The Health & Safety of YOUR Tattoo

If you've ever watched a professional tattooer set up their workstation in preparation for the permanent application of body art on a client, you may have noticed how much time and care they take into making the procedure area as clean and hygienic as possible. All the equipment being used has been sanitized, the needles and tubes are sterilized and individually packaged, and barriers have been put in place to insure that any bio-hazardous pathogens released during the procedure will be contained within the operation area.

Wow! After reading that opening statement, it makes it feel as if getting a tattoo is almost like going to the Doctor….

IT IS!!!!


Much like going to the doctor for an outpatient surgery, or even bIetter yet, going to the dentist to get a tooth pulled, having a tattoo permanently applied to your skin will cause an external wound that will require your attention during the healing process!

Actually, in reality, the attention to the care and safety of getting a tattoo begins before even walking into wherever the professional tattooing establishment of your choice happens to be. Obviously, the artist and the tattoo studio where you plan to get tattooed has already been "checked-out" and they have met their end of the health/safety/artistry side of things, but even with that, realize that YOUR health & safety will always end up being YOUR responsibility and no one else's! Hence, why it is so important to understand how to properly care for your tattoo during its healing process.


Here are some tips for both pre & post healing care of your tattoo:

  • Drink water! Make sure you are well hydrated prior to and after receiving your tattoo, as this not only helps the artist work with a more "pliable" skin, but it also seems to aid in the healing of the tattoo.
  • Be clean! That may sound rude, but better to be rude than not to be honest. Obviously, cleanliness is always important, but in the case of having an "open wound procedure" done, take the time to correctly prepare for the process. Think about it, would you go to the dentist without brushing your teeth first?
  • Be honest! If you have a medical condition or are on medications or have any other issues, it is VERY important to make your tattooist aware of these things while filing out the consent form, as not only is the outcome of your permanent body art involved, but there could be health & safety concerns that need to be addressed as well.
  • Proper bandaging! As with any open wound, a non-stick bandage should be used to cover the tattoo for 8 – 24 hrs after the procedure. Saran wrap is NOT an acceptable alternative! Seriously, would you let a doctor use that to cover your wound?
  • Aftercare instructions! Generally speaking, the set of aftercare instructions that you should receive from your professional tattooist has typically been created by either them or the tattoo studio itself and is based on general health & safety guidelines, as well as the practical knowledge that the artist has gained over the years for the environment in which they live. For example, a tattoo heals differently in Colorado than it does in Florida, so use the advice given by your professional artist.
  • Common sense! Above all, use common sense when caring for your tattoo. Treat it as you would any type of external open wound, and follow the guidelines of the aftercare instruction given to you by the artist. Any "abnormal" healing should be discussed with your artist immediately!

Remember, the final outcome of your body art is collaboration between what the artist created on your flesh, and the care that you give it!