FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Are tattoos safe and do they hurt?
Yes, tattoos are absolutely safe as long as you go to a reputable artist who is following all recommended safety precautions. As for the pain, it is best to compare it to a hot scratching sensation. Yes, it hurts a bit for the first few minutes after which your body gets used to it. Everyone has a different tolerance to pain and for most of us pain is not a regular experience in our daily lives, but the beauty of a well done tattoo and the pride associated with having a piece of artwork permanently on your body far outweighs the temporary burning sensation on your skin.
2. What safety precautions should I check for before getting a tattoo?
a. Always check for new sterile needles being removed from a sealed pack or an autoclave bag in front of you for each and every tattoo session. After completing a session, a professional will destroy and dispose off used needles in a sharps container.
b. Ointment, ink, water and other fluid items should be freshly poured into sterile containers or cups for your use only, and should not be returned to a universal container after it has been used for a client.
c. Make sure the artist is wearing new gloves all the way through a tattoo process.
d. Ask if the artist is vaccinated for Hepatitis B (as it is the most common infection which is spread through unsafe methods of tattooing). If they are not vaccinated, just be sure that they are following the other safety guidelines to prevent cross-contamination.
e. Ask about what training your artist has taken and completed. Always ask to see examples of the artist's finished work. Photos should be openly available for all visitors and clients to see.
3. How should I prepare myself before coming for a tattoo?
a. Please come prepared for your consultation with some reference pictures or your own drawings for the artist to have a clear idea about what you want.
b. Keep your skin nicely moisturised for at least one day before the tattoo.
c. When you come for the session, make sure that you EAT WELL before the tattoo starts as the sessions might go on for long hours and your body will need strength to endure the pain.
d. DO NOT DRINK alcohol and avoid consuming heavy foods like red meat, pulses etc. for at least one day before your tattoo.
e. Avoid caffeine and energy drinks on the day of your tattoo.
4. What should I expect when I come to get my tattoo? What are the basic steps in a professional tattoo process?
When you come for the first consultation, please be prepared with some reference pictures or your own drawings for the artist to have a clear idea about what you want. The artist will ideally spend some time with you discussing about your tattoo concept while showing you different styles suited for your personality often sketching something roughly in front of you. For a detailed design, the artist will ask for some time to prepare the drawing and an advance booking amount. Only when you are totally confident and happy about the final design should you go ahead and get your tattoo. Once you are ready for your tattoo, the following are the basic steps you should expect in a professional tattoo process.
a. Paperwork : Once you have decided on your tattoo design and your artist, you will be required to show valid identification for proof of age and sign a disclaimer form stating that it is your individual wish to get a permanent tattoo on your body. You may also be asked for your address and phone number, so your artist can contact you in the future if need be.
b. Chair of honour : After your paperwork is filled out, you will be seated in the tattoo chair. Sometimes this is in an open work area, and sometimes a private room depending on your own preference and the location of your tattoo. If you need privacy for your tattoo, please make sure that you inform the artist in advance.
c. Preparing the skin : The area of your body you have chosen for your tattoo will be cleaned, usually with rubbing alcohol. Then, any hair will be removed from the area by shaving it with a new disposable razor which will be discarded after being used. Even the finest of hairs can get in the way and cause problems, so this is a crucial step, even if you can't see any hairs. Then, the area will be cleaned again to make sure it is smooth and ready for the transfer.
d. Stencil transfer : Now the artist will use a stencil liquid or ointment to transfer the tattoo stencil onto your skin. This ointment aids in making the design transfer better and darker onto your skin. When the paper is pulled away from your skin, it will leave you with a blue outline of your future tattoo.
e. Preparing the machines : The inks will be placed in little tiny cups called "ink caps", and the needles and tubes will be removed from their sterile pouches and placed in the machine. Clean, distilled water will be poured into a cup for cleaning the needles during the tattoo process and to change from one colour to the next. Some A&D ointment or Vaseline will be placed on a clean surface for your use only.
f. The first line : A little ointment will be placed over your transfer design for a few reasons. One is that it helps keep the transfer on longer without accidentally rubbing it off, and it also helps the needle to slide along the skin more smoothly, which is certainly going to be more comfortable to you. After the ointment is applied, it is time for the first line. If you're nervous, don't hold your breath. Take a nice, slow, deep breath and try to relax. The first few minutes will be the roughest. After that, your skin will get used to it and the pain will begin to subside.
g. Shading and colouring : Once all the line work is done, your artist may switch to a different set of needles called magnums which are designed for colouring and shading. They may even switch tattoo machines altogether. The shading and colouring can go along quite quickly, and before you know it you've got a complete tattoo.
