Preparing for a First Tattoo

Preparing for a first tattoo generally requires getting familiar with the process and conquering any nervousness about the procedure. Whether you design your own tattoo, choose from an artist's portfolio or work with a tattoo artist to create something completely new, there are several things to do that will make your first tattoo experience a success.

Choose a Tattoo Parlor
When looking for a licensed tattoo parlor, try to investigate shops that have been recommended to you by friends or family members. Make plans to visit the tattoo parlor prior to getting your tattoo to check the place out and speak with the tattoo artist. A good tattoo parlor will be extremely clean; the shop should be well lit and feature the most modern equipment. A shop that is dimly lit and dirty is less likely to provide the kind of service and quality, not to mention safety, that you want.

Talk to the Tattoo Artist
The tattoo artist should be someone who can understand your vision of what you want your tattoo to look like. Ask to see photos of tattoos the artist has created and plan on discussing everything from design and style to color and size. Be sure the tattoo artist knows exactly what you want. If you don't feel comfortable with the tattoo artist or otherwise worry that he or she doesn't understand your vision, seek out another artist.

Prepare Your Body
Getting a tattoo means that a foreign substance is going into your body via the somewhat painful and penetrating method of needles pushing into the skin. Getting your skin into shape before your first tattoo will make the procedure go more smoothly and allow it to heal faster. In the week before getting your first tattoo:

  • Drink plenty of water-at least 64 ounces per day.
  • Rub your skin with a good moisturizing lotion several days before the appointment to ensure that it is soft and supple. Avoid exposing your skin to the sun or ultraviolet rays, such as at a tanning booth.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least the day before the appointment, as alcohol thins the blood and will make you bleed more than usual.
  • Have a light meal a few hours before the appointment and wear clothing that allows the tattoo artist easy access to the area of skin where the tattoo will be.
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