This video gives you the proper steps to tattoo aftercare. World famous tattoo artist and tattoo shop owner Lou Rubino breaks it all down for you.
At Tattoo Lou’s, we operate at the highest level of safety possible for tattooing. Here in Suffolk County, NY, the Board of Health regulates all professional tattooing. In order to tattoo, each artist must be licensed, and each studio must be licensed. We pride ourselves on providing the safest tattoo experience possible for our customers. In order to help protect you, here’s what you as a customer should be looking out for when you get a tattoo. View full article »
At Tattoo Lou’s, we operate at the highest level of safety possible for tattooing. Here in Suffolk County, NY, the Board of Health regulates all professional tattooing. In order to tattoo, each artist must be licensed, and each studio must be licensed. We pride ourselves on providing the safest tattoo experience possible for our customers. In order to help protect you, here’s what you as a customer should be looking out for when you get a tattoo.
First, your artist will begin to prep the tattooing area. As your artist begins prep their station, they should take off any body jewelry that they’re wearing. The workstation should then be cleaned with a surface disinfectant, and any paper towels or wipes should be thrown in the garbage. Garbage cans should have a foot pedal to open them so that the artist never has to touch the garbage can during any part of the tattooing process.
The artist should then thoroughly wash his hands using an anti-bacterial soap and apply gloves in order to set up the tattoo station. If you have a latex allergy, be sure to let your artist know because most artists will use latex gloves. If you are allergic, most artists will have Nitril gloves on hand to solve this before it becomes a problem. First, a dental bib goes out on top of the station so the artist can place their needles, inks, and other needed items on the surface. Barrier film is used to protect surfaces that must be touched during the tattooing (faucet handles, etc) – you’ve probably seen it in your dentist office. A little plastic holder comes out for the inks – inks are poured into the holder and disposed of after the tattoo process has been completed. No inks should ever be reused!
Your artist will then prepare his needle. All needles used in tattooing today are disposable, single-serve, and pre-sterilized. They are packaged in sterile blister packages like a hypodermic needle or any other needle you’d see at the doctor’s office. The tubes used in tattooing can be disposable or stainless steel, depending on the shop. Disposable tubes are obviously thrown away after one use, and the stainless steel ones are cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner and sterilized in an autoclave just as a doctor’s tools would be. All disposable needles and tubes have indicators on the packaging to signify that they are sterile. A little blue dot on the packaging starts as a red dot and changes to blue to indicate that the sterilization process was completed. They’re also all dated with an expiration date and warning label saying that they should not be used if the package has been damaged or tampered with. The needle is put into the tube and attached to the tattoo machine. Always make sure that your artist opens a fresh, brand-new needle right in front of you. Your artist should also use an object called an eye loop to check the needle for any sort of imperfections.
The chair in which you will be tattooed in should be covered—some artists will only cover the part of the chair on which the tattoo will be, like the arm, but there are also covers available to cover the whole chair. Many artists will also use traditional saran wrap will as a barrier on the armrests.
After everything is covered, tattoo machines would be set up, and all materials needed to do the tattoo would be double-checked. Then, the artist would prepare to actually complete the tattoo. First, the pair of gloves being worn by the artist would be removed and thrown out, and the artist would again wash his hands with an antibacterial soap. After a fresh pair of gloves is put on, the artist would then put on tattoo sleeves as a layer of added protection for both him and you. Note: at this point, the artist shouldn’t be touching anything unless a barrier film has already been applied to it. The barrier films will be removed after your tattoo is completed. If your artist, for any reason, touches anything else, answers a phone call, etc., his gloves should be taken off first, and a new pair put on before your tattoo is resumed.
After the tattoo is completed, the tattoo needles will be removed from the tubes and placed in a medical waste “sharps” container. Special companies who deal with medical waste will take the containers full of used needles and make sure that they are properly disposed of. The artist should then dispose of everything else—the ink, the tubes, etc—that was used to complete your tattoo. Barrier film, tattoo sleeves, and gloves should also be removed and thrown out. Then, the entire tattoo station should again be wiped clean with a surface disinfectant. After all of that is completed, the tattoo artist should again wash his hands with an anti-microbile soap.
