Forum: Arts / Body Art

Tattoo's 101 (karma: 14)
By KMonstermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 17, 2006 05:03 AM
Edited by Somber_Angel (70839) on 2006-01-17 05:12:59 some random mistakes
Made sticky by calypso (11968) on 2006-01-17 12:50:43

Getting a tattoo? Get the fact's you need before you get your tattoo! Tattoo FAQ's

Does it hurt?

This is the first question in this FAQ because it's usually the first question that people ask. The answer is yes. Having needles pierce your skin *does* hurt. But what you *really* want to know is, "How MUCH does it hurt, and can I handle it?"

It's not nearly as bad as what you might imagine. The pain comes from the cluster of needles on the tattooing machine piercing your skin very rapidly. This sensation, however, doesn't feel like the poking pain of an injection--it's more of a constant vibration. You will be amazed at how quickly your body releases endorphins, (pain killers), which dullens the pain significantly.

The pain will also vary according to where on your body you get worked on. Skin right above bones (collarbone, anklebone, etc.) tend to be more painful than other areas. In addition, certain types of needles seem to hurt more than others. (In my personal experience and what other's have said as well I found the outline of the tattoo hurt the most. This is due to the needles they use, which is a sharper needle then tht used for coloring and shading).

Remember, you are volunteering for the experience. The amount of pain will depend on your psychological attitude. (When I first started going in for tattoo's and piercings I would hype myself up for the worst pain imaginable, and once it was over I was always so happy because it never hurt as much as I was expecting.)

NOTE: Do not drink alcohol or take illegal drugs for pain relief purposes prior to your tattoo sessions. Both aspirin and alcohol thin your blood and promote excessive bleeding. Aspirin also decreases the clotting of blood, which will slow down your healing as well. In addition, artists do not appreciate dealing with drunks. (Before I ever got any work done of my body I would not take pain killers or drink alcohol for a week prior to the appointment)

What About Anaesthetics?

Some people say that taking a couple of over-the-counter analgesics before tattooing can take the edge off the pain. Acetaminophen, commonly sold under the brand name 'Tylenol' is generally recommended, but not aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs, as they tend to inhibit clotting.

Should I Get A Tattoo In The First Place?

People get tattoos for different reasons. Is it to please your partner? Is it because you want to belong to a group that has tattoos? Do you identify with a certain subculture known for tattoos? Do you want to show your independence, individuality or uniqueness?

These are all valid reasons, and why many people get tattooed. However, because of the permanency of your tattoo, try to look at yourself in five, 10, or even 20 years. What will you be doing at that time? You might be a free-spirited college student now, and a web of vines on your wrist would look really lovely. However, are you planning to work in a
very conservative field after you graduate? Will others look at your tattoo in a bad way? Will you have to hide it with long sleeve shirts? Are you *willing* to wear long sleeve shirts if the environment is negative?

*GETTING IT REMOVED* is *NOT* easy, and is *NOT* cheap. Expect to pay $1,000 to remove even a fairly small-sized tattoo if you're looking at laser surgery. Expect to have a noticeable ugly scar if you go with a non-laser technique. Expect to pay for every penny out of your own pocket because health insurance companies will not pay for tattoo removal. There may not be a laser surgery specialist in your area. Then think of all those laser-surgery doctors who are going to get rich off of a person's foolishness or lack of careful thinking.

...Maybe tattooing isn't for you.

...Maybe you should get a tattoo on your back instead of on your hand.

...Maybe you should get a tattoo on your left wrist so it can be covered by your watch if you have to...

...And maybe after reading this FAQ, you'll think carefully about it, and make some informed, wise decisions about what to do with your body.

*Tattooing can be beautiful.*

*Tattooing can be exhilarating.*

*Tattooing can open a whole new world for you.*

...but make sure to do it *RIGHT*.

Where Can I Find A Good Tattoo Artist? What Should I Look For In A Good Artist?

