for tattooed people, and those who want to be

Take a look around you… Tattoo health issues 2


It pretty much goes without saying that you’ll be a lot happier with your tattoo if you’ve done a bit of “homework” in advance. After you’ve decided on your artist, go visit the shop.

Don’t just look at the flash on the walls or the artist’s portfolio and walk out after picking a design. There are more important things to look at, believe it or not.

  • Is the shop clean? Do the floors look like they’re washed, and is the furniture in good shape? What does the artist’s work area look like? Can you see debris lying around? What does the waiting area look like?
  • Is smoking allowed in the shop? In some states smoking is prohibited in all places of business, but if your state isn’t among them, and there are smokers in the shop, you might be better off going somewhere else. Tobacco smoke puts all kinds of noxious chemicals and particulates into the air and it’s impossible to keep them from spreading throughout the whole interior. You don’t want that stuff being imbedded in your skin along with the ink.
  • Are the inks dispensed into single-use containers that are discarded after each tattoo? Are the needles used on one person only, and discarded in a proper “sharps” container after use?
  • Does the shop have proper sterilization equipment, especially an autoclave? No reputable tattoo artist will object if you ask about sanitary procedures.
  • Is the tattoo equipment covered with plastic during the procedure and is that discarded afterwards? Blood is shed during tattooing, and you don’t want the artist using equipment that has been used unprotected on someone else.
  • If possible, stick around long enough to see how the artist cleans up his or her work area after the tattoo is finished. All surfaces should be wiped down with disinfectant and all materials should be put away and ink cups discarded. An extra half hour watching the artist might save you a lifetime of grief afterwards.

If you’re sure you’re in good shape and the shop is clean, you’ve taken the most important steps toward getting a safe tattoo. But sometimes, things happen that you can’t prepare for. I’ll talk about those in the next posts.

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Author: infmom

I got my first tattoo when I was 46. I hope the people who read this blog don't have to wait that long. I love talking about body art.

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