Getting your first tattoo

Here I will be sharing my experience of getting my first tattoo and what should be done and thought about before getting a tattoo.

My experience

I had wanted to get tattoos ever since I was a young girl, and I learned from an early point that a lot of tattoos can look tacky and/or awful if you don’t take care in the months and weeks before. I did a lot of research and a lot of calling around to find out everything I needed to know, after talking to a few tattooists and people knew who had tattoos done and looked at reviews on line I finally decided on a tattoo artist that suited me.

I then researched the tattoo I had in mind, as it was a symbol, I wanted to know if it actually meant what I thought it meant. after I was confident with what I wanted I went to my tattooist and booked the date, time and price, I paid my deposit and eagerly awaited the day I would get my first tattoo. I was so happy because I had waited until I was of legal age, I had got a job and saved the money I needed and I felt I deserved this.

On the day I was nervous, I was expecting some pain but I didn’t know what it would feel like had asked around for other accounts and experiences but I was still unsure. I was exited because I had been waiting for this moment for so long.

In the end I was so glad I choose the tattooist I did, he talked me through the process before hand and he showed me all the needles he was going to use to make sure I was satisfied with what he was doing, he had a conversation with me to make me aware of the upcoming occurrences and asked me how I would like it to go, weather I wanted to do it bit by bit or all at once. The pain I felt was mild to say the least, although it got saw at points my cats bite could hurt me more! yeah, it hurt but not nearly as much as I was expecting. At times it even tickled! All in all I had a good experience and I’m glad I did it!

Things to know before you get your first tattoo

the months/ weeks before

Check with your doctor: if you have any medical problems like heart conditions and skin conditions, ask your doctor if it is okay to get a tattoo because if it is not safe it can cause adverse health effects and the tattooist will ask similar questions and can refuse to tattoo you if he/she is not confident it is safe.

Make sure it means something: don’t go for something because you think it looks nice or because other people have it, make it individual, make it your own, have it mean something close to your heart, memories and life lessons. They are always the best tattoos! and no matter how much you love it now people change their opinions, likes and hobbies. So make sure you wont regret it, and don’t get it on your face… seriously.

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Start small: its always a good idea for your first tattoo to be a small one so then you can understand what it feels like and decide weather you  want more or not and how your skin takes the ink and how well it heals also choose a place where it can be hidden for work if necessary.

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Know your pain tolerance: pushing yourself is okay if you don’t ever do it. respect your limits. if you have a low pain threshold try to avoid areas like the feet, spine, ribs, elbows and knees. The fleshier the area the better.

Make sure it is the right time of year: spring and autumn are the best as the summer sun/over exposure to sun and water may damage the tattoo.

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Don’t do it on the cheap: once you’ve spent time planning the actual tattoo you can start looking at tattooists, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. tattoos are expensive and so they should be as they are altering your body for life! some parlours charge by ink and some by time spent doing the tattoo.

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Research the artist: always have a few options and research in detail each artist, ask the people you know, look at reviews and examples of prior art work so you can make an informed choice on the artist that is right for you! you are trusting them with your body make sure you are comfortable with who you choose.

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give yourself time: give a serious thought to what you are doing this is a big change, spontaneity is all well and good but make sure you are doing it for all the right reasons.

stick to it: once you slept on it and decided on what your going to have, why and where, you can confirm your appointment, mark your calendar, tell people and stick to your guns. Lots of people talk about getting tattoos but don’t, if you want it, get it, be a do-er. Some parlours have a drop in service but some you have to book in advance that can be weeks or months before.

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Give the artist an example: It should go without saying that you should supply a visual example of what you want. Even if you want an artist to customise a design for you, attend your appointment (or pre-meeting) with inspiration. If you want a specific text used, bring your chosen words along in that font. If you’ve seen the exact tattoo you want online, bring it in. Print versions are ideal, as your artist can use it to create a stencil or transfer.

the day before

Buy your after care: a creme is recommended, I use Bepanthen its a nappy rash creme you can get from any pharmacy but it really does sooth the itching and scabbing that occurs in the days after, your artist may or may not provide you with after care so always go in to the parlour and ask what the recommend.

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Don’t stress: pick yourself a buddy as it is always nice to have someone with you on your first go, ( I took my mum.. albeit that she wanted me to squirm but it was better having her there) prepare for a few pinches and scratches and know that it is no worse than that, if you need to de-stress try meditation, listening to music or talking the process over with someone. all these helped me.

Take control: don’t be afraid to ask questions, it is your body you have every right to know what’s going on, what instruments they are using and what creams they are applying. your artists will be used to doing a first tattoo and will adjust accordingly, if you need a break they will stop if you ask. don’t panic.

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DO NOT DRINK: alcohol is a blood thinner, and it will cause more bleeding on the day and make it harder for it to heal, even if it is a little it can still be in your system drinking energy drinks have the same effect just don’t do it.

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Get enough sleep and drink water so you are not dehydrated.

On the day

Money: make sure you have enough to cover the tattoo, tip , drinks etc.

Make sure you are ready: you will need to wash before hand and you may be shaved at the parlour.

Blood sugars: you must eat a meal at least 1 hour before your appointment and take a sugary drink with you if your sugars are low it may cause you to feel dizzy and unwell or even faint, don’t risk it.

Take your things: make sure you have your ID, conformation if you have booked and examples of what you want if you haven’t. Don’t wear anything to heavy as the clothes may irritate and rub you fresh tattoo. I used my mobile phone to distract me, maybe take something like that.

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Tanning:if you tan then do it before hand as you wont be tanning again until your tattoo is fully healed, do not put on fake tan before the tattoo as it will be scrubbed off when they do it so you’ll be all blotchy.

Prepare some time after words: make sure you have enough time to wash your tattoo, apply after care and relax, your tattooist will advise you on what to and what not to do.

Touch up: if the colours aren’t bright enough or something wasn’t as you expected or something just doesn’t sit right, don’t be afraid to go for a touch up, the artist will not be offended sometimes bits are missed but get it sorted don’t just leave it.

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Follow your care directions: your artist will give you some directions for example be careful in the shower when your tattoo heals try not to get suds in the tattoo.

I hope this post is helpful and don’t forget research is key and if it is right for you it’s right! no one can tell you otherwise its your body! if I’ve missed anything important leave a comment and let me know !!

Remember you are beautiful

Hakuna Matata

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Travels with my Art

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Miranda Wilson

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