What To Eat Before A Tattoo Session And Its Importance

Learn why you should not show up at the tattoo studio empty stomach and what to eat

Reviewed by Anastasiia Gatsko, Professional Tattoo Artist & Piercer Anastasiia Gatsko Anastasiia GatskoProfessional Tattoo Artist & Piercer insta_icon
Written by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Gazala Firdos Ansari Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 2 years
Edited by , Associate Editor Anjali Sayee Associate Editor Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Shreya Mukherjee Beauty & Lifestyle Writer linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years

We all prepare for days and weeks before our tattoo session. We think of the design, the placement, the pain we may feel, the day of the appointment, and whatnot! But we hardly think about what to eat before a tattoo. Many dermatologists and tattoo artists would agree that this is a mistake.

Whether it is a small, dainty design or a whole tattoo sleeve, you need to prepare your body to undergo the trauma of getting a tattoo. Eating well should be your primary focus before your tattoo session. This ensures your body can take the trauma it is about to feel. If you have a tattoo appointment waiting for you and are wondering whether you should eat before the session, keep reading to ensure your tattoo appointment is a success and give your body much-needed TLC!

Should You Eat Before Getting A Tattoo?

Tattooing is done on the outer skin, so many people would think, “Why should you eat before a tattoo session? What difference does it make?”

Well, during the tattoo session, our skin goes through trauma. A needle penetrates the outermost layers of your skin to deposit ink pigments that give you your desired design. However, this means that your skin essentially has an open wound for the first few days until the tattooed skin is healed.

Therefore, it is important to eat well before the tattoo appointment, ideally within 3 hours prior, to make sure that our body is well prepared and equipped to not only sustain the trauma but to also bounce back and heal the wound faster. It is best to eat foods rich in protein and carbs before your appointment, as your body burns these first when in pain. For longer sessions, consider bringing healthy snacks since having a full meal may not be an option during the process. However, be aware that a full stomach can sometimes be an issue if you get too nervous.

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Should I eat before a tattoo session?”, you must be wondering how bad things could get if you don’t eat before getting tatted? Well, there are consequences to not eating before your session. Learn more in the section below.

What Happens If You Don’t Eat Before Getting A Tattoo?

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Eating a healthy meal before a tattooing session prepares your body to deal with the trauma of the needle and heal better. However, when you don’t eat beforehand, the primary consequence is that your blood sugar level goes down. This can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, and even fainting if you are not comfortable with the sight of tattoo needles or blood. Additionally, low blood sugar levels can also make you more sensitive to pain, so you may experience intense discomfort while being tattooed.

Karissa Duncan, a YouTuber, shares her experience of going to a tattoo studio without having a healthy meal or water. She fainted during the tattooing and she says, “I am so mad at myself and so embarrassed because I went in there without having any food beforehand. I didn’t have any freaking water and I was like oh needles aren’t going to freak me out (i).”

Clearly, not eating before your tattoo session would be a terrible mistake. But what should you eat before your tattoo appointment? Can you gorge on unhealthy snacks like chips and sugary treats? No, you need to eat healthy foods that promote wound healing. Scroll down to learn what to eat before a tattoo session.

What To Eat Before A Tattoo

Eating before a tattoo appointment is important but what is more important is what you eat. What to eat before getting a tattoo is one of the most crucial questions to ask yourself a day prior to your appointment. Learn what are the best things to eat before a tattoo.

1. Citrus And Greens

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Citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, are high in vitamin C and A and iron content. These micronutrients not only help the body prepare for the tattoo session but also fortify the body for the healing process. Other fruits and veggies, including sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash, are also good choices to include in your breakfast before getting the tattoo.

2. Protein Boost

The basic building blocks of the human body are made up of protein. It helps build and repair muscles and skin tissues. It also helps maintain energy levels and heal the body from the trauma caused by the needle and the subsequent wound. So, do yourself a favor and get some extra servings of beef, chicken, or beans before and after getting your tattoo.

3. Zinc Supply

If you are someone who suffers from swelling or inflammation in your body, zinc would be a good element to add to your meal before your tattoo session. Eat beans, nuts, beef, eggs, and whole grains for breakfast before going to the tattoo shop.

4. Carb Load

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Do not fill yourself up on candies in the excuse of eating carbs, but have a filling, balanced meal the night and a few hours before your tattoo session. This will help you fight hunger pangs and feel satiated. So, load up on the rice, bread, pasta, and oatmeal to keep your energy levels up and prevent yourself from feeling dizzy during the session.

5. Dairy Defense

Milk has nutritional elements that may help in wound healing and would be a great addition to your meal if you want to boost your immunity before the session. However, this tip is contested and some people may advise you to avoid dairy before a tattoo session because it may make you bloated. So, it is recommended to not drink too much before your session.

