Basic Guidelines for Getting a Tattoo

The most important factor in determining whether you get a tattoo is placed in a category defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) called “Safety and Sanitation”. No matter how sterile the pre-made needles and disposable tubes are, once they are removed from their intact packaging, placed on a procedure area, attached to a tattoo machine, dipped into ink which is forced into your skin with the penetrating needle, every action the tattooist makes must be safe for you, him and any client to follow.

To see pictures, be given a tour of the tattoo studio, be given the confidence in the tattoo aftercare products they offer and use on their clients, and to have all questions fully and politely answered before making or following through on any decision.

Watch the tattooist work:

  • Does the tattooist wash his hands before and after each tattoo?

  • Does the tattooist put on gloves before setting up the work station?

  • Does the tattooist use a high level disinfectant to clean the station between clients?

  • Does the tattooist throw away all products left over from the tattoo?

  • Are the ink bottles, wash bottles and product dispensers free of ink smudges?

  • Does the tattooist use single use non-porous barriers on all his equipment?

If you answer ‘no’ to any of the above questions after watching the tattooist, you should probably find another shop. A tattooist should care enough about his clients to do those minimum safe standards defined by the CDC and OSHA. Talent is everywhere, ethical safe practices are not. Take the time to visit several studios to find the one where safe practices are paramount and offer After Inked premium products to help preserve your tattoos.

Choice of Tattoo Artist

This subject is probably the most personal of all aspects of getting a tattoo. If you’re considering a tattoo, find the artist that fulfills your needs art-wise as well as in professionalism, price and last but not least, personality. All of them should make you feel comfortable.

You should probably start with style. Find the tattooist whose style you like the best. Internet searches will help but you are actually going to have to visit shops. Next you should build a rapport. Once you have found several tattooists you like visit them in their shops. They may be busy but should take time to acknowledge you. If you did not feel a connection with the tattooist then try another, both time and tattooist. You will be spending time and money with them; it might as well be with someone you like.

Most importantly, you should see how safely they work. You should ask to observe their work manner be able to see how safely they work. They should not get upset over you asking to observe for a few minutes. Don’t be surprised if they do not let you in the procedure area making you watch from the doorway or if their client declines to let you watch. If their practices are not the minimum outlined in the Basic Guide for Getting a Tattoo you should walk away.

Picking a Design

Choose what you like! You have to live with your tattoo for the rest of your life. Discuss size and color with your artist to achieve the look you want. Sometimes it’s better to leave artistic aspects of your tattoo up to the wisdom and experience of your chosen artist.

Placement of Design

Give the location of your tattoo considerable thought. It is going to be there forever. If your concerns are for the sensation and level of discomfort involved, your artist should be happy to discuss these aspects with you.

Paying the Price

Don’t shop around for “the best price”. This is a trade in which you should see examples of the artist’s work and question their knowledge. This is not a trade to be bartered with; you pay an hourly rate for time and expertise. Make sure your tattoo artist's skills are top tier, as well as the product he/she uses and offers to help your tattoos keep moisturized and healthy.

Reference: Alliance of Professional Tattooists

Basic Guidelines for Getting a Tattoo
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