In the present age, it should not come as a surprise anymore that tattoos are now considered a genuine form of self-expression. Gone are the days when a person with a tattoo on his/her arms was considered unemployable or a shady character. So, if you are considering getting yourself inked, here are some things that you need to keep in mind before you get a permanent mark on yourself:
1. Take Baby Steps
Yes, that rising phoenix tattoo covering your entire back would be cool as heck, but for your first time, begin with something small. It will give you time to get accustomed to a permanent feature of your body.
2. Don’t Do It On A Whim
A tattoo is going to be a permanent, well at least a semi-permanent (tattoo removals cost a lot and they hurt like hell) feature of your body. Don’t take this decision in haste. So if you think that getting your SO’s name tattooed on the nape of your neck is a great idea, think again (not everybody gets lucky like Deepika Padukone).
3. Choose Wisely
Sure, getting a face tattoo sounds cool. But when Mike Tyson does it, it’s cool, when you do it, it’s plain unfortunate. Do not and we repeat, do not get carried away by the latest fad. Put some thought and time into choosing a tattoo for yourself.
4. Know Your Pain Threshold
If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, you cannot avoid the dreaded needle. If you have a deathly fear of needles or if you promptly pass out at the slightest discomfort then avoid areas like ribs, back of knees, cartilages, etc. They hurt the most.
5. Instagram Is Your Guide Book
Whether it is looking for inspiration or checking out a particular artist’s work, Instagram is the one-stop shop for all your tattoo needs. A lot of artists post their work on the social media website, so you can actually access their portfolio and see what kind of work they do.
6. Do Your Due Diligence On The Design Studio
It is better if you check out the tattoo parlour or the tattoo design studio a day or two prior to your appointment to see the hygiene and professionalism that’s maintained. Make sure that the place is clean and the staff is friendly.
7. Do Not Bargain
It is often said that you cannot put a price on quality. Well, it turns out you really can’t. Most of the tattoo artists consider their tattoos to be art. They put in a lot of heart and hard work in it. Do not demean their work by haggling. After all, it is an investment which you will keep for life.
8. Prices Tend To Vary
The price point is an important factor in getting a tattoo, so be aware that prices for a tattoo can vary a lot. Depending upon its type and complexity, a tattoo can cost you as much as a few thousand rupees to as low as a few hundred.
9. Go In With A Visual Aid
If you have an idea of what you want, bring it with you to the design studio so that the artist can create a stencil for the tattoo. If you want a particular text, then bring a printout of it, in the font you want it in. This makes it easier for the artist and there is less room for errors.
10. Be Okay With Adjustments
A lot of times, it might be difficult to translate your vision into reality. This could be due to a number of factors. The text might not be legible in a particular font, or the image might be too large for the body part you want tattooed. Be okay with adjustments, it is for the best.
11. Always Proofread
This cannot be emphasised enough. If you are getting a text tattooed, always, always proofread. After all, you do not want to be known for a typo, all your life.
12. Be Prepared To Ask Questions
Don’t hesitate to ask any questions, if you have any reservations regarding the location of your tattoo or the way it’s going to look, share them with the artist.
13. You Might Need A Touch-Up
Tattoos on hands and feet tend to fade over time, this is because of being in use constantly, the skin in these places gets exfoliated quite easily. So you may need to come up for a touch-up, every now and then.
14. Enquire About Care Instructions
You should also inquire about care instructions beforehand so that you can be prepared. The aftercare of a tattoo is extremely important, especially for those with sensitive skin.
15. You Might Be Allergic
Yes, it is a thing. Some people are allergic to the red pigment in the tattoo ink (1). Therefore, before beginning the process ask your artist to do a spot-check to be sure.
16. You Have To Avoid Sun and Water
If you plan to get a tattoo before a beach vacation then I have to inform you that it is a bad idea. It takes about 2-4 weeks for a tattoo to heal completely, and during this period, one should avoid contact with sun and water in order to avoid an infection (2).
17. There Will Be Many Questions Or Questioners
After getting a tattoo you suddenly become a human marvel (cue sarcasm). People all around you will suddenly be very interested in your private body art. So be prepared to answer, “What does it mean?” a zillion times a day.
We hope we answered all your first-time tattoo queries and put your fears at rest. If you have any more queries or if you want to share some tips, please let us know in the comments below.