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How to Prepare For a Tattoo? [Do’s & Don’ts Recommended By Experts]

Learning how to prepare for a tattoo session can go a long way in making your actual tattoo appointment run smoothly while ensuring that you scale through the tattoo process with a well-healed piece of body art that you can flaunt as you want.

However, getting a new tattoo is quite a huge commitment and the tattoo process can be nerve-wracking. If you are certain that the beautiful piece of artwork is something you desire on your body permanently then you should be mentally and physically ready for several hours of discomfort as your tattoo artist sinks needles into your skin.

Quite uncomfortable in tattoo preparation and thinking of how to prepare for a tattoo pain, right?

Here, we will be taking a look at how to prepare for a tattoo, as well as the do’s and don’t involved when getting a tattoo.

9 tips on how to prepare for a tattoo

how to prepare for a tattoo

It’s a great idea to prepare for your tattoo appointment by knowing what to do before getting a tattoo. Not only will it help make the entire process smooth and comfortable for both you and your artist but will also impress your tattoo artist.

In instances like this, most artists will be able to direct their attention to the tattooing process, thus making a perfect piece of art on your body.

Below are some things you can do before getting that desired tattoo:

Eat and bring snacks

It’s quite not ideal for you to show up at your tattoo appointment without eating properly or being hungry. Note that you will require enough energy since you might be sitting for a longer session. This is why you need a well-balanced and healthy meal to help you mentally as well as cope with the needles.

Another reason why you should eat before getting tattooed is to avoid being light-headed. This also helps in averting the risk of passing out from exhaustion.

In addition, bringing snacks to the tattoo studio will do a lot of good for persons suffering from low blood sugar and will also complement food when you get hungry.

Moisturize your skin

Adding a small amount of lotion or cream to tattoos often creates a great experience for the tattooed area and also affects the healing time by hastening the complete process. It is very important to moisturize your body for weeks leading up to the day you scheduled for the tattoo.

Kindly avoid moisturizing your skin on the day of your tattoo session to prevent any incident of the needle, tattoo ink, or your skin from occurring.

Most artists have recommended that if you plan on getting your tattoo done soon, then you should moisturize your skin at least two times a day leading up to the day of getting the tattoo done.

There is always easy access to any moisturizer that will work with your skin. People’s skin indeed reacts to lotions and creams differently.

Get a good night’s sleep

The last thing you want to do is to go to your tattoo session almost exhausted. It is very necessary to be well-rested the night before the tattoo session to enable you to be in tune with your body. You certainly don’t want to be falling asleep on the tattoo chair while your artist carefully puts tattoo ink on your body.

A good tattoo artist will recommend to his clients that going to bed early will provide them with additional time to rest and sleep. If you arrive at the tattoo shop tired, it is best to let your tattoo artists be aware that you did not get a good night’s sleep.

This will help your artist to be aware and perhaps know how you feel when they are working on your skin.

Doing this will help you prevent your tattoo appointment from delaying much longer. As your body can become sensitive to pain when you are continuously stretched all through the tattoo session.

Stay hydrated

Ensure that you are fully healthy before sitting on that studio chair. In other words, you can tank top your system with a lot of water. Having hydrated skin is very important before getting your tattoo done since it is going to be a long tattoo session.

You should drink water a lot, at least 24 hours before getting tattooed. Getting your skin hydrated is incredibly helpful in placing the body in a better position. When you stay hydrated, you are not only keeping yourself healthy but also preparing yourself to get inked.

Remember that hydrated skin takes in more ink than dehydrated skin, thereby making the work easier for your tattoo artists. It’s highly recommended that you take a long side bottle of water with you to the tattoo shop if perhaps you have not had enough water to drink before that day.

Dress for your tattoo session

Ready to go for your session with your artist? Then just wear a comfortable outfit. You don’t need to put on tight jeans or a dress shirt to get your tattoos.

Wear loose clothing that will help prevent the occurrence of you itching the open wound. Such clothing can allow you to readily adjust your positioning, particularly when you are uncomfortable.

In addition, wearing loose clothing will give artists the liberty to draw without restrictions in the area to be tattooed.

Bring a friend

This too can go a long way in helping you forgo the pain when you have a friend to chat with during the ink drawing process of your tattoo.

