Some Frequently Asked Questions
Q.: Does it hurt? Where does it hurt the most?
A: Yes, of course they hurt! It's a needle going in and out of your skin at 3 trillion miles per hour! Unless you are a complete freak of nature or have the skin of a Wild Boar, It's gonna hurt. Basically it depends on the place where you get it. Everybody is sensitive on different places on his body. Some people say it hurts most on the chest others say it's worse on the back. It is never so bad that you can't stand it, you will never exactly know, unless you make that experience on your own.
Q.: Are there tattoos that fade out after a couple of years?
A: No there are not! At least in my experience there are none. A friend of mine once got one of them but it did not fade out completely. It started fading after 1 year and after about 5 years you could still see a couple of outlines and black spots. It looked horrible for years, like some kind of self made primitive prison tattoo (no offence). Some of the ink faded out and some of it didn't. So she had to do it again at a real tattoostudio and had to pay for it again of course. It seems hard for some people to make the decision of getting a tattoo for their lifetime, but believe me after one year, of having it, you are not even gonna look at it anymore (well sometimes) because it is part of your body now and you would miss it if it wasn't there anymore.
Q.: How long does it take to heal? What about the aftercare?
A: The amount of healing time required will vary from person to person depending on their health as well as the type and location of the tattoo, usually 7 - 14 days. Most commonly, you will need to take care of your new tattoo for the first two weeks, applying products that fasten the healing process such as TattooGoo or Neosporin. The tattoo is fully healed after the scar tissue is completely gone. Still you should consult your ARTIST, he will know what's best for you!
Q.: Can I get old work covered, reworked or even removed?
A: Sure! Every tattoo, old or not, can be covered with something else. The only problem is to cover a tattoo that is already really dark, because the artist can't use a lighter color to go over it. You can take a look on a few cover- ups, they are usually executed in such a manner that you would never know that there was another tattoo underneath it! If you really decide you want to remove a tattoo, there is always the possibility of a laser treatment. The laser treatment nowadays is really good. After the whole tattoo is removed you almost won't see that there was some ink under the skin. On the downside, in every article I read people say it is 10 times more painful to remove a tattoo than getting it.
Q.: What about sterilization?
A: Sterilization is the most important thing in a tattoo studio. There are a lot of tattoo studios that might look a bid filthy from the outside, but don't worry. If they are an official studio, they have to be as clean and careful about sterilization as a doctor, a dentist or a hospital. They have to use the same kind of equipment they use, for sterilizing.
Q.: Can I get any diseases from a tattoo? Is it safe?
A: There are blood borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and syphilis that are life threatening and can be spread without adequate precautions. Getting a tattoo CAN BE COMPLETELY SAFE as thousands of people have tattoos applied each year. Professional tattoo studios have been in the forefront in implementing proper sterilization techniques for years, long before it was fashionable, as it has become recently. The guidelines are standards in medicine and should be upheld by all professional personal service personal such as doctors, dentists, hospitals and tattoo artists.
Q.: Can I take any drugs to ease the pain?
A: No unfortunately there are none. You should not use any drugs before you get tattooed cause if you take drugs you are not in your right state of mind and you could give yourself a seizure or even a heart attack. It's the same with painkillers. Drinking alcohol before getting tattooed is also not advisable. Alcohol thins your blood and you will bleed a lot more which means no ink will stay in your skin due to the bleeding. It will also hurt a lot more cause the tattoo artist will have to go over the tattooed area more. You could even bleed the color out of you new tattoo when drinking alcohol. It is recommended not to drink any alcohol 24 hours before and after getting the tattoo. And Novocain? Well, unfortunately only licensed medical professionals are legal to use it!
Q.: Can I bring my own design?
A: Yes, you can. Almost every motive is possible but it will be converted into a tattoo design because some styles of artwork do not go well as a tattoo. Make sure the artist draws the motive again before he puts it on your skin so you know what it look like as a tattoo.
Q.: Can I be allergic to tattoo ink?
A: This is very rare. About 95% of the people on this planet are not. The ink is always improved and they use only materials in it most people are not allergic to. I myself have never heard of a case like that, ever. But if you are still uncertain you could ask in a studio if they would be willing to "test" some ink on you. You will probably have to pay for it cause even for just one dot under your skin they have to go through the same sterilizing and safety procedures as if they where doing the actual tattoo.
