Tattoos are popular among many people from many different demographics, and there’s a wide range of tattoo designs to pick from. From school emblems to Celtic designs to personalized symbols, people have found many ways to express themselves with their tattoos. Maybe you’ve thought about getting one, too, but before you head down to the nearest tattoo shop and roll up your sleeve, you’ll have to know what to expect. To get your first tattoo, you’ll need to choose the right design, work with a professional tattoo artist, and take measures to prevent undue irritation and infection. With proper planning and care, getting your first tattoo can be a great experience.
If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, there is one very important thing you have to keep in mind — getting it done safely. Although it might look a whole lot cooler than a big scab, a new tattoo is also a wound. Like any other slice, scrape, puncture, cut, or penetration to your skin, a tattoo is at risk for infections and disease.
Make sure you’re up to date with your immunizations (especially hepatitis and tetanus shots) and plan where you’ll get medical care if your tattoo becomes infected (signs of infection include excessive redness or tenderness around the tattoo, prolonged bleeding, pus, or changes in your skin color around the tattoo). If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin disorders, a condition that affects your immune system, or infections — or if you are pregnant — ask your doctor if there are any special concerns you should have or precautions you should take beforehand. Also, if you’re prone to getting keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue in the area of the wound), it’s probably best to avoid getting a tattoo altogether.
Think of a design you want to get. Make sure it is something you feel comfortable showing off, and that you want on your body until you die.
Make a rough sketch of your design. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Tattoo artists are just that: artists. If you can give a good idea of what you want, your artist can really fly with it.
Touch up your design. Smooth out the lines, and a basic color scheme, and make it fit your desired location.
Find an artist. The recommendation of a friend who has a tattoo you like a lot can help. Look around to find somewhere that really excels in the style you want. Don’t be afraid to travel- a few hours in a car or train is worth it to ensure that your art is the best standard it can be.