There’s always a thing about your firsts – your first job, first kiss, first love, and your first tattoo. Isn’t there always an exhilarating feeling and an adrenaline rush in your body when you experience such beautiful first experiences? Well, this feeling of exhilaration can quickly turn into dejection if things go south or the way you hadn’t planned them to be.
Getting inked is a huge decision, and one should not make this decision in haste. You’ve to put a lot of thought and time into it because it will stay with you for a very long time or probably, forever.
So if you’re planning to get inked anytime soon, then here are 23 things to keep in mind before getting a tattoo:
1. Tattoos are expensive
If you were going to get inked with the notion that they won’t cost you much, then you are mistaken. The price of the tattoo depends upon what kind of design you choose and the size of the tattoo. It also depends on your tattoo artist and their experience. Tattoo artists in India usually charge around 1000 – 4500 for a tattoo (larger tattoos will cost more). Also, colored tattoos cost more than black ink tattoos.
2. They are painful
You probably knew this already, so yes, tattoos are painful. Some people may find it slightly less painful, while some might not (it depends on your pain tolerance). It also depends on where you are getting your tattoo placed. Areas like your outer arm, shoulder, calf, and the areas that have more fat will be the least painful. Places like your back, neck, ribcage, and hips hurt the most.
3. Tattoos fade over time
There can be no assurance of the permanency of tattoos as they tend to fade with time. The tattoos made in areas that are regularly exposed to sunlight, like your fingers, feet, and arm, are most likely to fade away with time as compared to the non-exposed parts of your body, like the chest or back. So, you have to decide when it’s time to bring back some life to your tattoo by giving it a touch-up.
4. They stay with you for a long time
The tattoo you make is going to become a part of you. If you are going to get a tattoo thinking that you could get rid of it anytime, then you are making a grave mistake! Laser removal of a tattoo is even more painful than actual tattoo making, so you would not want to do something you will regret later. So you must think carefully about what you want to make and where you wish to get it.
5. Skin hypersensitivity
Now, if you have sensitive skin or any skin allergies, you might want to consult your dermatologist before getting inked. You never know how the ink may react on your skin. It is better to be safe to avoid any discomfort or infections later.
6. Know your tattoo artist
If it is your first tattoo, then you must do thorough research on good tattoo artists around you, their experience, what kind of tattoos they specialize in making, and their credibility. You’ll want your tattoo made by an adept artist rather than an amateur artist. Do check reviews of their work and then make a decision.
7. Social impact
While getting a tattoo, you might also want to consider how it could change the opinion of those around you. Now, I’m not talking about nosy neighbors or your judgmental friends. Getting a visible tattoo might affect your chances of getting employed. Many work organizations disallow visible tattoos. I believe no formal organization would want to hire someone with a giant skull on their shoulders or a large snake on their forearm.
8. Meaning of your tattoo
There’s no point in getting something permanently glued to your skin if it does not have any significant meaning. Some designs might look good and appealing but think about it. What would the face of hello kitty on your outer arm signify? So choose your tattoo design carefully. You must understand the reason behind getting a particular tattoo because each tattoo on your body will tell a story about you and will be a part of you.
9. Proofread quotes
If you are thinking of getting a quote for your tattoo, do proofread it thoroughly to ensure there are no mistakes because once the needle goes into your skin, there’s no looking back. You will not want a crooked or misspelled tattoo.
10. Location of your tattoo
Now, once you decide what tattoo you want and its meaning, you must also think about where you want to get it. If you wish to show off your tattoo, you might want to make it in a more visible place, like your arms or wrist. If you intend to hide it, you can get it on your back or upper arm. It largely depends on the size of your tattoo. If you want a landscape or a long quote, you can get it on your arm or back.
11. Be well prepared
Make sure to get a good sleep before your appointment. Do not show up intoxicated. Avoid consuming caffeine. Have a proper meal before showing up because the needle going into your skin may make you feel dizzy or nauseous. Also, talk to your tattoo artist about the dos and don’ts before and after getting your tattoo.
Keep an eye on hygiene before getting your tattoo. Make sure the studio from where you’re getting it done is clean and germ-free. Also, make sure your tattoo artist sanitizes and changes the needle before pricking into your skin.
13. Make sure you’re comfortable
Now, if it is your first tattoo, you will be nervous and might even have second thoughts about it. So, make sure you know what you’re doing and are firm about everything. Try to relax and be comfortable. You may take along a friend for support.
14. Stay hydrated
Make sure to drink water before your tattoo appointment. Staying hydrated surprisingly calms you down throughout the tattoo-making process and heals your tattoo gently and quickly.
15. Your skin might bleed
Based on the sensitivity of your skin and the location of your tattoo, your skin might bleed during or after the procedure. However, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you haven’t caught any infection. A clear liquid called plasma will typically leak from your tattoo up until it starts to scab.
16. Look out for infections
It is essential to ensure that your tattoo is made safely without you contracting any infection. Ask your tattoo artist to clean the equipment well before using it. Bloodborne diseases can be acquired if the tools used to create your tattoo are contaminated with infected blood. If you feel unbearable pain that prolongs, you must immediately get medical help.
17. Blood donation
You cannot donate blood for at least 4-6 months after getting a tattoo. This period varies in every country. This is because of the risk of developing hepatitis. Hepatitis is a disease wherein your liver is inflamed.
18. Be aware of your body
Getting a tattoo is a painful process. You should know and understand your body well. Keep in mind your pain tolerance, skin allergies, or any prevailing health conditions that might get worse if you get inked. Your health comes first.
19. Wear the right clothes
Based on the location of your tattoo, wear the right comfortable clothes. For instance, if you are getting a thigh tattoo, you must not wear jeans. You can choose to wear loose shorts. If you are getting a shoulder tattoo, then make sure to leave that area open. Wearing the right clothes makes it easier for the tattoo artist to work on finishing the design comfortably.
20. Pre-tattoo skincare
As much as tattoo aftercare is essential, so is pre-tattoo skincare. Make sure to moisturize your skin well at least two weeks before your appointment. Also, apply sunscreen to protect your skin from tan. Following these two simple steps will make the healing process quicker.
21. Shave the area
Don’t forget to shave the area where you are getting inked the night before your appointment. The needle won’t properly penetrate your skin’s necessary layers because of your hair. The tattoo might not stick if the area is not shaved.
22. No aspirin
Ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided for 24 hours prior to your session. These drugs can thin your blood, which could prolong your tattoo-making process. This implies that the area will probably continue to bleed for a lot longer than it would under normal circumstances during/after getting a tattoo.
The first few months after getting inked are crucial. The aftercare would determine the permanency of your tattoo. If you fail to look after it, it might start to fade eventually. Getting a tattoo is a traumatizing experience for your skin, and therefore, it needs time to heal after the procedure. A tattoo can take up to a month to heal completely, depending upon the size and design.
You must stay away from water activities and sunlight during this period. Avoid scratching the tattoo when you see the scab getting formed. You can use ‘tatwax’ or any baby oil to ease the healing process. After the tattoo has healed, you must moisturize it regularly and apply sunscreen for protection.
Now once you have kept all these things in mind, it’s really important that you enjoy the entire process of getting inked! Stay calm, do not overthink, and be ready to show off the work of art to the world (or keep it a secret, that’s your choice!) Now go and get ready for your very first tattoo appointment!