The bane of the tattoo world is the shadowy, unprofessional person called the "scratcher." A scratcher is somebody who:
--Does not have the proper training in either tattoo art or of running a professional operation;
--Does not know and/or care to use responsible sterilization methods;
--Promises to provide tattooing services for an incredibly low fee, for free, or in exchange for drugs (ack!);
--Chooses not to apprentice through a legitimate tattoo shop because of one excuse or another (but lacks the knowledge one needs to work in or run a professional shop);
--Will hurt you because they don't know what they're doing;
--Will give you a permanent tattoo you will regret for the rest of your life;
--You should stay away with a ten-foot pole.

There are a number of ways to find good artists, including (but certainly not limited to):

--Perusing tattoo magazines. While not all tattoo magazines are of the National Geographic quality, the photos will speak for themselves. Some issues highlight specific artists' works; a good way see the type of work someone does. Use the photos in the magazines to compare with those
of the artist you are interested in. These magazines have done a lot to show what is *possible*.

--Attending a tattoo convention.

You can approach this one of two ways. You can either go to a shop because someone recommended the artist to you, or you can go in cold. For obvious reasons, you will have a little more information with you if you already know something about the artist. This may make you feel more at ease when going into a shop for the first time.

What Kind Of Design Should I Get?

What images do you think of when you think of a tattoo? Do you think of anchors, of roses or of skulls? While these traditional images are still available, you will be pleasantly surprised at the variety you will find today.

There are two basic types of tattoos: Flash, and custom. As you can imagine, "custom" means you have a design you like that you take in with you. "Flash" is the stock designs you see on the walls of the shop.

The main thing to remember is that you're not required to choose from the selection of flash in a shop--You're NOT limited to just an anchor, a rose or a skull. Remember however, that these smaller pieces of pre-priced flash are the bread & butter of many shops, since they are proportionately expensive ($75 for 20 minutes' work, for example where an artist might charge $100 an hour for custom work). Also, the number of customers who lay out the big bucks for large, elaborate custom pieces is too small to keep a regular shop in business. (I'm speaking in Canadian dollars, I just got 3 lines of numbers tattooed on me. 20 minutes of work and payed $69. I got two sparrows tattooed on both sides of my chest $125 each.)

A few of the major styles of tattooing:

BIO-MECHANICAL: A style popularized by illustrator H.R. Giger, who designed the creature from the *Alien* movies. Bio-mechanical work usually involves an anatomical flesh intertwined with some technical drawings of machines. A close relative of this style involves just the biological look of flesh without the mechanical parts.

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BLACK & GREY: Refers to the colors used, this style requires the artist to have advanced shading techniques for subtlety.

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Celtic: Beautiful, intricate knotwork of the Celts (a hard "k", NOT a soft "c" like the basketball team). These are much harder for artists to do, and is best done by someone who specializes in it. Also usually done in just black ink.

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Oriental: Big, bold pieces of Oriental images (carp, clouds, dragons, etc.) based on the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of 18th Century Edo-period Japan. Note: It is fine to call this "Oriental" and not "Asian," because it references an object and not a person.

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PORTRAIT: Images taken from photos, best done by someone who can render realistic photographic images. Usually done in black and grey ink.

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Sailor Jerry: Traditional sailor tattoo style made famous by Jerry Collins in Honolulu.

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Tribal: Usually bold simple lines, simple patterns. Almost always done with just black ink.

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What Kind Of Colors Can I Get?

Concerned that you'll end up with a greenish tattoo with little bits of red or yellow? Worry no more! Today's inks run the entire gamut--and it would not be terribly sarcastic to take a Pantone color chart with you!

Most tattoo inks are metal salt-based pigments that are not made specifically to be used under the skin, and have not been approved by the FDA for this purpose. The idea is that for most people, these pigments are inert and cause no problems. Some people have been known to have allergic reactions; any reputable artist should be willing to provide you with a small "patch test" of the colors you desire.

How To Look Around In The Shop

Don't let the shop intimidate you when you first walk in. For the uninked, a tattoo shop is intimidating enough. Strange smells, strange sounds. Some shops even try to look intimidating to create a tough-guy feel. Just keep in mind that you're a potential customer. Consider it window shopping.

The first thing you should do is to take a minute to look around. Chances are, you'll encounter some flash (stock illustrations) stapled on the walls. These will most likely lean toward the traditional. Skull and crossbones, roses and the like.

