The Rationale Behind Tattoo Recommendations:
Amongst all the tattoo studio related advice most people fail to take the time and explain the reasons behind it. The following is an attempt to take the most commonly shared tattoo advice and offer an insight into the recommendation itself:
Recommendation: Make sure the studio uses an autoclave.
Why this is important: What’s an autoclave? It is an expensive sterilization tool used in hospitals. It is basically a powerful steamer that ensures all reusable items in the tattooing process are properly cleansed between clients. Tubes and grips are the two items most commonly sent through an autoclave. The use of an autoclave is the only method that guarantees hygiene when cleaning reusable equipment.
Recommendation: The artist should be wearing gloves and a mask.
Why this is important: This is standard hygienic practice. To stop the transmission of any bacteria it is crucial that the artist use these protective barriers. You are undergoing a procedure where you skin is being pierced. The use of gloves and masks protects both you and the artist. If an artist is not wearing gloves or a mask during your appointment – chances are they didn’t for the last customer either!
Recommendation: Find out if the artist has formally trained in any other areas.
Why this is important: Tattooing is an art form that has traditionally been passed down from master to student. But the modern tattoo studio and working environment should be held to the same levels of cleanliness and hygiene as any doctor’s office. There are numerous courses in sterilization, studio maintenance and first aid available. Quality studios will promote these kinds of certificates and training.
Recommendation: Are they vaccinated for Hepatitis B?
Why this is important: Hepatitis B is an extremely serious infection. It is spread through the contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. It is absolutely essential that your tattoo artist be vaccinated for Hepatitis B.
Recommendation: All ink and materials should be in disposable cups or ‘caps’.
Why this is important: You’ve probably seen photos of rows of tiny white or clear caps on an tattoo artists work station. The ink is placed into these caps because throughout the tattooing process the artist has to constantly dip the tattoo needle into the color of ink they’re using. If they were to keep dipping the tattoo needle into a central, main pot of ink it would then cross contaminate every client. Ink, cream and other materials used throughout the tattooing process must be divided into separate containers for each client.
Recommendation: New sterile needles must be used always.
Why this is important: This is for the same reason as above – only the risk that would arise should needles be shared is far more direct. As tattooing needles piece the skin they can be exposed to bodily fluids. Needles must be sealed containers, opened in front of you before the tattoo and disposed of in a proper receptacle afterwards.
Recommendation: Always ask to see examples of the artist’s finished work.
Why this is important: Full portfolios should be readily available. The best artists’ work will be displayed in a variety of sources. A quick internet search should yield plenty of results