Gettin’ your first tattoo and can’t tell your fingers from your toes?
Or maybe you got your tattoo and need some tips on caring for your neat addition.
You’re in the right place.
Now, getting inked is no joke. We’re talking about permanently marking your body.
You don’t want your ink to end up on social media as one of the biggest mistakes in tattoo history.
You don’t want to end up hiding your tattoo for the rest of your life out of sheer embarrassment.
Or Worse! Going through the tedious tattoo removal process, which will most likely leave a horrid scar.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a million and one questions running through your head and
maaaybe haven’t gotten around to taking the first step because of these unanswered questions. Not to mention the anxiety that comes from not knowing & not being sure.
No worries. I’m here to help.
Soak in the following before you get inked and enjoy my first tattoo experience here:
DO YOUR RESEARCH
I cannot STRESS this enough. For making a decision this serious, due research has to be done! And we’re talking about research in everything.
Ensure that you search around. Think long and hard about what you want your tattoo to be of. How big or small do you want it and whether it’ll be a piece of artwork or have special meaning to you. Personally, I prefer when tattoos mean something unique to its canvas (especially long term and not just because of a person or short-lived event). To me, there’s a lesser chance of huge regrets and you’re less likely to become bored of it or have a ‘change of heart’.
Most common reasons why people regret their tattoos?
Impulsive decision (35%)
Significant meaning (29%)
The idea that it would make them look cool (18%)
This speaks to two things:
1. The placement of your tattoo is a huuuge factor to consider.
A decision needs to be made as to whether you want your tattoo visible or hidden and this could be as a result of many things including the kind of job you’re in, religious reasons, cultural background or future decisions to be made, so choose wisely.
You may want to do some additional research on varying sensitivity of areas on the body. For example, it is known that the lower ribs and certain areas on the feet are a killer. You may even experience different levels of sensitivity in one area. My personal experience of pain ranged from 5 (the loveable sweet spot) to an 8.5/10 on a spinal tattoo. Let me just say breathing helped a lot!
2. The other ‘where’ is the location, the tattoo shop/parlor that you’ll be getting your work done.
First thing’s first: cleanliness. You could have everything planned, you know exactly what you want to get and where, but you show up at the tattoo parlor and it seems….unsanitary. You’re probably not going to get that tattoo done. And if you’re seriously considering it. C’mon! You need help. I don’t think I need to explain to you why getting a tattoo in a sterile space from a clean and hygienic artist and equipment is highly recommended. Would you get food from a filthy space? No? Why is that?
You should feel comfortable in a space where you’ll be getting inked. Somewhere you know you’ll be getting top-class treatment. You’ll want this considering the immense pressure of nerves that could possibly take over.
Finally, you want to make sure you’ve done detailed research on the person who will be putting needle to your skin. There has to exist that level of trust and understanding between you and your artist. I will stress this again.
THIS IS PERMANENT!
So... check out the work of your chosen artist, get some feedback from persons who have gotten inked by them. Like REALLY check out those reviews.
Preferably, choose an artist with experience. I was more than comfortable with my artist’s previous designs, suggestions and recommendations, her expertise, and the cleanliness of the studio and utensils. Plus, she had a bomb-ass personality and extra gentle touch which I needed to ease my nerves. Need ideas? Check her out @britinktattoos.
Original design done by the parties stated above.
Other artists you can consider if you’re in Jamaica...
Another way I prepare for big choices and events like this is to watch a whole lot of videos online on what to expect. You can learn a lot, but don’t take everything as "gospel", because experiences differ.
Some additional things to note leading up to the big day and ON the big day itself:
Do not drink alcohol on the day before or of getting a tattoo. Neither should you take aspirin or ibuprofen. These are all blood thinners. What that means is you’ll probably bleed a lot throughout the process. You don’t want blood getting in the way of you getting the perfect design now do you?
Avoid energy drinks and caffeine. These stimulants may increase your anxiety and blood pressure.
Don’t show up to get a tattoo sunburnt or with any fresh wounds (scratches, cuts etc.). Healed wounds make a difficult canvas for work, so if you have any on the area to be inked, advise your artist beforehand so they can make arrangements.
Don’t get names tatted on your skin. This one’s up to you, but it seems to be one of the most common tattoo regrets.
Provide your tattoo artist with all the details. What you want for your tattoo, your concerns and any medical conditions you have or had.
Get a good nights’ rest before the day.
Drink lots of water prior to your appointment all the way through to recovery.
Make yourself comfortable by taking a book to read, listening to music and wear loose clothing. You’ll thank me later.
Ask to take short breaks throughout the session if the pain is too much to handle. Your artist will understand. Just don’t take too many. The sooner you can be over with it, the better.
Remain as still as possible if you want the tattoo to come out right.
Talk! Talk! Talk! Having a conversation is the perfect distraction from the pain & time you have left.
Stay calm. Breathe! Especially through the process. Take something to squeeze if you can, like a stress ball.
All you can do now is:
TIPS FOR HEALING & RECOVERY
Cover your fresh tat. (your artist should do this before you leave the shop)
Wash your hands before coming into contact with your tattoo
Clean your tattoo twice daily. When showering gently rub it with fingers using a mild bar soap (e.g. Dove/Protex). Keep minimally wet. Don’t use body wash or lotion.
Use a disposable hand towel to gently pat dry. Do not wipe and void using a towel or rag as they harbor bacteria.
Keep it moisturized. Apply ointment 3-4 times a day for the first two weeks
Do not itch or pick at the scab. If the scab comes off before time, you will end up with an uneven tattoo.
Wear loose clothing to allow the tattoo to breathe. Oxygen is crucial in the healing process. Tight clothing or clothing with tags might also irritate the tattoo.
No sea, sand, sun or pool for the first two weeks. Do not submerge the tattoo in water.
1. It’s okay to be nervous AND
2. The more thoughtful and careful you are about your tattoo, the less likely you are to regret it.
All my love,