6. Water Up

Keeping your skin hydrated should be your mantra if you want a comfortable tattooing experience. Dehydrated skin is one of the worst enemies of a good tattoo, before or after getting one. Drink plenty of hydrating and healthy liquids, such as coconut water or good old H2O, to maintain your fluid levels and skin health. Ink adjusts better to hydrated skin and also keeps you energized.

So, it is sorted out what you have to eat before going to the tattoo studio, but what if you get hungry during the session? Scroll through the next section to learn what you can eat at the session.

What To Eat During A Tattoo Session

Going for an intricate tattoo design that will take the tattoo artist hours and test your patience? Taking some healthy snacks like chocolate layered nuts or protein bars with you may be a good idea. Although most artists allow their clients to bring snacks, asking them is only polite. Once you have received the artist’s permission, here are the best snacks to eat while getting a tattoo –

  1. Low-fat fruit and dry fruit bars
  2. Nuts with a chocolate layer
  3. Citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruit
  4. Liquid snacks like Lemonade, coconut water, or natural fruit juice
  5. Low-fat protein bars
  6. Green chips, such as spinach and kale
  7. Roasted dry nuts
  8. Lemon or lime water

You know what to eat before and you know what to eat during your tattoo session, which is great. But should you also be eating after your session? And if yes, what should you eat? Scroll down to find out.

What To Eat Immediately After Getting A Tattoo

You have made a lifelong commitment by getting a permanent body modification, it’s big. We get that. But your duty towards the wellness of your body is more important than ever and now you need to eat healthy foods that promote the healing process.

It is important to eat as soon as you feel hungry because the tattoo process can be exhausting, particularly for larger pieces. Ideally, you should go home afterward, enjoy a meal, and take a long rest. This will also assist in the healing process.

Just like before the tattoo process, your body needs vitamins A and C and protein to recover from the trauma and heal faster. Eat fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C, such as tomatoes, berries, and citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit. Also include leafy green vegetables like kale and broccoli, and fruits like avocado to help the skin become smooth and healthy again.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Turmeric, a spice commonly used in the Indian subcontinent, has anti-inflammatory properties that may promote faster tattoo healing.

While learning about what to eat is important, it is equally necessary to educate yourself on the foods you should be avoiding when getting a tattoo. Learn more below!

What Not To Eat Before A Tattoo Appointment

Just like you have to eat certain foods to help the body prepare and heal faster and better, there are some foods that you need to avoid so that they don’t hinder the healing process. Here are some food and drink items that you should avoid before getting a tattoo-

1. Alcohol

Say no to alcohol before tattooing
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Skip the bottle for a day before your tattoo appointment. Alcohol dehydrates your body very badly and dry and flaky skin is a tattoo artist’s worst nightmare. Alcohol consumption can make you bleed as well as it will make the procedure painful. Drink plenty of water instead. You may also want to lay off aerated drinks too.

2. Caffeine

If you are someone who cannot function without a coffee in the morning, bad news! You cannot have tea, coffee, or energy drinks before your tattoo appointment as they are also dehydrating and make you jittery.

protip_icon Did You Know?
In Japan, eating eel or natto just after getting a tattoo is considered taboo as they are believed to hinder the healing process.

3. Sugar

Say no to sugar before tattooing
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Carb loading is fine, but sugar is something you need to avoid just before going to the tattoo studio as it also makes you jittery. However, you may take some little candies during the session to maintain your blood sugar levels and blood flow.

You got your tattoo appointment and you are very excited. We totally get that! But in that excitement, do not forget to eat well before, during, and after the session as it is one of the most crucial but often overlooked factors influencing your overall tattoo experience. You do not want to faint or feel sick while getting a tattoo. Drink plenty of water and eat foods rich in vitamins A and C and iron to help your body prepare for the trauma to your skin and heal faster. Alcohol, caffeine, and excess sugar are some food elements that you should avoid right before your tattoo appointment to ensure that you have the best tattoo experience. If you are still unsure about what to eat when getting a tattoo or have dietary restrictions, please consult a nutritionist or dietician for food recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are bananas good to eat before getting a tattoo?

Yes, bananas are a choice to eat before getting a tattoo as they are rich in several vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.

How many hours before a tattoo should you eat?

It is recommended to eat a filling meal 2-3 hours before the tattoo session. This allows the food to get digested and the nutrients to get absorbed.

Key Takeaways

  • Eating before a tattoo session is imperative as it gives energy to sustain the trauma and promotes pain tolerance.
  • Foods rich in vitamins A and C and protein are good to eat before the tattoo session.
  • Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar should be avoided before getting a tattoo.
what to eat before a tattoo

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There are a lot of things to prepare for before a tattoo appointment and eating well comes on the top of the list. Check out the video below to learn how to prepare for your session and what to eat.

Personal Experience: Source

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