Preparing For a Tattoo: What You Need to Know
Tattoos are fun and an expressive form of art on the body but you should always be prepared for your tattoo appointment. Here is what you need to know about preparing for a tattoo.
So you’re preparing for a tattoo, and aren’t sure what to expect? If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve all heard stories about horror tattoo incidents. While these may be more likely to happen in movies, it’s still a good idea to know what to expect.
But if you’re serious about getting some ink, learning how to prep for a tattoo is important. It will keep you healthy, and ensure that your new artwork looks the best it can!
Let’s take a look at what you need to do before getting a tattoo. We’ll look at tips for care both before and after your session.
To learn about trends and other things tattoo-related, check out our blog.
Preparing For A Tattoo- Before You Go
Wondering what to do before getting a tattoo? Here are 5 tips:
#1. Get hydrated
It’s easier for your tattoo artist to work if you’re hydrated. When preparing for a tattoo your skin can withstand longer sessions and will heal faster.
#2. Work with your tattoo artist
It sounds obvious, but make sure you and the artist are on the same page about the artwork going on your body during pre-tattoo preparation. Don’t leave anything up to assumption or chance.
Ask questions like:
- Have you done a tattoo like the one I’m asking for before? Can you show pictures?
- Can I see your portfolio?
- What do you recommend for aftercare?
- How do you sanitize your equipment?
A good, professional tattoo artist will have no problem answering general questions and coaching you through more specific questions about the artwork itself. If they do, perhaps you should look for a different shop.
#3. Exercise before you go
Remember that you’re going to be sitting for a while. If you’re the type to fidget around a lot, consider hitting the gym or going for a walk before you go in.
Especially if your tattoo is going to take a few hours, it’s best to have gotten some energy out before you sit on the table. Anything to decrease how much you’ll want to move, such as not drinking much caffeine, is also a good idea.
#4. Yes, it will hurt
This likely isn’t news to you, but getting the tattoo can be painful. Depending on the area you’re getting work done on, the magnitude of pain may be higher or lower.
Here’s a ranked list of the most painful places to get a tattoo, from 15-1. Good news for anyone wanting a chest or back piece, but bad news if you’re thinking your ribs is where you’ll get one.
#5. Print off reference material for the artwork
It’s a good idea to have specific examples of smaller elements of your tattoo on hand, just in case parts of his or her version don’t line up with what you want.
Besides your safety, the most important thing about how to prepare for getting a tattoo is making sure you are comfortable with the art going on your body.
Things To Avoid
Alternatively, here’s what you shouldn’t do before going in:
#1. Drinking heavily
Did you know that it’s actually illegal for tattoo shops to give tattoos to anyone under the influence of alcohol?
Besides the obvious implications of regretting ink selection when you’re tipsy, it’s actually dangerous to get tattooed when you’re drunk.
Alcohol thins your blood, which can lead to excessive bleeding of the tattooed skin. Not only is this a problem after the tattoo is complete, but it can be a nightmare for the tattoo artist, too!
The last thing you want is to make it difficult for someone giving you a permanent tattoo. So lay off the booze before you go.
#2. Using drugs
When preparing for a tattoo, it’s illegal for tattoos to be given while you are under the influence. If other drugs besides alcohol are a part of your routine, you should nix them before scheduling an appointment.
Let’s be honest- you want to get a tattoo from someone with a good reputation for their work. Any good tattoo artist isn’t going to risk getting in trouble for tattooing someone obviously impaired by drugs.
What To Do After Your Tattoo
There’s still some work to be done. Consider these tips after the ink is complete:
#1. Consider a tip for your artist
It is a service-based industry, and tips are encouraged. Even if you’re paying $100/hour, the artist is likely seeing only about half of that go into his or her bank account.
If you feel they did a good job, consider giving them a tip as appropriate. This isn’t required but is always encouraged. And if you want to get more artwork done in the future, they may be more keen to book you take care of them.
#2. Clean your tattoo
After about 3 hours, you should be able to take the bandages off. From there, it is absolutely vital that you clean your new artwork often for the next few days.
The last thing you want is to get an infection, so rinse it with cold water and let it air dry for about 10 minutes.
#3. Apply ointment
Ointment will prevent infection and ensure that your tattoo heals quickly. Tattoos that don’t heal quickly are more susceptible to infection.
#4. Let it heal
Yes, your tattoo will flake, and yes, it will scab, too. That’s part of the healing process. Don’t pick at it, touch it, or do anything other than clean it and apply ointment to it.
If you’re diligent about good hygiene, it should heal up pretty quickly- usually between 3-7 days.
Getting a new tattoo is an investment in many ways. Make sure you are diligent about preparation before and care after the conclusion of your tattoo to ensure you have a good experience.
Hydrate, don’t drink or take drugs, and print off parts of your tattoo before you go in. Make sure you and the artist are on the same page before you begin.
And never feel weird asking your tattoo artists questions, either.
Once it’s done, be sure to clean your tattoo and apply ointment so that it heals quickly. This way it doesn’t get infected and the artwork isn’t damaged or modified in any way.