18 Tattoo Frequently Asked Questions
Are you planning to get a tattoo? Then, surely you must have a lot of questions related to your first tattoo. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting a tattoo. Have a look!
Q. 1. Does tattooing hurt?
This question is at number one in our Frequently Asked Tattoo Questions for obvious reasons of course. And the answer to it is – yes it does. However, many other factors that determine the level of hurt are the location where you are getting a tattoo, the size of the tattoo, etc. Still, a tattoo doesn’t hurt as much as some people want you to believe. Also, everyone’s pain threshold varies, so there is no hard and fast answer to this question. But after some time the human body’s natural painkillers (endorphins) kick in and make things much more manageable. Tattooing pain is often compared to a mild burning sensation or a cat scratch.
Q. 2. Which are the most painful spots for a tattoo?
Well, areas directly over bone are the most painful spots, which include feet, ribs, nape, hands, head, and pelvis, to name a few.
Q.3. Which are the less painful spots for a tattoo?
The less painful spots for a tattoo include your shoulder, forearm, upper-arm, calf, and thigh. All these are less sensitive areas protected by a large muscle.
Q. 4. How long does it take for a tattoo?
Well, it depends on the size and design of the tattoo. Tattooing is neither a quick process nor should it be rushed. Small tattoo design usually takes about thirty minutes to complete, while more extensive or more complex designs can take tens of hours and several sittings to complete. A full sleeve tattoo takes anywhere from ten to fifty hours of work to complete depending on the complexity and tattooist.
Read More: How Long Does a Tattoo Take To Heal?
Q. 5. How much does it cost?
When it is about a tattoo, you actually get what you pay for. Yes, numerous tattoo artists are charging too little for a tattoo design. However, keep in mind that a good artist doesn’t come cheap. This means you will have to pay more if you want to get a quality piece of work. And it is wise to choose a good tattoo artist as your tattoo will remain on your body for a very long time. Don’t settle in less when it comes to tattoo. Also, permanent tattoos are no easy to remove, so choose your tattoo artist based on his work, not on his fees.
Q. 6. What is the best time to get a tattoo?
Even though one can get a tattoo any time of the year, however, wintertime is considered the best for a tattoo as your skin gets a lot more abuse during the summer with tanning, swimming, etc.
Q. 7. Can numbing cream or pain killers be used?
Most tattoo studios turn down the use of numbing creams. However, even if you want to apply, you can apply it several hours before you sit for your tattoo. You need to know that these numbing creams are not long-lasting. Hence, timing the application of the cream can’t be predicted right. Also, if you apply these creams just before the session starts, it may create problems in the process. These creams can cause the skin to become a little puffy, which is a problem for the tattooist.
And so far the pain killers are concerned, they thin the blood and reduces clotting, thereby causing excessive bleeding during your tattoo. Excessive bleeding can affect the quality of the finished tattoo. Apart from this, pain killers extend the healing time that your tattoo needs, so it is best to avoid them.
Q. 8. Can I remove my tattoo?
Of course, tattoos can be removed completely and without scaring. Many people get their tattoos removed. There are myriads of options available for you to get rid of your disappointing tattoo. The first and the most common way to remove a tattoo is the cover-up. For this, you will have to work with your tattoo artist to come up with a cover design design that will go over and ‘cover-up’ the old tattoo design.
The second option is laser removal. It is very effective, but it depends on the age and color of your tattoo. Laser removal can be very time-consuming. And the third and final option is the combination of both first and second. With the laser removal, the density of the disappointing tattoo can be reduced, so that a much more desirable tattoo can be used to cover up the old design. This gives much better cover-up results on the new tattoo.
Q. 9. Is it okay to get a tattoo if I’m not well?
When you are sick or not well, your immune system is not at 100%. And getting a tattoo at that time is not wise. Tattooing is a painful process, and you definitely need strength and white blood cells to heal your tattoo. It is difficult when you are ill as your body is already battling against viruses and bacteria. Also, going to the tattoo studio when you are sick is not a good idea, as you may pass the germs on to others as well. So, if you are not well and you already have an appointment, then call and reschedule for when you’re feeling well again.
Q. 10. Are tattoos safe?
Tattoos are perfectly safe if you go to a reputable tattoo artist who follows all recommended safety precautions. Also, make sure you are entirely honest about your medical conditions (if any).
Q. 11. How safe is tattoo ink?
It totally depends on where it comes from. There are many inks available in the market. Today, tattoo ink manufacturers are regulated to meet specific health and safety standards, but only in the EU and USA. Online you can even get cheap Chinese inks, which can be dangerous as they are counterfeit copies of renowned and respected brands. Some of these inks also contain both banned and toxic substances. However, as long as your tattoo artist is using trusted brands, there is no problem. Most tattoo artists prefer to source their inks directly from the manufacturer or manufacturer’s approved outlets to ensure the integrity of their product.
Q. 12. Is drinking alcohol okay before my tattoo to steady my nerves?
No, not at all! Drinking alcohol on the day of tattoo or night before is not advisable at all. Even if you go drunk to the tattoo studio, a professional tattoo artist will never do a tattoo in that condition. It is because alcohol thins your blood considerably, which in turn causes excessive bleeding while you have the tattoo. And excessive bleeding during tattoo not only makes it difficult for the tattooist but also it washes out ink as it is being put in. This makes the process much longer and impacts your tattoo adversely. Besides, alcohol can have an effect for several days, so you should avoid drinking a day before your tattoo.
Read: Why You Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol Before Or After Getting A Tattoo?
Q. 13. What should I do on the day of my tattoo?
- There are several things that you should do to make your experience easier and more comfortable, like:
- Skip your coffee. Just like alcohol, caffeine also thins the blood, thereby making it harder to tattoo. So, it is better to skip your coffee on the day of your tattoo.
