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Things to Know Before Getting a Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a big commitment, it is on your body for life. Being sure in your decision is essential, so I’ve created a handy list of things to know before you go under the needle. 

It doesn’t have to mean anything…

Not all tattoos have to have a deep meaning. If anything, most people who have tattoos don’t hold sentimental value behind all of them. You might just really like a certain artwork or style, and that’s great. That said, your decision can be made easier if you have a message behind it. Either way, there’s no pressure to choose something that is meaningful. It’s your body. 

…But it will be on your body forever

It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t change your opinions and tastes as you grow older. However, getting a tattoo based on a trend or a fad isn’t always such a good idea. Be sure in yourself, and even if your taste changes over time your tattoo will always make you happy. 

It hurts, but only a bit

The first thing I said when I got my first tattoo was, “oh that doesn’t hurt as much as I expected”. That doesn’t mean it’s not painful at all, though. The pain associated with getting a tattoo is more of a hot scratch than anything else. Unless you’re getting a huge tattoo, which I wouldn’t recommend for your first piece. You won’t be sat for more than a couple of hours. Your adrenaline will still be running at this point, and you’ll be able to take any uncomfortableness. 

Expect some swelling, redness, bleeding and soreness

The reaction you have to a tattoo can depend on a variety of factors. The tattoo itself can have a different effect on you based on the size, shape, style and design. There are also a number of genetic factors which can affect your reaction. Be sure not to drink any alcohol beforehand, as this can thin your blood. Get a good bit of food before, too, for keeping your energy up. 

Placement does affect pain

The fleshier parts of your skin, such as your upper arm or thigh, will hurt a lot less than thinner skin. Anything close to bone, tendons and veins can be more painful, so steer clear if you’re nervous. Tattoo artists will know which areas are the most painful, so if you’re not sure on placement and want the least pain, just ask! 

Choosing the right artist is essential

Finding the right artist for any tattoo is super important. Different artists specialise in different styles, so you need to find one who is an expert in your chosen technique. You’ll pay a little more for people with more experience and better skills, but it’s worth it. Message a few artists whose work you’re interested in, and get a few quotes. 

Avoid sun and water for a while

This title sounds dramatic; I’m not telling you to not leave the house or shower until you’re healed. However, exposing your fresh tattoo to high UV or soaking it in water can damage the healing process. This might lead to some wonky lines, fading or even infection. Most artists will offer touch-ups a few weeks after the initial appointment, but will charge you if the damage was preventable. 

I hope this helps you make your mind up on your first tattoo. Remember to be sure in your decision before you do anything, and good luck. 


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