“Does it hurt?” “What kind of question is that?”

One of the most common questions asked right before getting either your first tattoo or a new spot done is, “does it hurt?” Well…yes. Thinking about it logically, there are dozens of tiny needles filled with ink being injected a few layers deep into your skin’s surface repeatedly for minutes to hours at one time. So yes, getting a tattoo in any location is going to be painful, but there are definitely some spots that are more sensitive than others. Below is a picture that charts the pain levels of tattoo locations as blue is the most and yellow is the least.

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Examining the photo here, it is not surprising that spots like the back of the knees, elbow crease, armpits, and genitals are the worst to get done. Though I believe the head should be appointed blue as well, these spots are relatively hard to deal with.

Personally I agree with the diagram in totality except for the calf/side leg due to my discomfort when getting mine done about a year ago. With a dozen tattoos done, there is not one location that I have been tattooed where I did not experience a decent amount of discomfort, but then again it is all a personal experience.

Pain tolerance levels on each individual is different so for some, the pain chart may vary, but for the most part everyone can agree the accuracy of it. Some may feel tiny pricks as others feel bee stings and this is completely normal. The premise of showing the chart is for others to examine and really consider if their pain tolerance is high enough for their location of desire. Passing out is the last thing any artist wants to have to deal with.

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Is Your Shop Sanitary?

Nine times out of ten when a person goes to get a tattoo, they are looking for two things.

  1. Is the tattoo artist qualified and is their work clean looking?
  2. Cost- Is the tattoo of desire overpriced? Where is the best deal?

The issue in looking for the best deals is that many are not necessarily looking into the cleanliness of the shop and how business is run there. With having to be at an A inspection grade to keep as shop open, there are a variety of things to look at before setting up your next appointment. Below is a list of signs to look out for when choosing an appropriate and clean shop…

  1. Medical Equipment
    • The use of needles is an obvious idea when it comes to tattoos, but making sure your shop uses fresh ones for every single customer is essential to prevent any sort of cross-contamination and disease spreading.
    • Gauze, is the shop fully stocked? Do they use fresh and clean for every person? These are all things to look for even though it seems silly.
    • Cleaning supplies…green soap sound familiar? Maybe witch hazel? Always make sure your artist has a supply that is plentiful!
  2. Uncluttered
    • Look around and see that their workshops are free from any loose and unnecessary equipment that could cause distractions or contaminations
  3. Disposal
    • Looking and making sure that they are properly disposing of needles and contaminated napkins is always necessary
  4. Overall Upkeep of Shop
    • Take a peak around. Anything seem off? Leaks? Mold? Bugs? If you’re saying yes to any of these than it is more than evident that their inspection is either way out of date, or there is something else going on that you want no part of

It may seem silly to hesitate and look around the potential shop, but trust me it is worth it. The price may seem right, the artist may, but if the shop isn’t at top quality standards than start looking else where. Nothing is worse than putting your body in harms way for a tattoo and it may be an extra few weeks that you would have to wait…but that wait will be worth it.

LASER REMOVAL…IS IT A SOLUTION?

           There is always going to come a time in which individuals suddenly regret their decision of a tattoo and consider something we like to call laser removal surgery. According to webmd, the process is described as, “lasers remove tattoos by breaking up the pigment colors with a high-intensity light beam.” how uncomfortable?

This process is an effective treatment for those that want to remove unwanted ink off of their bodies. there are many factors though that are predetermined before one just goes ahead with treatment such as size, location, color and even age due to the sensitivity of skin as one gets older. According to several websites and doctor recommendations, smaller tattoos require less laser beam pulses due to the limited amount of ink while larger pieces require way more frequent lasers. in either case, the patient must undergo several sessions before their tattoo is considered invisible.

