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A Beginners Guide to Tattoos

Getting your first tattoo can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. However, without proper research and preparation before getting your first tattoo, you might end up finding your first tattoo experience to be nothing like you expected. Here are a few tips to better prepare you for getting inked.

Decide where exactly you want it to be.

When I say this, I don’t mean where you think it will look the best. I recommend that for your first tattoo you should make the decision based off of your pain tolerance. For people with low pain tolerance, try choosing an area such as your back, shoulder, or thigh. These areas have more muscle and fat, making the sting of the needle less noticeable. If you have higher pain tolerance, then places like the wrist and forearm are perfect.

Do research before choosing a tattoo studio.

You’ll want to be as thorough as possible here. Not only do you want to find the place with the best prices, but also the best reviews. Don’t be afraid to drop into a bunch of places and ask for estimates, because in doing so you also get a feel for the artists and the cleanliness of the studio.

Have your supplies ready.

Unless you know someone with a tattoo, most people don’t really realize how much work goes into the healing process. You’ll need some unscented soap and fragrance free lotion ready to go for your first day with your ink. For lotions, it’s usually best to go with dry skin formulas (such as Lubriderm, Aveeno, or Aquaphor) for the best healing. Oh, and have sunscreen ready to go if you plan on exposing it to sunlight (which is best to wait over a week to do).

Plan around your healing time.

Most tattoos take up to a week to fully heal and finish scabbing. If it is in an area that will be used a lot (such as your forearm) try to get the tattoo during a time where you know you can let it rest and heal. The last thing you want is to accidentally hit your fresh tattoo (speaking from experience here). Also as mentioned before, keep it out of the sunlight. In other words, don’t get a tattoo on your back if you know it’s going to be super hot all week and you’re stuck wearing jackets and t-shirts to protect it.

These are just some general tips that I’ve learned through experience. The healing process varies from person to person, so just be prepared for anything. Hope this helps anyone planning on getting inked!

Deyana Gorman is a second year pre-biology major at the University of California Santa Barbara from Simi Valley, California. Outside of writing for Her Campus, Deyana can usually be found watching her favorite youtubers, hanging out with friends, playing video games, brushing up on her photography skills, or doing activities with her sorority sisters. She plans on one day studying abroad in Italy, Ireland, and Australia as well as going on road trip adventures throughout California.
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