Commonly asked Questions:
My tattoo will only take an hour, can’t you sneak me in?
I get asked this question all the time. My wait time is usually 3-4 months, since I am the only artist in the shop. And though this seems like a reasonable request, (and an unreasonable wait) there are many reasons why it is not simple to “sneak you in”.
For a 1 hour tattoo, 3-4 hours are involved on my end. You will be in the shop a minimum of 90 minutes to 2 hours (for 1 hour of ink). There is paperwork to fill out, questions to be discussed, artwork to be adjusted, stencils to me made and placed, setting up the inks and needles, the aftercare procedure and payment takes time, as well. I also need an hour before and after your tattoo to prepare, sterilize the shop, paperwork, answer emails, create tattoo designs for the week, and give my muscles a proper rest.
Long story short, a 1 hour tattoo, I need to find a 3-4 hour time slot to “sneak you in”. This is simply not possible, unless I have a cancelation. Even a 5 minute tattoo, will take a minimum of 2 1/2 hours of actual time on my end. I hope this helps explain the process and the scheduling.
Will it hurt?
Yes…it hurts. The needle moves in the motion of a sewing machine, and cuts the skin as it moves. Most people compare the pain to a cat scratch, or a bee sting. It’s not pleasant. Everyone has a different pain tolerance. Some people scream and cry in excruciating pain, others find it relaxing and could fall asleep. The pain only lasts while the needle is actually cutting you. When there is a break, and afterwards, it feels like a sunburn - very tolerable.
Each part of the body is also a consideration. Typically, on any bone, is very painful. The spine, foot, elbow, shin, sternum, color bone - can be very painful. The more muscle mass, the better for the pain. Also where the skin is very soft and sensitive can be quite painful; the inner arm, the ditch (opposite the elbow), back of the knee, etc. Most people would agree the ribs are the most painful spot on the body, mostly because it combines both, sensitive skin and bone.
I always recommend not to avoid a particular area, solely for the pain, because, they all hurt. And it will only hurt for a while, and then you spend the rest of your life wishing you would have put it where you wanted it. The pain is temporary and usually tolerable.
Is It OK to Get a Tattoo if I'm Sick?
Getting a tattoo when your immune system isn't at 100% isn't a good idea. You're going to need your strength and your white blood cells to heal your tattoo, something your body won't be able to do if it's already doing battle against virus and bacteria. Not to mention the fact that it’s inconsiderate to bring your illness into the tattoo studio and risk passing the germs onto others. If you have an appointment, call and reschedule for when you're feeling well again.
How long should I wait to go swimming?
Until the tattoo is fully healed, the area is vulnerable to the bacteria found in swimming pools and lakes. Waiting a minimum of three weeks to go swimming reduces the risk of irritation and infection, but if the tattoo has not completely healed, it is necessary to clean the area thoroughly after swimming.
How old do you need to be to get a tattoo?
You must be at least 18 years old without parental consent. Different states have different laws for minors. Colorado law states: minors can be tattooed with parental consent at any age. Most shops set a rule of 16 being the youngest, mainly because younger children do not have the decision making ability as adults. I could legally tattoo a 3 year old with consent, but that is something I will not do. If the child is younger than 16, I will make an exception with 3 conditions.
1) If I have consent of BOTH parents, and it is the minor's decision.
2) If it's something I feel will not be regretted in the future. For example, a memorial tattoo for a grandparent, parent or sibling.
3) I also insist it be small and in a location that is easily covered. Young children don't know "what they want to be when they grow up", so I want to make sure it is never going to interfere with a future career.
Is it safe to use pain killers during my tattoo session?
For the most part, the short answer is “yes” – but with some qualifications. First, some types of painkillers can thin the blood and cause excess bleeding during your session. Over the counter drugs such as asprin, naproxen, and ibuprofen are processed by the kidneys, and are more prone to this problem than alternatives like Tylenol (acetaminophen) which is handled by the liver. Even so, we don’t typically have any issue with people using ibuprofen during their sessions.
Excess bleeding can affect how well the ink is held by the skin, washing it away as quickly as it is applied. Do not take any type of painkiller that impairs your judgment in any way before your session. We cannot tattoo someone who appears to be under the influence of any medication that is affecting their ability to make sound decisions (this includes alcohol, which is also a blood thinner).
Can I use a numbing cream for my tattoo:
An over-the-counter or prescription numbing cream (as lidocaine) , or topical anesthetic, can be applied to your skin before you get a tattoo to dull the pain of the needle. Applying an hour before your tattoo seems to be the most successful. If you have a low pain threshold or are planning to get a tattoo in a sensitive area, you can use a numbing agent. For small pieces this works well. For larger pieces, the numbing agent is rubbed off almost immediately, and wears off in about 20 minutes. Some people find it hurts worse once if wears off, and wish they hadn't used it. So, it's up to the individual, whether or not you want to try it. You can ask your doctor for a prescription strength Lidocaine.