Does getting a tattoo hurt?

There will be a certain amount of pain or discomfort with every tattoo but this will vary from person to person and depends on where on your body you get the tattoo and on the expertise of the tattoo artist. Different people have different pain thresholds and it will affect some people more than others. The process of getting a tattoo involves a needle being stuck into you multiple times so its going to hurt a little.

Some places on your body are more painful to get tattooed than others. Generally places where the skin and bone are close together are more painful than areas with some body fat. The top of your foot or ankle or behind your ear can be quite painful whereas areas with more body fat are less so. Obviously bigger tattoos will hurt more than smaller ones because you will be in the chair for longer.

If you are concerned about the pain talk to the tattoo artist, tell them what you are thinking of getting and where and ask them what they think.

How much does a tattoo cost?

The cost of the tattoo will depend on how big it is, how detailed it is, the experience of the artist, etc. If you decide on exactly what tattoo you want and have found an artist that you are happy with and the price is out of your budget then save up and get the tattoo when you can afford it. Some artists will charge more than others and if you make your decision on price alone you are heading for a mistake. You generally get what you pay for.

Should I do anything before getting a tattoo?

You can do a few simple things to make getting your tattoo a smoother experience. Firstly don’t have any alcohol before getting your tattoo. It might seem like a good idea but alcohol and other chemicals, including aspirin, can thin your blood which can lead to more bleeding than normal. This could result in some of the colour coming out of the tattoo or make the tattoo scab more. Also the more you bleed the longer your skin will take to heal.

Eat something before you go to get a tattoo. This is particularly important if you are getting a big tattoo and will be in the chair for a long period of time. If you get tattooed on an empty stomach you may become light headed.

Another point to consider is the type of clothing you wear on the day of the tattoo. if you are getting a tattoo on a part of your body that is normally covered by clothing you should wear loose fitting garments in that area. Remember that your tattoo will be bandaged or covered when you leave the shop.

However, the most important thing you can do is make 100% sure that you want the tattoo and that you are happy with the design, the artist and the shop.

How do I look after my new tattoo?

Tattoos can take up to a month before they are properly healed. In the first week after getting a tattoo the area around it will more than likely feel uncomfortable, itchy and possibly swollen. It is very important to keep the area clean to avoid possible infection. Remember that the needle has pierced your skin multiple times so infection is possible if you don’t look after it.

You should pay particular attention to keeping your tattoo clean for the first week. And when you are drying the area just pat it dry with a clean cloth or tissue. Some artists will advise you to also apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream after each time you clean the area around the tattoo. This will help to reduce scabbing and irritation and keep your skin in good condition.

It is quite common for tattoos to scab after the first few days or a week. No matter how tempted you are or how itchy the area is you should never pick the scab. This will affect the quality and longevity of your tattoo.

Take the advice of the artist or studio where you get tattooed. They will be able to recommend creams and ointments and different aftercare techniques specific to your tattoo. The three basic things to remember are keep the tattoo clean, keep the area moist and keep your tattoo away from direct sunlight.

What if I don’t like my tattoo?

If you don’t like a tattoo you have a few options.

Tattoos can be removed with laser treatment. This can be expensive and will require several treatment sessions to remove the tattoo. The results of laser removal will vary from person to person and will depend on how deep the tattoo is, what colour inks were used in the tattoo, etc. There is also the possibilty of some scarring.

If it is a small tattoo you may consider having a cover up done. A good artist will be able to tattoo over your old tattoo with a new design. It should be remembered that the new tattoo will be considerably bigger than the tattoo you are covering up. The old tattoo can be either completely covered by the new one or it may be possible to incorporate it into a new design.

The best advice is to make sure that any tattoo you get will still be relevant to your life in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years…

Do I have to be a certain age to get a tattoo?

Reputable tattoo studios will only tattoo you if you are over 18.

What are the common mistakes people make when getting a tattoo?

Not putting enough thought into it

Getting a tattoo without putting enough thought and research into it can be a cause for regret later on – for example getting one because all your friends are or impulsively when you are on holidays. “What’ll we do today?” – “I know. Let’s get tattoos”.

Another example is getting words in another language. You should ask someone who is a native speaker of the language to check the spelling and the characters for you. Then get a second opinion. A good idea is to tell them what you want in English and ask them to write it in the foreign language/characters and see if it is the same as your design. Don’t trust internet translation sites.

Getting a tattoo at too young an age

A tattoo you get when you are young might quickly become something that you have no connection with in your life. It might seem like a great idea at the time to get a band’s name tattooed on your arm but people change and tastes in music and everything else change.

The wrong placement

Sometimes the design, size and colour of the tattoo may be perfect for you but then its not put in the ideal spot. When the stencil has been applied if you aren’t happy and think it might be better in a slightly different position then ask for it to be re-applied. For example getting a tattoo on the back of your neck a few inches lower could be the difference between it being visible or hidden if you have to wear a shirt for work.

Getting tattoos that are too big or too small

Another mistake is getting a tattoo that is too big or small for the area of your body that you are putting it on. The tattoo artist will be able to advise you on the best size to fit your arm or wherever.

Getting partners names as a tattoo

It is common for people to get the name of their girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband tattooed on them but although you might think you will be with this person forever, you might not. And then you might meet someone else who won’t be too impressed with seeing your former partner’s name on you. Your kids will always be your kids but relationships end and new ones begin so be warned…