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All you need to know if you’re considering getting inked

28 Nov 2018 LIFESTYLE

By: Natasha Archary


Tattoos have for many years been viewed as either aesthetically pleasing or completely trashy. There’s no in between unfortunately and you either love them or you don’t. That’s what’s great about life, to each their own.


If you have been thinking about getting a tattoo, there are a few things you should know. Your first tattoo experience shouldn’t be an unpleasant one and it’s best if you are semi-prepared for the process and what it entails.

Design and location

So, you saw your favourite celebrity crush rocking some new ink and this is what prompted your sudden interest in tats. All well and good and whatever your reason for wanting a tattoo, it’s advisable to know more or less what you want and where you want it.


This is going to be a permanent fixture on your body and you don’t want to regret your body art within a few days. Now’s not the time to be in a spur of the moment nature. Spontaneity and tattoos should never go hand in hand. This is how people end up tattooing their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name on a butt cheek.


Scouting Instagram or Pinterest for tattoo designs is never a good idea. You want something that is unique and special to you. A tattoo isn’t just something you get for the sake of looking cool.


Hands and feet don’t take the ink well and fading is high on these areas. With exfoliation occurring more frequently here, your tattoo will likely begin to fade once the initial scabbing takes place.


Choosing an artist

When it comes to choosing your tattoo artist, cheap isn’t good. Though not common, infections from tattoos, the ink or needles have been known to happen. A reputable and skilled artist will go through the possible risks and alleviate any fears you may have.


Of course, you will need to go through their portfolio so request that you see previous work they’ve done. You need to choose an artist you feel comfortable with and whose needlework you trust.


Find out what the cost of the piece will be and how your artist will be sizing the design to fit within the area you’ve chosen. A good tattoo artist will not be pushy and will allow you to make the final call.


Visit the shop before your tattoo appointment  

It’s not just about securing your ink session, you need to make sure the studio your artist works from is safe, sanitary and ensures your privacy. You don’t want to be getting your first tattoo or any for that matter out of a dingy, dimly lit room.


Walk through the studio and ask to check needles and apparatus beforehand. A professional tattoo artist will not allow walk-ins and all ink sessions are strictly by appointment only. This should be an indication of the caliber of artistry you’re dealing with.


Your pain threshold

The most annoying comments and questions that people with tattoos have hurled at them have to do with how bad it hurts. Yes, it’s going to, it’s a needle digging into your skin, pumping a foreign substance into the deep dermis layers. What did you expect?


It’s going to feel uncomfortable and the stinging sensation afterwards is going to be almost unbearable. But there’s a certain beauty to the pain that many ink-lovers enjoy. For some, that pain is why they go back for more tattoos. It’s highly addictive.


Depending on what your pain threshold is, expect to feel light-headed and queasy especially if it’s your first time. The adrenaline that surges through you when the needle first hits your skin can be overwhelming.


Prepare yourself

The night before your tattoo session, avoid consuming alcohol and aim to have an early night. Alcohol thins your blood and may cause you to bleed out more during your inking. You may be expected to hold an uncomfortable position for a long period of time, while your tattoo artist works on your piece. This is why you should be well rested.


It’s mind over matter with the discomfort or pain, so control your thoughts and calm your nerves. You may need to shave the area before you go through for your appointment and you will want to shower before you go. To ensure a hygienic surface to work with and to avoid wasting any time when you get to your artist.


Take along a snack and something to drink. Blood glucose levels may drop slightly, so stay hydrated and take something to nibble on if you can muster the steady hand to get treats into your mouth.



Your tattoo artist will take you through care instructions and you should pay careful attention to these. It all depends on where your tattoo is located. Ribs, feet, ankles, wrists and the torso area hurt the most and will therefore require the most care.


You will not want to submerge your tattoo in water for upto two weeks. This is to prevent infection, so stick to quick showers. Immediately after your session, your tattoo will look pristine but after a few days it will start to scab and dry.


The area will also feel sensitive almost like sunburn does. You will be advised when to apply a topical ointment or moisturiser on the area and follow the aftercare instructions down to a T. Your tattoo artist cannot be held responsible for your lack of care.


You can use an icepack on the area afterwards and if it’s too intense for you, take a couple of pain killers and take to the bed.


Tattoos may look cool to ink-lovers but before deciding on going through with it, make sure the reasons for wanting one are strong enough to curb any feelings of regret afterwards.

Your artist will work within a two-hour session timeframe and whatever he isn’t able to complete, he’ll reschedule for another day. This is especially true if your piece is large or requires excessive detail work.


You may also request to complete the design at a later stage if the pain is too much for you and you need a break. All in all, tattoos are an expression of self and are gaining popularity with both men and women of all ages.


We’d love to know whether you have any tattoos and why you may decide to get one. Tweet us @KayaFM95dot using the hashtag #KayaOnline

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