TATTOO SHOP SAFETY: 15 Things to Look for When Getting Tattooed

In order to have a positive tattoo experience, it's not only important to find an artist who understands your vision and does great work, but who will also provide a safe and clean environment for the entire procedure. It's good to trust your instincts and you can usually get a good (or bad) feel for a shop as soon as you walk in. A few things to keep in mind when you are visiting potential artists and shops are:

  • Does the artist always wear gloves during each procedure?
  • Are the floors and other surfaces clean?
  • Is the overall shop clean?
  • Does the artist make you feel comfortable and does the environment feel positive and safe?
  • Are ointment, water, ink, ink cups, and gloves used only once? (These items should not ever be reused).
  • Are all of the needles new, disposable and made for single-use only?
  • Does the staff appear attentive to your needs and questions?
  • Does the artist change gloves after every procedure?
  • Are needles properly disposed of? Does the show have a Sharps disposable container for needles and razors?
  • Does the ink used come from a bottle that's poured into a small cup each tattoo project?  (Ink should never be reused. If ink remains after a tattoo has been completed, it should always be thrown away)
  • Does the artist provide a portfolio of work that you can view online or in person, so you can get an idea of their style and skill?
  • Do the artists have up-to-date Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) certifications (in most states, individual artists are required to go through some type of training in order to provide tattooing services)
  • If you live in a county or state that requires artists to have a license does the shop display licenses in an accessible location?
  • Make sure there’s no carpet or porous flooring near where tattooing will take place, as these surfaces trap bodily fluid and are not easily cleaned.
  • Does the artist provide aftercare instructions?

Take safety seriously when adding art to your skin that is permanent. It is worth taking the time to find a shop and an artist that you are comfortable with in every way. Happy inkin'! 

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