Know Your Pain Tolerance
If you are sensitive avoid getting a tattoo on your ribs, backs of knees, elbows or groin areas for your first tattoo. If any of these are of your desired choice then start small to be safe. Learn how your body handles ink and how it heals.
Consider The Timing
Sun exposure and water submersion can damage a new tattoo. So if you like the water or the beach then consider getting your tattoo done in the fall. This will give your new tattoo time to heal.
Avoid Getting It Done Cheap
Avoid going to a suspiciously cheap tattoo parlor unless you have several trusted friends who can vouch for the parlor. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always consider the price before altering your body for life.
Research and Choose Wisely
Research the tattoo artist you choose. You want to know who you’re trusting your body with. Always look into the artist’s portfolio before committing. Make sure the artist fits your style and you are happy with their work. You can look at an artist’s work in the parlor and online. Also, you can read reviews on Facebook, Yelp, etc.
When choosing to get a tattoo, you need to make sure it’s exactly what you want. This ink will be on your body for the rest of your life so make sure you are 100% happy with it and can stand by your choice for life. Tattoos cannot be easily removed.
Sleep On It
Marking your body is a big decision. If you are not sure if a tattoo is right for you then sleep on it. You want to be happy with your choices – design, placement, artist, etc. Make sure you are making your decision in the right mind and for the right reasons. It is best to be 100% committed to your choices.
Buy Lotion In Advance
Your tattoo artist may or may not supply you with lotion. To be safe, buy some unscented lotion in advance. Unscented lotion is recommended to keep the tissue hydrated during the healing process.
Stressing will only ruin the experience for you. Getting a tattoo should be a good memory. So just take a deep breath, prepare for a little pinch and a little scratch and enjoy the experience.
Bring a Friend
If you have any anxiety, don’t go alone. Bring a friend or family member along for support. If possible, bring a friend who’s been tattooed before (and had a good experience!). Having a friend to talk to and trust to walk you through the process will do wonders.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your body so take control. If you are not sure what an instrument is, or any cream or ointment don’t be afraid to ask what’s happening!
Bring a Visual Aid
Bring a visual example of what you want your tattoo to look like. Attend the appointment with your inspiration. If you want a specific text, bring the font and text. If you have seen the exact tattoo you want, bring a printed version of it.
Tip Your Artist
Show gratitude if you are satisfied with the result. Tip between 15 to 30% of the session. Take special circumstances into consideration, such as your tattoo artist opening up on his day off for you, etc.
Go Back for a Touch-up
Don’t be afraid to go back for a touch-up if you believe something needs to be fixed. If a shadow is not filled in well or a line is not clear, contact your artist and ask for a touch-up.
Make Arrangements for Showering Methods
Keeping a scabbing tattoo wet too long is never good. Also, scalding water will make it sting. Once you’ve decided the placement of your tattoo, make arrangements for the most convenient bathing and showering method for the first couple of days. Minimize the amount of soaking of the area in water. It may be a good idea to put a cling wrap over the area or gently washing it before showering. Be sure to remove the wrap once you are done washing.
Follow Your Care Instructions
Your tattoo artist should tell you how to go about caring and cleaning for your healing tattoo. If you are not satisfied or need more information, Tattoo Consortium’s Care Instructions is a good reference. It is always good to provide daily care for your healing skin.