Shawn Eck, PA, Dermatology
It seems like tattoos are more popular than ever these days. Before you decide to take the plunge and get inked, here are some important things you should know beforehand.
- Tattoos are very sun-sensitive
Since freshly tattooed skin is very sensitive to ultraviolet (UV light), you have to be very careful about sun exposure – even after the skin has healed. So always wear a quality sunblock on your tattoo when you are outdoors to avoid a sunburn-like reaction. Keep in mind this is more likely to occur with tattoos that have yellow and red inks.
- Beware of a possible allergic reaction
Women who are allergic to a particular lipstick or eyeshadow have the potential to get an allergic reaction from a tattoo. Tattoo inks sometimes feature the same chemical compounds as these beauty products.
- Pick a reputable tattoo parlor
It’s a good idea to read reviews online and visit a few tattoo shops before making a decision. Always schedule a consult with the artist you choose to go over the design, pricing, and any questions you might have. Also, make sure the tattoo artist is licensed and has completed the necessary safety course on blood-borne pathogens.
- Be sure to avoid alcohol before the procedure
Keep in mind that drinking alcohol can make you bleed more, which is not what you want when getting a tattoo (which is similar to a medical procedure). So get a good night’s sleep, stay hydrated, and eat normally before you go in to get your tattoo.
- Tattoos on the hands and feet fade the fastest
Skin regenerates quicker on your hands and feet because these parts of our body get more contact and use than other parts. So be aware that the ink simply doesn’t last as long in these areas.
- Avoid tattoos if you have psoriasis or eczema
It’s not a good idea to get a tattoo if you suffer from psoriasis. This is due to the risk of the Koebner phenomenon, which leads to more psoriasis in areas where there has been trauma to the skin – such as caused by a tattoo. In addition, people who suffer from eczema tend to have skin that is very sensitive, and getting a tattoo can sometimes cause an allergic response due to the inks or trauma to the skin.
- It’s difficult to tattoo the area between your shoulder and your hip.
The reason for this is because it’s a very painful area to tattoo and requires a lot of breaks for the person having the tattoo. So think twice about getting inked in this area of the body.
- Make sure everything is sterile
Unclean tattoo needles can transmit dangerous diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the tattoo artist open the needle package in front of you. Plus, don’t be afraid to ask questions about sterility. Note that your tattoo artist should also wear protective gloves when working.
- After-care is crucial
Your tattoo artist will be happy to share information on his or her preferred skin care products for new tattoos. It’s a good idea to have purchased an antibacterial ointment, lotion and sunblock before having your tattoo done. Remember to use only water-based lotions or creams to moisturize the area. Products that are petroleum-based can cause the inks of a tattoo to fade.
- Remember that tattoo removal can be painful!
It’s best to avoid controversial tattoos in visible areas. A tattoo that may have seemed great when you were 25 may not suit your lifestyle very well when you are in your forties. Tattoos can be removed, but it’s not an easy process and takes multiple treatments with a laser.