According to the Food and Drugs Administration, 17% of people who have got tattoos, would like to have them removed ! And removing them (by laser) is an expensive business which can cost thousands of dollars. So, let’s assume you really want a tatoo. Here are some do’s and dont’s before you get inked.
DO understand what you are doing to your body.
So, what happens when you get a tattoo? Basically during tattooing and the application of permanent make-up, coloured pigments are injected by means of pinpricks into the middle skin layer (dermis). According to German dermatologists the most frequent adverse reactions to tattoos are severe skin reactions and infection. Unlike the dyes used in cosmetics for application to the skin like blusher, eye shadow or eyeliner, the dyes used in tattoos and permanent make-up have not undergone any tests with regard to their health impact. Some of these inks, depending on their colour contain chrome and mercury.
DO ask your doctor or dermatologist before taking the plunge. S/he may advise you on certain areas of the skin to avoid, obviously where the skin is broken or if you have moles or certain skin conditions.
DO seek out a registered tattoo artist and ask to see their equipment and studio. They should use disposable needles, have autoclave equipment for sterilising and should be able to show you their most recent spore test – ie. not more than two months ago.
DON’T choose sensitive skin areas where the skin is delicate and likely to break. This could also be very painful during the tattoo process- so best avoid wrists, feet and ankles. Basically stay away from the bony areas and go for the more fleshy areas.
DON’T choose elaborate colour designs if you suffer from skin allergies. The famous Black Light Tattoo which uses fluorescent elements and which light up only at night, might be best avoided.
DON’T have your tattoo done in the summer. The exposure to the sun and the added complication of sweat may actually hinder the healing process. After the skin has to get used to the foreign body , i.e. the dye pigment it may sometimes take up to three weeks to heal.
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