You might also see some signs ("No minors; we ID," "We have sanitary conditions" etc.). These signs will also be indicators of the personality of the shop owner. If the signs seem overly intimidating, patronizing or snobbish, they can be tip-offs of the shop's attitude. Some are very friendly, with plants, aquarium fish, and signs like "Tattooed people come in all colors."

Ask To See A Portfolio

Do NOT be impressed by the flash on the wall. These illustrations are usually purchased from other artists and do not represent the work of your artist. Frankly, anyone with some experience can easily trace the outlines of these illustrations and fill in the colors. What you really need to look at is a book that contains a collection of photos of the artist's work. Go to the counter and ask to see one. If they tell you they don't have one, walk out immediately. You're visiting the shop to commission a piece of art to be permanently illustrated on your skin; for the artist to tell you s/he doesn't have samples in a portfolio is insulting.

What To Look For In A Portfolio

Before anything else, check to see that the lines are clean. Are they well-defined? Straight where they should be; not shaky or blurry? Are the borders all uniform in width? Do the colors seem true? Are they bright? Proportionately correct?

Look at the people in the book. This can be an indicator of the clientele in the shop. Is there a fair mix of women and men in the book? Are they all sporting "biker" tats, or any one particular genre/style?

Again, keep in mind that anyone can stencil an outline of an
illustration onto your skin. The skill in the artistry comes in the shading, use of colors and other subtle things that set an artist apart from a simple tattooist.

What Kind Of Questions To Ask

Some reasonable questions to ask in your conversation that shouldn't take too much time for the artist to answer:

What is their favorite style?
If what *you* are looking to get done happens to be their specialty you are in luck; be it tribal, wildlife or whatever.

Is there any one particular subject they like to do?
One artist, without hesitation, told me his favorite was skulls. I would've jumped for joy had that been what I wanted.

How long has the shop been here?
This may be an indicator of the stability of their business. The tat industry in itself fluctuates, but continuity implies business acumen, responsible practices and that they are not a fly-by-night operation.

How long have they been at the shop?
The shop may have been there for 20 years, but the artist may only have been there for a couple of months. If they have been there for what you consider a short period, ask them where they were before.

How long have they been tattooing?
It might not matter so much that the artist has only been there for a short while, if they've been tattooing for several years. They might come from various backgrounds--anywhere from working on friends to having a fine arts degree. This type of information will give you more insight into the artist's attitude as well as aptitude.

Do they get to do much custom work?
This may depend on where the shop is located, but it also depends on how good of an artist they are, and whether they have their own style for which they are known for.

Don't let the looks of the artist intimidate you. Tattoo artists usually have a lot of tattoos themselves. In fact, I would be somewhat leery of an artist who has *NO* tattoos at all. The main thing is that you need to talk with them and get a feel for what they are like. As you talk with the artist and build a rapport, if you feel comfortable you may
want to broach the subject of what you're interested in getting done. Bounce your idea off with the artist and see what they are willing to help you with.

Remember however, that the artist is running a professional business! Be polite--don't linger and overspend your welcome if you don't plan on getting any work done at all.

Word Tattooing

If the design you choose contains *any* text at all, be sure to proofread it and agree on it beforehand. If not, you might end up like the gentleman in this story: . . .

His tattoo ended up with a word misspelled. Definitely not the sort of thing that one wants to wear for life.

What To Look For In The Shop

Looking critically at the shop is as important as choosing your artist. Make sure the place is very clean, make sure the artist uses disposable, single-use needles (that are not re-used after one client), and uses an autoclave for all other equipment. Don't be afraid to ask them, either. A legitimate artist will be glad to show you.

Try to go and visit and then come back another day. Don't feel pressured into having to get one right then and there. Try and talk to some people that have experience with the artist (and not the groupies that you'll find hanging around the shop). You should feel comfortable with the artist and you should like him/her. If you don't, then don't get a

Make sure the artist is willing to listen to you and respects what you want. Don't go to an artist that has an agenda of what he/she wants to do. The artist may make suggestions, but the final word is always yours.

Finally, make sure you take their business card with you. If the artist you talk to does not have his/her own card, jot down the name on the back, and perhaps some notes to yourself about the shop and the artist.

How Should I Act In The Chair?

