Let’s face it; getting a tattoo is a huge commitment, especially if you are thinking about breaking skin for the very first time. But, the experience doesn’t need to be overwhelming, especially if you prepare yourself for what you should expect by educating yourself.
Remember, when you’re thinking about getting your first tattoo or are about to set up your first tattoo session, it is absolutely important that you feel comfortable asking your artist a few questions before you let them start working.
Just keep in mind that even when you’re asking some of these sensitive questions, you should remain polite and professional with your artist. This will make each question better received. Any professional tattoo artist will have no problem with answering your questions.
Do they have an autoclave or another form of sterilization?
Sterilization is absolutely important for any tattoo shop. It is preferable that they have their own autoclave and know the ins and outs of proper sterilization themselves, but, if they can show you that their needles are all pre-packaged in sterile packs, you shouldn’t have to worry about this too much.
Remember, the cleanliness of the shop is absolutely necessary before you agree to being tattooed.
Do they have latex free gloves?
If you’re allergic to latex, it is important to ask this question. Most shops will keep latex free gloves on hands to cater to more sensitive clients.
If you’re allergic to cosmetics, ask about the ingredients in the ink your artist uses.
If you have any known allergies to cosmetics, you should discuss the ingredients of the ink with your artist. If you let them know that you do have some allergies, they will be more willing to run over the ingredient lists with you.
How long have they been tattooing?
While the time an artist has been tattooing doesn’t equal their skill, typically, the more experience they have the better.
Ask to see their portfolio.
Looking through portfolios at the shop is a great way to get an idea of the tattoo artist’s personal style. There are many different styles of tattooing such as Neo Traditional, Traditional, Black and Grey, Realism, and many more. Having the opportunity to view their past tattoos will help to tell you which artist is better suited to take on your idea.
Ask them if they offer touch ups.
Touch ups are common for most tattoos. Whether it’s due to healing or how well your skin held the ink, almost all artists will allow at least one free touch up after you’ve been tattooed.
Is their shop licensed?
Licensing is absolutely important in most shops throughout the world. While it may not seem like much, licensing is another way to ensure that the artist knows how to run a safe, sterile, and professional shop.
Do they adhere to the safe disposal of blood and have they gone through their blood borne pathogens courses?
If you have an artist who has needles in the trash can, run. Ask them about how they dispose of contaminated equipment. Most artists will have a sharps container on hand, and will cover their equipment with plastic before tattooing you to ensure cross contamination is no longer a risk.
What papers will you need to sign?
Most artists will have you sign a waiver form. This protects the tattoo artist from any lawsuits due to infection or allergic reactions. Remember, getting a tattoo while safe, is a calculated risk.
Do they have partitions or screens for more intimate tattoos?
If you want to get a tattoo in a more intimate place, partitions or screens are an absolute must-have unless you’re comfortable flashing everyone in the room. Also, screens and partitions will help with the risk of cross-contamination.