Professionals recommend that after every session that their patients keep the area clean and bandaged as much as possible to prevent infection. They also agree on using an antibacterial ointment to cover the area as well. there are some risk factors that come with these procedures such as hypopigmentation which effects the skin and makes the area that was once soaked in ink, lighter than the skin around. others would be the possibility of dulling the colors but not fully. As claimed, black and blue ink respond well to treatments meanwhile others such as greens and reds do not which requires more sessions and even then…sometimes it will not be a permanent dispersant of ink pigmentation.

Now removal sessions can be quite pricey. Depending on how big and who you go to, there is a rough estimate of between $200-$500 each session. That is a lot of money so one must be sure that they are willing to go through the pain and dish out high amounts of money. It is crazy to think that these treatments are going to cost more to remove than the receive.

With the pain and money in mind, one must be completely sure of their tattoo before they go and get it. Many who go on impulse have regrets later in life and see this as a solution and though it can be you need to ask yourself…am I sure I want this for the rest of my life?

 

Website referral: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/laser-tattoo-removal#2

Pictures: Google Images

“Oh that’s what I had for breakfast!”

To start this off, my mother is my biggest inspiration, my superhero, and the most loving woman I know. In all honesty she is the reason I am still here on this planet today with all of the support she has given me personally from growing up as a little girl, to watching my family fall apart, to trying to put myself at the top in high school, to now putting myself through college while working a full time job; she has always had my back and been by my side through it all.

With that being said, obviously I wanted to make one of my tattoos 100% about her and all that she has done for me, but to make the situation just a little bit more sentimental, I promised her we could get matching ones for her birthday (though it was 8 months ago…better late than never!) Both of us know it sounds crazy but we got matching pineapples.

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Growing up my mother always decorated my house in primitive, country antiques and one of the biggest was pineapple….they were everywhere. As many do not know, pineapples are the colonial sign of welcome and that is where she fell in love with them. Now when trying to think of something that we could get, I thought of the first object that came to mind when I thought of my mother and immediately it went straight towards the yellow and green fruit. After many months of debating on designs and raising the money…we went to the tattoo shop. Below is a side by side as mine is on my right arm and hers falls on to her ankle.

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Below are going to be some pictures of the process of us going back to back on getting our tattoos. We of course went to my favorite shop, Electric Tattoo in Asbury Park, NJ and the artist of choice was Rich Heller who did an incredible job on both!

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This is Rich Heller putting up with another pre-tattoo photo from me

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This was the shading process of my tattoo when I was getting very irritated in the arm

Overall I am thrilled with how both turned out and the healing process is going smoothly on both parts! I am more than happy to have a tattoo in constant reminder of my best friend, my super hero, and most importantly my mother.

P.S. Rich Heller had pineapple for breakfast that same morning

11th Month calls for the 11th Tattoo

As of yesterday, my best friends and I decided what a better way to celebrate Halloween and the beginning of the holiday season by no other than wasting our money on tattoos. As a back story I have two really close friends and since I have started the adventure, they have supported me and took me to shops, given me ideas, and came with me on some of my more recent tattoos.

Seeing as it was the first of the month we figured this was the best time financially to go into the shop and get a few small pieces to keep building up the art on our bodies. The go to shop was Electric Tattoos in Asbury, NJ where I have gone multiple times in the past and where 4 out of the 6 artists have tattooed me.

Because one of my friends was too eager for words about getting tattooed, we let her go first. Done by the artist Rich Heller, she got a few tiny bats around her ear because she was feeling, as she puts it, “spooOOOooky”, because of the season.

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Cute and small and honestly did not cost as much as others would believe. Rich priced it at $80.

I was second in line and mine was personal and had more meaning than the other two. Over the recent few years and growing up, I have always felt as though God was with me every step of the way through the good things and the bad things He was always watching out over me. Now I am not going to cause a religious debate here and I honestly respect anyways religious views on this Earth but personally I have a strong faith in God and what He has in store for me. My 11th tattoo was dedicated to my faith and a reminder of who is always watching over me.

