Considering a Tattoo

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Thinking about getting a tattoo?

Tattooed Forearm

This is a guide for what to look for when choosing a tattoo studio.

These guidelines are based on professional experience, common sense, research and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor.

Always insist on clean and sterile tattoo equipment . Only sterile instruments should be used for tattooing.  The only acceptable means of sterilization is by an autoclave. Always make sure the studio is registered with the local environmental health and they display a certificate, check if you are unsure.

Needles should be single-use only. Make sure your tattooist removes new tattoo needles from sealed packets in front of you.

Be certain that your tattooist pours fresh ink into new disposable ink caps. Under NO circumstances should ink that has been poured out or used, be poured back into ink bottles.

All tattooists should wash their hands and put on a new pair of gloves when starting a tattoo.  The best way to prevent cross contamination from one client to the next is by covering all surfaces that a tattooist might touch during the tattoo process with disposable plastic or barrier film. Items that should be covered include spray bottles, clip cords, lamps, knobs on power supplies and chair adjustments. Be sure your artist does not touch anything with dirty gloves, and that all items are wiped down with a disinfectant in between tattoos as an extra precautionary step.

Your tattooist should be clean in appearance and sober. The furnishings in a studio should also be clean and orderly in appearance. All containers, work stations, and floors should be made of hard non-porous materials so they can be cleaned with a hard surface disinfectant.

Question the tattooist about any of these basic guidelines and procedures. If a tattooist is a professional, they will have no problem complying with these standards. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable or if a tattooist appears evasive when questioned - go elsewhere!
Which Tattoo Design:

Don’t be limited to what a studio has on hand; sometimes part of finding the perfect tattoo involves explaining your ideas to the tattooist, and/or bringing in reference materials. Your tattooist should be able to draw a custom design for you. Discuss size, colour, and placement. Sometimes designs that work on paper may not work on skin. You should be comfortable enough to trust in the experience of your chosen tattooist

Shoulder Tattoo
Placement and Size of the Design

Give the placement of your tattoo a lot of thought and take the advice of the tattooist. Choosing where your tattoo is placed should not necessarily be based on a fear of how much it might or might not hurt.  Size is another issue. Starting small is not always best. As tattoos age they spread a little, so get the tattoo the size that it will look the best over time. Discuss these, and all other aspects of your tattoo with your tattooist. They can share their experience with you.
Choosing a Tattoo Artist

In choosing an artist to tattoo, you should never “price shop”. Tattoo prices are based on quality as well as time, and prices will vary artist to artist, region to region. This is not a trade where there are fixed prices. Look at portfolios showcasing examples of tattoos by the tattooist that will be working on you. Look at line quality and smoothness of blends of colour. These photos are the best way to determine if a tattooist is worth what you pay them or is capable of the style you seek. A professional will refer you to someone else if they feel they can not do the piece you want correctly. Bargain tattoos, however, are often a sign of someone more interested in your money than your health. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t gamble with your skin. A cheap tattoo now, may cost you hundreds to fix later or even worse, may cost you your health.
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