Your Guide to Getting Inked
By Lauren Lubin
Whether a person wants one or not, tattoos have been an interesting way of displaying art for many years. However, there are some health risks and factors that a person should consider before going through with such a large commitment.
I recently turned 18 and happily spent my birthday getting my first tattoo. I got a design of a honey bee on my left shoulder blade, black and white with no shading. As opposed to what many people think, I did not experience a great deal of pain. With this said, it simply depends on the location on your body of your design along with the individuals pain tolerance. My tattoo cost $100 and I got it at Spider Murphy’s Parlor in San Rafael. I recommend this parlor because they did an amazing job and employ very friendly artists. I was told to go there by multiple people who all had a good experience and amazing tattoos.
The first thing to understand is that tattoos involve pigment being punctured into the skin to form a design or marking that can result in possible scarring. In other words, a tattoo is permanent. For people that experience regret with this major decision, there is a method that can remove a tattoo which is called tattoo laser removal, but the price range can range from $200 to $500.
After realizing this, there are multiple precautions a person should take before receiving a tattoo.
- Your Design: Picking a design is a large decision, as the size and detail determines the cost of the tattoo (it also depends on the parlor, as nicer parlors will have ranges well into the hundreds while less nice parlors can go under). The first thing to know is that if a person decides to receive a tattoo with color and shading, it will be more expensive and will need more care than a black and white outline. The color will eventually fade over time, which means a person will have to return to the parlor every year or so to get touch ups and recoloring. This process will also take longer and sometimes the artist doesn’t finish in one day, requiring people to return the following day to finish. When deciding on a design, I recommend making a list of things that have a personal meaning to you. Drawing or using temporary tattoos for placement and design ideas is an amazing way to decide on what you want. This will also give you a small idea of what its gonna look like when you get it.
- Medical Status: Before even seeing your printed design, you are required to sign a “consent to tattoo” form. Read this form thoroughly, since each one is slightly tweaked, depending on the parlor. Yet, they all have the same basis and many of the same rules just worded differently. When figuring out a spot on the body for a tattoo, you want to be sure there is no skin defect (such as acne or a sunburn) that would affect the tattooing process or interfere with healing. Advise your artist of this area, and consider avoiding the sensitive area altogether.
- After Care: After a person gets their tattoo, the artist will inform them of how to take care of it during the healing process. On the waiver, you agree to following each step carefully in order to avoid any kind of infection. If anything does occur, contact the artist along with a doctor since some of these complications can be treated and cured. Some complications that can happen include skin infections, allergic reactions and other skin problems, bloodborne diseases, and MRI complications. With this in mind, a person with diabetes, epilepsy, hemophilia, a heart condition, or taking blood thinning medication is advised to not get a tattoo. You also can’t be pregnant, nursing, or have a mental impairment that could affect the judgment in getting a tattoo (also means you are sober and not influenced by drugs or alcohol).
- Bloodborne Diseases: Following up with the listed issues, a bloodborne disease will only be an issue if you are not in a sanitary parlor. It is vital to make sure your artist is wearing gloves and using sterilized machines to avoid any kind of contamination. I recommend doing research on a selected parlor and asking anyone who has been already about their experience.
- MRI Complications: For most people, this will not be a major issue when receiving a tattoo. Yet, it is good to know that an MRI could result in swelling or burning after being put under. This experience is not relatively common, but is beneficial to know about.
Getting a tattoo is a thrilling experience and can even be sentimental if your selected design has a deep or powerful meaning. Choose a design wisely, pick your parlor carefully, and remember to take care of it.