- Take a shower. Don’t miss to take a bath on the tattoo date. Remember that you and your artist are going to be extremely close during the tattoo procedure.
- Shave the area where you are planning to get your tattoo. Even if you don’t think it is needed, shave it anyway, as even the tiniest, downiest hairs can have a detrimental effect on the tattoo process. Even if you don’t do your tattoo artist will still shave you if you haven’t. But preparing the area in advance will save you and your tattoo artist’s time.
- Wear comfortable clothes. As said earlier, wear only comfortable clothes so that your clothes do not create any hindrance in the procedure.
Eat your breakfast. While you get your tattoo etched, your blood sugar levels may move up and down. Eating your breakfast will make sure that your sugar levels are stable.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water a day before your tattoo; it will make the procedure more comfortable.
- Pack your bag. Gather your age proof or ID (your tattoo studio would want to verify that you are of legal age to get inked). Also, pack a light high-carb, or high-protein snack, especially if your artwork is an all-day job. You can also consider packing a blanket (to use if you feel cold), and a pillow (to keep yourself comfortable while sitting in the same position for hours).
- Be on time. Don’t reach late to your tattoo studio. It is advised to arrive a bit early. Keeping your artist waiting for you is not wise. He may also have other clients lined up. And you reaching late can disturb his entire schedule.
- Check sanitary procedures at the studio. Make sure the needles, equipment, containers, and tubes to be used are new. Tattooing equipment is properly sterilized and disinfected. The tattoo artist should wash his/her hands and wear a fresh pair of disposable gloves. Everything should be neat and clean from floor to equipment in the studio. Also, check the ink – whether it is approved for tattooing or not. Don’t miss to check the expiry date of the ink, as out of date inks can lead to complications and infection.
- Test for allergy reactions. Sometimes tattoo inks can cause severe rashes and allergic reactions to hyper-sensitive skins. So, it is advised to ask for a quick allergy reaction test before you undergo the tattoo procedure.
- Avoid any painkiller. Do not take any painkillers before you undergo the tattoo procedure. Having a painkiller can disrupt the process.
Q. 14. How to decide the design of the tattoo and its location?
Well, this absolutely depends on you, as it is a matter of personal taste. You can get any tattoo design that you want, and anywhere you want it to be. And if you think you are confused about the design, then it is good to consult with your artist. Some artists help their clients with their designs as well; you can also have him create a custom piece just for you. A tattoo design should be such that it reflects your true personality, it can be a quote, or a symbol, or a picture off the wall, or you can get a design in the memory of your loved ones. As far as where you should get your tattoo goes, just keep your profession and the type of social circles you live in your mind. You can have a tattoo that is easily visible, or if your job is such where tattoos are not allowed, then get it somewhere where you can have it covered most of the time. It is up to you, absolutely.
Q. 15. Can I catch HIV or any other disease from getting a tattoo?
As long as you go to a reputed tattoo artist who follows recommended safety precautions and infection control procedures, it is unlikely to catch anything. But, if your tattoo artists do not follow correct infection control procedures, it is highly likely that blood-borne pathogens can be transmitted from one customer to the next, or from the tattooist to the customer. This could potentially include HIV or Hepatitis. However, the vast majority of tattoo artists follow safety precautions and work safely, and the chances of you contracting any such thing while having your tattoo are incredibly slim. But it is essential that you choose your tattoo studio wisely.
Q. 16. How to decide on a tattoo studio?
This is extremely important, especially when you are looking for quality work. To decide on tattoo studios, you will need to take some pains. Of course, the policy NO PAIN, NO GAIN aptly applies here. So, the first thing that you can do is search online. Read reviews and feedback on their websites. Take out the best and reputed tattoo studios of your city and visit them. Talk to the tattoo artist and get a general feel for them. Remember that getting a tattoo is a very personal experience, so it is important to have a rapport with your tattooist and feel comfortable in their studio. If you don’t feel comfortable with the tattoo artist or if the studio is not up to the mark, just walk away. There are plenty of tattoo studios that you can choose from. There is no point in getting a tattoo from an unhelpful person. The best course of action in such a situation is to find another studio.
Besides how the tattoo artist behaves, it is essential to see whether the studio clean and well-presented or not. If the studio is not in order, then there is no point in staying there. And if you stay, you would probably be putting your own health and wellbeing at risk. There is always a possibility of cross-contamination of instruments and equipment, and the transmitting of blood-borne pathogens. Moreover, the cleanliness of the tattoo studio reflects their attitude towards their customer and their customer’s wellbeing.
Q. 17. Can I get a tattoo from my friend who has a tattooing kit?
No, not at all. By doing so, you will simply put your life in danger and nothing else. There will so many people in your circle who want to become a tattooist. Know that each budding tattoo artist needs to get a proper apprenticeship, and they can only practice tattooing professionally only when they are ready for that.
Q. 18. Should I tip my tattoo artist?
Last but not least, this is the question that is asked frequently by those planning to get a tattoo. The answer to this is YES! Yes, tipping your tattoo artists is a really lovely gesture. It is a significant part of tattoo etiquette. It is not fully mandatory, though, but doing so can help you build a strong bond with your tattoo artist. However, there are several guidelines that sometimes make tipping confusing. If you decide to tip, then 20 percent is the typical amount that you can tip. It is similar to a restaurant or a hair salon, as tattooing is also a service industry. You can consider 20% a baseline, as there’s no one-size-fits-all tipping option.
Summing it up……
These are the 18 frequently asked tattoo questions. Hope these questions help you make your decision regarding your first tattoo. If you think you have more questions, feel free to share it with us.
Happy Tattooing…. ☺ ☺