Once you have settled on a design and a price that you and your artist agree on, the work will either begin right then, or you will be asked to come back for a later appointment.

Once you're in that chair, what can you expect? Most likely, the artist will begin the long process of preparing for your work. This is especially true if the artist is going to do a custom design that you brought in. First, the design will have to be worked on. Most artists will play around with the design on paper first, although some artists will do it freehand. "Freehand" means the artist takes an ink pen to
hand and begins drawing a design on your skin without the use of a stencil (NOT where the artist begins work with the tattooing machine immediately--the artist, no matter how good, still needs to envision how the work will look on your skin--proportion, placement, etc.).

When you and the artist are happy with the design, the artist might outline the design with a piece of carbon paper, or use an old-fashioned copy machine to get a working copy of it. This would be when the artist would properly size the design. The artist will then clean your skin where the work will be done (probably an alcohol or antiseptic rub), and will swipe your skin with an "adhesive," which is usually Speed Stick deodorant (for some reason *I* haven't seen any other brands). The artist will then put the carbon side of the design directly on your skin. When the paper is lifted, ta-da! A carbon line drawing of the design should appear on your skin!

The artist will probably let you look in a mirror to make sure you are happy with the design and the placement. Once this is agreed upon, the artist will then begin putting the supplies out.

At this point, your artist should be doing things like dispensing various colors of ink into little disposable wells, and rigging a new set of needles into the tattoo machine. At this time, you will probably try to look cool by looking around the studio walls or occasionally looking to see what your artist is doing. Your artist might have a radio playing, which will help distract you a little.

At this point, it is best for you to try and relax. You can ask the artists about some things, like the colors of the ink. Depending on the work you are getting, the artist will need to mix some colors, for example. You're probably somewhat nervous, but excited at the same time because you're actually gonna get a real tattoo! Whether you realize it or not, your body is going through quite an adrenalin rush. Try to remain calm and not too anxious. Your hyped-up condition and your anxiety about the anticipated pain of your experience by themselves may trigger a fainting spell. It will help if you are not there on an empty stomach. Get a bite to eat about an hour or two before you go in for your session. Having hard candy or some juice on hand during the session is also recommended.

Bzzzzzttttt....The artist starts up the machine, dips the needle into the ink and starts to work toward your skin! Aaaaaahhhhh!!! Will it hurt? Will it hurt? Grit your teeth! Hang tight!...

Ooohhhhhhh! It *does* hurt! Ow! Ow! Ow! I'm okay, I'm okay, this is fine, it's not that bad. I can grit my teeth. Grit, grit, grit. Try to smile a bit. My teeth are gritting, anyway. Oh, I hope this pain doesn't stay like this!! Breathe. Don't forget to breathe. Relax. Relax. Relax. Okay there, that's better. Not so painful. I can handle it. Yeah--look at all the tattoos HE's got on his arms. I can handle it, too. Yeah.

Most people can sit through over an hour of work, but if you get uncomfortable, just ask your artist if you can take a break. If you feel woozy, you might consider bringing some candy with you to give you a little lift, or some water to drink.

Where On My Body Should I Get A Tattoo

This may seem VERY trivial, since the answer can be "anywhere you please!" The ONLY places you cannot technically get permanent tattoos are your hair, teeth and nails (even the cornea used to be tattooed years ago for medical purposes).

Head: The "head" here refers mostly to the area where your hair grows. You'll need to shave the area for the tat to be most visible. If you need to hide your tat, you can grow your hair out. Areas more commonly inked are the sides of the head (above the ears), and above the nape of the neck in the back. There are people who have their entire heads inked. I am told that the tattooing process vibrates your skull!

Back of neck: I've seen some tribal pieces, and bats done on the back of the neck. You'll need to keep your hair short or tied up to keep it visible. (just got one done there, barely painful and easy to hide if need be)

Face: Various areas possible. Facial tattoos could fall into the cosmetic or standard categories. Cosmetic would include darkening of eyebrows, eyelining, liplining, etc. Getting a tat on the face is serious business and crosses a portal because people will never look at you the same way.

Upper chest: One of the standard areas for tattoos for both men and women. Allows lots of flat area in which to get a fairly large piece. One of the areas where you can choose to get symmetrically inked on both sides.

