Tattoos are created by injecting ink into the skin. This is done by a needle attached to a hand-held tool, which moves the needle up and down at a rate of several hundred vibrations per minute and penetrates the skin by about one millimetre.
When you look at the tattoo, you see the ink left in the skin after the tattooing. The ink is not in the epidermis, which is the layer of the skin that we see. It is in the skin that is replaced constantly, intermingles with cells in the dermis and shows through the epidermis. The cells of the dermis are stable, so the tattoo`s ink will last, with minor fading and dispersion for life!
Often we do not sit down to think of what our next tattoo will be, but instead we come across an image or idea and just know that is what we are getting next. There is a lot to think about before you finalize you decision though, because this tattoo is meant to be a part of you for the rest of your life. When most people look back at their high school yearbook quote, they are embarrassed that they ever thought that was cool. You do not want that with a forearm tattoo. There are two ways of getting an image to put on you for life. One is finding a pre-existing drawing or tattoo from the internet or a magazine or flash, and the other is having you or someone else design something original just for you.
When choosing a place for your tattoo, you should first analyze what type of tattoo you are getting, and what type of person you are. Males and females generally get different places tattooed, according to society`s ideas of femininity and masculinity. Deciding where to place your tattoo is very important for a few reasons. Your main concern should be esthetics, meaning the way it looks on your body. However, depending on how well you do with pain, you might want to consider placement in relation to how bad it hurts in a specific place. If you cannot take the pain and need to stop, or change the design, that looks much worse than if you had put it in a different location.
If you were getting a small feminine tattoo, you probably would not place it on your bicep. Moreover, if you were getting a burly masculine tribal, you probably would not get it on your lower back. Stereotypically, males usually go for the arms, shoulder, upper back and chest pieces, while females go for the ankles, feet, lower stomach/crotch area, lower back, upper back shoulder area, and back of neck. Keep in mind what the design looks like when choosing the spot. Sometimes a female will want a feminine flowing type tattoo that does not stay in just one area. A tattoo can start on a girl`s hip and can go up to her back, onto her shoulder, down her arm, and can on her hand. Nevertheless, it should be a thin, light, flowing design, which would look very feminine and can accentuate ones body shape and curves. Most women want the tattoo to fit their body to make it look better, and not just place a piece of art on it randomly. A woman`s curves can be major factors in the design process so have the artist keep that in mind.
For men, it might look best to fill an area of muscle with the tattoo, so if the design you choose does not quite fill the area, a little bit of colored or grey wash background might make it fit better and look better placed.
A tattoo artist has stencils in order to place the design on your body. If you need them to move the design in any direction, you should let them know, since they are obligated to make sure you are fully satisfied with the tattoo. After the stencil is placed on your body, you and your artist might discuss small additions in order to make it fit better, when it is a design, just color, or something traditional like clouds. These last additions would probably be drawn on with a marker, and this is where trusting your tattoo artist is important.
Pain is an interesting side effect of getting a tattoo. For some people, the process and the pain is the more important part, and the art is just secondary, almost like a rites of passage. Some people do not mind the pain so much. It is a few needles repeatedly entering your skin, so pain should be expected. Where you get the tattoo, though, will change greatly how much pain you will feel.
Whether pain should be a factor in deciding where you place your tattoo is only for you to decide. Many people will bear it in order to have the tattoo placed exactly where they choose, others might be willing to move it to another, more bearable, location.
Everyone has a different experience with pain and tattoos. Every person will tell you something differently. Some women and men do horribly, no matter where they are tattooed, while some women and men can sit without the slightest hint of discomfort.
Tattooing on bone, like your skull, spine, elbow, sternum, etc, will not only be painful, but it will vibrate that area which is another unpleasant feeling. The person being tattooed might feel like the machine is going much deeper than it actually does. The fleshy areas, like the stomach, crotch area, inner thighs, under arm, and armpit, seem to cause a much more sharp pain and a pinching feeling. Obviously even the genitals are the most painful location for a tattoo. Your sternum, ribs, hands, and feet are very sensitive. The skin needs to be stretched while tattooing and the fleshy areas need to be stretched even more, which adds to the discomfort.
Being tattooed in an area that has some muscle mass like an arm or back or calve seems to be the least painful for most people. Keep in mind that your mental state also has a lot to do with how well you handle the pain. One should not be overly tired or emotionally exhausted, nor too cold or too hot. Talk to your tattoo artist if you are uncomfortable in any way, because there might be some adjustments that can be made to make you sit better, which will make you both happier.
Preparing to have a Tattoo
When you have your tattoo appointment, you need to have a few things in mind.
The night before you get the tattoo, you should not drink much alcohol, as it thins your blood and you will be bleeding more while being tattooed. You also might have a harder time healing your new tattoo. Aspirin also thins your blood, so do not take any of that beforehand.
Certain drugs affect people in different ways. Ask your doctor before taking any type of pain medication before getting a tattoo. If you have any health risks, please discuss these with your doctor also. If you are pregnant, you cannot be tattooed. Illegal drugs are discouraged.
You should eat normally before you go and take care as not to be dehydrated. Most tattoo artists charge by the hour, so you are being charged for every bathroom or cigarette break you take. You should have something like orange juice to drink after you are tattooed.
If you are sick, and your immune system is fighting something, you need to be extra careful on keeping infection away from your tattoo. It might be wise to postpone the tattoo if you are not well.
Plan to be uncomfortable for a few days. Do not get a foot tattoo if you work in high heels. Plan for a few days of healing before you do anything that might jeopardize the tattoo. You cannot go swimming, tanning, sunbathing or soak the tattoo for two weeks afterwards.
Wear clothes that would not matter if they get ink or blood on them, and make sure they are light and should not rub on your new tattoo.
Bring cash or credit card and plan to have more than you need in case. If you do have a credit card, you might want to tip in cash. Do not be caught off guard spending more than you thought.
Do not bring anyone that gets bored easily, and no children, because you might be there for a while. Cameras are often allowed and are sometimes fun then relax and enjoy your experience.
Lastly, before you walk out the door, thank your artist. Show how much you appreciate their work and dedication. Refer your friends to them. When you go back for your next tattoo, you will have established a good relationship with your artist, and you can be assured they will be there to help you if you ever have any problems or questions in the future.
Steps for Getting the Tattoo
Pick a Tattoo Design
Choose a tattoo that fits your personality, something you can handle looking at for the rest of your life.
Discuss size and color with the artist you choose for getting the tattoo.
Carefully consider picking an offensive design, it may comeback to haunt you in the long run.
Do not look at the tattoo as a "trendy fashion statement," but instead as a long term investment.
Do not let alcohol, drugs or friends influence your decision.
Choose the spot carefully. Hands, face and neck are seen by everyone. If your tattoo is visible to others, people might not look past the tattoo at "the real you". Different sites have different amounts of pain.
Learn all you can about tattoos before actually being inked.
Remove bandage after 2 hours (do not bandage it again).
Wash tattoo with your clean hands using warm, soapy water. Rinse with cold water. Do not over soak your tattoo. Keep out of the direct spray of the shower. Pat dry, but do not rub with any towel.
For 3 to 5 days or until tattoo is healed, apply Vitamin A&D Ointment or Zinc Oxide Ointment 3 to 4 times daily after washing tattoo. Keep tattoo moist. If allergic to these ointments, use water based lotions.
Tattoos have the tendencies to flake. Do not pick at the flakes or you may pull the color out. Try not to let clothing rub on your tattoo while it is healing.
Do not swim or tan yourself unless you are healed. Apply a high SPF sun block to tattoo after healed to prevent fading.