Getting a first tattoo can be nerve-wracking. It is advisable to investigate the method, shop, artist, and aftercare regimen beforehand for a more pleasant experience.
However, as a professional tattoo artist with two years of experience, I still observe several rookie blunders.
Preparing the skin for a tattoo
Think of your skin as a canvas for your tattoo; if it is supple and hydrated, it will absorb the ink more quickly, resulting in faster healing.
For optimal skin preparation, moisturize the region for a few weeks prior to your visit. Additionally, take care to drink enough of water and avoid anything that could irritate your skin.
Never request an identical duplicate of another artist’s original work.
Tattoos can take artists hours to design for clients.
Alissa Jung on behalf of Insider
To request a copy of an artist’s original artwork is equivalent to stealing it.
Many tattoo artists spend hours designing a unique piece for each client and simply inking it once. Therefore, this request is disrespectful to both the original tattoo artist and the client, who paid for a unique tattoo.
Find a tattoo artist whose work you admire and entrust them to create a unique artwork for you. It is acceptable to utilize someone else’s work as a reference to offer candidates an idea of what you’re seeking.
On the other hand, certain flash designs, pop culture references, and iconic works of art can be recreated.
Inquire with your artist before using numbing cream.
It is understandable that you would want to use topical numbing cream for your first tattoo, as it might leave the skin in a rubbery or leather-like state, making it more difficult to tattoo and heal.
Before applying numbing lotion, you should inquire about the artist’s preferences; some use Bactine to numb the skin throughout.
Include something to do
You may bring a book or headphones with you.
Many first-time customers are unaware that they can bring items to pass the time. It is helpful to have something to occupy your mind, especially while getting a tattoo that can take many hours.
I recommend taking headphones and downloading something to watch, as well as having a book to read.
Some clients want to bring a friend or speak with the artist, however it is best to inquire prior to the appointment, as shops have varying regulations for guests and artists have varied working preferences. Some enjoy conversing, while others prefer to focus in silence.
Do not feel compelled to purchase anything you do not desire.
Because a tattoo is permanent, you should never feel forced to acquire anything you don’t want.
If you desire modifications to your design or placement, please inform your artist. A skilled tattoo artist will give you their honest opinion and be eager to collaborate with you to create the tattoo you envisioned.
Find a tattoo artist in whom you have complete confidence, both as a person and as an artist, and take their advice into account. There may be design or size limits necessary for the piece’s integrity.
However, do not feel compelled to sign anything that you are not 100 percent certain about.
Avoid scheduling your tattoo immediately before or after a vacation.
You will need to avoid sun exposure, exercise, and swimming for at least two weeks while your tattoo heals, so don’t plan a trip that will require any of these activities shortly after your session.
Your tattoo is effectively an open wound that requires proper hygiene to prevent infection. It will take four to six weeks to fully recover, so plan accordingly.
Alternately, avoid scheduling a tattoo session after a vacation in the sun; if you are sunburned, you will likely need to postpone.
You are permitted to request breaks.
Some tattoos can be time-consuming to ink.
Do not hesitate to request a break if you need to use the restroom, stretch, or get some water. Your artist will feel more at ease tattooing you if you are at ease.
If you require a break during the tattooing process, you should let the artist know. It is probably a much-needed break for them as well.
Do not arrive ill, inebriated, or hungover.
It is crucial to be healthy, hydrated, and in good shape for your tattoo appointment, as getting a tattoo places a lot of stress on your body.
It may take longer for your tattoo to cure if you are ill, which can alter the final result. In addition, your body should focus on mending itself, not on your new tattoo.
Additionally, it is preferable to abstain from alcohol at least 24 hours before your visit. The blood-thinning effects of alcohol can result in excessive bleeding. This can limit your tattoo artist’s visibility during the tattooing procedure, as well as the healing and ultimate finish.
Consume anything prior to your consultation.
Ensure that you consume food a few hours before your visit. If you receive a tattoo on an empty stomach, you may feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseated.
Consuming a protein-rich meal and consuming copious amounts of water will assist calm your anxiety and energize your body for your practice.
Additionally, it may be useful to pack water and snacks like chocolates in case you become ill.