Breasts (women): Used to be trendy to get a tiny tat on the breast. Women (particularly larger breasted ones) need to be careful about eventual sagging of the skin in the area. Don't get a tat that will look silly when it starts to stretch (like a round smiley face that'll turn into an oblong frown).

Nipples: Usually the artist leaves the nipples alone--the omission of ink tends not to be so noticeable. There HAS been work done with tattooing a facsimile of a nipple onto a breast in reconstructive surgery for those who have lost their nipples, tho--for aesthetic and self-esteem purposes.

Rib cage: Can be rather painful because of all the ribs you work over. However it offers a fairly large area, and can be incorporated into a major back piece, wrapping around toward the front.

Stomach/Abdomen: Some people choose not to get work done on their stomachs for a couple of reasons. Area is difficult to work on because there's no solid backing to hold the skin down. It is a sensitive area that may feel uncomfortable. The tat may look horrible after your metabolism slows down and you develop a - er-- "beer gut."

Thighs/hips: A popular area for women to get larger pieces (often extending from the hip area). Shows well with a bathing suit but easily concealable in modest shorts. The entire area of skin around your thighs is bigger than your back, so you can get quite a bit of work done.

Calves: Nice area to get a standard size (2" x 2"). However if you have very hairy legs, it may cut down on the visibility somewhat. (I have quite a large one on my calf, painful closer to the ankle, barely felt closer to the knee)

Ankles: Currently trendy. You can either get a spot piece on the inner or outer ankle, or get something that goes around in a band. Vines and other vegetation seem popular.

Feet: I've seen some incredible footwork (pun intended) in some of the tat magazines. Concealable with shoes. Probably don't have as much wear and tear as hands so you might get less blurring and color loss. This however, is the TOPS of your feet. You will have trouble retaining a tattoo on the bottom of your feet.

Armpits: Usually reserved for those who want to get full coverage around the arm and chest area, & need the armpits filled. Probably not strongly recommended for the highly ticklish.

Upper arms: One of the most common areas for men, although I have seen some nice work on women as well. If you decide to get a piece done on your upper arm, consider how much sun it's going to get. Will you be able to put sunblock on it regularly? Otherwise, expect some color loss and blurring. If you want some serious work done and you wanna show it off, you may want to consider getting a "half sleeve"--full tat coverage throughout your upper arm.

Inner arms: A more unusual location than the outer upper arm area, this area is often not easily visible. Be careful if your genes are prone to "bat wing" flab, however.

Forearms: Popeye sported his anchor on his forearm. Probably not as popular as the upper arm but common just the same. You can have your upper arm "sleeve" extend down for a full sleeve.

Wrists: Janis Joplin had a dainty tat on her wrist...easily concealable with a watch.

Hands (fingers and palms): RAB receives frequent queries about fingers, palms and hands in general. Some artists don't do hands because the ink will have a tendency to blur or fade easily. Consider that you probably move your hands the most out of your entire body.

Shoulder blades: The back shoulder blade area is another popular spot for women, who can show off the work with a bathing suit or tank top, but cover it up with regular clothes. If this is the case, be particularly careful with sun because you're not gonna be wearing that unless it's warm & sunny. It's a "safe" place--but may get in the way if you decide to commit yourself to a large back piece.

Back: You can get any part of your back done, or find yourself an artist you really like, and save your money for a "back piece" that encompasses your entire back. Expect to pay several thousand dollars for a full back piece (not to mention many tat sessions).

Buttocks: Again, beware of potential sagging in the area.

Autoclaving To Sterilize

Autoclaving is accepted in the industry as the way to sterilize nondisposable equipment. Autoclave machines look like small metal washing machines--usually with the door in the front. They are usually no larger than the computer with which you are reading this.

Can My Tattoo Get Infected?

Not as long as you take care of your new tat. There is a section in the FAQ that covers healing methods in depth. Some people have trouble healing tattoos with colors they are allergic to. If it gets infected and refuses to heal after a few days of using a topical antibiotic, you may want to check with a doctor. Keep in mind this assumes you are a healthy individual without any condition that suppresses your immune system.

What Are Bad Things For A New Tattoo?

