If you are about to get a tattoo for the first time you should familiarize yourself with the tattoo process so you will know what to expect and what to lookout for. IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOUR ARTIST DOES NOT TAKE THE NEEDLES OUT OF A STERILIZED BAG OR DOES NOT HAVE AN AUTOCLAVE DO NOT GET A TATTOO THERE.
1. Once the client has picked out a design, any and all questions the client has should then be asked. The client is then seated. The tattoo artist then puts on a pair of examination gloves. Green soap (medical cleansing soap used in hospitals) is applied to the skin area to be tattooed. The area is then shaved with a disposable razor that is used on one customer only and then discarded. Remember, be aware of what your tattoo artist is doing, its your body.
2. The area is then cleaned with green soap, then cleaned with alcohol. A stencil of the picture is then applied. The stencil is either applied by the following means: a) with deodorant stick - if this method is used make sure the artist does not apply it straight from the stick, he/she should first wipe it on a tissue or paper towel. The reason for this is because if a person is nicked when they are shaved blood can infect the entire deodorant stick. b) with KY Jelly - if this method is used the artist should use a sterilized wood tongue depressor that should be thrown away after use and never returned back to the container. At this point the client then looks to see if the stencil is applied to their liking. Keep in mind that if the position of the stencil does not look good to you just ask your artist to re-position it, its a simple task.
3. To maintain cleanliness and sterilization, it is common for a tattoo artist to change examination gloves numerous times for one tattoo. Colors are now selected and put into individual ink caps that are disposed of when the tattoo is finished. Inks should NEVER be returned to the ink bottle, and if an ink cap runs out of ink, a NEW ink cap should be filled for use.
4. If it is your first time getting tattoo make sure the tattoo artist assembles his tattoo machine in front of you using new sterilized needles taken out of sealed sterilized bags. A thin layer of Bacitracin (antibiotic) is applied over the entire area that is about to be tattooed with a sterilized, wood tongue depressor. Bacitracin is applied many times during the duration of a tattoo. Each time it should be done with a new sterilized wood tongue depressor.
5. The outline of the tattoo is then applied. If this is your first time your artist should be courteous by choosing a small line to show you what to expect. Keep in mind that the first line is the initial shock and you should numb out as the tattoo goes on. Remember NOT to move when the outline is being applied. If you feel like you are going to jump or jerk tell your tattoo artist so he/she can stop. Your outline is very critical. If you have a bad outline, you will have a bad tattoo. All excess ink on the skin is washed away with green soap and more Bacitracin is put on the tattooed area.
6. Now the filling/shading-in is then applied. In most cases you will notice your tattoo artist will use a different tattoo machine or change the needles in the tattoo machine. Depending on the size of your tattoo will depend on how many needles will be used. Keep in mind there will be allot of pulling and stretching of your skin. The artist must do this to make you skin tight so the needle can penetrate the skin and give crisp clean lines and coloring. So don't be surprised if you are a little soar the next day from it.
7. When the tattoo is finished, the entire area where the tattoo has been applied is washed with green soap and alcohol. Another layer of Bacitracin is applied. A sterilized bandage is then placed over the new tattoo. Make sure the bandage is taken out of a sealed sterilized bag.
7. IN THE CUSTOMERS PRESENCE, all needles, ink caps, and supplies should be disposed of in a biohazard container.
8. Finally, (yes were at the end now) the client is given instructions on the care of the tattoo and a care brochure. At this point the client should ask other questions they my have.
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