Q.: Will my tattoo stretch out if I gain weight or get pregnant?
A: Yes, it will. The same as the skin stretches, if you gain weight, and shrinks, if you loose weight. The tattoo will go with the skin. This means, if you gain a 100 pounds your tattoo will also get stretched, together with your skin. On the other hand if you lost the 100 pounds again the tattoo would be in the exact same shape as before. The only thing that might happen is the colors could fade a little due to the stretching process.
Q.: Can I get a tattoo over a scar?
A: Usually, Yes. But it depends on the size of the scar. I can't tell you if it is possible or not without actually seeing the scar. Ask a tattooartist in your neighborhood if he could take a look at it and what he thinks of it.
Q.: How old must be to get a tattoo?
A: You MUST be 18 years of age and able to prove it. No body cares if you are ALMOST 18, or if your parents are with you to give you permission. The artist can go to jail and the shop can be shut down if they tattoo a minor. For more exact information on the minimum age limit and other stuff check out the Laws about tattooing and piercing in your state.
Q.: Is it permanent? What about the colors?
A: Yes it is, but every tattoo will age. It depends on your skin, the placement, how often it is exposed to the sun, and how you take care of it in the healing process and so on. If you have it once you will have it for your entire life. Unwanted or older bad looking tattoos can be covered with a new one or be removed with a laser, but bare in mind, removing hurts more than doing the tattoo itself!
Q.: Will my tattoo get infected?
A: If you don't keep it clean while it is healing, your tattoo can get infected, just like any open wound. A tattoo consists of depositing pigment beneath the surface of the skin through a series of minute puncture wounds. Any time the skin is perforated, there is the risk of an infection from microbes. We recommend the use of an anti-bacterial soap, when cleaning a healing tattoo.
Q.: How are the tattoos priced?
A: It depends on a number of things: Where do you want to have it, the size, is it color, or just black and white? Each artist does it his own way. They decide on a price by evaluating the size, coloring and placement on the body.
Q.: How long should I avoid water contact?
A: You can take the first shower about two hours after you get tattooed. But don't soak the new tattoo to much in water and try to go easy on it with the shower gel. All shower gels have chemicals and perfumes in them that are not really helping the healing process. Don't worry it's not like you will get infected with something, but using too much gel or rubbing too hard on your tattoo could fade out the colors. You should not take a bath or let the tattoo soak in any kind of water too long, for at least 2 weeks or until the peeling is finished. Seawater can even speed up the healing process a little but again do not soak in it.
Q.: How long should I wait, till I can start shaving again, after getting tattooed?
A: You will have to quit shaving your legs in the area you have tattooed until the peeling is done. This shouldn't take more than a couple weeks. The first few times you shave after it has peeled you should probably be real careful.
Q.: Should I get a tattoo in the first place?
A: You reading this means you're already interested in getting a tattoo, or may know someone who is. Well, here are the bare facts: In a survey of 163 tattooed men and women, a third of them had regretted their tattoos! If you get one, most likely you will have it all your life
Q.: Are the needles used for piercing sterilized also? What about the body jewelry?
A: YES. Piercing needles are brand new and autoclaved also. So is the body jewelry used in a new piercing. Once a needle is used, it is disposed of in a "sharps" container which is collected by a medical waste handling service, once the container is filled.
Q.: Are the needles used for tattoos always the same?
A: NO!!! A artist will never use a needle twice. Used needles are broken and discarded.
Q.: Is there blood involved in the tattooing process?
A: Yes there is! The artist will put a needle several times in your skin for quite a while. It's not like you're bleeding as if he cuts you in your veins there's just a little bit of blood coming out of the wound.
Q.: What does it feel like?
A: Nobody can tell you what it feels like. It hurts that's for sure, you have to experience it for yourself.
Q.: How do I become a tattoo artist?
A: Tattooing is traditionally an apprentice based art. Apprenticeships last approximately three years before they are considered professional artists. You are making permanent, often visible changes to another human being and if proper procedure isn't followed, could be jeopardizing that client's health and emotional well-being. By taking advantage of the knowledge of experienced, professional artists, you will avoid many costly mistakes. First, you should put together a portfolio, anything reflecting your skills with composition, color and line work. Then visit local studios, and talk to the shopowners. Apprenticeships can cost you money and you may have to sign a contract regarding your future business practices. This is not unusual. Just as in any other profession, you need to pay for schooling.