They say diamonds are forever, but tattoos are a real commitment.

best ink flirting GIF by Oxygen Are you ready to get some ink? Here are some things to think about before going under the (permanent) needle.

Will You Love This Design Forever?

Ask yourself - will I still want this design in...

2 years?

10 years?

25 years?

If someone asks about the tattoo, what will you tell them?

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Which Shops Are Safe?

Walking around the corner to the nearest place that says "TAT-2" might be convenient, but you'll want to check that the place is safe and hygienic.

In the US, licensing rules vary by state, but check that the shop:

  • Is willing to give you a tour of the workspace

  • Uses disposable, medical-grade equipment

  • Sterilizes any equipment that is not disposable

  • Shaves and disinfects the skin

  • Feels clean, bright, and uncluttered

  • Has a safe, marked container where they dispose of needles

  • Cleans and wipes everything down between clients

Gloved hands drawing a tattoo

Quiz

Tom wants a tattoo and has a design he REALLY loves. How can he find a safe shop?

Ask his friends for referrals

Visit the shop before he gets the ink

Read online reviews

All of these

Who Will Your Artist Be?

Shop around, meet with different artists, and look at their portfolios.

Make sure they do the kind of work you want!

If you're looking for a pretty watercolor design and all they do are sailor tattoos, you're not going to get the work you want.

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This person is putting something on your body forever, and sometimes you'll be spending hours with them over multiple visits - you deserve to like and trust them!

Quiz

Joe found an artist online that does the exact kind of work he wants. Which is the most important thing for him to do before getting tattooed?

Follow the artist on Instagram

Read online reviews

Comment on the artist's photos

Meet the artist face-to-face

Where, How Big, And How Expensive Will Your Tattoo Be?

When thinking about your tattoo, consider that:

  • Big tattoos hurt more than small tattoos

  • Tattoos on fatty areas of the body hurt less

  • Tattoos directly over bone hurt more

  • Tattoos on your thighs, stomach and arms tend to stretch over time

  • Tattoos that see a lot of sun will fade faster

  • Good tattoos cost money - discuss this with your artist BEFORE THEY START!

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How Will You Care For Your New Tattoo?

While it heals you'll need to keep it:

  • Dry (no swimming!)

  • Moisturized (ask your artist for recommendations)

  • Clean

  • Out of the sun (cover it initially, use sunscreen after it heals)

Follow the directions from your artist so your tattoo heals well!Tattoo Sleeve GIF by AFC Ajax

Take Action

If you feel ready for your first tattoo (and you're legally old enough to get one) it's time to:

License:

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This Byte has been authored by

DP

D'Jeane Peters

Creative, Cross Cultural ID and HPT Practitioner