can I Use O’Keeffe’s On My Tattoo?

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Can I Use O’Keeffe’s On My Tattoo

You just got a new tattoo and after some aftercare talk with your artist, you are on your way home and you begin to wonder, can I use O’Keeffe’s on my tattoo? If that’s you, this post is for you!

I wouldn’t recommend using O’Keeffe’s on your tattoos because they seem to contain a few ingredients that are known to be harmful to tattoos, some of these include petrolatum and lanolin which can irritate sensitive skin.

In this post, I’ll dive a bit deeper into the topic and discuss the ingredients of O’Keeffe’s and for whom it is made. I’ll also talk about WHY it’s bad for tattoo aftercare and introduce some alternatives.

Table of Contents

Read on to learn more!

What Does O’Keeffe’s Do?

O Keeffe’s is a popular skincare brand that has been around for 20 years. The brand is owned by The Gorilla Glue Company.

O'Keeffe's on tattoos

O Keeffe’s is best known for their working hands cream which heals and repairs cracked hands and itchy skin. It works by creating a protective barrier on the surface of the skin thus locking in moisture which keeps the skin hydrated.  

Also read: Is baby lotion good for tattoos?

It’s also used a lot by people suffering from eczema, and the cream seems to do wonders.

Is O’Keeffe’s Good For Tattoos?

O’Keeffe’s is not good for tattoos. It’s made to heal cracked hands, feet, and elbows, not tattoos and it contains petroleum ingredients including MINERAL OIL which is the liquid form of petroleum jelly, and Paraffin. 

O’Keeffe’s working hands work the same way petroleum does, it creates a barrier on the skin and blocks the natural respiration process to trap moisture which causes clogged pores and premature aging which in turn fades the tattoo.  A tattoo is a wound and the skin needs to breathe for it to recover and heal.

is O'Keeffe's good for tattoos

Using petroleum jelly on wounds like tattoos could also result in infections, signs of this include redness, swelling, and pus. 

Ingredients Of O’Keeffe’s

The main ingredients of O’Keeffe’s are Glycerin and Allantoin, both of which are good for tattoos. Allantoin speeds up wound healing and glycerin draws water from the air and keeps the skin moisturized and hydrated. The cream is also alcohol and fragrance-free!

Other ingredients include mineral oil, paraffin, stearic acid, and sodium hydroxide. Read the full list here. Below is an image of the list of ingredients and a brief intro to what they do. 

Ingredients Of O'Keeffe's
Image credits: incidecoder

I’ll not be analyzing all the ingredients in detail as most of them are covered in our previous posts, but overall we could see that there are more harmful ingredients to tattoos than the beneficial ingredients to tattoos. 

O’Keeffe’s Alternatives

Like most other artists, I recommend the Hustle Butter Deluxe which is great for tattoos. It helps heal much faster and at the same time reduces redness and swelling and even minimizes bleeding.

Hustle Butter Deluxe

Cerave, Carmex, and Jergens can also be beneficial for tattoos, read our analysis of these for more info.


Is Working Hands Good for Tattoos?

Working Hands is indeed beneficial for tattoos, largely due to its intense moisturizing properties. Tattoos heal best when the skin is kept well-hydrated and Working Hands cream is formulated to provide deep hydration to severely dry skin, which promotes optimal healing.

Can You Use Eczema Cream On Tattoos?

Yes, you can use eczema cream on tattoos, but with caution and only after the tattoo has fully healed. Eczema creams are designed to moisturize the skin and reduce inflammation, which can be beneficial for the maintenance of a tattoo once healed. 


Tattoos are a lifelong commitment, so it’s important to take care of them properly. Using O’Keeffe’s is a risk that I recommend you not take. Unless you have a load of these creams at home or you get them for free, don’t buy them for the sake of using them on a tattoo. But you do get them that way, try consulting a dermatologist or doctor and see how your skin would react. You can ask your tattoo artist for guidance as well. 

Overall, there are plenty of alternatives out there that have been proven to heal and moisturize tattoos, choosing one of them would be a wise decision. O’Keeffe’s might even work at healing the tattoo but it does not do it better than the others or have a greater advantage over them. 

So, if I were you, I would choose an alternative. 

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