How much does it cost?
Tattoo prices vary according to the size and tattoo designs. Of course, a larger and more complex design will cost more than a smaller, simpler one – that stands to reason. To give you an idea, relatively simple tattoo designs that are quite small (about the size of a silver dollar) will usually cost $100. Prices vary though, so the best thing to do is to ask. Bring your design – or just describe it to us.
Is it best to start with a small tattoo?
Only if you really want a small tattoo. For some people small tattoos can be a good first step. Don’t get a small tattoo because you are scared of the commitment. A small tattoo is the same lifelong commitment as a larger tattoo. Larger tattoos can allow for a greater degree of artistry and detail, they can be more exciting and dynamic. Sometimes people get a small tattoo only to realize how much they like it. Their only regret can be that they did not get it bigger. Think carefully about just how big you really want your tattoo to be. Often a small tattoo is a perfect choice, but sometimes going larger can make for a great first tattoo and a very happy customer.
I've heard that getting tattoos can be addictive. Is that true?
It isn’t true in the sense of a real addiction, but it is a fact that people who already have one tattoo are more likely to get another one … or so. It is possible to get ‘hooked’ on the excitement of getting a tattoo, just as some people get ‘hooked’ on shopping, but that’s not a real addiction. Most people who end up with multiple tattoos do so simply because they like them.
When should I not get a tattoo?
You shouldn’t get a tattoo if you’re drunk or high (and most tattoo shops have a policy in place about this; they’ll refuse to tattoo anyone who appears to be drunk or high or as a sign in one shop says, “just plain stupid”). The other reason for not getting a tattoo is if you’re not sure. Wait until you do feel sure or just don’t get one. This is not a good thing to feel ambiguous about. There are no specific medical considerations, but use your common sense. If you’re sick, wait till you get better.
Is it safe to get a tattoo?
If you go to a professional tattoo shop where the proper tattoo equipment is used, getting a tattoo is very safe. Decades ago there were concerns about getting hepatitis C from tattoos, but this is something all professionals are very conscious of nowadays. If new needles are used for each and every customer, there is no chance of contracting a blood-borne disease. Most tattoo artists will be glad to set your mind at rest by showing you the unopened package of needles they will be using before the tattooing begins. After your tattoo is finished, they should dispose of the needles. Ask about safety policies such as these before you select a tattoo shop. Our shop and artist are licensed by the State of Minnesota and attend bloodbourne pathogens training every year.
How much does it hurt to get a tattoo?
When it comes right down to it, that’s what most people really want to know! Actually, getting a tattoo is not very painful nowadays because modern tattoo equipment is such that the needles go in and out of your skin very quickly. You’ll be completely able to carry on a normal conversation while getting your tattoo.
Of course, depending on your tattoo design and location, the amount of discomfort can vary to some degree. Generally speaking, tattooing over bone – where there’s little flesh or fat – hurts a bit more, so getting a tattoo on the fleshy part of your arm probably won’t hurt much at all, but directly over your ankle bone or collar bone may be more painful – though still quite bearable.
Tattoo designs can also make a difference with regard to how it feels. Tattooing lines produces a different sensation from ‘filling in’, or tattooing blocks of color. Interestingly, though, there’s quite a lot of disagreement over which hurts more! It seems to be a subjective reaction – some people find the lines more comfortable than the filling in, while others say just the opposite. Suffice it to say that neither is really all that painful.
How do I care for my new tattoo?
Now that you have your fresh new tattoo, you want to take good care of it! From this point on, your artist is not responsible for any infection or problems you may have with your tattoo if you don’t take proper care of it. It is very important that you follow these guidelines. A really beautiful tattoo can turn into a disaster if the proper aftercare is not taken.
Leave That Bandage Alone!
Your artist took the care to cover up your new tattoo for a very good reason – to keep air-born bacteria from invading your wound. Yes, as pretty as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Leave the bandage on for a minimum of two hours. Excitement of having a new tattoo will make you want to remove the bandage so you can show your friends, but your friends will just have to wait until later.
The only exception to this rule is if your artist covered your tattoo with saran wrap or some kind of plastic. This is extremely detrimental to a tattoo, so it should be removed immediately. You’re better off not having any covering than to be suffocating your new tattoo with plastic wrap.
Wash and Treat
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and mild, liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap (Satin and Provon are my highest recommendations. Dial tends to be too harsh – generic brand antibacterial soaps are actually better) to gently wash away any ointment, blood and/or plasma and to completely clean the area. Do not use a washcloth or anything abrasive. Your hand is your best tool in this case. (If your tattoo feels slimy and slippery, you have probably been oozing plasma. Try to gently remove as much of this as possible – when the plasma dries on the skin surface, it creates scabs.)
Then pat (do not rub) the area firmly with a CLEAN towel or paper towel to get it completely dry. Follow with a very light application of your choice of ointment. A&D vitamin enriched ointment would be my first choice, but if you don’t have any, Bacitracin or a similar antibacterial ointment is acceptable.
**Do not use Neosporin. This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos. Some can have an allergic reaction to the Neosporin, which causes little red bumps. When the bumps go away, so does the ink, and you end up with a polka-dotted tattoo.**
Specialty Products and Lotions
If you prefer, you can also use a specialty product such as H2Ocean. It’s not necessary, as many over the counter products work just fine, but it’s your choice. Use the products as directed and continue for 3-5 days.
After that, continue to keep it clean, but you can use lotion when needed instead of ointment to keep the skin soft. Whatever lotion you use, it should be dye and fragrance free. A lot of artists recommend Lubriderm.
Bathing, Showering, Hot Tubs, and Swimming
Yes, you can (and should!) shower with a new tattoo. It’s OK to get your tattoo wet – just don’t soak it. Submerging your tattoo in a bath or hot tub can cause serious damage, so you’ll want to avoid those for 2-3 weeks, but showering is perfectly fine as long as you don’t saturate your tattoo. If you get soap or shampoo on your tattoo, just remove it quickly with water. Swimming – whether it be a pool, fresh water or salt water – should be avoided for at least 2 weeks.
Scabbing and Peeling
After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. Excessive scabbing could indicate a poorly-done tattoo, but a little is sometimes normal and there is no need to panic. Apply warm moist compresses to the scabs for about 5 minutes 2-3 times a day to soften them and they will eventually come off on their own. (Do not apply ointment or lotion to a softened scab – wait for it to dry) You will also start to itch, just like a sunburn when it begins to heal. The advice here is, don’t pick, and don’t scratch! If the skin itches, slap it. If it is peeling, put lotion on it. And if it is scabbing, just leave it alone. Your tattoo is almost healed, and now is not the time to ruin it!
Protection from the sun
After your tattoo is healed, from now on, you will always want to protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very fast. Before spending a lot of time in excessive heat, protect your tattoo with a minimum 30SPF sunblock. This will keep your tattoo vibrant for many years, and it will continue to be a source of great pride.