People get tattoos for many different reasons. If you are considering a tattoo, please keep these health and safety issues in mind.
Tattooing can break the skin and may cause bleeding. They cause open wounds and infection is possible. Infections at the site may cause permanent deformity or scarring. Skin infected with resistant organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be life-threatening.
Needles and other equipment used to contribute to the risk of cross-contamination and disease. If equipment is not new or properly sterilized(like it is here at Pyramid Tattoo), or if proper hygienic guidelines are not followed, blood-borne diseases, like hepatitis B and C (which may lead to life-long liver damage and subsequent liver cancer), HIV, tetanus, and tuberculosis, may be transmitted.
One concern about tattooing is the dye used. Many dyes specific to tattooing are made from metals and can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can only be remedied by removing the parts of the tattoo causing irritation. While irritation is not life-threatening, the area will itch and the tattoo will not look as it should. The potential carcinogenic effect of dyes has not been well studied.
What to look for in a safe studio:
If you are interested in getting a tattoo, choose a safe, reputable studio. It is crucial that proper hygiene and safety standards are followed. Risks increase dramatically if individuals attempt the procedure on themselves or others.
- The staff and studio area should be very clean.
- The studio should have and use an autoclave (equipment used to sterilize the necessary equipment). If there is not an autoclave, do not agree to a procedure.
- Needles and other “sharps” should only be used once and should be opened (from individual packages) in front of you before the procedure.
- Staff should wear new latex gloves during each procedure.
- Inks used in tattooing should be placed in a single-use cup and then disposed of. Ink should never be taken directly from the main source bottle or returned to that bottle!
- Ask about after-care instructions. Read and understand the instructions before getting a tattoo.
- Ask questions! How long has the person been tattooing? Are they knowledgeable? Ask to see photos of their work. Do you like it?
- Ask if you can watch the preparation for and tattooing of another person. Not all studios will let people watch, but this may give you a chance to check out sterilization and techniques.
- If you feel uncomfortable in a studio or with the staff, leave.
Tattoos take a couple of weeks to heal. They will scab over. The scabs will flake off. Your tattoo may be very itchy, but don’t scratch or pick at it! Follow the directions your tattooist gives you or, if necessary, seek medical care. See When to See a Clinician.
- Remove the bandage anywhere from an hour to the next morning after getting your tattoo.
- During the healing process, gently wash your tattoo with a mild antibacterial soap. Pat dry – don’t rub. Apply a thin layer of ointment until scabs flake off. Use an ointment like A&D, vitamin E, tea tree, or a product recommended by your tattooist. After your tattoo has healed, apply a good quality moisturizing skin lotion to keep it healthy.
- Don’t soak in a tub or go swimming until your tattoo is fully healed.
- Sunlight will damage your tattoo. Apply a sunblock (with a high SPF) to your tattoo for the rest of your life.
Removal may be done by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The results are highly variable and the process can be expensive. If you are considering a tattoo, think of it as permanent.
Here at Pyramid Tattoo we practice all these things and would love to get you in for the tattoo of your dreams, contact us here!