Getting your first tattoo: what you need to know
Love tattoos but yet to go under the needle? In this blog, we will be answering the biggest FAQs about the tattoo process. If you’ve found yourself asking, “Does it hurt?”, “Are they safe?” or "What should I get?” read on…
Here is everything you need to know about getting your first tattoo.
Does it hurt?
The sensation of having a tattoo can be described as a heavy scratch. You may feel stinging or vibrations from the tattoo gun. The process of tattooing involves piercing the skin, so it makes sense for a tattoo to hurt a little. That being said, pain thresholds vary so some people are happy to sit in the chair all day while others tap out much sooner.
Is it worth it? Hell yes. Even though tattooing can be sore, the pain doesn’t last long in comparison with the length of time you get to enjoy the art on your skin. If you can put up with a little pain, get ready for an awesome start to your walking art collection.
Some parts of the body are expected to be more painful than others. Tattoos directly over bone have a notoriously bad rep for agony, so for your first tattoo maybe steer clear of elbows and knees.
They’re not always recommended as some can interfere with the ink. Talk to your tattoo artist to ensure you won’t be compromising the quality of the art. They may have their own recommendations for a quality product they trust, or give you further advice.
Are they safe?
Getting a tattoo involves piercing the skin, so there should be measures in place to make sure you and your artist are safe and the environment is sanitary. Always get ink from a reputable artist in a licensed premises. The artist should follow recommended procedures such as: wearing gloves, covering the tattooing surface and sanitising the work space.
If you’re paying dirt cheap, alarm bells should ring. Go to a reputable artist at a studio that abides by good practices. This can come at a cost, but it’s worth it to limit risks to your health and the standard of the art that you’ll get. If your tattoo artist follows proper safety guidelines, tattooing is safe.
Be sure to disclose any to your artist prior to getting tattooed. This includes: heart conditions, diabetes, haemophilia, HIV, hepatitis, allergies, epilepsy, pregnancy or being 6 months postpartum. You should also let your artist know if you are on relevant medications.
Once you have your tattoo, follow aftercare advice and keep the tattooed area clean to avoid the risk of infection.
What’s the cost?
Prices vary between artists, studios, design size and the intricacies of the art. You can expect to pay less for a flash design and more for a bespoke piece, but generally the price reflects the amount of time you’ll be spending in the chair.
Do your research before booking in. Usually, you get what you pay for. Remember, this a permanent piece of body art, so it’s worth paying to get something you love.
What should I get and where?
Tattoos are all about preference. so take your time finding out what you like and who can make that a reality for you.
Your artist may want to know the part of your body you’d like tattooed while booking, so look up designs on social media and save all the ones you could imagine having yourself. Notice patterns in the placement, positioning and style of the designs you like. Consider future tattoos too so your first design will fit in with the overall look you want.
For your first tattoo, it might be worth starting small so you can get familiar with the sensation. If your pain threshold is lower than you’d hoped, you don’t want to get part way through a tattoo only to call it a day.
On the day of your tattoo, your tattoo artist will create a stencil of the tattoo. Play around with the angle to get the positioning perfect. If you’re not completely happy with it, don’t hesitate to ask for the stencil to be repositioned or slightly resized.
How can I look after my tattoo?
Follow your tattoo artist’s . If you’re not sure, just ask. Any good tattoo artist will give you helpful advice to ensure the best possible care, including recommending ointments, products and practices.
While your tattoo is healing:
- Keep it clean and dry
- Wash it gently a few times a day
- Apply ointment after washing
- Avoid soaking in water e.g. swimming or bathing
- Avoid excessive direct sunlight
Enjoy your new tattoo! Pair it with something from to complete your look.
June 09, 2021 — Sarah Rachel