Not Prepared for your tattoo? You're in Trouble!
Don't Panic, Be Prepared
You've found your tattoo artist. You've got your tattoo design nailed down and your tattoo sitting time is set. But just how prepared are you mentally and physically for that tattoo? If you aren't prepared, your session could be a real challenge.
This is one of the most overlooked areas new tattoo clients consider, probably because you're super excited. I get it, I never gave it much thought until I got my first and second tattoos. Then it hit me hard and I almost couldn't get through my sitting.
Here is the moment you've been waiting for perhaps for several months or longer. Making that inking time the best possible experience for both yourself and your artist is one of your responsibilities as a customer.
What is my role?
It's your body that's receiving this new art work and as the canvas it needs to be ready. How healthy are you? Have you been staying healthy and ensuring you don't wind up with a cold, flu or any other mitigating health factor that could impact your tattoo time and your ability to heal? If not, making it to or through the tattoo session may be beyond you. Plus, the artist doesn't want to get sick either. Imagine them having to work on a client with a runny nose, constantly wiping it, sneezing, and moving their body. Creating a clean line would be really difficult.
So, is the area getting the work clean and healthy, possibly moisturized? Skin that's cracking, has a rash, a breakout, or damaged in any other way will not be a good place to inflict more trauma. For example, you're getting a hand tattoo tomorrow but all week you've been working on your car. Your hands are nicked up, red, irritated, and has marks all over where the tattoo will be placed. Your artist isn't going to be too happy with the area they'll have to create within and really you won't like the experience or results.
So get yourself ready by first being aware of how you're treating the body part as well as your over all health in the weeks leading up to your sitting.
But I've got an active, crazy life
Love it, me too, and you're going to have a kick ass tattoo to add to your amazing life. The day prior to the appointment don't party too hard, you'll want to get a full night's sleep. If your session is later the next day, say in the evening, try taking a nap. If you're exhausted, you won't be able to manage the pain and your body will give out that much faster.
Eat good, nourishing food the day before and the day of the work. You'll be losing blood and your body needs to replenish quickly and efficiently. Sucking down energy drinks, heavily caffeinated and sugary could make you jittery. Artists just love bouncy clients that fidget...ummm, not really.
So that leads me to the next bummer. No illegal drugs or alcohol before or during your tattoo session. It's a recipe for disaster and most reputable artists will probably turn you away. Also, something few people think about is medication, pain killers, and anti-inflammatories. These can impact your body's ability to heal, clot, or balance the blood loss. Remember that aspirin is a blood thinner.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical practitioner, so please consult your doctor or pharmacist prior to your tattoo appointment.
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Where's your head in all of this?
Mentally are you prepared to navigate the pain for however long it takes? It requires a certain mental stamina to go through this procedure. Some people handle it better than others and some body parts are more sensitive. So being in a strong, positive mental state will really help you. Don't be afraid, don't be hesitant, embrace the pain and ride it.
When I'm in a bad place or going through a lot of stress, getting hit with blasts of physical pain over and over for hours can be rough. Also, if I worked all day and my brain is just toast, the pain will just overwhelm me. That 3 hours of tattooing will feel like 7 hours in the third level of hell.
This goes back to getting adequate rest, physically and mentally.
On the horizon Have you thought about after the tattoo? Will you be spending the next ten days after the tattoo scuba diving in salt water? Or will you be doing any activity that might create a bad healing environment like sunbathing, Jacuzzi parties, or maybe doing an Ironman Triathlon? You've got to remember that the skin has to heal in the right environment or you could lose the ink, it might scar, or not heal in the right amount of time. Give your body a break for at least two weeks, of not three weeks after the tattoo.
The long haul
Tattoos will be on our body for most of our life if everything goes well and we take care of it. Making sure you're prepared for the inking process by eating right, getting enough rest, and being mentally strong is the least we can do. Make space for these steps and you'll be giving yourself the best possible experience.
Now go own it!