h. The finished tattoo : Your artist may like a picture of your tattoo for their portfolio. They'll clean it up real good, and sometimes even apply a hot towel to it first. Then they'll take a picture, and this is a good time for you to get a shot, too, if you brought a camera along. Taking a photo after the protective ointment is applied causes a glare, so it is best to do it now. If for any reason you do not want the artist to take a photo, just say so.
i. Dressing and bandaging : Now that your tattoo is finished and clean, it needs to be treated just like a wound. A protective layer of ointment will be applied to the tattoo to prevent invasion of airborne bacteria that can cause infection. Then a bandage will be applied, and it will be taped up to make sure it is secure. It is important that you keep this bandage on for the amount of time your artist instructs, which brings us to our last step: tattoo aftercare.
j. Receiving aftercare instructions : Your artist will now give you aftercare instructions. These should be given both verbally, and on a piece of paper for you to take home with you. It is important that you listen and follow the instructions you are given. From this point on, it is your responsibility to make sure your tattoo is well taken care of. The artist cannot be blamed if you get an infection because you didn't follow directions.
You are now the proud owner of a beautiful tattoo. Before you walk out the door, thank your artist, and please don't forget to tip them. Show how much you appreciate their work and dedication. Refer your friends to them. When you go back for your next tattoo, you will have established a good relationship with your artist, and you can be assured they will be there to help you if you ever have any problems or questions in the future.
5. How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?
It takes 7 to 10 days for a tattoo to heal. However depending on the individual, it might take anything between 2 to 3 months for the tattooed skin to mature completely, thicken and blend with your normal skin.
6. Is it okay to take a bath or go out in the sun after getting a new tattoo?
Yes, you may take a bath after getting a tattoo by applying a thin layer of A&D ointment on the tattoo so that the water does not seep in. Make sure you pat the tattoo area dry quickly after bathing as you should not soak the tattoo in water for too long. It is NOT a good idea to expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight or bathe in the sea during the first month as it might cause fading or change in the original colour of your tattoo.
7. Can you describe the tattoo aftercare process in detail?
After you come home with your new tattoo, remove the bandage within the first 3 hours and wash your tattoo gently with water. Make sure all the dry plasma/blood is washed off. Now pat dry your tattoo with fresh tissue and leave open to dry. Once your tattoo is completely dry, apply a very thin layer of the A&D ointment provided. Repeat this 3 times a day for at least the next 3 days. The following healing process can be classified into three phases which are described as follows.
PHASE 1 : DRY SKIN SCABBING - After the first 2 or 3 days, the tattooed skin will start getting dry forming dark scabs like a normal wound. During this period, the area will start to itch when you must keep applying the ointment and resist scratching the tattooed area or picking at scabs no matter how much it itches. These scabs should be allowed to peel off naturally leaving the ink under your skin. If the scabs come off pre-maturely then the ink will come off as the ink is attached to your scabs. Do not re-bandage your tattoo, instead wear loose cotton clothes around it as your tattoo needs to breathe to heal well. Wash your hands before and after touching your tattoo to avoid infection. Before bathing, apply the ointment on your tattoo and do not soak it for more than 5 minutes. It will take around 7 to 10 days for all the scabs to come off completely.
PHASE 2 : A THIN FLAKY SKIN - After the scabs come off completely, you enter the second phase called "thin flaky skin" phase when your tattooed area grows new skin which is thin, flaky and shiny. This is a crucial time to take good care of your tattoo. This phase will continue for the next 2 to 3 weeks when you need to keep your tattoo skin moisturised at all times with any good body moisturiser.
PHASE 3 : A LEATHERY SKIN - After about a month of your tattoo being made, you will enter the "leathery skin" phase when the tattooed skin becomes leathery, thicker and less shiny. This is the last phase of the healing process as the skin is maturing and blending in with your normal skin. Now you may moisturise the tattooed skin once in a day.
THINGS TO REMEMBER AFTER GETTING A TATTOO
a. DO NOT let anyone touch your freshly made tattoo as bacteria might infect it.
b. DO NOT soak your tattoo in water; stay out of pools, hot tubs or oceans for the first month.
c. DO NOT expose your tattoo to direct sunlight or tanning beds for the first month.
d. AVOID eating anything heavy (red meats, pulses etc.)
e. AVOID drinking alcohol as it may cause heat boils on and around your tattoo.
f. DO NOT exercise the tattooed area till all your scabs have fallen off as stretching your skin may force the scabs to leave your skin resulting in loss of colour.
g. It is advised to MOISTURISE your tattoo daily even after it is healed.
