What You Should Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo

Gone are the days when tattoos were associated only with rock musicians and tough bikers. They have taken the world by storm, even appearing in mainstream pop culture, so it’s no surprise that millennials in India have also embraced body art. If you too are fascinated with the idea of permanent body art and plan on getting inked, keep in mind that there are certain precautions and health risks that you should be aware of.

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What You Must Do BEFORE You Get A Tattoo

The most important rule is to not cheap out, as getting a tattoo at an unhygienic or unreliable place can do a lot more harm than leaving you with a poorly inked permanent tattoo! Here’s what you should keep in mind.

Beware Of The Prick!

Make sure that a fresh and sterilized needle is being used for the inking process. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind, as the use of an unsterilized needle poses a very real risk of serious infections like tetanus, Hepatitis B or C, as well as HIV. Also, make it a point to check that your tattoo artist wears gloves and washes his hands before starting the procedure.

Do not drink before you ink!

Alcohol consumption causes temporary blood thinning, which increases the chances of bleeding while getting a tattoo. This can lead to a number of issues that may complicate the inking process. The thinner the blood, the more easily it can leak out of the puncture wounds and pool over the skin, making it that much harder for your artist to design the tattoo accurately. It can also dilute the ink making your tattoo look faded and may prolong the healing process.

Be Color Safe!

Tattoo dyes, especially those with brighter shades like red and yellow can trigger allergic reactions and cause skin infections. A tattoo allergy can result in swelling, irritation, skin rashes, redness and in some cases, granulomas, which are small bumps that form around the site of the tattoo.

What You Must Do AFTER You Get A Tattoo

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Failing to take prepare care of your skin after you get tattooed can actually sour what should otherwise be a delightful experience, so pay heed to these guidelines.

Protect Yourself Against Infections:

After getting inked, your skin is essentially a raw wound, vulnerable to all sorts of nasty bacteria. Taking good care of the tattoo will minimize the chances of an infection and ensure the healing process takes place quickly and efficiently (it usually takes about 2 weeks).

Don’t Scratch That Itch:

Picking at the scabs or scratching your skin is a big no-no because it can impede the healing process and cause permanent scarring. Moreover, your fingernails are home to some pretty disgusting bacteria (think uncooked food and poop germs) and exposing your newly tattooed skin to these bacteria can lead to some serious infections.

Take Some Downtime:

Tattoos on biceps may look great, but you need to steer clear of the gym for a while after getting tattooed. This is because during the process of getting inked, your skin is subjected to pain for a long duration, which can sometimes have an effect on your immune system. Exercising with a weakened immune system can actually cause you to ‘burn out’ and make you even more susceptible to illness. Additionally, excessive joint movement just beneath a tattoo can cause rubbing and irritation, greatly increasing discomfort.

Long Term Health Effects From Tattoos                                         

While the short-term risks of getting a tattoo may receive some attention, little is actually known about the long-term effects of living with ink under your skin. One of the little-known effects of getting inked is that people with tattoos experience difficulties if they need to get an MRI. There have been reports of skin burning, irritation, and discomfort while undergoing the scan. A possible explanation for this is that tattoo ink contains iron oxide, which begins to heat because of the magnetic field induced by the MRI machine.

Also, as important as it is to protect your skin from the sun, having a tattoo can augment the effects of sun exposure. For some people, it can cause the skin to become raised and itchy. This can be in reaction to the chemicals found in tattoo inks. For instance, cadmium found in yellow ink can cause redness, itchiness, and swelling.

If you thought the consequences of getting an impulsive tattoo only extended to the embarrassment of having to flaunt an exes name for decades to come, you’d be mistaken. About 1 in 10 people who get inked experience health-related issues because of their tattoo. So, think before you ink to avoid having to live with regrets later!

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