How to Get a Tattoo

Tips for Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are a popular form of personal expression. They are a way for you to make a statement or to use as a memento to something significant. They are also permanent. Tattoos can be applied to just about anywhere on the body. Some people like to flaunt theirs for everyone to see while others prefer to discreetly hide them like a little secret. Tattoos were originally an ancient form of adornment in various cultures and the methods for applying them were just as varied. These days tattoos are quite common and can be found on anyone from a waitress to a corporate manager.

Anyone interested in how to get a tattoo are going to want to consider a few things. This is your skin we are talking about and it is harder (and just as expensive) to remove than it was to put on. Whether you have always fantasized about having one or you already have a couple but want something of real quality that won’t fade, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Do It Sober

Unless you just like waking up to surprises in the morning, don’t get a tattoo while you are drunk from some back alley witch doctor. This is a permanent mark on your flesh that you will likely have to live with the rest of your life. The decision to get a tattoo should be done under a sound frame of mind and after some careful consideration. People who are dissatisfied with their tattoo likely got it either under the influence or under pressure from friends. Don’t let anyone or anything pressure you into getting a tattoo until you are ready.

Think Safety

If you want to get a tattoo, you have to realize that it will involve someone sticking a needle in your skin. So hygiene and cleanliness are very important. A reliable tattoo artist needs to have the same standards as a doctor. Their tools need to be properly sterilized and their work space needs to be clean.

Many tattoo studios are going to have a certain look about them.  They may have posters up on the walls and be lit up by a lot of neon signs or they may look like some Goth dungeon. Don’t mistake studio decorations for uncleanliness. However, if you have any doubts about a studio’s state of hygiene, you should find another studio.

The most important thing to consider is the needle. You can get a serious infection if someone works on you with a dirty needle. Tattooing needles need to be properly sterilized in what is known as an autoclave, a machine that sterilizes tools using super-heated steam. If your tattoo artist has the needle sitting in a whiskey glass of rubbing alcohol, the high-tail it out of there.

Also, the tattoo artist should wear latex gloves, operate out of a small disposable container of ink laid out just for you, and Vaseline should be applied using a disposable instrument.

Choose the Right Design

The first decision you will make is selecting a tattoo design. What is the right design for you? Many people make the mistake of tattooing the names of their girlfriends in big bold letters right where everyone can see them. That is just like tempting fate. Then comes the big breakup and you are stuck with your ex’s name permanently stuck to you. If you really want to do this, that is your choice. Whatever design you choose, it should be something you absolutely love. You do not have to select a stock design from the tattoo studio’s book. You should choose something which will always be meaningful to you.

Where to Put It

Now that you found your favorite design, you need to figure out where to exactly put it. Think of the size that you want it and where on your body it would make a good fit. Tattoos on the shoulders and backs are good spots but you will likely never see it without a mirror. If you are unsure where you want a tattoo, you can try wearing a fake one for several days to test it out. This will give you a chance to try out different placements and sizes and whether or not you will get tired of looking at it in one specific spot. Wherever you decide to place it, you need to make sure it is on the right body part. Once it is inked, it is there.

Choose the Right Artist

Choosing a tattoo artist is a serious decision. It is up to you on who you work with so consider carefully to make sure the artist is a quality professional. Luckily, most of today’s tattoo professionals very skilled. Tattooing technology has come a long way over the years. Today’s artists are able to do things that were next to impossible twenty years ago.

Getting tattooed is an intimate and personal affair. When choosing your artist, you need to consider experience, portfolio, and attitude. I know that everyone, even a tattoo artist has to start somewhere but this is your body we are talking about. Choose an artist who has several years under their belt. You will also want to look at their portfolio. If they don’t have a portfolio, that is a bad sign. Pay attention to the line quality in their portfolio. You want a tattoo with clean and crisp lines, smooth shading, and vibrant colors and rich tones. If the samples in the portfolio are dull or patchy with shaky lines, you need to find another artist. There are some tattoo artists that only work from stock stencils. Find one who is comfortable taking other references and altering them to make a better tattoo.

And lastly, attitude helps. You want a tattoo artist that can make you feel comfortable and doesn’t mind answering questions. Getting a tattoo hurts so you want an artist with a good bed-side (or chair-side) manner. You also want an artist who is receptive to your ideas. If they do not like your idea, are unwilling to do it, or try to talk you into a different tattoo altogether, then that is not the right artist for you.

Care For Your Tattoo

Once you have your new tattoo, it has to heal. Getting a tattoo is like creating a wound on your body. Without proper treatment and care, it can get infected. Your tattoo will take close to a month before it is completely healed. At first the tattoo area might be sore or experience some irritation, swelling, and discomfort. You will need to keep your tattoo clean. Try to wash the tattoo a couple of times a day with mild soap and water. Gently pat your tattoo dry; don’t scrub at it because that will cause more irritation. After washing, apply a very thin layer of antibiotic ointment.

After a few weeks, the tattoo will tend to dry out as it heals. At this point it’s important to keep your tattoo moist. If the tattoo scabs over or gets infected, it can ruin the look of the tattoo. Try using an appropriate moistening care product to keep it from drying out. And lastly, keep the tattoo out of direct sunlight while it heals. This can cause more damage to the tattoo such as fading.

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