Frequently Asked Questions
Is Tattooing Safe?
Yes, now there is increased awareness about infection control in the tattoo studio environment, both artists and consumers are changing to adapt to today's standards of health and safety through education. There are a number of items to look for to ensure your peace of mind and understanding that your chosen studio is performing basic standards. Is there an autoclave on site? Is single service of materials and equipment provided? Are gloves being worn? Is the environment clean? Are contaminated materials properly disposed of? ASK QUESTIONS!
What is an Autoclave?
An autoclave is a machine that will kill any known living organism. This is not to be confused with toaster ovens, dry heat units, boiling of needles or soaking equipment in alcohol. Autoclaves use heat, steam and pressure at temperatures above 270 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes from a cold start. ASK TO SEE ONE!
What does "single" service mean?
This means that each needle and tube set is individually packaged, dated and sealed, then autoclaved. There is a small icon on the bag that will change color when proper sterilization has occurred. Use of dated "spore indicators", as part of the sterilization routine ensures microbial death and is an added measure of assurance. What about the material? Any ointment, pigments, gloves, ink, ink caps, needles etc. used in applying your new tattoo are discarded after use. NOTHING is re-used! After the tattoo application, the artist will disinfect the work area with EPA approved virucidal that kill any surface bacteria or viruses. Hepatitis B can live in dried blood for up to ten days!
Can I get AIDS?
It takes 100 microliters of blood and a deep intramuscular puncture to transmit the HIV virus. This is equivalent to 10 drops of blood. Since needles used for tattooing are "solid core" (not hollow like syringe) and HIV does not live outside the human body too long, it is unlikely. There has never been a documented case of "getting AIDS" from a tattoo.
Does it Hurt?
Yes, but it's not as bad as you might think. Many clients have compared the feeling to scratching a sun burn. Everybody experiences tattooing differently. Some hardly notice, and most find it tolerable, while a few find it painful. And remember, almost everyone who gets one tattoo comes back for more! The pain comes from the needle group in the tattoo machine hitting your skin very rapidly. This sensation, however, doesn't feel like the pain of an injection it's more of a constant irritation. The pain will also vary according to where on your body you get worked on. Areas of the body that have bones close to the surface (collarbone, anklebone, ribs, etc.) tend to be more painful than other areas. Different types of needle groups have their own unique sensation. The needles used for outlining produce a sharp, hot, and more noticeable pain, though the outlining is USUALLY the quickest part of the tattoo. The needles used for shading usually produce an abrasive and hot feeling, which is more tolerable for most people.
Can anything be done to reduce pain?
There are some easy ways to minimize pain:
・Increase your water intake a couple of days before your tattoo
・Avoid alcohol, drugs and caffeine the day before and day of your appointment.
・Get lots of sleep the night before.
・Most importantly: eat a good meal before coming to your tattoo appointment.
Some clients have reported that the use of an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprophen has significantly reduced discomfort and given them the ability to sit comfortably for longer sessions. Ibuprophen (Advil) is not to be confused with A.S.A (Aspirin), which can adversely affect the tattoo healing process as it interferes with the clotting process that your body uses to heal and abrasion such as a tattoo.
- We also highly recommend using the product Hush Gel ( make sure to apply 1Hr before tattoo) HUSH GEL
Will you design something for me?
Absolutely! A large percentage of the work done at Guru Tattoo Studio is custom-drawn. Bring all your ideas and any pictures to your first consultation where we will discuss design, color, style, size and location. We will work collaboratively with you to ensure you get art you'll love that will also look great as a tattoo.
Can I bring my own design?
Definitely, you can bring original drawings, photos, or other art. Designs can come from any source: postcards, magazines, wrapping paper, paintings, photos, etc. The studio also has resources and ideas. Feel free to bring your designs in to discuss tattoo feasibility.
Why is size important in tattoo design?
