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Check It Out Before You Jump!

A tattoo can be a form of self-expression, a tribute, a marker for an event in life or a rite of passage. In some cultures and in the past, a tattoo had to be earned and not all will have the privilege to be inked. Now, virtually anybody can get a tattoo in the most convenient of places like malls and arcades. There’s nothing wrong with getting a tattoo, but just because it’s widely available doesn’t mean that it’s a decision to be taken lightly.
Tattoos are permanent (henna doesn’t count). This means that you should commit to whatever permanent art you would like in your skin. While there is the option to have tattoos surgically removed, it is not an easy, pain-free or even cheap process. Think of tattoo as a marriage between your skin and ink—and the removal is the long, drawn out divorce. So before you have yourself permanently branded with the name of your current girlfriend or your favorite singer’s face, make sure that this is not just some passing fancy or an impulse that will change with the seasons.

Another thing to watch out for when it comes to getting tattoos is the risk of infection. Tattoos are somewhat surgical in nature because it actually involves getting under the skin—and it involves quite a lot of pain as well. A machine with needles is usually used for modern tattoos which the tattoo artist loads up with ink. The needles deposit tiny droplets of ink under the skin to render the art. This process leaves the skin open to infections, so it is important that materials are guaranteed to be sterilized, especially the needles, the ink and the artists hands (they should use gloves). If the needles are not sterilized, it can carry blood-borne diseases such as tetanus, hepatitis A & B or even HIV/AIDS. Even if you don’t get infected while getting the tattoo, your skin is still vulnerable to infections during the healing process as it is still raw—you should be careful to keep it clean and sanitized.

You can also suffer from allergic reactions from your tattoo. This is caused by non hypoallergenic dyes that some tattoo artists might use. Most tattoo dyes can usually come in hypoallergenic form, with the exception of red. If you are not sure whether you are allergic to red dye, it is best to ask for a patch test first before proceeding. If you are allergic and you proceed with your tattoo anyway, you may develop a red rash and/or bumps at the site of the tattoo which can recur even after years from getting the tattoo. The latex gloves that tattoo artists use can also cause allergies so if you know that you are allergic to it, it makes sense to call in advance to advise your artists against using latex gloves.

Dyes may also contain trace metals on it which can trigger allergic reactions, such as nickel. The ointment that tattoo artists use after the tattoo is done may also cause some allergic reaction. Talk to your artist about the materials that he uses before getting inked. Moreover, do a thorough patch test before proceeding. Your artists should be able to help you with this and if he says he can’t, look for somebody else to do your tattoo.

Once you get a tattoo, it can take an average of 2 weeks to heal. During this time you should be careful not to wear anything that will come into contact with the tattoo too much, and you should also keep out of the sun. The area should also be always kept clean with water and gentle soap and when drying it should only be patted and not rubbed. Moisturizer should be applied to the area regularly during the course of a day.