The customs of tattooing and piercing parts of the body are very old practices. Notable artistic incisions have been found in well-preserved mummies discovered in Asia dating from the 5th century BCE. Generally, ancient civilizations made bodily incisions for religious reasons or to demarcate their identity and role in society. What can we say about the present day? Many cultures and religions still turn to tattooing as an integral part of their customs. Shiites, for example, are accustomed to making incisions of a religious nature, while the Maori have a very old symbolic tradition that has continued to present day that sees in the tattoo ritual a sign of the transition to adulthood.
If you are also considering getting a tattoo or a piercing, we advise you to inform yourself about the possible health risks and procedures. Remember, also, that a tattoo is a permanent mark on your skin that will always leave a trace, even if you someday change your mind and decide to remove it.
That said, if you still have the idea of having one done – perhaps while you are on vacation – with this mini guide you can learn to research and communicate with the tattoo artist to avoid unpleasant surprises. This is important because a tattoo is forever.
Make Sure That You Are in the Right Place
It is vital to ensure that the studio is clean and safe, that the tools used are disposable (needles, gloves, masks, etc.), and that everything else is sterilized. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask your tattoo artist for information such as:
Excuse me, does this studio comply with all of the sanitary regulations?
Could I watch how you sterilize the materials before I get my tattoo / piercing, please?
Does this studio have all the relevant licences and permits?
Explain What You Want to Tattoo
Remember that a tattoo is forever whereas a piercing can be removed, even though it too can leave a small scar. Therefore, it is essential for your tattoo artist to know exactly what you want tattooed, where you want it, and what size you want it to be. Do not be embarrassed to repeat this information several times until you are sure that the tattoo artist has understood exactly what you want done.
I want a tattoo. / I want a piercing.
I want it on my arm / leg / shoulder, etc.
I want it coloured / black.
I want it this size.
I have a drawing with the design that I would like.
Do you have any examples of your work?
Have you done these piercings before?
Do you have a drawing of a rose / butterfly in your catalogue?
Agree on the Price
It is important that they tell you how much it will cost more or less, so that you will not have any surprises later on. Once you have discussed the tattoo that you will get, you will generally be asked to leave a deposit and make an appointment. Some tattoo artists abroad have a fixed price for every hour of work, so they can only give you an approximate price.
How much will this tattoo / piercing cost?
I want to make an appointment. When is the next available date?
How much do you charge per hour? And how long will it take you?
Learn to Take Care of Your New Tattoo or Piercing
A tattoo or a piercing is an open wound that must be taken care of. It is important to do so in order to avoid an infection. Always inform yourself about how you should take care of it. If you see signs of infection in the wound such as pus, redness, swelling, or persistent pain, you should immediately contact your tattoo artist or piercer and, if necessary, your doctor. Here are some questions that you could ask:
How do I take care of my new tattoo / piercing?
How long do I have to keep the bandage on for?
Can I wash it with soap?
Do you advise me to put lotion on the tattoo?
How long should I avoid bathtubs and swimming pools for?
How long should I avoid exposing my tattoo / piercing to the sun for?
Now you are ready to return from your vacation with a unique and original souvenir! If you follow the guidelines explained in this article, you will avoid unpleasant surprises.
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