Getting Inked? Here’s How to Prepare

A man showing his tatoo hands.

A tattoo is a big commitment. Half a century ago, they were very uncommon. Now, everybody has them. However, just because everybody has them, that doesn’t mean that you should rush into getting one (or that you shouldn’t give your tattoo some thought). For most people, a tattoo is permanent. While removals are possible, more often than not they are far too expensive for the average person to afford. Because you probably won’t be able to get yours removed after you get it, you need to read this post, prepare, and get a tattoo that you are confident about.

Mental Preparation

Tattoos can be painful. The main reason that a lot of people don’t get tattoos is that they are scared of having to sit through the pain. If you are worried about how it is going to feel, then you need to mentally prepare yourself. The best way to do this is to talk to people who have had tattoos in the past, ask how they coped, and also do a little bit of research. Mental preparation is essential when you are getting your first tattoo done.

Total Confidence

In addition to being mentally prepared, you also need to be confident that the tattoo you are getting is right for you. A lot of people rush into getting tattoos, only to grow to hate the tattoo that they got. You need to be confident about your tattoo so that you don’t end up wanting it removed in the future. Carefully think through your choice of tattoo and work out whether or not it’s something that you actually like, or if it’s a spur-of-the-moment, emotional decision. If it’s the latter, then hold off for a week or two and see if you still want it then.

Get Sleep

Because of the fear a lot of people have of tattooing, many first-timers don’t get a lot of sleep the night before their session. Not getting enough sleep can make the pain worse, not to mention make you drowsy and unresponsive during the session. Because you are going for your first tattoo (which is a big deal), you need to be as alert, confident and prepared as possible. The best way to counter insomnia due to anxiety or fear is to take a sleeping pill, which your doctor can prescribe to you.

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Stay Hydrated

In addition to getting enough sleep, you also need to make sure that you aren’t dehydrated. However, there’s a fine line between hydration and overhydration. Make sure that you don’t overhydrate, because if you do, you could end up having to stop and go to the bathroom every five minutes. Constantly having to get up and go to the toilet could annoy the tattooist doing your tattoo, as well as impact their performance. Good hydration is important because it keeps you at the top of your game, in good mental shape, and alert.

Using Cream

Before you attend the tattooist, it’s worth looking into numbing cream. You can use numbing cream to reduce the pain that you experience during your tattoo. Using tattoo numbing cream to reduce the pain can make the tattoo experience a lot less stressful, not to mention alleviate a lot of your anxiety. Before using this cream on the day, make sure that you patch test it, which involves putting a little bit on your skin and seeing if there is an allergic reaction. Once you have ensured that you aren’t allergic to the cream, you can then use it to dull the pain of your tattoo.

Shaving

If the place where you are getting the tattoo is obscured by hair, then do your tattooist a favor and shave it. If you do not shave it yourself, then they will have to. The downside to having a tattooist shave it for you is that more often than not, they will charge you extra. It’s also worth noting that shaving the skin on the day can irritate your skin, which can actually make the process of getting a tattoo a lot more painful. Shave the day before so that the skin is not raw or freshly shaved when you get your tattoo.

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Wash Yourself

You also need to make sure that you thoroughly wash before you get a tattoo. Showing up for your tattoo unwashed is a very unpleasant thing to do, especially if you smell. The tattooist doing your tattoos will have to sit beside you, taking in all of your bodily smells, while they are trying to do your tattoo for you. Make sure that you wash the area of your tattoo very thoroughly to eliminate any debris or dead skin so that there’s nothing getting in the tattooist’s way.

Dress Appropriately

Make sure that you dress appropriately. If you are getting a tattoo on your upper arm, for example, then wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a suit jacket isn’t a good idea. Instead, wear a T-shirt. You need to wear clothing that gives the tattooist easy access to the area of skin that’s being tattooed. Most experts advise wearing light clothes. If it’s cold outside, then you can always bring a change of clothes along with you, so that when you have had your tattoo, you can get dressed. Wearing heavy clothes could also cause you to sweat during your tattoo, which could make the tattooist’s life unnecessarily difficult.

Bring Snacks

Depending on the size of your tattoo and how long it is going to take, you might want to bring snacks. A lot of people who go for large tattoos find themselves getting very hungry. Unfortunately, tattoo shops tend not to have vending machines, and you can’t just pop out and buy something to eat during your tattoo. You should bring some light snacks along with you so that if you do get hungry at any point, you have something to eat. It’s also a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you, for the same reason.

Tattoos can be a lot of fun. However, you do need to prepare for them. You also need to make sure that you are confident in your decision to get a tattoo. The more confident you are, the less likely you are to want to get your tattoo removed in the future.

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