Getting your first tattoo is super exciting and a truly fun and unique experience. However, many do tend to take things lightly when it comes to tattooing. People assume that you can just walk into a tattoo studio, sit down and get your tattoo done without an issue. But, when it comes to tattooing, preparation is key for a good outcome.
Getting a tattoo should always be a well-thought-out decision, and never something you just do on a whim. Otherwise, you’ll regret it the second it’s done, especially if you didn’t prepare well for the process.
Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at all the things you need to do before you get to the tattoo studio for your appointment. So, consider this as your ultimate checklist, and let’s get right into this!
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Let’s assume that you’ve already done the job of picking the right tattoo artists as well as the tattoo design. We are aware that this also falls under the ‘preparation’ umbrella, but it is kind of obvious that you’ve already picked these things out. Without an artist and a tattoo design, there isn’t much to discuss, right? But, what follows after you’ve booked an appointment is a set of personal preparation for the very tattooing process, which sometimes people do need a guide for. So, here it is!
1. No Drinking (or Intoxication of Any Kind) – Avoid Alcohol at All Cost
Now, the first thing on your checklist is a thing you shouldn’t do, and we really had to include it. Drinking is a no-go if you’re planning to get a tattoo any time soon. Regardless of whether your appointment is in two days or two weeks, drinking alcohol will make your tattoo appointment far from enjoyable. But, you may wonder, why? Here’s the deal;
- Alcohol will thin out your blood – alcohol acts as a blood thinner which can make your tattoo experience a bloody mess. Drinking alcohol before tattooing means you’ll bleed excessively and compromise everything your tattoo artist does. Extra blood means a lack of visibility and difficulty in tattooing. Overall, there is a high chance the tattoo will be messed up in the end, and you don’t want that.
- Alcohol will affect your mental and physical reaction – because alcohol stays in your system for a while, there is a high chance that at the appointment your mental and physical response to tattooing may be compromised. This means that you may feel jittery and restless, on top of being anxious and having an increased sense of pain. And, this isn’t how you want to be in a tattoo studio, especially when the tattoo artist is poking your body with a needle at a rate of up to 3000 times in 60 seconds.
Note: Drinking alcohol is not only advised against before the tattoo appointment but also after the tattoo is done. Because the blood-thinning effect lasts, your new tattoo may start bleeding excessively and make the healing part that much more difficult. If a new tattoo doesn’t stop bleeding, it may lead to an infection and a messy tattoo.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Taking care of yourself, mentally and physically, is very important when it comes to preparing for a tattoo appointment. You need to be well-rested since your body is about to go through something exhausting. Make sure to sleep well prior to the appointment, especially two or three nights before the actual appointment.
Being tired during the tattoo session will just make the overall experience more difficult than it should be. Tiredness, sleepiness, and overall poor mental and physical state could make the tattooing more uncomfortable and even more painful. Needless to say, the process will feel longer and your body will be more sensitive.
3. Shower and Shave + Moisturize
This is a no-brainer, but some people do need a reminder; it is essential to shower and shave before the tattoo appointment. Why? Well, first of all, your skin will be exposed during the tattooing process. You don’t want to be smelly or have a buildup of dead skin cells, especially in the area that’s about to get tattooed.
Excess skin oils, dead skin cells, and the overall buildup of skin germs can compromise the tattooing process since the tattoo needle can pick up all sorts of dirt on the skin. This could lead to several issues, one of them including tattoos and skin infection.
In this case, we would recommend exfoliation; this is the best way to get rid of dead skin cells and excess body oils. Also, keeping the skin moisturized after showering and waxing is essential You don’t want your skin to dry up and cause further issues.
The same goes for shaving; removing hair, especially in the area that’s about to get tattooed is important. Even if you don’t shave the area, your tattoo artist will shave it. Alongside the main reason behind it being that it’s impossible to tattoo through the hair, we’d also mention that is it simply hygienic and respectful to the tattoo artist as well.
Note: We would recommend not to wax your hair right before the appointment. Your skin needs some time to heal, especially if it’s super sensitive, reddish, irritated, etc. The same goes for razor shaving; try not to make any cuts, especially in the tattooing area. Otherwise, your tattoo artist won’t be able to work properly, and you’ll experience more pain.
Also Read: Can I Wax Over a Tattoo: The Dos and Don’ts of Hair Removal Over Tattoos
4. Nourish Your Body
Without proper nutrition, your body won’t be able to generate enough energy to handle a generally exhausting tattoo session. A balanced, healthy, nourishing meal is a must before the tattoo appointment, for both mental and physical preparation. By eating properly, you’ll feel better, handle the session better, and lower the chance of feeling lightheaded or even passing out (some people do get extremely tired, especially if it’s their first tattoo experience; others do experience severe fear and pain which makes them light-headed too).
Therefore, focus on eating proteins, foods loaded with vitamins (veggies and fruits), complex carbohydrates, minerals, amino acids, etc. Also, make sure to stay properly hydrated (prior to the appointment day). Do not drink too much water right before or during the tattoo sessions since you won’t be able to just get up and go to the toilet in the middle of work. However, you can bring a protein or granola bar as a healthy snack to keep you going through the session.
Here are some of the things you should avoid eating and drinking before the tattoo appointment;
- Avoid caffeine and coffee (stay away from energy drinks, caffeine-loaded soda drinks, and of course, coffee and caffeine-loaded teas, like green or black)
- Avoid alcohol (for reasons mentioned in the first paragraphs)
- Avoid pain relief and blood-thinning medication (like Aspirin)
Make sure to increase your intake of foods loaded with vitamin C, since it’s known to help the body repair the damaged tissue and speed up the overall recovery process.
5. Dress For The Occasion
If this is your first time getting a tattoo, you probably think that you should be all glammed up for the session. Well, that is the exact opposite of what you should do. During the tattoo session, you need to be as comfortable as possible. So, no tight jeans, no tight shirts, no dresses or anything of that kind. Also, no itchy, pulling materials, synthetics, or polyester clothes. Make sure to wear breathable materials, like cotton, as well as loose, comfortable clothes, like T.shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, etc.
6. Bring a Friend (If Allowed)
Even though tattoo artists are strictly against people bringing dozen of their friends to a tattoo session, it is okay if you bring one friend to keep you company. A friend or a family member is welcome to stay with you while you get through the session. It can be a bit boring to sit in one place for hours, so having someone to chat with you (and distract you from the pain), is always a good idea.
However, avoid bringing more than one person; large crows in tattoo studios are a no-go, for many reasons (one of them being pretty obvious – tattoo artists cannot work properly and safely being surrounded by a lot of people). We would also recommend you talk to your artist prior to the appointment and ask if they’re comfortable with you bringing someone to the tattoo session. In the day and age of Covid, you may have to come alone to the tattoo appointment, so bear that in mind as well.
And, that’s it! Now you are ready to go and get that super awesome tattoo done. By following our recommendations, your tattoo experience will be super comfortable and chill. You’ll be fully ready so your tattoo artist will be able to work without any potential issues or health risks. Preparation is key when it comes to tattooing so make sure to really follow our recommendations and checklist. If you have any other questions, you can always contact your tattoo artist, or get information in case they have any specific rules you should follow as well.