OK, so you’ve taken time to research the artists and choose your design. You’ve made an appointment and you’re ready to go. Right?
Here’s a few things you need to consider before you sit down in the chair.
- Be sure your artist knows about any medical conditions you have and any medications you’re taking. Yes, it’s possible that the artist may not want to put ink on you if you have a chronic health problem. You may be taking a real risk of serious complications if you lie about your health and go ahead with it. Is getting that tattoo worth the risk? Be honest with the artist. Decide on this together. You will probably be asked to sign a release if you want to go ahead.
- Don’t show up drunk or stoned. This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people with no brains try it anyway. You may think it’ll make the inking process easier. It won’t. It will hurt just as much, but your fogged-out brain won’t be able to process it properly and you may react in ways you wouldn’t even contemplate if you were sober.
- Take a shower before you go get your ink. Think about it. Tattooing pierces the skin. Do you want sweat, dirt, pollution and who knows what-all else pushed into your epidermis? Didn’t think so.
- Don’t use skin-numbing creams. They don’t work long enough or well enough to make a difference, and that stuff is getting pushed into your skin, with who knows what consequences. If you don’t think you can take the pain, get your artist to try a trial patch with a dry needle. If that’s more than you can take, opt out. And pay the artist for his or her time.
- If you’re nervous and afraid you’ll chicken out, take along a brave friend and a recording of some kind of soothing New Age music. You can always crank up the headphones to help you get past the sensation of the needle.
- Bring along extra cash to tip your artist. Good artwork shouldn’t be its own reward.
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