Here Are 5 Important Things You Need to Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo

person receiving tattooWikimedia Commons

Remember when tattoos were only reserved for outcasts, sailors, criminals, and the very, very avant-garde? If you do, we’re guessing that you have quite a few candles to blow out on this year’s birthday cake because this form of body art has officially been part of the mainstream for decades now. As a matter of fact, these days, it’s not uncommon to see kindergarten teachers sporting full sleeves of colorful tats. Who would’ve guessed that would have ever happened?!

So, now that most all professions and subsets of society are no longer judging folks for getting inked, maybe it’s time that you pick out a design that is significant to you. Hey–life’s not worth living if you don’t take risks and express yourself, right?

But, before you run on over to your local tattoo parlor, be sure to do your research first. After all, this design will be a part of you for the rest of your life–unless you want to endure costly and uber-painful laser removal treatments, that is.

Here are 5 important things you need to do before you get your first tattoo:

  1. Check in with yourself before you get inked

    While tattoos look great on practically anyone, getting one is a very personal decision. Make sure that you have thought through your design as well as the placement of the tat before you make a split-second decision. Pro tip: if you’re not 100% sure about your decision, invest in a high-quality temporary tattoo design, or visit a henna artist. This way you’ll be able to live with your design for a couple of weeks before you go through with your plan.

  2. Research, research, research

    This goes for both the tattoo artist as well as the shop. If you personally know someone who has beautiful tats, reach out and ask them about where they got their work done. If you don’t take some time to scour the Internet; there, you will find reviews on tattoo shops and the artists that work at them.

    In terms of shops, look for descriptions like “clean,” “professional,” and “trustworthy.” For selecting artists, use a social media tool like Instagram to find the best in your area. These folks often use the site to display their online portfolios. Smart!

  3. Come up with your design

    Now we’ve reached the fun part– the design. If you are a talented artist, you can always take your design to your local tattoo parlor to see if it would translate well to the body. If not, make a consultation with an artist that you admire so that they can craft your vision first. Side note: if you are having trouble coming up with something you like, take a look at these timeless tats for inspiration.

  4. Prepare yourself for your big day

    Getting a tattoo isn’t like getting a haircut–you must take the necessary steps to prepare yourself before you get inked.

    According to tattoo shop Chronic Ink, you must follow these steps before you come in for your appointment: 1) hydrate your body, 2) moisturize and exfoliate your skin, 3) shave the area that’s going to get tattooed, 4) get lots of rest the night before, and 5) eat before you come in. In addition to those steps, the shop also recommends that clients come in alone or with just one other patient, supportive friend. This is because tattoo artists can become easily distracted if there are too many people looking over their shoulders. Makes sense!

  5. Pay attention to aftercare instructions

    You don’t want to go through all of that pain and spend all of that time and money just to end up ruining your new tat because you didn’t give it the attention it deserved during the healing process! Generally speaking, tattoo artists advise clients to moisturize their ink with deeply-hydrating products, such as Aquaphor.

    Additionally, most advise clients to stay out of the sun and swimming pools while it heals. Of course, every tattoo is different, so make sure that you ask lots of questions about aftercare before you bid farewell to your artist.

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on all things tattoos! Have you ever gotten tatted before? If so, were you happy with the results? Do you have a piece of advice for newbies that you would like to add to this list?