Sauna/Steamroom - Once it is healed, there is very little that will screw up a tattoo. The one exception is prolonged exposure to sunlight. (the other is scarring, but that is patently obvious).

Sunlight - Well, unfortunately it is. The newer inks are better at resisting fading but whatever you do, if you spend lots of time in bright sunlight your tats will fade (over a lifetime, not over a week). Best to try and keep them out of bright sunlight. No one wants to become a cave dweller just to keep their tats looking good, so just use some common sense. Think of your tat as an investment--slather on that sunblock so it doesn't turn into a dark blob.

How Do I Take Care Of My New Tattoo?

The artist that did your tattoo will have something very definite to say about the care of your new tattoo, and it is probably a good idea to listen to him/her. Many shops will have an information sheet listing care instructions.

The information provided in this section may or may not be the same method your artist offers. Regardless, there are three things to remember about caring for your new tattoo:
o Moiturize it
o Don't overmoisturize it
o And whatever you do, Don't pick your scabs! (Sadly, I admit to doing thing)

How do you know which method is best for you? It depends on the type of skin you have, and how sensitive it is. I suggest you try a patch test on your skin for a week or so to see if you react to the ingredients.

Some people swear by Tea Tree Oil (toner) from the Body Shop for its healing qualities. Others like A&D Ointment (marketed for diaper rash, I find it somewhat greasy), and the cheapest is probably regular Vaseline Intensive Care. If you live in a dry area and you're prone to use a lot of lotion anyway, the last one, in a large pump bottle, may be your best bargain.

Suggested Method:
Tattoo Care Instructions:
1. Remove bandaid in 18 hrs.
2. Wash tattoo immediately, with soap and water
When washing off the tattoo, there should be old ink & some body fluids. At this state there is little that can harm the tattoo.
3. When skin feels like normal wet skin, pat dry.
4. Put nothing on the tattoo for 3 days.
5. From the 4th day, apply the *tiniest* amount of lotion possible once a day to keep it from drying out completely; gently work it in. (suggestion is a drop for a 1"x4" piece).
6. Do not get the tattoo wet; moisture is your enemy.
7. Do not permit sun on tattoo.
8. Do not get the tattoo wet; moisture is your enemy.
9. Scabbing may or may not occur. Scabbing is normal. Do not pick scab.
10. Do not get the tattoo wet; moisture is your enemy.

My Personal Method:
1. Leave bandage on for 24 hours
2. Take off and immediatly wash of excess ink and bodily fluids with water and soap
3. Leave it alone for 3 days
4. 3 times a day apply ointment (I use polysporin sp?)
5. Try not to pick scabs (It's hard not to)
6. Do not let the tattoo submerge in water for long periods of time. It's hard really, just got the back of my neck tattooed, my hair is dieing for a shower!

Does Pregnancy Affect A Stomach Tattoo

If you are planning on getting pregnant, you should be very cautious about the placement of any tattoo near the abdominal area. Not only will the tattoo stretch during pregnancy--there is no guarantee that the tattoo will go back to its original shape after the birth of your baby.

Be particularly wary of getting any tattoo where the shape is important, such as with symmetrical tribal pieces, or Celtic knots. Even geometric patterns such as a circle could end up looking like an oval (or worse, an irregular blob). A more "giving" image, such as that of clouds, might suit you better.

There are two options you might want to consider: a) Do not get any tattoos around the abdominal area at all, but limit your ink to other parts of your torso; b) Put off getting your abdominal tattoos until after you have had your children.

Can A Tattoo Be Removed?

There are several methods for "removing" a tattoo, listed below. However with all of these methods, you either still end up with a tattoo, a scar, or a skinnier wallet. In other words, it is much easier to *get* a tattoo in the first place than to get rid of one. If you are considering getting a new tattoo, think carefully before you do--or you may end up re-reading this section.

Cover Up - There are different ways to get cover-up work, depending on the situation. A name can be tastefully camouflaged with a small design, making the name impossible to read. If it's the entire thing you want covered, it could be covered with another design. It is easier to cover a lighter color with a darker color.

