-How does a tattoo work?
Artists create tattoos by injecting ink into a person’s skin. To do this, they use an electrically powered tattoo machine that moves a needle grouping up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needle penetrates the skin by about 1-2 millimeters and deposits ink into the skin with each puncture. When you look at a person’s tattoo, you’re seeing the ink through the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. The ink is actually in the dermis, which is the second layer of the skin. The cells of the dermis are far more stable than the cells of the epidermis, so the tattoo’s ink will stay in place, with minor fading and dispersion, for a person’s entire life. For a more in depth explanation of why our body doesn’t wash away the ink in our skin please watch this educational video!
-How do I care for my tattoo?
Every tattoo artist and studio will provide different aftercare instructions but it is very important to follow their specific instructions and not to listen to other individuals or friends that may be eager to give you their advice. Your artist has given you specific instructions that you have agreed to follow by signing the waiver form, and if any issues with healing arise due to negligence and/or not following the instructions, you have agreed that any touch up work required will be at your own expense. The following after care instructions will be provided to you at the time of your procedure:
1. Leave your bandage on overnight. It may be slightly uncomfortable or annoying, but you do not want your brand new tattoo sticking to your bed sheets or pajamas. A fresh tattoo will release a yellowish fluid (serum) with a bit of blood called serosanguineous. This is normal! Your body is simply trying to “seal” the wound; however, this is the important part – we keep the bandage on to absorb this fluid so that your body does not create a thick scab over the tattoo and to allow for quicker healing.
2. When you get up in the morning, hop in the shower and allow your bandage to soak in the water for a few minutes. This will help loosen up the medical tape so you can comfortably remove the bandage.
3. Once bandage has been removed, gently wash all remaining ointment and fluid from the tattoo with a mild soap (nothing heavily scented or with exfoliants) and warm water (avoid hot water the first couple times as your tattoo will be sensitive). You may notice there is some ink or colouration to the fluid, but don’t worry, this is just a bit of excess ink from the outer layer of your skin and is in no way your tattoo “falling out”.
4. Rinse your tattoo thoroughly and gently pat dry with a clean towel or paper towels. Allow an extra 5-10min for the tattoo to completely air dry.
5. Now that your tattoo is clean and dry you can apply a very small amount of the Ointment provided to you. A small amount will spread a long way so it is recommended that you start with a pea-sized dollop on your finger tip and gently dab the ointment over the tattoo and then spread the ointment to cover the area in a very fine layer. The tattoo should have a slight sheen, but should not look super glossy or goopy. If too much has been applied, simply wipe a bit off with a paper towel; however, for larger tattoos applying more may be needed.
6. It is important to take good care of your tattoo for the first week of healing as this is when there is the greatest potential for the introduction of bacteria. Be sure to wash your tattoo and apply fresh ointment twice daily (generally morning and after dinner) for the first week or until your tattoo has begun to flake and peel like a sunburn (this can start as early as day 4 or 5).
7. At this point, discontinue use of ointment and allow the tattoo to continue to dry and peel until there is no flaky skin left and skin is smooth again. You skin may become very itchy at this point so be sure you do not pick or scratch at your tattoo as you could potentially damage your artwork. It is normal for your skin to be dry at this stage, and so long as the tattoo has finished peeling it is okay to use a bit of moisturizer to alleviate the dryness. Do not over-moisturize as your tattoo is still healing under the surface and needs to “breathe” to do so. Applying a small amount of lotion once every other day for roughly a week should be plenty. Your tattoo should be fully healed within 2-3 weeks (can differ from person to person)
8. During the first week of healing it is important to AVOID: direct sunlight, tanning beds, swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, bathing in a bathtub (showering is completely acceptable), oil products, lotions, peroxide, bodily fluids, tight clothing (may cause irritation and cause scabbing), unclean environments, pet hair, sleeping on your tattoo, picking or scratching at your tattoo, or any advice on aftercare from friends if it differs from these instructions!
9. If at any point you have questions or are concerned about the healing of your tattoo do not hesitate to contact your artist! If you think your tattoo has become infected for whatever reason please see your physician or go to the emergency room. Signs of infection can or may included: Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the affected area; red streaks extending from the affected area, drainage of pus from the area and fever. (***Please note that sensitivity, swelling, redness and warmth around the tattoo immediately after the procedure is a completely normal inflammatory response of your body; these symptoms should only be a concern for infection if the issues persist or become worse several days after the tattoo was applied) Bruising may also be common in certain areas that are tattooed.
-Why do I need to sign a waiver?
It is important to sign a waiver because it let’s the Artist and Studio know that you are fully aware of and understand the implications and risks involved with getting a tattoo and that you are of legal age to do so, or have Parental consent. Waivers are also required to be kept on file by the Health Board so that client’s contact information and the date of their procedure can be easily accessed in case there is need to investigate any health issues.
