Tattoos have a fascinating history. People have been tattooing themselves for more than 5,000 years. Traditional societies from Asia to Europe have used tattoos to serve as marks of status, fertility, and bravery among other things. Later, tattoos carried a negative stigma because they were associated with sailors, gangsters, and criminals. Nowadays, tattoos can be found in every social class, and thanks to shows like LA Ink, they are more popular than ever.
Should I Get a Tattoo?
Before you run off and get inked, there are a few things to consider. Tattoos are puncture wounds. The ink is injected into the dermis, which is the second, deeper layer of skin. This is what makes the tattoo permanent.
Some tattoo inks have metal in them which can interfere with radiographic equipment. If you need to get an MRI in the future, it can be painful.
Be prepared for the process to hurt. How much depends on your personal tolerance. Some people say getting a tattoo done feels like being stung by a swarm of bees. Others say it only feels annoying.
The tattoo artist will use a sterilized needle, which is attached to tubes that contain ink. It resembles a dental drill. All of the materials used–ink, needles, etc.–-should be single use for the purpose of sterility. Nevertheless, since the skin is punctured, and blood is involved, there are health risks.
As a precaution, make sure your immunizations (especially hepatitis and tetanus) are up to date. Also plan for the worst. Have a doctor in mind if your tattoo shows signs of infection–excessive redness or tenderness, prolonged bleeding, pus, or changes in your skin color near the site of the tattoo).
Fresh Tattoo Care
So once you finally have your tattoo, consider it an open wound. You should leave the shop with it bandaged and some instructions on how to care for it, but just in case that doesn’t happen, here’s some general advice–
- Don’t let your tattoo get dry. Use ointments like Tattoo Goo to care for the tattoo site until it is healed.
- Keep the tattoo area clean. Brief showers are ok, but stay out of chlorinated pools, saltwater, hot tubs, etc.
- Do not scrub the tattoo.
- Apply ointment with clean hands a minimum of several times a day. Don’t be alarmed if the color flakes around the third day. Just don’t pick at it.
- Keep out of the sun and use sunscreen. UV rays will damage your skin and the pigment. Your tattoo will end up looking faded.
Remember, failure to take care of the tattoo site properly can lead to infection or a faded tattoo.