What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your First Tattoo

On the day you will get tattooed, be sure you are free of illness, feel well and are not hungover. (Please stay away from drugs and alcohol!) Make sure the area you're getting tattooed in is free of sunburns or rashes. Do not use lotion on that area the day you are coming into the shop. Just a clean shower is all that is needed. Also try not to shave the area since the tattoo artist can do a clean shave without razor burn.

An hour before heading into your appointment, be sure to eat and drink plenty of water. Your body will deal with the trama of being tattooed easier if your blood sugar level is elevated.

In the shop you will show your driver's license and sign a consent form. Your tattoo artist will prepare while you are filling out the form. They are laying out their supplies, creating the stencil they will use and getting the area comfortable for you. After they are ready they will call you back into their space, usually called a booth. They will clean the area, shave it, and place the stencil on. At this time they will let you see the stencil on your skin so you may give final approval. After this, it will be permanent, so speak up if something is wrong with placement or anything. You will then be positioned in their chair in a way that makes the job easier for the tattoo artist. They will try to make you comfortable but the more comfortable the artist is, the work will come out better and will probably be done faster. After this just try to relax while they do their thing!

After they're done they will clean the area, let you see it and then bandage it up. The bandage is only temporary until you are able to get home and clean your tattoo, but it will prevent airborne disease and infection from touching it. At this point you may consider your tattoo an open wound for about a week and it's important you treat it like so. Read our article on what comes next: healing your tattoo.