We don’t really know if diamonds are forever, but the one thing that is forever is a tattoo. In fact, some cultures believe that tattoos are inked into your soul. Now, if that’s the kind of commitment you want to make with your body, you better be sure about what you want and who should be allowed to put that art on you, right? Here’s a checklist to help you chart your whole journey into the world of tattoos.

A month before you want to get inked

Go on a hunt for the right artist. Even if he/she lives across the town or the state, take time out to get there. So who is the right artist? For starters, check the license. Most artists display it in their studios. If you don’t see it, there is no harm in asking for it. 

Take some time to go through the artist’s body of work. We all are familiar with the tattoo goofs that turn into viral memes. As much as it is fun to laugh about it, it is no fun when you have a joke inked on you. Also, you can ask the artist to sketch your design for you, print a copy and check it out.

 Check out the studio. The manner in which the studio is maintained can tell you loads. You are dealing with needles going under your skin and permanent ink here. So, ensure that you are in a clean and a hygienic place.

If you are a female, it helps to plan your appointment according to your period. Your pain threshold is higher just after your periods and is extremely low just before you begin menstruating. So the ideal time is to fix an appointment after you are done with your monthly period.

On the day of the appointment

Ensure that you haven’t consumed alcohol during the 24 hours prior to the appointment as alcohol thins blood. And, thinner blood can lead to excess bleeding, making it difficult for your artist to draw.

Wear comfortable clothing, i.e., ensure that no part of your outfit is too tight and your blood flows with ease.

 Before the procedure, it is very very important that the artist opens a new needle right in front of you. Most artists do this naturally to assure you that they are using disposable and safe needles. If they don’t, you ask. 

During the procedure

 Stay calm. We know it’s easier said than done, but if you can keep calm, your muscles will remain relaxed, cutting down the level of pain you experience

 Breathe! As the artist begins the work, you will notice that the downward strokes don’t hurt as much as the upward strokes and shading. It is important to breathe easy during the whole process.

Talk. Yup, take the escapist route to dealing with pain. Just chat with your partner or your artist to ensure that you are distracted from focusing on the pain.

After the procedure

The post-tattoo care instructions should be followed like a religion.

The artist will give your instructions on how to shower without getting your tattoo wet. You will be given either an ointment that waterproofs the area or a wrap to promote the healing process. 

Avoid the sun for a few days as the tattoo may fade due to exposure.

Don’t let anyone touch the tattoo and keep your hands off it too. It may begin to itch soon, and that’s a good sign of healing, but then again, keep your paws off your tat.

By Samyuktha K

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