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What to Do Before Getting a Tattoo: A Complete Guide

Getting a tattoo is an exciting experience. It lets you express your passions and personality, and you get to sport a cool piece of art on your body forever.

Once you get your first tattoo, you’ll be well versed in how to prepare for your next one. But if you’ve never gotten one before, you might not have any clue on what you need to do to prepare.

If you’re joining the 30% of Americans with at least one tattoo, we’re here to help. Read the guide below so that you’ll know exactly what to do before getting a tattoo.

Finalizing Your Decision of Getting a Tattoo

Getting a tattoo isn’t as simple as strolling into your local tattoo parlor and asking the artist to pull out a needle. There are some important considerations to make before you even step foot in a tattoo shop. Here are some factors to think about when the idea of getting a tattoo first crosses your mind.

1. Check the Law

If you’re a minor, you’ll have to obtain permission from a parent or guardian. The minimum age varies from state to state. In Idaho, you can get a tattoo at 14 years old with parental permission. In Florida, you have to wait until you’re 16. But in states like Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska, you have to be 18 years old.

2. Ensure That Your Tattoo Won’t Put You At Risk

If you ask tattoo recipients what the experience feels like, you’ll receive a variety of answers. Some may describe the pain as a prickling sensation while others will equate it to the feeling of being scratched. And receiving a tattoo will hurt more in specific areas, like the armpit or rib cage.

But for some people, the risk of getting a tattoo far exceeds the pain involved. People with heart conditions, circulation problems, and diabetes will have a hard time healing from a tattoo.

You should also consider any medications you’re taking and how they can affect your experience. If you’re on blood thinners or other medications that could interfere with the successful implantation of ink, you should avoid getting a tattoo.

Some shops, like Maui Tattoo Shop in Lahaina, Hawaii, strongly discourage women who are pregnant or breastfeeding from getting a tattoo. While the risk of infection is small if you go to a reputable shop, it isn’t zero. An infection can spread to a fetus or breastfed baby, so it’s best to avoid getting a tattoo if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

3. Talk to Your Boss

Ensure that your new body art won’t break any rules in your workplace. You don’t want to risk getting fired over your new piece of art.

4. Talk to Your Partner

Ultimately, it’s your body—you should feel free to do whatever you’d like with it. But it’s a good idea to discuss what you’re going to get with your spouse or long-term partner beforehand. This way, they won’t be caught off-guard when they see your new body art for the first time.

5. Sleep on Your Decision

When it comes to getting a tattoo, impulsivity is a no-go. Whatever artwork you get will be with you forever. While removal is possible, it’s an expensive and lengthy process. Make sure you’re confident with the idea of getting a tattoo. Think about it for a couple of days, and never get a tattoo while you’re intoxicated or “living in the moment.”

6. Brainstorm What You Want

Once you’re sure you want a tattoo, start brainstorming tattoo ideas. Sketch out what you want and draw inspiration from images you find online.

Finding a Good Tattoo Artist

At this point, you can start searching for the right tattoo artist. Keep the following consideration in mind:

1. Research Multiple Shops

Start with a simple Google search like “tattoo shops near me.” Read online reviews to learn about others’ experiences with locations in your area.

2. Ask Friends & Coworkers for Recommendations

Do you really like your coworker’s new sleeve? Ask where he got it done and if he’d recommend you go there as well.

3. Talk to an Artist

Ask your potential artist about their experience, and request to see a portfolio of their work. Note: If they’re unwilling or unable to provide a portfolio, you should search for someone else.

Get an idea of your artist’s style to learn if it matches what you want for your tatto.

4. Look at Specials

Some tattoo shops have special deals on days like Friday the 13th or Halloween. You can use these sales to get a great piece of body art at a heavily discounted rate!

What to Do During the Hours Leading up to Your Tattoo Appointment

Now that you’re about to go to your tatto appointment, here are some key tatto tips to remember:

1. Shave

If you want to make your appointment go faster, shave the area that your artist will be working on. It’ll only take a minute of your time, and it’ll help you get your new artwork quicker.

2. Eat a Good Meal

Your session may last several hours, so it’s essential that you fuel up. Eat a hearty, healthy meal to avoid getting lightheaded during your appointment.

3. Dress Comfortably

Dress in clothes that you won’t mind staying in for several hours. And, be sure to pick easy-to-remove clothing. For example, if you’re getting a leg tattoos, don’t wear tight skinny jeans. Instead, you should opt for a pair of gym shorts that you can easily roll up.

4. Be Prepared for Blood

You won’t be shedding pints of blood during your appointment, but getting a tattoos doesn’t come without a few drops of blood.

If you’re part of the 4% of the population that suffers from hemophobia (a fear of blood), you may want to bring a friend along for moral support. Your buddy can distract you from looking at your tattooed area so that you can more fully enjoy the experience.

Knowing What to Do Before Getting a Tattoo Will Make Your Experience More Enjoyable!

Like with all things in life, it’s best to enter a tatto parlor with some preparation. Now that you’ve read through our guide, you should know exactly what to do before getting a tattoos. From the preliminary planning stages to the day before getting inked, you should feel comfortable with the entire process.

Searching for more lifestyle tips? Be sure to check out other articles on our blog!

Read Also: Five Signs It’s Time to Call for Help With Your California AC System

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