Getting a Tattoo: The Details

Tattoos have become more acceptable in recent years. It is common to see them on people of all…

Tattoos have become more acceptable in recent years. It is common to see them on people of all ages, even in professional environments. If you are getting your first tattoo, you may have many questions about the process. The history of tattoos and the procedure is interesting; however, you may not hear about the details during your visit to the tattoo shop. Take some time to learn about your new tattoo before your next appointment. 


You may want to know what is going into your skin when you get a tattoo. The FDA does not require disclosure of tattoo ink ingredients. Most artists purchase pre-made inks for use in their shop. Retailers mix the pigment with a carrier to make it flow smoothly and to keep the color evenly distributed. Common carriers are ethyl alcohol and distilled water. The use of a carrier also decreases the risk of infection or poisoning. Some people still make homemade inks. It is rumored that even Vodka acts as a carrier in homemade inks. Common ingredients that add color to pigment are cobalt, aluminum, copper, and zinc. 

Ancient tribes used ash, soot, or carbon to make black-colored tattoos. Talk to the artist or tattoo shop to find out if they know about the composition of their ink. Some manufacturers include heavy metals and ingredients meant for industrial use. Organic or vegan tattoo ink can still harbor heavy metals, however. Ink ingredients must undergo proper sterilization to prevent infection. The best way to find out about the ink at your tattoo shop is to find out where it is purchased from and do some research on your own. 


Most tattoo artists reman vigilant about using sanitary equipment. You can expect to see both reusable and disposable tools at most tattoo shops. You can also confirm the presence of sanitizing machine that uses extreme heat to keep the tools safe. 

Modern artists use handheld tattoo machines that have needle inserts. During your tattoo application, expect the needle to pierce your skin anywhere between 50 and 3,000 time each minute. Artists should remove all needles from sealed, sterile packages before use on your skin. Most artists do this in front of the client so they can confirm the safety of the equipment. 

The Art

Every tattoo artist has their own style. Many shops have standard pictures available for clients to choose from. They may also take requests for special designs. Visit the tattoo shop a few weeks before you want a tattoo to get information on types of tattoos

You can choose from things like simple outlines, blacklight tattoos, and art that covers a large area. If you want something that depicts a specific culture, for example, research a few artists to find one that has experience with the images you desire.  You may need to visit the tattoo shop several times to complete a very large or colorful tattoo. 

It is exciting to get a new tattoo. If you are getting your first tattoo, take the time to learn more about the process. Many tattoo artists enjoy talking to potential clients about their experience and products. You can also find the right tattoo artist for you by meeting with different professionals. Many tattoo shops employee a variety of artists so clients can choose from different styles. Visit the tattoo shop to discuss your design, ask questions, and learn about sanitation methods. 

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