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In the color purple, the meaning behind the symbols is, “God is Greater than the Highs and Lows.” My artist was no other than Rich Heller as well who has done now 4 of my tattoos. He has a steady and light hand with very clean line work.

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This is a picture of Rich Heller and I of Electric Tattoo in Asbury Park, NJ as he was getting ready to do my 11th.

Last up was my other friend who has such a fear of people touching her feet, yet she was so insistent on getting her foot tattooed she allowed the other artist on shift, Evan, to tattoo honey suckles.

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They were done beautifully and actually in very fast timing. Evan told us he learned how to tattoo in New Brunswick, NJ where it was always a busy area where tattoos needed to be done fast and well done.

Our tattoo adventure was very awesome seeing how my friends this far have supported me in my decision to travel and ink up my body. Their loyalty to me as well in getting themselves tattooed is always a blessing and every day is another adventure.

Stay tuned because there will be interviews with my artists and if you could not guess….another one at the end of the week!

Geometric Tattoos

Okay since I am bias and a human being I wanted to talk about how the appearance of geometric tattoos is so pleasing to the eye. Keeping the designs intricate or even simple but in all black give such depth and perception in the tattoos. I personally have a goal of geometric leg sleeve that though I have started, I only have 2 pieces done for it and will be getting another one in the next few weeks and trust me….I will be posting about it. I am traveling to Black Iris Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY for my next addition to the leg piece.

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I will be honest and tell you that they do cost more than the typical tattoo because of the radical designs and intricacies that need to be put in place. There is a need for artists that can work in straight, black lines. Let’s be real, no tattoo is ever perfect and if you think it will come out absolutely perfect…I hate to break it to you it won’t. But there are some artists near the New Jersey and New York  areas that come pretty close to it.

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The picture above is geometric work done by John O’Hara of Black Iris Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. Now he is the next one I want to work on my leg because as you can see the lines are consistent and the designs are beautiful and almost match flawlessly with one another though they were done at different times. His specialization in geometric tattoos shows true talent and this is something the world of tattooing needs more of.

Tips on How to Not Annoy Your Tattoo Artist

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Alright, going to that tattoo shop especially for the first time is a nerve wrecking experience all in it’s own. Now many do not understand the etiquette that comes with going into the shop. As every business, the artists are professionals and this is where their career lies. So as a fellow lover of ink I comprised a list of ways not to annoy your artists.

  1. Please shower before hand. Tattooing is a very intimate where the artist is basically on top of you and do you really want to wreak up the entire shop because you did not feel like showering that day?
  2. Try your best not to move. Moving only interferes with the artist and nobody wants a random line going across them. Keeping still has its advantages and sometimes being a good client can actually reduce the cost of the tattoo especially an hourly rate artist. Without moving it gives the artists an ample amount of time to complete the tattoo without interruptions.
  3.  Friends. Bringing one maybe two is okay for emotional and moral support when getting tattooed, but bringing your mother, father, brother, sister, best friends, boyfriend/girlfriend is not cool at all. Overcrowding the shop does not only distract your artist but the others working in the shop as well. With constant talking and nagging on the artist, it will only piss them off in all honesty and making such an exciting experience disappointing.
  4. Try and keep quiet unless the artist asks you questions. Even though talking only requires mouth movement, there is still a risk of your body language changing as in shrugging or moving your hand and if your artist is on your arm for example, it puts more of a strain and need for concentration from the artist. Keeping quiet and still just helps so much.
  5. Do not take too many breaks. Now if you are going through a tattoo for 3+ hours then yes you need a break because of pain, swelling, a quick stretch or a cigarette. But a tattoo that should not take too long, do not ask for a break unless it is an emergency because news flash, you are not the only person in this world, and the artist does not have the time to spare so you can make multiple bathroom trips. They have other clients and other deadlines to make after your tattoo and prolonging will only cost more and irritate them.