Getting a tattoo can be exciting and scary at the same time, but don’t let your eagerness or your nerves cloud your judgment. Here are the five most common mistakes people make when getting inked for the first time, and how to avoid them:
1. Going to a bad parlor
A good tattoo parlor is clean, and filled with artists who are friendly, patient and attentive to detail. Don’t just go to the place you pass on your way to work because it’s convenient. Read Yelp reviews and visit the place to make sure it’s clean. Chat with an artist to make sure the person is someone you’d like to work with.
2. Getting a piece that’s too big
If you’ve never had a tattoo before, you don’t know exactly how much it will hurt. If you choose a large design, you might be tempted to tap out halfway through, and then you’ll be left with an unfinished piece. Better to start with a small design, and it will be over before you know it.
3. Overestimating your pain tolerance
If you have your heart set on a large piece, consider using a tattoo numbing cream. No matter how high you think your pain tolerance is, a long tattoo session takes its toll on the skin, and the pain could increase as time passes. A tattoo numbing cream makes your skin less sensitive to the needle. Numbing cream can also be reapplied in the middle of a session.
4. Forgetting to breathe
Fainting while getting tattooed isn’t uncommon. Deep breathing helps prevent it. If you don’t use numbing cream, breathing deeply can help you get through the pain. Even if you do use numbing cream, deep breathing is still helpful to settle your nerves, especially if you feel uneasy about the needle.
5. Not taking proper care of the tattoo
A tattoo is, essentially, an open wound, so your skin must be clean during and after the tattoo session. Make sure your artist wears gloves and uses a clean needle. If you’re going to use numbing cream during a session, only apply it with clean hands. In the days following, be sure to wash your tattoo with gentle soap and put Neosporin on it. Don’t pick at it, and don’t go swimming for at least two weeks.
Monroe by Tazebeth licensed under Creative commons 4