Larger designs work best at tattoos for a couple of reasons. Tattoo ink is similar to paint in that the pigment particles are suspended in a medium for application. In paint it is oil or water. In tattoo ink it varies, but most often it is glycerin, distilled water, and/or alcohol. The ink is pushed into the dermis layer of the skin during the tattoo process. During healing, the body absorbs the liquid medium, living only the pigment. While the dermis layer doesn’t change the way the epidermis does, there will be minor changes in the skin over time. These changes account for the blurring of tattoo line. This blurring has more of an impact in tattoos that have smaller and tighter designs. Larger tattoos, while still blurring, will look better over time. Smaller tattoos must be simpler to allow for the “line spread”. Designing well from the start can save the frustration and expense of altering a little tattoo later. Our artists use experience and skill to create beautiful tattoo art that looks great over time.
Where on my body can I get a tattoo?
You can get a tattoo anywhere on the body. You may want to keep in mind a few things though. First, do you want your tattoo to be seen when you go to work? You might want to make sure the tattoo is in an area that you will not have to put extra thought into making sure it is always covered up for work. Second, if you are planning to have more tattoo work done later try to have at least a rough idea of the complete plan for the area. This way you will prevent future design problems. Third, larger tattoos are usually better as you will avoid having a lot of small stuff that eventually will be a problem to incorporate into a larger theme. Finally, hands and feet are unique as the ink tends to wear off these areas easier.
What kind of design can I get?
You can get just about any kind of design tattooed on your body. The only limitation is your imagination. You can find tattoo design ideas everywhere, clip art sources on the internet or in books, art books, comic books, yours or your children's drawings, tattoo magazines, etc.
Tattoo designs fall basically into two categories: Flash and Custom.
Flash designs are the tattoo designs typically seen covering the walls of tattoo studios. They are pre drawn designs that you choose and have tattooed on the spot. The tattoo artist can usually change the design slightly to make it more unique for you.
Custom designs are designs that are original one of a kind designs made in collaboration with your chosen artist. Usually a client will bring in some inspiration such as a record cover, T-shirt, postcard, painting reproduction, etc. and explain to the artist what they would like to do with it such as, I want it on my shoulder, smaller than the original, and the colors to be different. The artist will then work on developing the drawing to the specifics of the client. A good idea would be to jot down your ideas in point form before coming to discuss it with your artist. Then, take a moment to review your list and prioritize your ideas so that your artist can opt to omit the less important points if they interfere with the overall fit or appearance of your tattoo. Quite often, first time clients have a variety of fantastic ideas and will try to incorporate all of them into their first tattoo. Although all the ideas may be great individually, they can lose their significance when they are all packed into the same 4 inch by 4 inch canvas. This is where prioritizing can give your artist flexibility to decide what will work best for you!
Can I get a tattoo over a scar?
Yes, though there are a few things to consider when getting a tattoo over a scar. First, the scar must be at least 2 years old before you get the tattoo. This will give the scar enough time to have completely healed and regenerated before attempting to cover it. Second, to hide a scar it is better to have a busy pattern covering the scar than a solid color. For example, a wing design over a scar will hide the outline of the scar by distracting the eye from the scar. However, a solid tribal piece will let the scar show through and will not accomplish the goal to hide the scar. Finally, a scar may not take the ink as well as normal skin. You might need to come back for another session to get a solid colour saturation over the scar. As a result we do not guarantee scar cover-up tattoos, meaning, any necessary touch-ups will be at the client's expense.
Can I get a tattoo while pregnant or nursing?
It is not advisable to get a tattoo while pregnant or nursing. Although it is unlikely that getting a tattoo will hurt the fetus or nursing infant, there may be a problem with the quality of the tattoo. While pregnant the body is working overtime and cannot spare the resources needed to heal the tattoo properly and will possibly result in a light tattoo. Also, while nursing a woman's body produces antibodies that are to be passed to the infant. If tattooed while these extra antibodies are in the system the tattoo may heal harder and possibly result in a less than optimal tattoo. If your desire is to get the best quality tattoo I suggest that you wait until the pregnancy and nursing are completed and then get the tattoo.
How can I prepare for my tattoo appointment?
The following is a list of suggestions to make your tattoo appointment more comfortable and enjoyable experience:
・Make sure to eat a few hours before your appointment. Some people get light headed or faint if they have NOT eaten before getting a tattoo.