After your tattoo is finished, the rest of the aftercare is up to you. You MUST take good care of your tattoo. Your artist will bandage your tattoo up with non-stick gauze while you’re in the shop. Two to three hours after your tattoo is finished, wash your hands thoroughly, remove the gauze, and apply a healing ointment to your tattoo. These healing ointments include Bacitracin, Tattoo Goo, and A&D—use whatever your artist recommends. After washing your tattoo and applying your ointment, it’s fine to let your tattoo “air out”, as long as you are not wearing tight clothing or have anything rubbing against it. It is okay to get your tattoo wet—you must do this to gently wash it off—but DO NOT submerge your tattoo in water. For instance, you may shower, but do not swim, take a bath, or use a hot tub for the first ten days after your tattoo. You should also not have your tattoo in direct sunlight for the first ten days. After this ten-day period is over, make sure you use a good sunscreen – the higher the SPF, the better – on top of your tattoo. Also, it is normal for tattoos to peel and itch – this is part of the healing process.
The life of your tattoo depends on YOU. At Tattoo Lou’s, we care about your protection and satisfaction. Of course, if you have any questions about aftercare or how to prolong the life of your tattoo, Tattoo Lou’s is always here to help. Call or stop by any of our locations, and an artist would be glad to answer your questions or concerns. All of the artists here at Tattoo Lou’s love what they do, and it is our job to make sure that all of our customers stay safe.
Spring is in the air, and everyone is in love… but are you thinking about getting someone special tattooed on your body? Good for you! But keep in mind that tattoos are for keeps, and relationships seldom are. Think about it before you hit the chair, especially if it’s a brand new relationship. But if you’re dead set on inking your love’s name on your body, Tattoo Lou’s is obviously the place to go! We do a lot of name tattoos (as well as a lot of name tattoo cover-ups). The good news, though, is that if all goes sour, we can always tattoo over your ex. Hell, if you want we can even cross him/her out and place your new fling right underneath it! You can just head down to our sister shop, Fusion Skin Spa, and get that sucker lasered off and replaced with something better and more trustworthy… maybe the family pet? You know man’s best friend will never steer you wrong!
(Top two portraits by Andres of Saint James; third by Irish Jay of Selden)
If you’re getting your loved one’s name tattooed on you, you should also check out some of our tattoo portraits. Our artists take great pride in portraits and can duplicate almost any picture you bring in. It always helps to bring in a few pictures; this way our artists can get a better idea of how your loved one really looks in different light and angles. If you’re searching for the perfect font, head on down to one of our shops. We have tons of great fonts that we can use as well as draw up a custom one. If you’re searching the internet for some cool fonts, make sure you use sites that you can test beforehand – some words look great in certain fonts and horrible in others! If you see a font in a magazine or on the internet somewhere, take a digital pic of it or right click->Save As to your desktop and head over to http://new.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/. This is a great site which will help you identify fonts and even find them online to install on your computer and use in your software of choice.
Are you ready to really start showcasing those tattoos or piercings you’ve worked so hard on? Lets face it – when people walk in the shop, the first thing they want to see is some of your work. We’re willing to bet that if you had a kick-ass portfolio to show off your talent you would have… well, more work. The first thing you need to know is that it does not – repeat, DOES NOT – take a $5,000 camera to take a really great picture. Next time you finish a piercing or tattoo, try some of these techniques that will really add some professional kick to that portfolio:
–>Turn off that ridiculous flash! Use AVAILABLE light. Even cheap digital cameras have the button which looks like an arrow crossed out – don’t be afraid to disengage it. Lighting subjects with flash is much harder than lighting subjects without it (unless of course you are in a very dark environment). Don’t be afraid to take your customer outside if you need to or even place them under the brightest light in the shop. You will want to keep the camera as still as possible, so leaning the camera on the tattoo chair will help. If your camera has the option of changing the “ISO”, that will be helpful for taking pictures in lower light without the flash. Be careful not to raise it too much, as this will add noise to the photo! So play around with the setting on your camera and take some shots. We can guarantee these pictures will give your hard work more pop
–>Don’t feel like the photo on your camera is the final product? Well, this is 2011! Photoshop and other digital photo software programs are a dime a dozen. All bitmap software programs utilize a lot of the same techniques which will help to make your photos unique.
–>All digital photos need to be sharpened. Some more than others, so play with unsharp mask or the sharpen option on your software.
–>Colorful tattoos will always look better if you bump up the saturation. However, skin tones never look good with additional saturation, so don’t overdo it.
–>Crop your photos. People looking at your work do not want to see the mug on the person who got the tattoo. They want to see the TATTOO!
–>Remember: contrast, but not too much contrast. This knob will darken black areas and lighten light areas of a photo. This adjustment will give your tattoos a lot more pop, especially those black and grey pieces. Again, make sure you don’t overdo it. This is a destructive process and you will never be able to go back to the original unless you duplicate the file before you start to mess around with it.
What are YOUR tips and tricks for putting together a great portfolio?