-If I am under 18 can I still get tattooed?
You may still get tattooed under 18, but you must have a parent or legal guardian sign on your behalf (Parents/Guardians must be present at the time of booking the appointment or the day of the appointment to provide ID and signature). Even if a parent or guardian is signing for you, it is still to the tattoo artist’s discretion whether they will apply the tattoo based on if they feel the artwork and placement are appropriate (ie. Artistic Inklings will not tattoo an upside down cross on a 16 year old’s neck).
-Why won’t you tattoo my hands, face or neck?
Artistic Inklings will use their discretion on deciding when they will tattoo hands, faces and necks based on a clients age, job/position in life, and the amount of visible tattoos the client already has. We follow these guidelines because even though tattoos are more widely accepted now, there are still employers who will discriminate from hiring individuals with visible tattoos. Many don’t feel this is right, but every business has a right to project a certain image within their company if it helps their business, just as each individual has the right to express themselves, and these facts are just something to take into consideration when deciding on the placement of your tattoos.
-My tattoo is flaking and peeling, is that normal?
Dry, peeling skin is completely normal to see on a healing tattoo. Your tattoo will become a little dull looking during this time, but it is not falling off and the colours will brighten again once the layer of skin has shed. During the tattoo process your skin is punctured thousands of times by tiny needles(pins) and the outer later of your skin becomes damaged. Your body will rejuvenate this layer of skin by creating new skin cells and shedding the old, damaged ones.
-What do I need to do to prepare for a tattoo?
Here is everything you need to do to prepare for your tattoo:
1. Get a good night’s rest (don’t stay up til 3am partying before your 10am appointment).
2. Avoid drinking alcohol the night before or day of your tattoo (you may have a drink after your tattoo, but be weary, due the the energy your body uses during a tattoo and all the endorphins your body releases during the process, you will become inebriated much more quickly with less alcohol, so be sure to drink responsibly and arrange safe transportation).
3. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat a decent meal prior to your appointment (this does not mean scarf down a double big mac meal 5 mins before your appointment; the initial rush of getting a tattoo could cause your stomach to become upset and the end results are less than desirable; give your body a little time to digest/settle).
4. Do not take pain killers or other illicit drugs before your appointment. Despite what you may think, they will not reduce the discomfort or relax you, but will often do the exact opposite and make it more difficult to sit. If you are prone to swelling it is acceptable to take a regular dose of advil or ibuprofin (anti-inflammatory) at the beginning of your appointment to help reduce swelling.
5. If you are sitting for a longer period, you may want to pack snacks, drinks, a book, and a phone charger.
6. Dress comfortably in darker clothing to avoid ink/blood stains and be sure to bathe and wear deodorant (we all sweat when getting tattooed but please avoid wearing perfume or colonge, many people are highly sensitive and you don’t want your artist rushing because they can’t stand the smell!)
7. Bring cash with you; your artist will be able to give you a rough idea of what you should bring for your appointment based on their hourly rate.
-How do I go about booking an appointment?
It is always best to book an appointment in person. We generally take a $40 cash deposit to hold an appointment and it’s always easier to discuss designs, placement, and sizing in person to make sure we have the correct amount of time booked to complete the tattoo. If you have an image/design in mind you are always welcome to come into the shop at any point during shop hours to set up an appointment; however, if you have a larger scaled piece or cover-up that requires a consultation, you must call or come in to set up a consultation time before an appointment can be made. Once an appointment has been made, all reference images and material can either be dropped off in person, or you may send images electronically through email or Facebook. If you are not able to come into the shop to book an appointment in person due to distance (for example, you live more than 1 hour away) then you may call the shop to make arrangements. Appointments can not be made, changed or canceled over the internet; these arrangements must be made in person or by phone.
-Can I get tattooed while pregnant?
As a shop rule we will not tattoo anyone who is pregnant. Regardless whether you or your doctor feel it is safe, Artistic Inklings is not comfortable doing so and recommends that anyone who is pregnant should wait to get tattooed until after the baby is born (and if breastfeeding, not until after milk production is consistent and the stress of getting a tattoo may not affect production). Some doctors will even recommend waiting until you are no longer breastfeeding.
-Can I use a numbing cream?
It is preferred that you do not use any numbing cream for two reasons:
1. Numbing creams will only last a short while, and once its effect wears off the nerves are hypersensitive and the tattoo will hurt more as your body has not had time to build up an endurance to the sensation and release the proper endorphins.
2. Most numbing creams require you apply and wear the cream for an hour before getting tattooed, which causes the skin to become overly saturated and with this product in the skin, we cannot guarantee our work.