・Make sure to drink plenty of water the day before and day of your application appointment.
・Give yourself enough time for your appointment plus some. Feeling rushed tends to add to the anxiety.
・Wear clothing that can easily be removed from the part of the body that is going to be tattooed. For example; you might want to wear sweat pants for a lower back tattoo or something strapless for a shoulder blade.
・Wear clothing that you don't mind getting ink on. Tattoo ink tends to stain so don't wear anything that you don't want spoiled with ink.
・Do not drink alcoholic beverages or caffeine the day of and the day prior to your tattoo.
・Try to keep the area that you are having tattooed out of the sun for a few days preceding your appointment.
・Do not take aspirin or blood thinners the day of and prior to your appointment. They can interfere with your body’s ability to clot which is crucial to the speedy healing of your tattoo.
・Bring a valid photo ID. (See a list of valid ID below)
What Should I expect when getting tattooed?
You will be asked to complete a consent form and to show valid photo identification with your birth date on it. You may be asked to complete a health questionnaire, which is designed to determine if you are healthy enough to have a tattoo applied if you did not fill one out at the time of your consultation. The artist will make a drawing for your tattoo artwork. Your artist will work out the design on paper, where appropriate, getting all the details perfect (for example size). When you and the artist are happy with the design, the artist makes a stencil of the design. Then s/he will clean and shave your skin where the work will be done and, will wipe your skin with a solution to aid with the transfer of the design to your skin. The artist will then put the stencil design directly on your skin and, when the paper is lifted a stencil line drawing of the design will appear on your skin. S/he will let you look in a mirror to make sure you are happy with the design and the placement. Once this is agreed upon, the artist will then begin setting up the tattooing work station. The artist will be doing things like dispensing various colors of ink into disposable ink caps, and putting a sterile needle tube set into the tattoo machine. At this time, you will want to try to relax and take a bathroom break. You will probably be somewhat nervous, but excited at the same time. Your body is going through quite an adrenaline rush. Your excited condition and your anxiety about the anticipated pain may trigger a fainting spell. It will help if you are not there on an empty stomach. Eat about an hour or two BEFORE you go in for your tattoo session. The artist will let you know that s/he is ready to start tattooing. The artist will start up the machine, dip the needle into the ink and let you know that s/he will start to work on the stenciled outline by starting on a small line that is not noticeable to let you know how it will feel. Don't forget to breathe and relax. The outline is usually the most painful part for most people. Remember that any move you make may cause the artist to make a mistake, so BEFORE you try to move, ask the artist first. Some people try to distract themselves by trying to talk with the artist. While some will like to talk with you, others would rather concentrate on the work you're paying them to do. After all, their job, income, and reputation are on the line when s/he put the tattoo machine to your skin. Often, they'll talk during easy parts, and less during complex work. Just relax and don't worry about it. Most people can sit through over an hour of work, but if you get uncomfortable, just ask your artist if you can take a break. If you feel light headed or dizzy, tell your artist IMMEDIATELY so they can give you a break and get you some water. Once the tattoo is finished you will get to look at it, then it will be bandaged up and after-care will be discussed. You should be sent home with written aftercare instructions. Follow the aftercare instruction as closely as possible. Good aftercare will make the difference in how your tattoo heals and ultimately how it will look.
How can I make my color last longer?
Conscientious aftercare is the first step to long lasting color. One of the surest ways to fade color is to expose your tattoo to the sun. The powerful rays of the sun will lighten the colors of posters in windows, photos on sunny walls, clothing and tattoos. A fresh tattoo should be kept form direct sun for as long as possible, 3-4 weeks is best. After healing, your tattoo should always be protected from the sun with clothing or a strong sun block. The best inked, most cared for tattoo will fade with sun exposure.
How much do body piercing hurt?
Pain level is very much dependant on your choice of piercing and your individual pain tolerance. You'll feel a sting for an instant which then fades to a slight burn. It really isn't that bad.
How do I care for my new tattoo or body piercing
Care will vary depending on the exact procedure but for a general guide please refer to our aftercare page.