This little pot of Healing Skin Salve by Ella’s Botanicals is currently saving my life. When I last wrote I was suffering from a bandage-related allergy but the actual tattoo wasn’t too bad — a little itching here and there but nothing unbearable. Well, shortly thereafter things took a turn with the allergy calming considerably and the tattoo… the tattoo went rogue bringing pain and itching to my arm that was really uncalled for. How rude! Oh the itching! As a lifelong allergy sufferer who has experienced several bouts of full-body hives, I had no idea a patch of skin could itch like that!
Of course, I am speaking in the past-tense here with a lot of trepidation because only a few hours have passed since my last bad attack of The Worst itching Known to Humanity. It could come back at any minute but until then I am enjoying the most marvelous sweet, sweet relief.
You see, when I got my tattoo I was given a rundown on tattoo aftercare including a card in case I forgot anything. The instructions were to keep the tattoo as dry as possible and wait until this Thursday (tomorrow) before applying a water-based moisturizer. I followed those instructions to the letter at first. But by yesterday morning I was in so much pain, and the tattoo so dry and awful looking, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. Some of the information I read online said that keeping a new tattoo too dry can be as damaging as getting it wet. In the comments, Amber suggested applying a Burt’s Bee’s product called ResQ Salve that contains lots of healing herbs like comfrey and calendula but which is oil-based rather than water-based. I high tailed it to the health food store anyways to see what they had. They didn’t have that product but they had a ton of salves. I looked at the water-based moisturizers but couldn’t find anything containing the kind of healing and soothing ingredients I was looking for so I decided to break with the original instructions further by going with the oil-based skin salve that looked the best.
I believe in following expert advice and rules when they make sense but I also have a healthy relationship with dissent and know when to trust my intuition and try things my way. I’m not a tattoo expert. This is my first one! But I know my body, I know when things have gone awry with it, and I have a lifetime of experience in which ingredients and products work best for me. Since yesterday afternoon I have applied the salve several times and have noticed a huge difference in the quality of my skin, which has gone from painfully cracked and dry to smooth and on the mend. I woke up at 6am this morning in agonizing itch but I think that was because my arm got too hot underneath the covers. Since then it has calmed down considerably and I am enjoying the first real relief in days.
Obviously I think the Ella’s product is good. It’s working. It smells great with a lavender/rose scent that is light, not overwhelming. I’ve had a lot of experience with salves and even make my own from time-to-time (my personal recipe is in the You Grow Girl book) and the Ella’s has the best texture of any product I have made myself or purchased. Getting a mix that melts easily when you touch it without being too greasy and wet in the jar is not easy. The Ella’s is just right making it safe and easy to apply to my pretty, but giant scab.