How to Get Ready for Your First Tattoo

A year ago, I got inked: two small tattoos at the same time! I get asked more often about the details of how I got my tattoo, so I think a blog post is called for.

To read more on where I got my tattoo, how much, and details on the experience, read here.

This post is about tips on how to prep up for your first tattoo experience.
(That is, if you're as meticulous as I am.)

  1. Choose a design.
    • I would suggest looking at designs in Pinterest. The designs are fairly unique, unlike those you can find in Google. It's also easier to track all the designs you're interested in with Pinterest; just "pin" the photo, and you can access it in your Pinterest "board."
    • You can also opt to contact a tattoo artist, or an artsy friend, to design for you. For the former, artistic fees may apply. (I chose the Pinterest option, by the way.) 
    • The body area you're planning to have a tattoo is, for me, the most important consideration in choosing a design.
  2. Have your chosen design digitized. 
    • If the design you want is exactly right off the Internet/Pinterest, print it out in exactly the same size as how you want it inked. 
    • If the design is a mix and match of different designs, have it Photoshopped, and then print it out.
    • The rationale for this is that if you print it out, it's easier for the tattoo artist to create the tattoo stencil.
  3. Contact the tattoo shop for a quotation.
    • If you want to prepare a budget for your tattoo in advance, ask for a price quotation from the tattoo artist. 
    • Bonus tip: Tattoos are a bit expensive. Small designs that are 3 in x 3 in size costs approximately 1,000php.
  4. Book an appointment with a tattoo artist.
    • Some tattoo shops are busy on particular days, especially if there are many customers.
    • If you plan to have a large tattoo, several sessions may be needed. The arrangement and the interval will be at the discretion of the tattoo artist.
    • If you plan to have a small tattoo, it might just take about 2 hours minimum.
  5. Buy necessary materials for tattoo after-care. 
    • You can do this after the inking, but if you want to be totally and meticulously prepared, you can do this ahead of time. 
    • Here's the list of after-care essentials:
      • Antibacterial ointment - No prescription is needed for this one. Just take note NOT to buy anything with corticosteroids (this hinders wound healing). You can try bacitracin, bactrim, bactroban, or you can ask you artist for his preferred ointment.
      • Gentle baby wash - Don't use normal soap on the tattoed area. You can try Cetaphil or Johnson's Baby Wash.
      • Baby lotion - You need this once the tattoo starts peeling off. You can try Johnson's Baby Lotion.
    • Bonus Tip: First 3-5 days, use antibacterial ointment; the succeeding 3 days lotion. Bathe using baby wash on tattooed area instead of normal soap for 7-10 days.

I think that's all. Fin. :-)


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