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Things You Should Know Before Your First Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a decision that should never be taken lightly. After all, it's going to be with you for a long time. It is important to do research beforehand and to have a few things in mind before making this decision.

1. The tattoo will be on your body forever, not on anyone else's.

People, especially parents, have a lot to say when it comes to tattoos and piercings. Although it can be important to get others' opinion, always remember that it is ultimately your decision. You are the one who is going to have this piece of art on your body;  it is important to remember that tattoos are meant to bring you joy and not anyone else. You don't want to get a tattoo because your friends or your parents said you should only to regret your decision in a week. 

2. Aftercare is essential, and it's hard work. 

Most people think that getting a tattoo is just sitting in a chair for an hour and that's it. WRONG. A new tattoo takes a minimum of two weeks to heal depending on the size and placement of it. Your tattoo artist will give specific instructions on taking care of your tattoo, and you must follow them. Remember, your tattoo is an open wound susceptible to infection, rejection by your body, and for the first weeks the art could be damaged because of poor aftercare. To be prepared before your tattoo appointment you should have some of the most common products for aftercare, A + D or Aquaphor. These products can be found at your local pharmacy or at Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS. Some tattoo artists sell their preferred aftercare products at their establishment, but if you want to be extra prepared, ask your tattoo artist beforehand what products you should have at home to take care of your tattoo. 

3. Three week rule.

Unsure whether to get a tattoo or not? Use my three week rule. This system is based on the notion that we can be impulsive creatures, giving you a three week downtime before making any drastic decisions like getting a tattoo. In the first week you will be very enthusiastic about your tattoo and will still be choosing the perfect design. By the end of the first week your design must be chosen. It should not change drastically, and you should have a clear idea of where you will place the tattoo on your body. The second and third week will let you see if you truly are up for the commitment, factors such as cost and permanence will come up in those weeks and will let you reflect and analyze.  During this time you could experiment with temporary tattoo methods such as Henna to visualize how your desired tattoo design would turn out. If by the third week you are still excited and still want the tattoo, it is a good indication that you will not regret it.  

4. Touch-ups are a thing.

Tattoos are permanent, but with time some may become faded and may need a touch-up. Tattoos around the feet, ankles, and fingers fade much faster, as do areas that are constantly exposed to sun or water. It is important to discuss touch-ups with your tattoo artist as some provide free touch-ups or discounted prices on them. 


As a first timer getting a tattoo, you do not know how you or your body will react. Even if you’ve had piercing before, tattoos take much longer which means longer pain tolerance. Low blood sugar is a thing that a lot of people suffer during their tattoo session which can cause nausea, vomiting and even fainting. Eating a good meal before your tattoo session will lower your chances of having problems with your blood sugar and even bringing some snacks will be a great idea. Note, if you are very impressionable with blood or needles, let your tattoo artist know beforehand. 

6. Consult your physician on tattoo risks for your health.

If you have any pre-existing condition, you should consult your physician or condition specialist before getting a tattoo. Some conditions may affect your bodies ability to heal, coagulate, and may even contribute to the rejection of the tattoo. Your tattoo artist should be informed of any medical condition that may interfere with the process of tattooing or that may arise in the moment such as panic attacks or epilepsy. A good and responsible tattoo artist will make sure to create a safe space for both of you. 

Third year student at UPRM currently working on a psychology bachelor.
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