Getting inked is a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate a special moment, person, or just life. You wake up every morning, and it is there to remind you of the person that you were once and how it made you feel. But, here’s something you should know – it is permanent, and the tattoo processwill hurt.
Here’s the lowdown on what to do before and after getting a tattoo.
Before The Tattoo
Knowing what you need to do before you get inked is crucial. You should be clear about what you want and why. If it’s your first time, it’s even more important for you to be aware of the dos and don’ts. Here are some tips on what to do before getting a tattoo:
- Consult Your Dermatologist: If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies, it is best to consult your dermatologist before you go for a tattoo. You never know how the chemicals and ink react with your skin. Even if you don’t have a history of allergies, it is best to be cautious.
- Be Sure Of The Design: This is something that you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life, so you need to be sure of what you want. It could be a design you have wanted to get for a long time or something you decided on an impulse. If it’s the latter, sit with a tattoo artist and tell them what you have in mind. Let them use their creativity to come up with designs.
If you want to play it safe, you can get something that you’ve seen on someone else and know will look good. You can try and personalize it with the help of your artist. Whatever it is that you decide, look at the tattoo every day for 30 days. If you’re not bored by the end of it, go for it.
- Placement Of The Tattoo: You may want the tattoo at a particular place – it could be your arm, wrist, thigh, chest, back, neck, or ankle. But sometimes, the design may not go with the natural flow of your bone structure. In such a situation, it is best to go with the advice of your tattoo artist. Be aware that areas with more muscle will be less painful than those with more skin and bones.
- Take A Second Opinion: If you are not sure that you will be able to love the tattoo design for the rest of your life, take a second opinion. Ask a friend or a sibling for advice. Research online and see what people have to say about it.
- Never Drink Alcohol Before Getting Inked: Yes, we have seen it in movies that people get drunk and land up at a tattoo parlor and wake up the next morning with no memory of where that came from. Let’s leave that to the movies.
Alcohol thins your blood. While you are getting a tattoo, your skin will bleed because it is essentially a wound. And the thinner your blood gets, the more you bleed. This may compromise the visibility of your artist and lead to the design getting messy. It can also thin the ink, and the design may come out patchy.
- Do Not Tattoo Yourself: You may be a good artist or feel like since it is a small tattoo, you could probably do it yourself. Don’t! Hygiene is essential, and there is a lot of sterilization that goes on before your artist even thinks of touching you with their needle. You may end up getting an infection, and there are high chances you may ruin the design (unless, of course, you’re a fabulous tattoo artist yourself).
- Watch For Cleanliness: There are tons of tattoo artists these days – some charge a bomb, while others might offer to do it for a low rate. No matter what, make sure your artist is hygienic. Observe the workspace. If it is too dusty or dirty, chances are they will not be particular about tattoo hygiene either.
Contaminating your body while getting a tattoo can lead to a lot of infections. Make sure the tattoo artist is wearing disposable gloves, and all equipment is sterilized before they use them on your body. Also, ensure that whatever they use on you comes out of a sealed packet – watch them open it – because cleanliness is key.
- Know The Process: Diving blindly into something as permanent as getting a tattoo is not ideal. Do your research and be aware of the entire process. If you feel something is off, let your artist know. If you have any questions about a certain step in the process, ask the artist.
After The Tattoo
Tattoo aftercare is equally important as ticking things off your ‘before getting a tattoo’ checklist. Here are some pointers:
- Listen To Your Tattoo Artist: Once the process is over, your artist will give you a list of dos and don’ts to follow. Follow their instructions to the tee.
- Cleaning Your Tattoo: Washing your tattoo gently is an important process of post-tattoo care. Think of it as a wound that you need to take care of. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap to wash off the excess blood and ink gently. Don’t scrub it or with a towel or loofah, or you may get a bacterial infection. Make sure not to soak the tattoo in water for a long time under any circumstances. You need to wash your tattoo about twice a day. Do remember that washing it excessively will cause the tattoo to fade quickly.
- Moisturizing: Your tattoo artist will give you a tattoo ointment or a tattoo wax to apply a few times a day. In case they don’t, you can use a fragrance-free moisturizer. Sometimes, they may ask you not to moisturize at all. In any case, you could apply a thin layer of tattoo wax or moisturizer to prevent infections. Do not overuse it, or it may lead your tattoo to scab excessively. Let it breathe.
- Flaking And Peeling: After a few days, your tattoo will start to heal. It will dry out and start flaking and peeling. This is natural, and you may continue to use the tattoo wax or moisturizer based on the advice of your artist.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Make sure the tattooed portion of your body is not exposed to direct sunlight. It will burn and damage the open wound sooner than you can imagine. Direct sunlight will not only cause the ink to fade quickly and leave it patchy, but it will also ruin the appearance of the design, and you’ll be running back to the studio for a touch-up.
- Be Patient: Different people’s skins react differently to tattoos. Some may heal faster than others, but that’s no cause for concern. It will take a few weeks for it to heal completely, so be patient. Once it has healed completely, you may apply sunscreen or anything else that you usually would.
- Do Not Scratch: No matter what, don’t scratch your tattoo. Though the healing process may cause it to itch sometimes, resist the temptation to scratch. Scratching can cause major damage to your tattoo, and you could remove the top layer of your skin. It could also cause infection. Hence, be patient and try and ignore the itching.