8. Will hair grow on my new tattoo? When can I shave/wax?
Yes, hair will grow on your tattooed skin as it normally does. If you have dense or long body hair, you might reconsider the position of your tattoo as the hair growth might obscure your tattoo. Before you decide to shave/wax your tattooed skin, please wait for at least two to three weeks after getting tattooed for the skin to heal completely.
9. Can I use some kind of anaesthetic/numbing cream to reduce the pain?
These kinds of products are really not recommended as it might dilute the blood which will cause more bleeding.
10. Can I drink alcohol or get high on drugs before getting the tattoo?
NO, you should not. Alcohol or any kind of drugs reduce the healing power of your body and affect your immune system, also diluting your blood causing excessive bleeding. Consuming these substances before getting a tattoo may result in fainting or undesirable situations which neither the artist nor you would like to face.
11. How much is it going to cost?
When it comes to tattoos, you get what you pay for. Yes, there are plenty of people tattooing out there that will ink you cheap, and you'll be crying to a real artist to have it covered up. Look for quality, and be willing to pay for it. NEVER haggle over the price of a tattoo. It is disrespectful to the artist. If you can't pay for quality, come back later when you can. Your tattoo is a piece of art you will wear for life.
12. How old should I be to get a tattoo?
18 is the legal age for getting a tattoo. However, we may consider tattooing a minor if they are accompanied by their parents.
13. Is it permanent for life? Can I modify it later? Will the colours stay?
Yes, tattoos are permanent. But all tattoos will age with time. Exposure to sun, improper aftercare or ill health may affect the final results. Colours will come out better if you are fair skinned and will be muted if you have a dark complexion. Think of your skin as a filter over the real colours of your tattoo. Old or faded tattoos can be covered up (by reworking or modifying). Tattoos can also be removed by professional laser treatment but the tattooed skin area will become lighter than the original skin colour like bleached skin.
14. Can I be allergic to the ink?
Yes, it is possible to get allergic reactions with the colours if you have a history of skin allergies. In that case you should get a written permission from your doctor before coming for the tattoo. However, this is a very rare case and in our experience we have not faced such issues with any of our clients.
15. What is the best time of the year to get a tattoo?
Although you can get a tattoo any time of the year, your skin gets a lot more abuse during the summer with swimming, tanning and just being exposed to the elements more. Winter time is really the best season to get a tattoo.
16. Is it okay to get a tattoo if I am sick, pregnant or breast feeding?
It is not a good idea to get a tattoo when your immune system is not at 100%. You're going to need your strength and your white blood cells to heal your tattoo, something your body won't be able to do if it's already battling against virus and bacteria. Not to mention the fact that it's very inconsiderate to bring your illness into the tattoo studio and risk passing the germs onto others, particularly your artist. If you have an appointment, call and reschedule for when you're feeling well again.
17. Where can I find tattoo designs of stars, butterflies, skulls, etc.?
If you're getting a tattoo, especially as an expression of your individuality, why would you want a tattoo just like someone else's? Instead, find other pictures of what you're looking for and have your artist draw up a custom design for you. For example, if you want a tattoo of a bird on a tree, find real photos of birds and trees. If you want a tattoo of green leaves wrapped around a cross, find pictures of real leaves and crosses that you like. If the pictures don't show exactly what you want, just take them to your artist to use them as guidelines and tell them what changes you want made to the original pictures. A real artist will welcome the challenge of a custom piece.
18. What design should I get? And where?
This is all a matter of personal taste. You can get whatever you want, and whatever your artist is willing to do. You can choose a picture off the wall, or you can have them create a custom piece just for you. Your only limit is your own imagination. Just keep in mind what you do for work and the type of social circles you are in. You might want to consider placing your tattoo where it can be easily covered up with normal clothing.
19. Where is the least and most painful spot for a tattoo?
Places where you have thick skin (upper arm, outer forearm, upper back, thighs, calf area) are the least painful. Whereas areas where you have thin skin or bones (neck, inner bicep, inside elbow, ribs, back of the knee and top of the feet) can be more painful as there are less muscle and fat to absorb the needle pressure.
20. My friend just bought a tattoo machine and wants to practice on me. Should I let them?
No, you should not. Your friend could be putting both of your lives in danger by foolishly trying to learn this at home. Tell them that they need to get a proper apprenticeship from an experienced tattoo artist, and they can start practicing on you when their mentor (master) feels they are ready.
21. Do you make body piercings and temporary tattoos?
Yes, we do body piercings, but we DO NOT make temporary tattoos, specializing only in permanent body art.