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Depending on who you are tattoos are either gorgeous pieces of body art that celebrate self-expression, positive memories or emotional connections, or they’re badly done drawings that people are stuck with for life that look stupid and get infected. However, body modifications are now so extreme, making your eyes look like cats for example, that tattoos are seen as almost pedestrian and you’d be surprised at how many of us have one.

Allergies Will Matter

Do you have sensitive skin? Are you prone to bruising, breakouts or swelling? Do you struggle to find chemical free makeup? If you have problems with certain compounds found in cosmetics and bath products the chances are you may find yourself in a tight, itchy spot as pigments found in tattoo ink are very similar. Before going anywhere near the needle have a dermatologist test you, so you can see exactly what it is you’re allergic to and if you’re okay to get a tattoo at all.

Do Visit The Shop Twice

You should never book a tattooist without meeting them and visiting the shop where they work. There’s a big difference between a professional tattooist who looks after their needles with an obsessive attitude to health and safety and someone who shrugs when you ask when they last cleaned their needles. Be aware that if you get inked with a dirty, or unclean needle, you’re not just at risk of a nasty infection as any blood borne pathogen such as hepatitis C, HIV, and even AIDS can be passed between needles. Make sure the place is clean, welcoming and reasonably busy and that the work on the walls is your style. Their state tattoo license should be displayed on the wall, or by the door so if you can’t see one leave!

Communication Is Key

Tattoo artists are used to all kinds of customers; some talk to distract them from the pain and others choose to sit there in silence until the work’s completed. If you want their advice on a certain color, or ink style, then don’t leave it until you’re in the chair! Cooperate with them to create an amazing tattoo that you both love, telling them what you’re happy to compromise on if necessary and areas of the design that are super important and need to be left alone. Tattoos are painful, especially anything that’s being inked onto thinker areas of skin like your wrist, hips, feet or lower back. Make sure you speak up if you need a break, have some painkillers in your bag and don’t be afraid to tell your tattooist if you feel like you’re going to have to finish the rest of an intricate design another day.

Be Prepared For Pain

Tattoos hurt however if you’ve gotten a good night’s rest, eaten something recently and drunk plenty of orange juice you should be ok. You may want to bring some sweets to suck on, or the tattooist may have a packet, as they again distract you from the fact someone is drawing on your bare skin with a needle. Whatever you do don’t come in drunk or high, both drugs and alcohol tend to thin your blood; you’ll bleed more and could, in a stupor, inadvertently knock the needle. It’s not unheard of for tattooists to successfully sue clients who cause accidents, or you could find yourself having to speak to a lawyer to go over the details of any needlestick injury claims from something that occurred when the tattoo artist wasn’t paying attention, and the needle slipped causing you severe pain.

They Aren’t Cheap

Arm sleeves  cost hundreds of dollars while a little inking of someone’s name could cost less than fifty. Tattoo prices vary per artist, shop, what you want to be inked, obscure symbols require extra concentration, and where on the body you’d like it. Tattooists aren’t legally required to help you if they think something’s dodgy, you’re underage, or they just don’t get a good vibe. So if you’ve got your heart set on a pair of angel wings shut up, be polite and let them talk so they can see you’re a cool customer who’ll do what they tell you.

Tattoos Heal Fast

You won’t be left bleeding for days, in fact, it soon scabs over the way cuts do and could even start to peel a little. Make sure you keep the design clean, wrapped up and away from water as well as regularly moisturizing the dry, sensitive skin with lotion. Over the years, you’ll notice the tattoo will fade however most reputable artists tend to perform touch ups and re-color work for free especially if you’ve become a repeat customer.