So You Want A Tattoo?
Getting A Tattoo or a Piercing:
Generally if you are over 18 years of age it is your personal choice to get tattooed, but remember that your tattoo will be with you for the rest of your life. Some tattoos can be surgically removed but often the result is worse than the original “problem”.
You may think that the toughest decision to make is where to get your tattoo or what design and colour it should be . . . WRONG!
What Is Really Important . . .
The really important decision that you need to make is WHO will execute your tattoo/piercing and HOW do you choose them?
Your chosen artist should be aware of the potential risks to themselves and their clients (and so should you) of infections such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV and bacterial skin infections that can result from contaminated, dirty equipment and surroundings. Your chosen artist should be a professional who demonstrates excellent hygiene, follows infection control guidelines (sterilisation procedures) and is happy to discuss all of this with you. Most artists use an autoclave (a steam steriliser) to sterilise their tattooing/piercing equipment. If used correctly autoclaves are considered to be the safest form of sterilisation. Ask if the Tattooist belongs to the TAANZ (Tattoo Artists Association of New Zealand) and if they have the relevant hygiene certificates from their local authority.
Beware The Backyard Artist . . .
Your greatest risk of infection comes from those tattooists who operate outside of these guidelines. They may work from home or at an unregistered studio. These people may not be aware of, or care about, the potential hazards to you or themselves. While their work may be cheaper than that of a professional, the risk of infection and inferior quality work is much greater.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions . . .
Ask lots of questions – a professional artist should be happy to take the time to answer your queries and discuss any concerns and fears you may have. They should be happy to show you their premises and show you the hygiene procedures that they use. This should help you to feel more relaxed and confident about getting your tattoo/piercing there. Ask the artist for photographs of their work to make sure that you are happy with the artists style and that the results are of a high standard.
What To Look For & What To Ask . . .
Look for a clean and hygienic premises – benches, sinks and other facilities.
Ask the artist if he/she uses clean and new needles each time. If they reuse needles how do they sterilise their equipment?
Look for certificates from the local government authority displayed in a prominent place.
You may want to ask if you can watch someone else being tattooed/pierced (with the clients permission of course) if you are unsure of the process.
While watching you should observe if:
New disposable gloves are worn for each client.
The artist is using new ink containers and not dipping into one large container.
The artist is talking to the client about the process, and doing what they can to make the client feel comfortable.
If you are not satisfied with what you see or don’t feel comfortable with the artist then take the time to look elsewhere.
About Blood Borne Infections . . .
Hepatitis C: This is a blood borne virus that can be easily transmitted via blood. Needles that have come in contact with infected blood are a major risk of infection. Hepatitis C is a long term illness and can cause damage to the liver, resulting in cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. At this time there is no known cure or preventative vaccine for hepatitis C
Hepatitis B: Like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B is transmitted via blood and can cause long term illness. A safe and effective vaccine is available and a course of three injections provide protection for most people. A simple blood test can show whether or not a person is infected.
HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus that results in the disease commonly known as AIDS. HIV can be transmitted via blood such a that found on a used tattoo needle. At present there is no vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS so safe and hygienic practices are the best prevention. It should be pointed out that there has never been a documented case of a client contracting HIV through the tattooing process.
Bacterial Infections: Common bacteria such as Staphylococcus can be transmitted as a result of unhygienic conditions, resulting in nasty infections that could ruin the tattoo and potentially cause scarring.
A reputable professional understands all of the above risks and takes all possible steps to ensure excellent hygiene. If you want more information about the above infections ask your doctor or local health authority. Your local government body or council should be able to provide you with the hygiene standards required of
tattooists in your area. Advice from our local doctor Charles kingsland
For further information on hygiene standards and practices relating to Tattoo and Piercing check out the Ministry of Health and Christchurch City Council guidelines.
Caring For Your New Tattoo . . .
The care that you take of your new tattoo is just as important as the care taken by your chosen Tattooist in giving it to you. Click here for some basic guidelines:
Caring For Your New Piercing . . .
further information and links to guidelines on caring for your new piercings coming soon…
If you have any problems, concerns or queries about your new tattoo do not hesitate to or your tattoo artist immediately.
One who works with his hands is a labourer,
One who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman,
One who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist.