Coffee – alongside water, it may probably be one of the most important fluids for humans. Without it, we cannot seemingly function, especially in the morning. Did you know that caffeine addiction is a real thing? There are people hooked on coffee so much so that they get withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink it. No wonder there’s a coffee stand or a coffee shop at every corner in every city.
But, there has been a rumor that coffee or caffeine do not interact very well with the process of getting a tattoo. There seems to be some kind of reaction in the body that makes tattooing a bit more difficult than it already is. But, is this true? We’ve decided to tackle this issue and see whether you can drink coffee before getting a tattoo. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Why Is Coffee an Issue In This Matter?
Well, let’s just start this by saying that it’s isn’t the coffee itself that’s an issue, but rather the caffeine.
Now, caffeine is a chemical compound that is added to drinks and foods to achieve a bitter or semi-bitter taste, to promote faster metabolic reactions, and to overall affect your mind and body by making you feel awake.
Because of this, caffeine consumption is extremely high globally, but it is most often done through coffee. Black and green teas are also sources of caffeine, which are alongside coffee, some of the most consumed beverages in the world as well. We humans just love our caffeine, in whatever shape or form it is.
Now, caffeine is also known to carry some negative side effects as well, especially if one is consuming too much of it. For example, caffeine overconsumption can lead to;
- Restlessness and shakiness
- Headaches and dizziness
- Increased anxiety and heart rate
- Blood vessel constriction
None of these side effects are pleasant and they indicate there’s too much caffeine in your system. But, what do we mean when we say too much caffeine?
Well, a safe caffeine intake for an adult man or woman would be up to 200mg of caffeine per day. It is also considered safe to take in even up to 400mg of caffeine, but there’s a catch. With such a high dose you may experience the inability to sleep or to sleep long enough. There can also be issues with digestion, which you probably already know.
Caffeine and Tattoos
Now, why do people think it might be harmful to drink coffee before getting a tattoo?
- Anxiety and Restlessness During the Session
First of all, it is believed that caffeine will calm you down, lower your anxiety, and make you feel ready to get that tattoo. Now, this is only a short-term effect, which caffeine usually has.
It makes you feel more awake, and there’s some sort of clarity going on n the mind, but as soon as the effects wear off, you’re back to feeling even more anxious and restless. This sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate can strain the body and make the whole experience a disaster.
This isn’t something you want to experience in the middle of a tattooing session, right?
- Blood Issues and Dehydration
Furthermore, there is also the issue of caffeine and blood coagulation, and dehydration.
During a tattooing process, there is generally some bleeding going on, but at moderate levels. After all, your skin is being punctured 3000 times per minute, so some bleeding is completely normal. However, after drinking a coffee before tattooing, the caffeine may constrict the blood vessels and raise the risk of blood clots. Furthermore, studies have shown that caffeine intake before a tattoo can also increase the blood flow in areas with thinner blood vessels, like fingers for example.
But, we do have to emphasize one thing; caffeine does not thin out blood, as many believe to be true. Caffeine is only a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure and increases the change of blood clotting. This may not be an issue during tattooing, but during some other activities, it may.
Now, a bigger issue might be the fact that caffeine promotes skin dehydration. Proper skin hydration is essential during and after tattooing. In order to handle the process and the aftercare, the skin needs hydration, otherwise, it may cause some healing issues or even an infection.
We’re mentioning this because some people don’t drink enough water, or they completely replace it with coffee. Without water, your skin suffers and is more prone to higher damage during tattooing.
So, Can I Drink Coffee Before a Tattoo?
Generally speaking, a cup of coffee before a tattoo session shouldn’t do much. To be honest, if your body is used to having caffeine, and all of a sudden you’re restricting it of the same, you might be experiencing more issues during a session than if you just drank the coffee. Caffeine withdrawal is a real thing and it can occur if you miss your daily, usual caffeine intake.
For example, you may experience a sudden headache, tiredness, fatigue, irritability, and so much more. This alone can be an issue during tattooing when your body needs all the energy to undergo the process properly.
However, if you tend to overconsume caffeine, and drink more than 200mg per dose, then maybe you should cut down the intake before a tattoo. Try to, instead, have a cup of black or green tea, just to get things going.
Caffeine overconsumption can make you shaky and restless, and during a tattoo, you want to be calm and steady. This can make things harder for your tattoo artist since your restlessness will affect their accuracy and concentration during tattooing.
So, caffeine intake, in moderate amounts, is fine. One cup of coffee shouldn’t affect the process of getting tattooed. More than that surely will, and it may even affect the aftermath of tattooing. So, what we suggest is you drink water, eat fruits and stay hydrated overall.
What Can or Can’t I Drink Before a Tattoo?
Now, coffee isn’t the only beverage that causes concern when it comes to tattooing.
For example, one should completely avoid drinking alcohol, a few days before getting tattoos, and probably a week after. The reason for this is the fact that alcohol causes blood thinning. During tattooing, you can start bleeding excessively, which can cause some serious troubles for the tattoo artist. There can be issues with visibility, ink leaking and smudging, and the inability of the skin to dry and heal properly. All of this can lead to a tattoo infection eventually.
Furthermore, one should avoid taking medications like ibuprofen or aspirin, or any other blood-thinning medication. This of course is not recommended for the same reason as alcohol; this medication thins out the blood and causes excessive bleeding during the tattooing process.
Now, in regards to the things you can drink before and during tattooing; well, water is generally the best choice. It hydrates the body and has no side effects whatsoever. Just make sure to not drink too much of it; bathroom visits are limited during tattooing, so you might have to hold the pee for a long time.
A cup of herbal tea might also be a good choice. But, if you want to have some caffeine without overconsuming, you can go for black or green tea as a great alternative. Black and green tea are filled with antioxidants and vitamins, which might also be super useful in supplying the body with nutrients. Decaffeinated coffee is also a great alternative to coffee, but some brands of decaffeinated coffee do contain caffeine, so bear that in mind.
Also Read: Can You Get a Tattoo on Blood Thinners?
The best thing you can do before getting a tattoo is to rest, nourish your body with healthy foods and water, and simply calm down. Avoid alcohol and energy drinks, or other beverages which increase your heart rate as well as the sense of fear and anxiety. During a tattoo, you want to be calm and steady.
So, if caffeine makes you feel shaky and restless, try to avoid drinking coffee or replace it with tea or decaffeinated coffee. Energy drinks are also a no-go since they contain insane amounts of sugar and caffeine, which may also affect you adversely.