As more and more people are getting tattoos, there is an increasing need for awareness around tattoo hygiene. While the experience can be thrilling, one bad step can cost you your health.
Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Pallavi, Tattoo Artist at Devil’z Tattooz, says, “Getting a tattoo can be an exciting experience, but it's essential to maintain proper health and hygiene during the process to avoid any complications or infections.” According to a 2016 systematic review published in the Journal of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 'inappropriate hygiene measures in tattoo parlours and non-medical wound care are major risk factors for tattoo-related infections'. In this article, tattoo artist Pallavi shares her insights into the hygiene measures one should take while getting tattooed.
Also Read: Planning To Get A Tattoo? Here Are Five Health Risks You Should Know
Things To Keep In Mind While Getting A Tattoo
If you’re looking forward to getting a tattoo, here are a few things you should know:
Research & Development (R&D) goes a long way
Whenever you’re venturing into something new, it is important to explore and investigate. Pallavi says, “Before getting a tattoo, make sure to research and find a reputed tattoo studio with experienced and professional artists.” According to the tattoo artist, follower counts can sometimes be deceiving, especially in this age of content creation. Therefore, she encourages everyone to read reviews and check their portfolios!
Cleanliness should be of the highest priority
The next smart thing to do would be to ensure that the tattoo studio that you’re visiting is clean, with all the equipment and tools properly sterilised. Pallavi says, “The artist should sanitise the area, wear gloves, and use a new disposable needle for every new client. In addition, all other equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.”
After-care is a must
You cannot get a tattoo and then forget about it. There are a whole lot of things that need to be kept in mind after getting it. According to Pallavi, getting a tattoo is only the first half of the process. “After getting a tattoo, the artist should provide you with detailed aftercare instructions that you must follow to prevent infections and promote healing,” she adds. However, the tattoo artist says that the instructions may vary even within the same studio. But the most common measures include washing the tattoo with mild soap and water, applying an antibiotic ointment, and keeping the tattoo dry and clean.
Avoid touching the tattoo
A tattoo is considered to be an open wound, which is why you might have to constantly check how it is healing. However, touching the tattooed area with unsanitised hands is not recommended, says Pallavi. “It would be best to not allow anyone else to touch it either, as it can introduce the impacted skin to harmful bacteria and increase the risk of infection,” she adds.
Avoid over-exposure to water, swimming and sun exposure
Pallavi says, “Avoid swimming or soaking in water for at least three weeks after getting a tattoo, as it can cause the tattoo to fade or become infected.” In addition, she warns against sun exposure and advises covering the tattoo under clothing.
Also Read: Stuck With A Permanent Tattoo? Here Are 4 Safe Ways To Get Rid Of It
Avoid going to gym
After getting a tattoo, you must avoid strenuous physical activity and heavy sweating, as it can pull, contract, and affect the area of the tattoo and hinder the healing process. Pallavi recommends avoiding gymming and extra-curricular activities for at least 5 days as excess body heat can cause an infection to the tattoo.
Watch out for signs of infection
Skin scabbing is normal. It is a dry and rough crust that usually forms over a wound or a cut. However, Pallavi warns against any signs of infection. These include redness, swelling, or pus. She says, “If you notice any signs of infection, seek medical attention immediately and inform your artist.”
Getting tattooed goes beyond the time you spend at the studio. While the tattoo parlour and the artists should take all the necessary hygiene precautions to minimise the risk of infection, you must make sure that you follow all the after-care instructions given by your tattoo artist.