As long as the tattoo artist follows correct sterilization and sanitation procedures, the risk of contracting a disease is relatively low. But the truth is, diseases can be contracted (and some can be fatal). Here are common diseases from tattooing: Hepatitis (this is a common one; can cause liver failure) HIV (no documented cases in professional tattoo parlors) Syphilis Allergic reactions to tattoo ink (FDA doesn’t regulate inks) Tuberculosis
SOME THINGS TO PONDER… Sure, that tattoo is cute now, but what will it look like 50 years from now?!
A tattoo is permanent; this means you have it for life! Tattoos aren’t one size fits all!! Discuss size and color with your tattoo artist to achieve the look you want. When ‘shopping’ around, don’t shop for price, shop for quality! Quality and safety are going to cost more, you’re paying for a more experienced artist and better tattoo. DO look for artists affiliated with professional organizations—these artists are often more familiar with current trends, innovations and safety issues.
OKAY, SO YOU’RE GETTING A TATTOO—HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW AND DO BEFOREHAND:
Inspect the tattoo parlor to see if the studio is clean and professional—just like a medical facility. Ask Questions!! A good tattoo artist will welcome the questions. You have a right to know what will be happening to your body.
Ask, does each client get new needles ? Each client should get new needles to prevent the spread of infection (just like in a doctor’s office). How are other parts of the tattoo machine cleaned? They should be cleaned in an autoclave (a machine used in hospitals to clean surgical tools). Does the tattooist wear gloves? Does the tattooist ask the client about any significant medical history? (This helps decrease spread of blood- borne diseases).
What do tattoo needles and autoclaves look like? Autoclave (sterilizes tattoo machine tools). Various types of tattoo needles (come in different sizes-like paint brushes).
Does the artist have a portfolio of his/her work? Even better, does the artist have references? Remember, no artistic ability is needed to be a tattoo ‘artist!’ What is the artists’ experience and qualifications in the tattoo field? Observe the artist at work…
I’M SITTING IN THE CHAIR WAITING TO GET TATTOOED…NOW WHAT??
Insist that you see the tattoo artist remove a new needle and tube set-up from a sealed sterile package immediately prior to beginning. Be certain you see your tattooist pour new ink into individual disposable containers—this prevents contamination of the ink. Observe the tattoo artist wash his/her hands before beginning your tattoo. Make sure the artist puts on a new pair of disposable gloves before setting up tubes, needles, and ink supplies. Don’t hesitate to ask questions while getting tattooed. A good artist will describe the process as he/she performs the tattooing procedure.
Proper Tattoo set up: Plastic bags over intruments to decrease infections. New razor to shave where tattoo will be. Clean cloth to cover tray Small separate ink containers to prevent contamination.
MY TATTOO LOOKS GREAT! HOW DO I GET IT TO STAY THAT WAY?
A professional tattoo parlor will give you a sheet of printed ‘after care’ instructions—they give this out for a reason! Improper after care of a tattoo can increase the risks of infection, and can permanently damage the image of the tattoo. Avoid exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight (avoid tanning)! Keep the tattoo properly cleaned using a mild antibiotic soap. Don’t pick at the scab and avoid rubbing the area (this allows for proper healing). For more in depth instructions ask your tattoo artist, or check out www.science.howstuffworks.com/tattoo.htm
Okay, so you think that if you don’t like your tattoo you can just get it removed? You may want to think again…
Laser removal uses short impulses of intense light to selectively break down tattoo ink in the skin. The broken down ink is then removed by the body’s immune system. Laser removal of tattoo
Tattoo removal is usually performed with lasers, and is considered a cosmetic procedure (not covered by health insurance). Removal costs $200 and up per session It can take anywhere from 40 or more sessions for the tattoo to fade. Yellow and red inks are the hardest to remove; black is the easiest. But no matter what, there will most likely always be remnants of the tattoo left behind. The feeling of tattoo removal is equivalent of have a hot iron placed on your skin