It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Men have been getting designs inked into their skin since time immemorial. In prison, tattoos denote toughness, while sailors use them to size each other up. The Maoris consider face tattoos the ultimate badge of honor, while gang members use them to denote fallen comrades.
You probably just want one because it looks cool. You're right, but there's plenty that can go wrong. Here's what you need to know before you get your first tattoo.
DON’T GO HIGH--OR WISH YOUR TATTOO GOOD-BYE
Possibly one of the most common mistakes people make while getting a tattoo is to be absolutely shit-faced or otherwise impaired when making the decision to get one. You may be tempted to hit to bottle to dull the pain, but consider the fact that you may just end up with a ridiculous design. So it's simple: go sober, or go home.
HYGIENE, BECAUSE IT’S CLEAN!
Abhinandan Basu, freelance tattoo artist, says that if the artist does not even bother to clean out the area and swab it dry with spirit, the chances of developing rashes, boils etc. increase. However, that's hardly the worst outcome possible. An unsanitary parlor that does not properly sterilize its equipment can risk passing on HIV or hepatitis to its customers. So do your research and make sure that the parlor and artist you choose are above board.
PLAN THE DESIGN--IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME
“Your tattoo design needs to relate to who you are as a person. No one else should play a factor in a decision as important as this. People need to understand the gravity of the words ‘for life’,” states Nick, of Nick’s tattoo studio. Think about it and don’t leave the basic outline of what you want up to anyone but yourself. Of course, once you’ve narrowed it down to one concept, spend as much time developing the idea with your tattoo artist. The more involved you are in your own project the better. After all, your body is the canvas for this work of art.
TEST YOUR SKIN – FOR THE WIN
It’s possible to get special tattoo paper that can temporarily print your idea of choice onto your skin. Think of it as a test drive. After all, if you can't put up with the design for a few days, how are you going to handle it for life?
A tattoo is a commitment. As you'll see below, care is important, and things can go seriously pear shaped if you're not diligent about following instructions. You'll also need to consider the ramifications--is the design something that will age well? Some companies have a no-visible-tattoo policy, so make sure you're getting it in a place that can be covered up if need be. Also consider the fact that what you're doing to your body is permanent--laser removal is expensive and extremely painful. Once you're sure, pull the trigger and embrace the ink!
Here's a montage of some brilliant tattoo designs for you to draw inspiration from:
CARING FOR YOUR INK
Now that you're all inked up, it's time to make sure that the wound heals properly. Here's the definitive guide to tattoo care from Abhinandan Basu, freelance tattoo artist extraordinaire.
-The reason your tattoo artist wrapped up your fresh wound is so that airborne bacteria and dust particles stay as far away as possible. Keep this bandage intact, because failing to do so will mean a nasty infection.
-You're going to have to keep your tattoo away from the sun for at least 2 weeks after you get it. We know you're eager to show it off at the beach, but hold your horses.
-Most tattoo artists will advise you to avoid soaking your fresh tattoo in water for at least a week. For best results, Abhinandan suggests you wait a month; showering, however, is okay.
-Even though you need to avoid contact with water, you do need to moisturize the spot of the tattoo with vaseline or other oil-based creams.
-Excessive scabbing indicates done tattoo, but a certain amount of scabbing is to be expected. Avoid picking at or scratching the scab; instead, apply a warm compress to relieve the itching.
All this may seem like a lot of work, but it's advice compiled over years of experience--all designed to keep the ink fresh looking and reduce the risk of infection to a bare minimum. Follow these rules, and you really can't go wrong with your tattoo experience.
If you've always wondered what the actual process is like, here's a close up look--from start to finish:
-Pictures © Thinkstock-
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