Getting a tattoo is a great way to commemorate a special occasion (like the birth of a child), express your personality, and turn your body into a walking work of art. Each tattoo parlour should have plenty of books and other tattoo idea guides that you can flick through to get inspiration regarding the design of your tattoo. Or, you can get some ideas from tattoo magazines; Inked magazine, is a favourite for both industry professionals and tattoo owners. Make sure to talk through your tattoo with your chosen tattoo artist, so that you can be sure that they will get the design just right. Smaller tattoos can be completed right then and there, in an hour or even less. But, many tattoos will be done in stages, so be prepared to make several appointments to get the tattoo finished. This is particularly the case for larger or very intricate designs, which can take several hours to complete. Or, if your tattoo involves colour, often the tattoo artist will tattoo the outline of the design first, and then fill in the colours later. This, of course, gives you more scope to change your mind and perfect the design, so see it as an advantage!
It is so important to ensure that your tattoo parlour is a safe one, and there are a few quick checks that you can perform for peace of mind. Firstly, make sure that your chosen tattoo artist has been registered with their local authority: they should have a certificate on display. Local authority registration means that their tattoo parlour is subject to regular health and safety checks. Also make sure to check that the parlour has an up to date health and safety certificate on display and that all the needles they use are brand new.
The process of tattooing involves using a needle to make small holes in your skin, which are then filled in with ink. Tattoo inks come in a variety of colours (a glow in the dark tattoo ink has even been developed), and many tattoo artists mix their own colours from scratch, so if you want something special you can always ask. A tattoo usually takes a fortnight to look completely healed, and after a month and a half you can usually be sure that the skin has completely healed.
Products such as 'Tattoo Goo', recommended by tattoo artists, can be used to aid the healing process and to stop the tattoo from itching. Whilst the tattoo is healing, it's important to keep it away from the sun and out of water (so make showers short, or let that newly-tattooed arm hang over the edge of the bath as you soak), and also to avoid wearing clothing or jewellery that might irritate it.