Tattoo Survival Guide By: Krysta Sterns
Tattoos are an edgy distinctive feature that has developed over the decades along side the trends of each passing season. If we were living here thirty years ago, tattoos were stereotyped to mostly biker gangs. Only as the reputation of tattoos evolved, so did its fan base. Now, in 2010, they are a way to express your self through designs and can be seen on most celebrities as well, from Rihanna to Eminem. These are both big celebrities; the only difference is they couldn’t be more different personally and artistically.
Opinions on tattoos are often linked to the person who has it. Like so, Eminem has a tattoo of his daughter Hailey, symbolizing his love for her. In contrast, Rihanna has a tattoo of an older styled gun across her rib cage, underneath her arm.
You often have to think through where you want it, what it is, and if you actually want to get a tattoo. It is not something you can just wipe away like when you were little. It is something that will be seen on your body permanently.
“Personally, if you just turn eighteen you should really decide whether or not you would want that tattoo later down the road. If a client is truly ready for the tattoo they want then they can get it, but if you’re still on the fence I would advice against it,” said tattooist J.D., owner of J&D Tattoos in Cotati.
Most tattoo artists want their customers to be 100% positive in the tattoo their going to get. Waking up one morning and randomly getting a tattoo of whatever you think of isn’t going to be something you remember as special further down the road. Be sure to ask yourself this before your appointment: “will I really want this tattoo six months from now?” Lots of people don’t answer this question honestly and don’t think through with their actions, resulting in many tattoo removals.
The average price of tattoo removals is based on the size, color, type of ink, and the tattoo being old or new. The average laser tattoo removal ranges from $200 to $500 per treatment session.
Oftentimes people don’t get a tattoo even though they may want one. And oftentimes it’s because peoples fear of pain. The amount of pain differs from person to person. Most people realize the pain received in the tattoo process isn’t nearly as bad as they had expected. But in other cases, as for Heather Sims, getting a tattoo was not an easy process.
Sims had tattoo work done on her ankle and to this day still claims it was the worst pain she had ever experienced. Little did she know, for nearly one or two hours she had been getting a tattoo done completely wrong. It being her first tattoo, Sims didn’t know what was happening. The tattoo artist had dug into her skin too deeply.
“It was very annoyingly irritating with the needle-poking pain. After awhile the skin hurts and feels raw-some numb starts which help the area with less flesh. Also the proximity of the needle to the bone was the worst pain out of the whole experience,” reminisced Sims.
It took virtually a month to heal because the damage was so horrible. Having a tattoo too deeply marked makes the procedure extremely painful when it shouldn’t have to be.
“Make sure you do background information on the artist so that you know whether or not he’s a good choice,” advised Sims.
Considering the pain Sims went through, that didn’t stop her from getting more tats. She has now obtained two more tattoos since her traumatic experience and those were incomparable in the amount of how much less pain there was. They took merely a week to heal versus the painful, elongated recovery of her first.
So as for future clientele, they should always do background information on their artist and/or tattooing facility where the work is to be performed. Tattooing is something that needs to be fully thought through in every aspect. With every possibility of something going amiss, like Sims stated, you have to find a high-quality artist with astonishing reviews.
Siosi Poti- Two tattoos, one on his calf which represents the Samoan flag and a Samoan word that means half, because he’s half Samoan and half white. The one on his arm represents his name.
Nicole Peixoto- A tattoo on her ankle that is for her mom because she loves hummingbirds and it represents that her mom is free like a hummingbird.
David Calderon- A tattoo on his chest that represents both of his cultures, Mexico and the United States, also him and his brother are trying to make a family crest with an eagle.
Crystal Barr- A tattoo that she got because Lady Gaga has a tattoo that is similar to this one and she is her idol.
Alexandria Jackson- Acquired the roses for her grandmother.
Hailey Hughes- Obtained her tattoo because her mom’s fiancée had given a necklace to her right before he died so she got the necklace as a tattoo on her ankle.
Tattoo Removal Procedures
• Dermabrasion: skin is “sanded” to be able to remove both the surface and middle layers.
• Cryosurgery: area of the tattoo is frozen prior to its removal.
• Excision: surgeons will remove the skin where the tattoo is located and then close the open wound with stitches.
• Laser Energy: make the tattoo’s pigment to fragment into smaller particles that are then removed by the body’s immune system.
• Scarification: removing the tattoo with an acid solution. This creates a scar in its place.
• Salabrasion: a salt solution used to remove the pigment. This is sometimes used in union with Dermabrasion. This has become the less common method.
• Camouflaging: the injection of new pigments either to form a new pattern or cover a tattoo with skin-toned pigments. The injected pigments tend not to look natural because its lack in the skin’s natural translucence.
Tattoo Skin Reactions:
Granulomas: bumps that form around tattoo ink. Most common color that causes this infection is red ink.
Keloids: caused by tattooing where raised areas are covered by overgrowths of scar tissue.
Basic Skin Irritations: redness, swelling, pus-like drainage, and pain.
Tattoo Allergic Reactions:
Red tattoo dye can result in itchy rash where the tattoo is located. This may happen years after getting a tattoo. Allergic reactions may occur from the type of ink used. Tattoo ink is made mostly of a colored powder that was mixed with either water or alcohol. The alcohol-based ink is the more commonly used out of the two. This is because it produces brighter colors. Which brand of ink used and which brand they prefer is up to the artists’ themselves.
Bloodborne Disease: If a tattoo is contaminated with blood that was infected you can get various different diseases, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, and/or Tetanus, which is a nervous system infection with a possible deadly bacteria.
Getting a tattoo outside doesn’t allow the equipment to be sterilized. Dust and pollution passed through the air can carry many different infectious bacteria that can get into the tattoo while being inked. It contradicts itself when sterilizing the equipment and wearing gloves if the dust is getting into the tattoo.
Mobile Tattoo Units:
A tattoo trailer in other words is better sterilized than a tattoo in a tent, but there are also other things to consider: the trailer may not have been inspected by health officials or the artist might not have gotten monthly tests to see if it’s a proper area to work in. These accounts should be displayed so that the client can see the legal paperwork that this area is certified for the tattooing process.
UV Tattoos: The UV ink may contain phosphorous, which isn’t healthy to have injected into your skin, carcinogens, and allergens. You risk having your body reject the tattoo. Tattoo rejection is common in regular tattoos. Using UV ink there are more chemicals which can explain the higher risks of rejection in that tattoo. When mixing both regular ink and UV ink there can be a chemical reaction as well.
Tips to Keep a Tattoo Clean
• Remove the bandage applied at the shop after about 24 hours.
• Keep an antibiotic ointment on the tattoo while it’s healing.
• Keep the tattooed skin clean using soap and water. Be gentle and pat the tattooed area dry, do not rub.
• Use a moisturizer several times a day to keep the tattooed area from getting dry.
• Keep your tattooed region out of the sun for a few weeks, so not to irritate it.
• Wear clothing that won’t stick to the tattoo. This will help when it’s trying to heal.
• Don’t pick any scabs. It increases the risks of scaring and can damage the designs. It could also cause infections.