Touch Up - With the advances in technology, technique and the availability of new, brighter colors in the past few years, faded or blurred tattoos can look brighter and sharper than when they were new. Some touch-up work makes the tattoo significantly better looking than it ever was, actually improving on the original tattoo. (one can be seen on this board)

Tissue Expansion - The tissue expansion method is where a balloon is inserted and inflated under the skin to slowly stretch the flesh. The tattoo is then cut out and the newly stretched skin covers its place. This is a popular method for removing smaller tattoos and leaves only a straight-line surgical scar.

Sal Abrasion - Involves rubbing the image with salt and "sanding" it out.

Staged Excision - Cuts the image out, a small portion at a time. Both the sal abrasion and staged excision methods result in more scarring.

Medical Lasers - There are a number of new laser methods for tattoo removal, although they tend to be costly and are usually not covered by medical insurance plans. Of the three forms of medical lasers currently available (the CO2 laser, the Q-stitched ruby laser and the Tatulazr), the new Tatulazr has been deemed one of the most effective ways to remove blue-black tattoos.

Always remember that tattoo's should be a fun way to express who you are. There are no limits in the tattoo world. It hasn't just become a trend, it's been going on for thousands of years! I hope everyone got a little something out of this thread. Information was taken from . . .,, . . ., and (my personal tattoo shop), and of course some of my own personal flair! Happy Tattooing!


20 Replies to Tattoo's 101

re: Tattoo's 101
By pcdancer16member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:03 PM
Wow thank you! That was very helpful. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo soon and this definitely helped me feel less nervous lol.
re: Tattoo's 101
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:34 PM
Something like this was already posted... and it's not even finished yet. It's coming in sections. . . .

Look around the boards next time, hun.
re: Tattoo's 101
By Champ_KarlaPremium member
On Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:25 AM
Fab post, really helpful! I'd reccommend using Preparation H (pile cream) to heal tattoos, sounds gross lol but it really does reduce scabbing and possible fading and it heals much quicker than if you just put normal moisturising cream on it
Karla x
re: Tattoo's 101
By KMonstermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:10 PM
^ You've been a bit mistaken on the Prep-H to heal tattoo's.

I have heard stories of tattoo artists recommending the use of Preparation-H in the healing of new tattoos. Preparation-H is a product marketed for the relief of hemorrhoidal tissue in the US, and comes in both cream and suppository form (I assume artists don't recommend the suppositories).

Dr. Jeff Herndon , resident assistant professor at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College, says Preparation-H should *NOT* be used for tattoos:

According to the 1995 Drug Facts & Comparisons (Olin, et al., Facts and Comparisons Inc.: St Louis, 1995; p 540-541) the list of ingredients for Preparation-H are as follows:
- Live yeast cell derivative supplying 2000 units of skin respiratory factor per ounce
- 3% shark liver oil
- 1:10000 phenyl mercuric nitrate
Facts and Comparisons goes on to say that shark liver oil (similar to cod liver oil) is used primarily as a carrier of the active ingredients and as a protectant, forming a physical barrier on the skin. While this may be helpful in the healing of hemorroids, it provides no benefit and perhaps impedes the healing of new tattoos.
Furthermore, while phenylmercuric nitrate may have antiseptic properties (similar to mercurichrome or tincture of iodine; neither of which should be used on fresh tattoos) it possesses very little anti-infective properties when compared to traditional antibacterial agents (neosporin, baccitracin, etc.). Its use in such low quantities in Preperation-H is possibly as a preservative (Facts and Comparisons, 1995, p. 540).
The active ingredient of Preparation-H is the skin respiratory factor and this does nothing to relieve the itching and/or swelling associated with a new tattoo. In fact, it is best to simply keep the area moist and clean and to avoid picking the scabs or 'onion skin peel' that develop--and refrain from using Preparation-H. Not only will it NOT help your tattoo, it will actually probably do more harm than good. The product was developed for hemorrhoidal tissue only.

Jeff adds simply: "I just can't figure why you'd want to spread yeast cells on a tattoo."

