Dos and Don’ts of Your First Tattoo

Many people already have assumptions and expectations before getting their first tattoo. These assumptions could be very right or very wrong, so it’s best to do some research ahead of time. This is my personal list of how you should prepare and what you should expect for your first tattoo:

1) Eat before you leave! There is a myth that you shouldn’t eat before getting a tattoo because it could make your blood flow too thin—but, in fact, the opposite of this is true. Any time you get a tattoo, whether it's your first or your tenth, you always want to eat before you get it. When you eat, it actually helps circulate your blood and make it strong, so you are less likely to faint or feel nauseous. Eating will help you bleed less as well.

2) Be aware of your pain tolerance. With any tattoo, there will always be pain. If you go into your first tattoo with a small pain tolerance and want to get a big tattoo, you are making a mistake. Since there are needles going in and out of the skin at a fast rate, it’s going to hurt. If you have a low pain tolerance and want a tattoo, either build up that tolerance or start off with a small one.

3) Think long and hard about size, placement and concept. When getting a tattoo, whether it's your first or not, you always need to think about the size of the tattoo, where it will be placed and what it will look like, as it will be on your body for the rest of your life.

4) The saying “three is a crowd” goes hand in hand with tattoo appointments. Tattoo artists are okay with you bringing people to your appointment, but will hate it if you bring too many. If you really need to bring someone with you, bring one (maybe two) friends for moral support. But when you bring three or more, this is where is becomes a problem, as this makes it harder for the tattoo artists to focus and do quality work.

5) Make sure your artist sterilizes everything! If your tattoo artists does not use fresh, sterilized equipment, DON’T GET THE TATTOO. If it is not fresh and new equipment, this could cause infections and problems for you later. If the shop is not a clean place, then their equipment most likely won’t be either.

6) Research your tattoo artist. Get to know their work and see if it works for you. Make sure you are happy with their style and methods before proceeding with the tattoo.

7) Mentally prepare yourself. It’s a lot to take in, since there will be a lot of pain. You can distract yourself with either entertainment or with friends.

8) Wear clothes that loosely cover the area around your tattoo. If you are getting a tattoo on your leg, wear loose pants to not put pressure on it. Give it breathing room, so it can heal properly.

9) Make your schedule relatively clear for the first week of healing. It will hurt when it is healing, so if you are doing activities that could irritate it, it won’t heal properly.

10) Get the proper healing creams and ointments before your appointment. If you get this after, it will be a hassle and you’ll end up just randomly picking one. Do some research to make sure it will likely work for you.

These are just tips that have worked for me, but keep in mind everyone is different. Do some research and find what works for you!