Think about placement
“It’s not only important to be happy with the design,” says Stephanie Smith, owner of Pink Petals Health & Beauty Clinic in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal. “Consider where you place it too.” If you have a low pain threshold, avoid your ribs, back of your knees and groin area as these are highly sensitive areas.
No shame in choosing a small design for your first tattoo so you can understand your pain limits, how your body heals and how your skin reacts to ink.
Do your research
This means checking spelling, taking a picture, and finding the meaning behind foreign words and symbols. Have a consultation with your artist beforehand and make sure they understand what you want.
Quite simply, go with a pro. Check out your artist’s portfolio first and get referrals or read reviews on their Facebook page. Don’t go cheap – this is a long-term investment and it’s worth spending money on an experienced artist.
Got a new tattoo? Treat it well! “Clean it twice a day, especially if you’re hitting the gym,” says Stephanie. “If you don’t clean it properly, you’re at risk of infection, which can cause major scarring and ruin your beautiful new tattoo. Afterwards, apply Bepanthan baby bum cream to help it heal. Warm it up in your hands before so that it slides onto your sensitive skin easier.”
Avoid sun and water
Consider your timing: during summer, your skin can be exposed to sun and water, which can damage your artwork. “If you’re going out in the sun, make sure to apply sunblock. It helps the colour last, preventing the black from going grey or green,” adds Stephanie. Also, think about minimising your exposure to water in the shower or bath. You may need to cling wrap the area for the first few weeks to prevent water damage.
Make sure you love your design and will love it for years to come. “Tattoos are scars and you can never completely get rid of them,” says Stephanie. “Laser is an option but it’s a long process. It will lighten the ink but there will be scarring. Women who use permanent makeup, use a product called 1-2-3 Tattoo Free, which pulls the ink out in three to four sessions. After six months of treating the area, scarring is minimal.”
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