Some sources as in the original post.

re: Tattoo's 101
By PrimaBallerina15
On Fri Feb 17, 2006 08:56 PM
very helpful post. you answered many questions and concerns i had. keep up the good work.
re: Tattoo's 101
By NeNe8
On Thu Jun 14, 2007 01:02 PM
Removed by glitterfairy (42646) on 2007-06-15 06:21:15 netspeak
I have four tattos and none of them hurt at all, but i do have a high tolerance for pain and im also addicted to them now. They are very addictive i muust say though. Once u get one i promise if ur not a whiner u will get more than one. Make sure though u go to a very clean place and also a tip those prepackaged needles are sometimes "sterilized" needles from thier shop, so be careful were you go!
re: Tattoo's 101
By dancergirl10member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:11 AM
While I do agree about going to a reputable artist, who follows standard cleanliness procedures - I don't think that the majority of people on need to go to the "master tattoo artists"

Alot of girls choose to get smaller, cuter designs like butterflies, kanji, flowers, fairies or tribal work. You don't have to go to an aritst who has been tattooing for 20 years to get a good butterfuly.

I had an african symbol called a sankofa on my foot done by someone who has been in the biz for 20+ years, and also some hebrew characters on my nape by someone who has been tattooing for 2 years. I chose symbol designs, and both artists were compltely capable - in my case, the nape tat almost looks better, and cleaner that the sankofa.
re: Tattoo's 101
By grtdancing
On Mon Jul 09, 2007 07:29 PM
I was going to get a tatoo.But after reading that I don't know if I like the idea of pain! So Thank You so much!!
re: Tattoo's 101
By Kellithmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:35 PM
Does anybody know how sweat will affect a new tatoo? I'm planning to get my first tat this winter during my school break (eek!), so should I avoid heavy workouts during the initial healing process?

re: Tattoo's 101
By cheergaynor
On Tue Oct 16, 2007 02:42 PM
HaHa, i have four tattoos at the minute. My most painful was 12 stars down my right side (Top of my ribs down to my hip) It did hurst so much but everytime i look at it and realise it was worth, that piece of artwork will be with me for the rest of my life and thats what makes the pain worth while

re: Tattoo's 101
By x_Nic_xmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:26 AM
grtdancing wrote:

I was going to get a tatoo.But after reading that I don't know if I like the idea of pain!

Wait... did you previously think tattoos were painless?

Threads like these are all about the enlightenment :)
re: Tattoo's 101
By Aaminah
On Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:08 PM
I know this was written a while ago but Im new here, lol. Thanks so much for posting this! I've been looking into getting a tattoo done for over a year now. The only thing holding me back now is just getting up the nerve to go to a few shops and look around and talk to a few artists. I dont know why but I feel like I'll be really awkward and out of place in a tattoo shop. :)
re: Tattoo's 101
By dancefreak1991
On Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:34 AM
This is absolutely fantastic =D
I know this post is old but it has really given me an insight into getting a tat. I'm wanting one eith on my left wrist or my foot. Cant wait!!!
re: Tattoo's 101
By alanbstardmp
On Fri Jul 31, 2009 06:24 AM
but why bother getting a tattoo. Think long and hard before you decide

Comment #8417106 deleted
Removed by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2009-07-31 08:36:45 star farming

Comment #8417107 deleted
Removed by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2009-07-31 08:36:55 star farming

re: Tattoo's 101
By Eric619member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Nov 23, 2009 07:36 AM
I definitely want to get some tattoos in the future, If only I have the money for it.

I'm not going to get them in real disturbing areas like my butt or on my tongue, etc. Mainly I hope to get them on my arms and the top of my back depending on the design

This I plan to get on the top of my back: . . .

For one my arms, I want sort of a medieval kind of theme to it, and for the other arm, I just want any wolf design on the top of the arm
re: Tattoo's 101
By dancing12chick
On Sat Dec 05, 2009 02:22 PM
Wow. Thank you very much. I am getting a tattoo soon and this post has helped to calm my nerves! Thanks again!! :)
re: Tattoo's 101
By Prima_ballerina5member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:18 AM
Wow! That was amazing! Thankyou. This information is going to be very helpful.
re: Tattoo's 101
By StrengthHopeLove
On Sun May 08, 2011 10:09 PM
What a great post! Although I didn't get the chance to read this before I got "inked" (twice!) I can relate to a lot of the things you said. And since my second tattoo is only about a week old, I'll be using some of your ideas to help it heal better! Thanks :)


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