Tattoos are one of the oldest forms of art with evidence of their existence dating back to 3370 BC. That’s approximately 5,390 years ago. Getting a tattoo used to be a preserve of deviant criminal types in some cultures and a rite of passage in others but now tattoos are becoming increasingly common and socially acceptable. Tattoos can be used for personal expression or statements and even in some cases are tribal in nature. They can also be ritualistic or religious and even be used to cover up scars. Whatever your reason for considering one, here are some things to keep in mind before getting a tattoo.
First things first
Here are some facts that should anchor all the tattoo-related decisions you make going forward:
- The tattoo will hurt although adrenaline kicks in and it helps.
- It will not be cheap.
- It will take time.
- The tattoo is permanent.
- Removal can be painful and expensive.
The permanence of tattoos demands that one take their time to find an artist who is skilled and experienced to minimize the chances of being ‘botched’. Investigate any shops you’re considering by looking at their social media pages and other online reviews. Visit the shop you eventually select in advance to make sure it’s sanitary and just to see the artist at work. After deciding, confirm their policies including bookings, deposits, and cancellations. When selecting an artist, pick one whose style matches the style you’re looking for. Different tattoo artists have different style preferences and will interpret your design differently. Choose carefully.
Pain, size, and location
Getting a tattoo will hurt and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. The process involves multiple needles puncturing your skin to insert ink. None of that is pain-free. There will also be blood so if you have an aversion to blood and needles, this may not be the thing for you. The bigger and more elaborate the design, the more the pain. The intensity of the pain is also a factor of the location. It’s less painful in places like the forearm or bicep and more painful in softer areas like your chest. When thinking of location, you should also think about its potential impact on your life including work prospects. Do you want it somewhere where people can see it?
The design and meaning
Take your time when choosing a design, there’s no rush. While selecting your design and deciding on the location, one key thing to consider is the meaning behind it. There is no right reason to get a tattoo as long there is a meaning to it. Attaching meaning to it means it remains relevant and you never regret it. A meaning also helps the artist understand your motivation so they do a better job and will keep you going through the painful process of getting the piece done.
The style and size will influence the price. Experience also affects the price. You’ll be paying a premium for their expertise if they are highly skilled. This is more than worth it especially if you have a highly stylized design such as a portrait of your cat. Do your research and get quotes from other shops which will help you tell if a charge is suspiciously low or too high.
You can get a tattoo anytime, however, getting it done in colder months is ideal. Warmer months mean your new ink will be exposed to the sun which can harm it. Too much direct sunlight can feed up fading even after it’s healed. You are also advised against swimming while the piece is still fresh, another reason why it’s better to do it during cooler months.
Preparation before you get the tattoo
Your tattoo artist will likely give you pre-care instructions about what you should do before your appointment. The advice generally includes:
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, aspirin, and substances that thin the blood and can thus lead to excessive bleeding. Avoid them for at least 48 hours before your appointment.
- Stay hydrated and eat well. This will help you keep your strength up and help your body heal faster.
- Moisturize your skin but not immediately before the session. You should moisturize your skin lightly on the days before the appointment.
- Shave the area of the tattoo the night before. Make sure you don’t cut yourself or you’ll have to postpone the appointment.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep the night before. This will help you stay alert which will help you stay still and calm while you’re being inked.
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