Don't Do This Before Getting A Tattoo

Updated: Aug 8

The things you do before getting your next tattoo are just as important as the aftercare. You may want to consider how you’re going to prepare yourself for your next session. Here are a few things you should avoid doing before getting tattooed.

Don’t Drink Alcohol

You may have already heard this before. Consuming an excess amount of alcohol before getting a tattoo could result in a more uncomfortable experience for both the artist and yourself.

This is due to the thinning effects alcohol has on your blood. Although some bleeding is normal during a tattoo, adding alcohol to the mix could increase the amount of bleeding.

Just like most liquids, water and alcohol can dilute your blood. It’s possible that caffeine can increase blood flow due to elevated blood pressure. Some medications can also have this effect, so it’s important to let your artist know if you are taking any medications that could thin your blood or affect your blood pressure.

There are also natural blood thinners in the food we eat.

Some herbs and spices that contain a natural blood thinner include cayenne pepper, cinnamon, curry powder, dill, ginger, oregano, paprika, peppermint, thyme and turmeric.

Meanwhile, there are fruits that can aid in blood thinning. These include blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, oranges, prunes, raisins, strawberries, and tangerines. Something to keep in mind in case you’re thinking about having something to eat between your session.

Don’t Take Drugs

The best state of mind you can be in is a clear one. When you add drugs or alcohol to the mix, it's no secret that it can cause changes in your mood and behavior.

Certain doctors prescribed medications that can’t be avoided are a different story. Those should be discussed with your artist beforehand. Although recreational drugs seem like they may help take the edge off, it’s possible they could have the opposite effect as well.

Certain pain medications can cause issues with bleeding, and some drugs can affect how well you’ll sit still during the tattoo. Some of the more serious effects being not able to function properly, having a negative change in mood, and impaired judgement.

The artist can only do so much to ensure a tattoo is done well in these situations. Your artist may even refuse to tattoo you. Not being in full control of your state of mind leaves the opportunity open for your body to unintentionally react to the pain, and cause the artist to injury you or make a mistake.

Don’t Get Injured

Keeping your skin in good condition before your session, this one is important too. There’s nothing worse than waiting weeks or months for your appointment to come just to be told your skin is not in the right condition for it.

Most of the time we're thinking about aftercare and what to do after getting a tattoo, but what we do to prepare beforehand is just as important.

Do you have a sunny vacation planned before your session? Does your job allow your skin to be exposed to injury? Are you prone to skin outbreaks or rashes?

If you’re prone to sunburns or have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid being exposed to the sun for a long period of time prior to your appointment. If you’re receiving any sort of laser treatments, you should avoid getting a tattoo while your skin is recovering. If you have other fresh tattoos, you should give them enough time to fully heal before finishing or adding to them.

Sometimes things may arise that are out of your control. Accidents at work, minor cuts and scrapes, or even a skin reaction. If that should be the case, it’s best to bring these things up to your artist before getting any work done.

Don’t Stink

Would you show up to a blind date smelling like yesterday’s laundry? Good luck getting another date. Tattoo appointments are no different and proper hygiene is a must!

It’s a given that your artist is going to be getting pretty close to your skin, and any body odours will be pretty easily noticed. This is especially noticeable when getting tattooed around areas like feet, armpits, or anywhere else that’s prone to sweating.

But odour isn’t the only reason to show up fresh and clean. It’s important that your skin is in its best condition possible before getting a tattoo. You are actually helping prep your skin by removing oils, dead skin cells, bacteria and clogged pores. Throwing in a shave is always a plus; your artist will thank you.

Don’t Be Late

We all want to walk out of a tattoo shop with a smile, and nobody wants to feel like their tattoo was rushed; this is why being on time is important.

Of course, things happen. Unexpected traffic, long drive-thru lines, a quick stop to the bank. Do your best to plan ahead and consider that some things may get in the way. Sometimes leaving a bit earlier than you need to can make all the difference.

Some shops may reschedule, cancel your appointment, or void your deposit if you show up later than a specified time. It could also become difficult for the artist to comfortably focus on your session if there is another client booked and your time is limited. Your artist will most likely aim to have enough time set up for a quick design overview, skin prep, breaks, cleaning up, etc.

Most importantly, tattoo time!

Don’t Skip Meals

This is especially important for those longer tattoo sessions. You’re going to need to keep that energy up long enough to make it through. It’s never a good idea to avoid eating.

It could be the excitement of seeing the end result; maybe you want to wait until after the session to eat; or maybe taking a long break makes it tough to get back into your comfort zone.

Although most of the time our bodies are pretty capable of letting us know when we’re not feeling okay, it can surprise us sometimes. You may not feel it happening with all the distractions, but gradually your energy level will drop. You may feel good while you’re sitting or laying and find yourself feeling lightheaded or unsteady when getting up. Your body temperature can be affected due to blood loss as well. You could experience symptoms of shock or even fainting.

The best way to counter that low energy is by keeping your body full. Protein and carbs are great, but take it easy on the coffee and sugar. Make sure what you're eating isn’t going to make you jittery. It’s recommended that you have a well balanced meal an hour or two before your session, and if it’s a long one, try to fuel up again once more sometime during the session. If that’s not an option, a few quick snacks to keep you going might do the trick.

Overall, when getting a tattoo, nothing beats a clear mind and a full stomach. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we start it.