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Tattoo FAQ - Dragonsinn

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | Tattoo FAQ | Tattoo Links | Fuku Riu

Where do I start?

Your first step is to browse some web sites - Google "tattoo designs" and try not to get overwhelmed by the variety. There's tribal tattoos, Celtic tattoos, traditional 'tattoo parlor' designs, biker tattoos, Japanese tattoos, Chinese tattoos, etc.

Think about what inspired you to want a tattoo. What style of tattoos do you like? What did you like about it?

You can visit local tattoo shops, which are likely to have albums of designs you can look through. While you're there, pay attention to the place and whether you'd feel comfortable getting a tattoo there.

How much pain is involved?

I've heard it being described as "excruciating" (complete with scrunched up face of pain), to "like a massage" (less pain, because the needles of modern tattoo equipment go in and out of the skin very quickly). Some people are able to carry on a conversation while getting their tattoo. I guess there's only one way to find out ;)

The amount of discomfort can vary to some degree, depending on the tattoo location. Generally, tattooing over bone (ankle bone, collar bone, where there's little flesh or fat) hurts more.

Tattoo designs also make a difference with regard to how it feels. Tattooing lines produces a different sensation from tattooing blocks of color.

Is it safe to get a tattoo?

Go to a professional tattoo shop where the proper tattoo equipment is used. If new needles are used for each new customer, there is no chance of contracting a blood-borne disease. Professionals will not mind showing you the unopened package of needles they will be using, before tattooing begins. They should dispose of the needles when your tattoo is finished.

Visit several tattooists to make sure the one you select meets basic health standards. Be sure your tattooist has:

* a medical sterilization machine that can use very high heat and steam to sterilize the tattooing equipment (leave if there isn't such a machine)

* individually packaged, dated and sealed needle sets (a small icon on the packages will change color when they've been sterilized)

* clean and disinfected surfaces, ointments, pigments, gloves and beakers for applying tattoos

* your health in mind - s/he washes his or her hands and puts on a new pair of gloves for your work and keeps them on throughout the procedure

tattoo gloves
[pix full size]: Andrew Regan of Stingray

* written instructions on the proper care of the tattooed area to prevent infection (read them before the procedure)

If a tattooist doesn't follow sterile procedure, or is unwilling to discuss health issues with you or minimizes your concerns, find another tattooist.

Avoid "scratchers" who work out of vans or their kitchens. Your tattoo will be with you for a lifetime so it's worth the effort to prevent infections and complications!

How much does it cost?

Tattoo prices vary according to the size and tattoo designs. Larger, more complex designs will cost more than a smaller, simpler one. Simple tattoo designs that are quite small (about 1.043 inches or 2.6 centimetres) will usually cost about $70 or $80. Prices vary, so it's best to always ask.

I've heard tattoos don't look so good once you start to age. Is that true?

It's true that skin and flesh may sag in some places as you age.You know roughly where skin tends to sag as you get older, so try not to get a large tattoo in those areas. A small one is usually alright, and there are several places where you can get a tattoo that won't change substantially over the years - such as your ankle/shoulder/upper arm.

Keep in mind that tattoos may fade over time. You may need to get it re-inked. Colors tend to fade faster than black.

What can I do if I'm dissatisfied with a tattoo?

Options are limited. Depending on the design, it's possible that the tattoo can be added to to alter the appearance. Or you can look at laser tattoo removal methods. Costly, but the results tend to be better.

Make sure you're getting the tattoo you want before the inking process actually starts. That's the reason the artist applies an inked stencil to the surface of your skin before s/he starts tattooing. You get to see what the tattoo will look like, and to adjust the positioning of it if you need to. The artist will use the stencil lines as a guide.

How old do I have to be to get a tattoo?

Usually 18. This can vary from place to place. Some tattoo shops are more diligent than others about asking for I.D...

When should I not get a tattoo?

You shouldn't get a tattoo if you're drunk or high (and most tattoo shops have a policy in place about this; they'll refuse to tattoo anyone who appears to be drunk or high or as a sign in one shop says, "just plain stupid"). Don't get a tattoo if you're "not too sure".

Will having a tattoo make it harder for me to get a good job?

Depends on where you work/where your tattoo is. If your tattoo is in a place where office clothes cover it, there'll be less worries.

Can I give myself a tattoo at home? Can a friend give me one?

Technically it may be possible, but certainly not advisable. You should have your tattoos professionally done - otherwise you're just asking for trouble in the form of an infection or slower healing time. Do-it-yourself tattoos hurt a lot more and they seldom turn out as well as professional tattoos.

How do I prevent infection?

I have some links here.

References for FAQ:

> Tattoos and Body Art

> Free Tattoo Designs: Tattoos FAQ

next [Tattoo Links]

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