Staying healthy (21)
- Cosmetic surgery: What to know beforehand
- Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?
- Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy
- see all in Staying healthy
Dental care (7)
- Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics
- Oral health: A window to your overall health
- Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance
- see all in Dental care
Skin care (17)
- Best sunscreen: Understand sunscreen options
- Sunless tanning: What you need to know
- Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions
- see all in Skin care
Nail care (1)
- Fingernails: Do's and don'ts for healthy nails
Eye care (9)
- Eye injury: Tips to protect vision
- Contact lenses: What to know before you buy
- LASIK eye surgery
- see all in Eye care
- Sleep aids: Understand over-the-counter options
- Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults
- Sleep deprivation: Know the risks
- see all in Sleep
Mental health (11)
- Mental health: What's normal, what's not
- Empty nest syndrome: Tips for coping
- Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health
- see all in Mental health
Healthy relationships (10)
- Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness
- Domestic violence against men: Know the signs
- Domestic violence against women: Recognize patterns, seek help
- see all in Healthy relationships
Healthy at work (11)
- Workplace exercises: How to burn calories at work
- Desk stretches: How-to video collection
- Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide
- see all in Healthy at work
Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions
Make sure you're ready
Before you get a tattoo, ask yourself whether you truly want to invest in permanent body art. If you're unsure or worried that you might regret it someday, give yourself more time to think about it. Don't allow yourself to be pressured into getting a tattoo, and don't get a tattoo if you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you decide to go ahead with the tattoo, choose the location of the tattoo carefully. Consider whether you want the tattoo to be visible or hidden under clothing. Also remember that weight gain — including pregnancy weight gain — might distort the tattoo or otherwise affect its appearance.
Insist on safety precautions
To make sure your tattoo will be applied safely, answer these questions:
- Who does the tattooing? Don't attempt to tattoo yourself or allow an untrained friend to do the tattooing. Go to a reputable tattooing studio that employs only properly trained employees. Keep in mind that regulation requirements and licensing standards vary from state to state. Check with your city, county or state health department for information on local licensing and regulations.
- Does the tattoo artist wear gloves? Make sure the tattoo artist washes his or her hands and wears a fresh pair of protective gloves for each procedure.
- Does the tattoo artist use proper equipment? Make sure the tattoo artist removes the needle and tubes from sealed packages before your procedure begins. Any pigments, trays or containers should be unused as well.
- Does the tattoo artist sterilize nondisposable equipment? Make sure the tattoo artist uses a heat sterilization machine (autoclave) to sterilize all nondisposable equipment between customers. Instruments and supplies that can't be sterilized with an autoclave — including drawer handles, tables and sinks — should be disinfected with a commercial disinfectant or bleach solution after each use.
Take good care of your tattoo
How you care for your new tattoo depends on the type and extent of work done. Typically, however, you'll need to:
- Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the tattooed skin while it's healing.
- Keep the tattooed skin clean. Use plain soap and water and a gentle touch. While showering, avoid direct streams of water on the newly tattooed skin. Pat — don't rub — the area dry.
- Use moisturizer. Apply a mild moisturizer to the tattooed skin several times a day.
- Avoid sun exposure. Keep the tattooed area out of the sun for at least a few weeks.
- Avoid swimming. Stay out of pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water while your piercing is healing.
- Choose clothing carefully. Don't wear anything that might stick to the tattoo.
- Allow up to 2 weeks for healing. Don't pick at any scabs, which increases the risk of infection and can damage the design and cause scarring.
If you think your tattoo might be infected or you're concerned that your tattoo isn't healing properly, contact your doctor. If you're interested in tattoo removal, ask your dermatologist about laser surgery or other options for tattoo removal.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Schmidt RM, et al. Tattooing in adolescents and young adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Dec. 1, 2011.
- Do's and don'ts when considering tattoos or piercings. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. http://www.asds.net/_ConsumerPage.aspx?id=912&terms=body+piercing. Accessed Dec. 1, 2011.
- DeBoer S, et al. Puncturing myths about body piercing and tattooing. Nursing. 2008;38:50.
- Tattoos and permanent makeup. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm108530.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2011.
- Keltz M. The skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes during pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Dec. 1, 2011.
- Tattoos and body piercings. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/tattoos-and-body-piercings. Accessed Dec. 2, 2011.
- Desai NA, et al. Body art in adolescents: Paint, piercings, and perils. Adolescent Medicine. 2011;22:97.
- Braverman PK. Body art: Piercing, tattooing, and scarification. Adolescent Medicine Clinics. 2006;17:505.