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7 Important Tips & Facts Before Getting A Tattoo

By Dhwani Jerajani +2 more

A tattoo is a sort of body modification in which ink, pigment, or dye is injected into the dermis layer of the skin with a needle. To many people, tattoos are a way to express their personalities. Earlier, tattoos were a part of the rural and tribal tradition but today, it is seen as an act of rebellion, as freedom of expression, a medium to express one’s deepest feelings or to commemorate a remarkable memory.

However, although it is a popular art form, there are precautions to follow when it comes to getting a tattoo. Before you get a tattoo, you should know:

Tattoo Care

Beware of diseases

This is perhaps the most critical point to remember. When getting a tattoo, if the needle used or the instrument in question is not adequately sterilized or cleaned, it can lead to infections, diseases borne from the blood such as Aids, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tetanus.

Allergies alert

Allergic reactions are rare but they do happen. These can occur even after many years thanks to a dirty tattoo needle or instrument. These allergies are severe to deal with.

True allergic reactions to tattoos and ink are possible, although not very common. People with sensitive skin frequently have an allergic reaction to the prep procedure, which cleans and sterilizes the skin, rather than an allergic reaction to the ink or tattoo itself.


If the pigments used in the tattoo are not of good quality, then the chances of nodules forming in the tattooed region are higher. This is because it is the body’s defence mechanism that it forms nodules around anything that it sees as a threat or foreign object.

MRI complications

Reports have shown that tattooed areas tend to swell, burn or itch after an MRI. The side effects though are not long-lasting.

Tattoos are removable but it is an expensive, time-consuming and a painful process. Not only do you need to think your tattoo through but also remember that the skin region where the tattoo is done will never be the same.

Pre-requisite for getting a Tattoo

  • Regions with moles should be avoided
  • Use a sterilized instrument only
  • Always ask for a new needle
  • New ink should be used and old ink or leftover ink should be avoided at all costs
  • Make sure you know what you are getting into
  • Go to the best tattoo artist/parlour only

Most infections are the result of contaminated tattoo inks, unhygienic procedures in the tattoo studio (for example, as a result of poorly disinfected skin), or unhygienic behavior of people directly after having had a tattoo.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Choosing the tattoo design

Prepare ahead of time by researching tattoo designs you like and bringing as much reference material as you need to provide a clear description of your tattoo. Here are some other things to keep in mind while picking a tattoo design.

  • Tattoos that are small and intricate do not age well. As you become older, the tattoos will fade naturally. The fine lines thicken. Colours that are darker fade into colours that are less prominent. The sharp edges become softer. These alterations are significantly more noticeable on smaller tattoos with a lot of detail, as well as photorealistic tattoos.      
  • During the process of choosing the tattoo design, it is recommended to choose a smaller portion from a large design.
  • The simpler the tattoo design is, the better, especially if it’s the first one. This is especially true for tiny tattoos, but it’s a good rule to follow for all tattoos. It is advisable to not clutter the design with too many elements; instead, stick to one major subject, one secondary subject, and one background element.

If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, a weak immune system, or a bleeding problem, talk to your doctor before getting a tattoo.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Important tips for Tattoo care

  1. Leave the bandage on for at least two hours or overnight
  2. Wash the tattooed region with a mild anti-bacterial soap
  3. Do not rub the tattooed region
  4. Use a water-based ointment or lotion until all the scabs flake off
  5. Never pick on the scabs
  6. The tattooed region should have minimum interaction with water until it has healed
  7. No swimming until the tattooed region is healed
  8. No direct sunlight
  9. Apply sunscreen to the tattooed region
  10.   Use a moisturizer that allows the skin to breathe
  11. Keep yourself well hydrated to keep your skin supple and moisturized from within
  12. Cover the tattoo with a bandage whenever it is exposed to the sun while in its healing process.
  13. Be sure to cover your new tattoo with petroleum jelly twice a day
  14. Try not to wear clothes that will stick to the tattoo while it’s in its healing process
  15. Make sure to avoid scalding hot water as it can fade the ink  

Tattoos take some after-care attention, but once they’ve healed, there are only a few things to keep in mind. When the scabs fade and the skin on the tattoo surface is the same texture as the rest of your skin, you’ll know your tattoo is healing properly.

Disclaimer:  The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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