Does CBD Help With Tattoo Healing?

Woman holding Tanasi CBD salve

Posted on July 9th, 2020

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. 

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.

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. 

So, we wanted to help you understand: how does CBD help with tattoo healing? When it comes to tattoos, CBD basically may help in one of three main ways: as an anti-inflammatory, as an antioxidant, and/or as an analgesic. Considering using CBD oil to speed up tattoo healing? Here’s what you need to know. 

Tattoo artist creating a tattoo on skinHow Tattoos Work

Tattoos are markings that are permanently ingrained on your skin’s surface. First, sharp needles pierce your skin’s top layer, then artists insert ink pigmentation to the opening. To guide their needles, tattoo artists basically use a tattoo gun, which acts like a sewing machine – only it’s intended for your skin instead of fabrics. Each time the gun perforates your skin, ink droplets make markings, allowing the tattoo to take form. You may experience some bleeding and pain, depending on your individual threshold.

You can try preparing your mind and body by sleeping, drinking water, and eating a healthy meal before your tattoo, but you won’t know how you’ll react until you sit on that chair. But regardless of how you prepare, getting inked will definitely hurt. At least a little. 

The size of your tattoo will also affect your experience. If you want a large tattoo, it’s normal to feel shaky during and after the process. This is your body’s natural response to mild shock. 

Still, if you find the experience unpleasant, CBD may be able to mitigate some unpleasant parts of the tattoo process. 

Given some of the suggested CBD effects, taking this supplement before getting tattooed may relieve some of your fear and anxiety about getting inked. Just consider the form of CBD you choose: depending on your delivery method, the CBD effects could take between 20 minutes to about an hour to kick in. 

Benefits of CBD for Tattoo Healing

As far as tattoo healing goes, CBD oil may help you heal mentally, by reducing stress, as well as physically, by alleviating pain. These are some suggested CBD benefits which may improve your tattoo healing process: 

Anti-inflammatory Properties

During the tattoo process, your skin experiences trauma as the skin tissues sustain injuries, ultimately leaving you sore and inflamed. Many people address these issues with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). But, increasingly, research is looking to CBD as a drug-free alternative due to its tendency to fight inflammation. In fact, CBD may be a safer alternative for individuals who can’t tolerate NSAIDs.

After consulting with your tattoo artist, prior to beginning the process, you may apply CBD salve or lotion directly on your skin. If for any reason, applying CBD topically isn’t an option, you can consume cannabidiol in the form of a tincture, capsule, or drink concentrate.


For our bodies to remain strong and healthy, they require antioxidants. Foods such as sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and fish oils contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body cells against damage and keep the skin looking healthy and youthful. CBD also appears to have antioxidant properties, helping protect our cells from the damage caused during the tattooing. CBD may even help minimize tattoo flaking or scabbing during the final phases of your healing process. 

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. 

Analgesic Effects

An analgesic is basically a pain reliever. When it comes to getting a tattoo, pain is all but guaranteed. But, once again, CBD may help you cope because it appears to affect your glycine receptors. These inhibitory receptors are situated in the central nervous system and play a significant role in how your body perceives pain. Studies suggest that the use of cannabinoids such as CBD increases the effects of your glycine receptors, which results in pain reduction. CBD may therefore also assist in managing the sensitivity, tenderness, itching, and soreness associated with getting a tattoo.

Man holding Tanasi Tincture over bagHow Does CBD Help in Reducing Pain?  

As we mentioned, CBD may limit tattoo-related pain by reducing inflammation, interfering with pain signals, and promoting healthy skin growth. You may choose any form of CBD to help you through the tattoo process, but applying topical CBD oil will deliver targeted results to your healing skin.  

Why Should You Consider CBD as an Alternative to Painkillers?

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. 

Remember that tattoos are permanent. If you decide to forge ahead with a permanent marking, then you should do everything possible to get the results you want to see. Regardless of your CBD use, the healing process will be somewhat painful. And it will certainly take some time. But, the good news is that CBD may assist you through this period. Simply speak with your tattoo artist, as well as your healthcare provider, to make sure that it’s safe for you to consume or apply CBD before and after getting your tattoo. 

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