Think Before You Ink: Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

Updated 3/24/2022

If you want to get a tattoo, you need to make sure you do so safely. If you go to a tattoo parlor that doesn’t follow sanitation guidelines, you might end up needing inflamed tattoo care. This could have an impact on your health and might result in a misshapen tattoo later. If you want to avoid tattoo removal appointments, look for places that follow the guidelines and have certified tattoo artists working for them. You can find this information by visiting websites or calling the shops. Once you find some, you can keep planning your tattoo.

If you want a meaningful tattoo, you might look at a tattoo meaning finder for ideas. You can also find go with the flow tattoo ideas online and incorporate them into your own plans. If you’re unsure what kind of tattoo you want, don’t get a permanent one yet. Instead, you can get a temporary tattoo to buy online in the patterns you want. Try them out and see if you like them. If you do, you can then get them permanently tattooed onto your body later.

If this will be your first tattoo, you may want to spend some time evaluating local tattoo artists portfolios so that you can decide on an artist whose style you like. American tattoo artists often display their portfolios in the studio that they work in, on social media, and sometimes on their own website. A tattoo studio should be able to show you a variety of artwork from the artists that work there, so you can choose an artist whose style matches the vision that you have for your tattoo. This can help you avoid needing to go with a simple piece of flash art, and instead allow you to have a piece that is truly yours.

Tattoo artists pride themselves on their work and typically have a very unique style. If you have something specific in mind, you may need to speak to several artists to find the one that’s right for you. This will allow you to match a tattoo artist to the art you want so that you’re truly satisfied with your tattoo.

Tattoos no longer carry the social stigma they once had. According to a 2013 Pew research study, about 45 million people in the United States have at least one tattoo. However, though they’ve become more socially acceptable, there are still many things to take into consideration before getting a tattoo.

tattoo artist

First of all, there’s sanitation to think about. Tattoo guns and equipment are much safer and more sanitary than they were 50 years ago, but that’s still not enough to guarantee a 100% safe experience. After all, a tattoo is essentially ink trapped underneath scar tissue, so there’s going to be blood.

“When you get a tattoo, you bleed,” says internal medical specialist Dr. Donna Casey. “Because you are bleeding, anything in contact with the tattoo — bacteria, viruses — can get into the wound and your entire body. It’s like having a bite on your leg or a gigantic abrasion.”

When artists follow safety standards, there typically aren’t any issues. However, under-sterilized tools or contaminated ink will lead to infection, blood-borne diseases, and other, less-obvious problems.

According to Dr. Bryan Wasson, an internal medicine physician, “A tattoo is like a minor surgery.andnbsp;You clean and shave the skin like you’re going to operate. You use surgical tools. There are dangers. So be careful in your selection.”

Surprisingly, there can still be problems even if all of the safety standards are followed. Some people are actually allergic to tattoo ink. Though it’s rare for someone to be allergic at all,andnbsp;the common colors that people are allergic to are reds and blues.

There’s also the after care to think about, too. Even though the procedure is over, a person can still develop health issues, like infections, if they neglect their tattoos’ aftercare.andnbsp;Most tattoos take about two weeks to heal, while larger pieces that might go on the back or the chest could take months to finish.

“You would want to treat it as if it’s a cut or open wound, because it is that,” said tattoo artist Cameron Vigil, of Atom Bomb Studio. “A tattoo can get infected the same way a cut can.”

Typical after care procedures involve keeping the new tattoo away from dirt and other unclean elements that might cause infection. It’s also necessary not to pick and scratch at the peeling, scabby tattoo. It’s natural to feel itchy, but scratching can not only cause infection, but also pull the ink out. Usually, the artist will recommend a lotion, a cream, or a topical treatment like witch hazel astringent.

“You’re buying a piece of art; you want to take care of it,” said Vigil.

Though tattoos are safer to get now and more socially acceptable, it’s unwise to rush into the experience. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Read online reviews. Go into the studio to check things out. Talk with the artists. And be sure that you want to get the tattoo, because just like your mom would remind you, it’s permanent.

That permanence is nothing to take lightly. There are many arguments about how long to think about a tattoo before finally committing to a design. Before choosing a design, or deciding whether or not a tattoo is right for you, realize you are committing to permanently changing the look of your body.andnbsp; Although tattoo removal services are available, they are painful and expensive. Choosing an appropriate design and placement in the first place is far wiser.

While it is true that people’s personalities and interests change over time, so regardless how much time is spent thinking about a particular tattoo, a decision at age 20 might not be the same decision that is made at 40. When debating how long to think about a tattoo, remember that time moves forward and you will be changing.andnbsp; Your college girlfriend’s name is surely not the best choice, and neither is that inside joke you share with people you’ll probably end up losing touch with sometime around your first mortgage.

Knowing all this, there is no great concrete answer for how long to think about a tattoo before finally committing.andnbsp; Any number is purely arbitrary. Although the stigma around tattoos has faded dramatically in recent years, it’s still a serious life altering decision. Make sure you are making it wisely.


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