If you’re reading this you or someone you know is thinking about getting a tattoo.
Before you take the plunge you should really know about some safety precautions you should be taking to have a safe and enjoyable experience while getting your tattoo.
When walking into a tattoo shop you should observe and ask a few questions about their sterilization methods.
The first thing you should notice walking into the shop is how the shop presents itself, like is it clean? If you feel the shop is clean and looks professional go ahead and ask an artist for their portfolio or some pictures of tattoos they have done, if you like their work ask to see their autoclave.
What is an autoclave?
A autoclave is a pressure cooker used for sterilization of equipment. Equipment should be in the autoclave for a minimum of thirty minutes and must maintain a temp of 246 degrees for fully sterilized equipment. It should be a Steam autoclave and not a chemical one. Not all shops require an autoclave but if they do have one it’s a good idea to inspect it.
If the person you asked to see the autoclave seems caught off guard, annoyed, or flat out refuses the request try somewhere else. They may be annoyed because they have an autoclave that isn’t properly maintained.
If they do agree to show you their autoclave carefully inspect it, make sure it’s clean and doesn’t have any damage that may cause it to not work properly.
Another thing to ask about is their most recent spore test.
What is a spore test?
Spore tests are used to make sure an autoclave is working properly and sterilizing properly. A spore test is a test that puts living spores into an autoclave. Afterwards they are sent to a lab where they are incubated, if anything is alive the autoclave is not working properly.
What if they don’t have an autoclave?
If they do not have an autoclave that means they are just probably using disposable equipment that they only use once, this equipment comes to their shop already sterilized and does not require an autoclave for use and is perfectly fine in fact most tattoo shops use disposable equipment now a days.
Alright so you checked them out and they have sterilized equipment and have great looking art work. So you’ll probably want to be in the chair soon, but before you sit down in the chair you should witness the artist do these things before going ahead with the tattoo.
1. The artist should put on gloves.
2. The artist should wipe down the work space and chair you’ll be sitting in with a sanitizing cloth.
3. The artist should place protective film over areas that are often touched.
4. The artist should remove the gloves and throw them away.
5. The artist should put on a fresh pair of gloves before proceeding further.
6. The artist should place a cloth on his or her work space to place inks and other equipment on.
7. The artist should place a cloth that either fully covers the chair or partially covers the chair. This depends on what area of your body the artist will be working on.
8. The artist should put on a protective barrier around his wrists if he has exposed skin.
9. You should witness the artist remove the needles and other equipment from their protective covers, and then the artist should check them for imperfections that may cause problems.
10. If you’ve gotten this far it’s O.k to go ahead with the tattoo if you wish.
EXTRA: If at anytime the artist needs to answer a phone or touch something not required to be touched he should remove his gloves first then answer the phone, when he is done on the phone or what ever he was doing he should wash his hand then put on a FRESH pair of gloves.
11. So you’re done with your tattooing session. Whats next? The artist should wrap you up with some gauze and tell you how to care for your tattoo. Remember new tattoos are open wounds and do require some attention so they don’t become infected.
Remember don’t put yourself at risk to save a few dollars. If you follow this advice you shouldn’t have a problem but I do encourage you to do some more research about the subject of tattoo safety.