Making First Time Tattoos More Comfortable

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a teen or a senior, always and in every case the first tattoo is essentially a rite of passage. This bold step outside your comfort zone can be very intoxicating. And self expression is addictive. Today, tattoos aren’t just for sailors and bikers anymore; it’s now a way of self-actualization like never before.

If you’re a tattoo artist dealing with a first time tattooee, their nervousness quickly becomes apparent. In order to make the newbie more comfortable, walk them through the process. Even if they’ve come prepared, they need to know that their artist understands what they’re going through. Cover the following aspects:

Choose Body-Art carefully

It’s just a statement of fact: many, many first timers make poor choices when it comes to their first tattoo, and nobody really knows it until years later, in hindsight. It’s important to make the effort implore those new to tattoo to carefully consider the body art they choose as it is going to be a part of them for many years to come, therefore QUALITY is their primary consideration. It doesn’t matter if it’s an epic tattoo or a piece of flash, quality of application is the key to happiness (when it comes to tattoo art;). In addition, a good starting point for the uninitiated is choosing a tattoo that represents something they value deeply, a statement to the world, or simply to show support for a cause.

Proper Diet the Night Before

When an appointment is set for the future, consider letting first timers how to prep for the big day. The diet the night before plays an important part in the skin being ready. Getting a tattoo causes trauma. In order to promote quick healing, ask them to keep their body as clean as possible. The day before the appointment, they restrict their diet and eat healthily, with plenty of water. They should also avoid alcohol or strictly limit its consumption, as it thins the blood and increases bleeding. In addition to this, tattooees should avoid processed, sugary or salty foods because sugars and sodium nitrates increase swelling and inflammation. A tattoo isn’t something we’re merely adding onto your body; it literally becomes part of you. This whole notion of clients being little more than a ‘canvas’ for a so-called artist to ‘work on’ is fundamentally flawed; a more holistic approach should be adopted, and caring for every aspect of those who honor us enough to employ us should be the norm. Seek out artists who are not only skilled at what they do, but who also care about your well-being.

About the Pain factor

Given that different people have different thresholds of pain, what one considers a scratch can be devastating for another. As an artist, it’s important to consider that everyone gets nervous when getting a tattoo, no matter how many times they’ve done it before. Maintaining patient understanding and empathetic, experienced guidance can make the difference between a calm client and a greenie, (a customer who so excited themselves that they pass out in the middle of the tattooing process. It happens.) The key to being calm during the tattoo process is always rooted in calm, steady breathing. (*A short lesson on mindfulness of breathing can change a person’s entire experience. We’ll cover this in detail in the near future.;)

Generally speaking, the first 60 seconds of a tattoo are psychologically the worst, after which you quickly learn that it’s probably not at all as bad as you expected, and also your body’s endorphins will kick in to help ease the discomfort and pain. As soon as they realize that it isn’t that bad, the rest will be a piece of cake. *Different areas hurt differently, however, and you can check this chart for some more info on painful tattoos and locations.

About Aftercare

Leave the Bandage on – A fresh tattoo is an open wound. Period. Covering up your new tattoo is to keep air-borne bacteria from infecting your wound while the initial healing starts taking place on a cellular level. Whatever instructions your artists conveys to you, follow them implicitly. If any signs of an infection begin to show, consult with them immediately for the best and quickest solutions. It’s often nothing more than needing to switch the brand of soap or healing ointment you are using. An experienced artist will be able to help you navigate these options, and what you learn will apply to all future tattoos.

Wash and Treat –Your healing instructions will include how long to keep the bandage on, and only after which should one remove the bandage and wash the tattoo. This becomes part of your daily process from the day you get the tattoo till it is completely healed. In general, the water used must be lukewarm and should be accompanied with a mild, liquid antimicrobial or antibacterial soap containing NO SCENTS to gently rinse away ointment, plasma and blood and clean the area completely. Nothing abrasive should be used. This is a very gentle process, but be thorough.

Removal is Possible, But Not Cheap or Easy

Because tattoos become part of us, and since our tattoo decisions are so important, first timers should be aware that the most effective way to remove a tattoo that they regret is going to be through laser treatments. Short bursts of high-intensity laser beams are directed at the tattoo. The ink then dissolves into smaller particles that are then removed by the body’s immune system. This treatment is usually costly and requires multiple treatments for a complete removal.

Being well informed about the entire process can make first timers feel at ease and approach this decision with more confidence. (*READ THIS ARTICLE for more info on Tattoo Removal).


First tattoo convention


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Gil Monte at work



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