Before You Get a Tattoo

For most people getting a tattoo is a form of self-expression. Nowadays we see a boom in this form of art, with about 25 percent of the total population of 18 to 30 year olds in the United States getting tattoos. If you’re also thinking about getting inked yourself, here are some things you need to know before you do.

Types of Tattoos
Tattoos can be classified as amateur or professional.

Amateur tattoos, as the term implies, are done by non-professional individuals. Amateur tattoo artists would use ink, charcoal or ashes that are jabbed onto the skin with a pin. These tattoos run the risk of higher infection as they are usually done in unsanitary conditions.

Professional tattoos are done by registered tattoo artists who make use of proper tattoo equipments or machines, more popularly known as the tattoo gun. Professional tattoo studios are regulated by the government for sanitation and cleanliness. Obviously, this should be the preferred choice over the amateur type.

Tattoos can also be categorized according to purpose.

Some tattoos are cultural, which means they are used as identification as members of a certain ethnic group. These can also be for traditional ritual purposes.

It’s also possible to use tattoos for cosmetic reasons like as permanent makeup or hair imitation.

Medical tattoos, meanwhile, are not for decoration or self-expression but for medical use. For example, a person with a chronic disease like diabetes can use a tattoo to alert doctors and health care professionals during an emergency.

Tattoo Risks
Infection is the biggest risk in getting a tattoo. It can range from life-threatening infections like HIV and hepatitis to less serious (but still serious enough) ones like MRSA, deep skin infection cellulitis, and staph infection. Opting for a professional studio over an amateur one will reduce but not completely remove the risk of infection. Another possible risk is allergic reaction to tattoo pigments, particularly red ones. Tissue injury, swollen skin, and inflammatory responses may also arise. In case of any of these, consult a doctor immediately.

Choosing a Studio
It’s already been emphasized the need to choose a professional tattoo studio over an amateur one. In addition to that, you also need to check the business license of the studio and artist to ensure that it is current. Moreover, examine the studio; it should be as clean as a doctor’s clinic. It should be sanitized and organized. The equipment should be properly sterilized. If the place makes you concerned, postpone the tattoo session and look for another studio.

Safety Tips
If you are going to get a tattoo, do not take drugs particularly aspirin or drink alcohol before or during the tattoo session. If you’re sick even with only a slight cold or flu, postpone the tattoo session. See if the needles to be used on you have been removed from a sterilized disposable package. After you’ve gotten your tattoo, follow the instructions for healing carefully. Be sure to use the antibiotic ointment as prescribed.

Finally, think many times before getting a tattoo. Even though there is a process called tattoo removal that can remove the tattoo in case you’ve changed your mind, be aware that results are usually not satisfactory. Even the most advanced method, which is laser removal, can still leave scars and unsightly skin reactions.

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