What You Need To Know Before Getting Your First Tattoo

Getting your first tattoo can feel like your leaping into the unknown as a total newbie, but you are definitely aren’t alone if the itch to get inked has become more heighted during lockdown – whether it’s to do something new and adventurous or a tick off the bucket list.

What to say when making and enquiry 

Right, so you’ve found an artist ou love and you’re about to slide into their inbox – what do you say? it’s better to be as specific as possible in your intial email as most artists inboxes will be full of requests and enquires and streaming the process make it easier for both you and them. 

First thing is to describe your design and the attach reference photo, although you must be aware that majority of respected artists won’t directly copy an exact design from someone else, so be prepared to adapt and work on a bepsoke design specific to you. Also be sure to have an estimated size you want your design to be as well as where on your body you are wanting your tatto to be placed. 

It’s especially important to remember that tatto enquires and individual artist will have different systems and way that they want to be contacted. For example: Instagram trends are a good spot to seek out artists that work in your style – many don’t book in new clients via instagram DM’s, so it’s best to check out their bio to see the best way to reach out to them. It could be online booking forms, email or indeed direct message, but alway do your research and approach them in the best possible way to hopefull ensure a speedy and happy response. 

grayscale photo of floral arm tattoo

Before Your Appointment

It might be very tempting to head to the pub for a G&T to help calm your nerves or pop some ibuprofen if you’re feeling particularly anxious abou the pain, but there are a hard no’s to take into account leading up to your appointment is never advised – alcohol thins the blood which can lead to excess bleeding that could end up compromise visibility for the artist and therefore impact the quality of the design – not something that you want to have to contend with especially as a first-timer.

Both apsin and ibuprofen are off limits up to 24hrs before your appointment for the same reasons, so if you do end up with a mega migraine the day before, you might just have to push through the pain.

person showing arm and wrist tattoo

The aftercare –

Once your tattoo is complete, it’s time to contend with the next stage of the process aftercare and healing. Your tattoo is essentially a wound, so it needs to be cleaned, looked after and treated as one to ensure it heals properly and prevent problems like infections or irritation. Your artist will either use a plastic wrap, medical-grade bandaged like saniderm or secondskin to protects it during the healing, also these two option come with different guidance on how quickly you can remove them. More often than not artist will give you details of all the relevant information for the next couple of weeks, but don’t be afraid to make notes or ask questions if you’re unsure about how to look after your tattoo.

Avoid having baths or going swimming for two weeks following your appointment, but still do wash the tattoo with just warm water in the shower only – over washing can cause the skin to dry out and potentailly damage the tattoo during this period. Different artist will have different preferences when it comes to moisturisers but keeping your skin hydrated is still super important and preventing peeling is the name of the game. 

The industry favourites are Aveeno Daily Mositurising Lotions, Luch’s Dream Cream Body Lotion or Palmer’s Coca Butter. Make sure to avoid picking, scratching or peeling at the surrounding skin at all costs and stay out of the sun for this intial healing period, too!

two persons showing their hand tattoos

What are the main tattoo styles?

Traditional Tattoos, Fine Line Tattoos, Blackwork Tattoos, Linework Tattoos, Realistic Tattoos, Black and Grey Tattoos, Micro Realism, Geometric or Ornamental Tattoos.

There are alot more… the list could really go on and on!

Do colour tattoos wear more than black tattoos?

The answer is yes and no. Sometimes pale or light colours can fade out quicker than traditional black tattoos. Nevertheless, you can get your tattoo refreshed futher down the line (say like, 10 or 20 year) and depending on your tattoo provider, your might be able to get touch-ups usually for free upto a year after you had the tattoo.

How to keep your tattoo staying 10/10 for as long as possible?

SPF! This is the most important thing for your tattoo and if you love sunbathing, make sure to cover up your tattoos or put on a higher SPF. Also another thing to be aware of is that tattoo ink can minimally expand in the skin over the course of your life. 

To be honest your tattoo will only look as young as your skin looks young. It may sound funny to  say, but if you get a tattoo done in your 70’s then the tattoo will look older even freshly done just based on the fact that the skin is already old. 

person with black tattoo on right hand

Is it a good idea to get a tattoo when you have a low pain threhold?

You can find numbing cream at your local pharmacy as not all tattoo artists provide this so it’s alway a good idea to bring your own. The least painful location is the forearm.When you go to the tattoo shop, make sure you have eaten and have a little chat with your tattoo artist before hand – this is the best time to express your worries and concerns, which they should take on board and may even do a little ‘dot’ with the tattoo machine (also known as a tattoo gun) on your skin where the tattoo starts, so you know how the rest of the tattoo will feel. Never feel ashamed or a big baby if are needing a break for a moment, just tell your tattoo artist and they will stop. The best tattoo shops are the ones that are safe spaces amd designed to put you at ease.

What part of the body is typically seen as the most painful to be inked?

Ribs and feet can hurt, but it really does depend on the artist, their technique, the location, the style of the tattoo itself – there is really so many factors involved!

Do artists make mistakes?

Yes, mistakes do happen, especially misspelt words that aren’t the language of either the client or tattoo artist speaks. So be sure to double check the spelling, grammer and translation is correct and then triple check!

What’s the biggests misconceptions about getting a tattoo?

Alot off people think it will hurt a lot more than it actuall does! So may be opt for a place that hurts less or meduim for your first tattoo.

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