Your friend can also act as a source of motivation for you while you are busy getting your first tattoo done.

Get a shower

Showering is very significant to everyone. The importance of exfoliating cannot be undermined as it not only rids you of germs but also ensures that the skin is kept clean.

Concerning tattoos, it is ideal to take one before visiting any of the tattoo shops that you have chosen to use. Remember that tattoos cause a small number of cuts and open wounds. Hence, try as much as you can frequently to keep the surface clean and rid of water even after taking a shower.

Use an antibacterial soap to wash the surface of the tattoo wound, then ensure you follow the remaining aftercare instruction.

In instances where you have to be submerged in water for a long time, then you should go wrap the region around with enough bandages. And immediately, you are out of the water remove the bandage, and clean with a clean towel by simply dabbing on the surface.

Shave your hairs

It is very important to note that the hairs on your body must be removed especially if it falls in between the region that is to be tattooed. It’s recommended that you shave your body hair. And this should be done 3 to 5 times at least in a week or the week leading up to the day that you will get the tattoo done.

Ensure that you avoid irritating the area where the tattoo is located. Avoid touching the freshly made tattoo regardless of how itchy it might be.

If you suffer from cuts, please leave the affected region alone for a week before shaving it. However, you can seek help from your tattoo artists if you can’t do this yourself.


Entertainment is another great way to prepare for a tattoo. You can bring along an MP4 to the tattoo artists’ place and listen to music.

Get an earphone or an earpiece to keep yourself busy listening to music or something relaxing while the creation of your artwork commences. This will help in drowning the sound of the tattoo machine.

5 things to be avoided before a tattoo session

Don’t touch the art and the Machines

While the artist uses new ink to design your preference, it can lead to irritation. The urge to touch it might be irresistible but you have to try as much as you can not to interfere with your artist’s work. Touching the artwork can lead to an infection. Also, avoid touching the machinery available to the tattoo artist to minimize the risk of infection.

Don’t show up drunk or intoxicated

If this is your first time being tattooed, it’s quite normal for you to feel scared but that doesn’t mean you should resort to drinking alcohol or taking drugs before coming to the artist. Or else you would be turned home. It is not a lasting solution to avoid feeling pain during the tattoo process.

In addition, drinking alcohol can lead to thin blood and other health complications that can harm you. Hence, it is better to avoid it if you are ready to be tattooed by the artist.

Don’t carry out intensive exercises

Exercising is not a bad idea, however, in this context, it should be avoided. Even if you must carry out one, it should not be intensive, as it can give rise to other issues if you go directly to get a tattoo placement after a strenuous exercise.

Avoid sun exposure

Before getting tattooed, it is best to avoid exposing the about-to-be-tattooed region to the atmosphere for now as it can lead to sunburn. The exposure impairs the skin tone as it results in excessive drying of the skin and peeling.

There is no such artist that will go ahead to draw a tattoo on damaged skin being fully aware of the consequences involved. Not only will the person getting tattooed feel even worse pain but also bears the risk of potentially getting an infection.

This is why you should wear clothes that will entirely cover your final design. Even after getting tattooed and it has a completely healed look, still, make sure that you keep protecting it from sunburn by using some good quality sunscreen lotion to prevent aging and the fading of the skin tone.

Don’t show up with a damaged skin

Several factors can contribute to damaging a person’s skin and result in various complications. If your skin seems to be worsened, it is fair enough to avoid that tattoo schedule with an artist.

Things to be taken care of in the tattooing process

It is expected of you to at least feel some pain or discomfort when getting a tattoo. The amount of pain you feel will solely rely on different factors, such as your pain tolerance and the location of where the tattoo is drawn.

After you have selected the tattoo artist and the tattoo studio of your choice, then book a tattoo appointment and get ready to face the real deal.

While you sit on the tattoo chair, the tattoo artist will clean the area with alcohol and shave any hair that may be present in the region that you have chosen to be tattooed.

The tattoo artist will move the tattoo stencil onto your skin by using water or a moisture stick so that the placement on your body can be made possible.

However, you will feel a sensation at this point, particularly if it is your first tattoo, it may itch or tickle but it should not be too painful.

Next, the filling of the tattoo lines begins.

This is when you may start to feel the stinging, burning, or prickling sensation due to the workings of the tattoo machine. Try as much as possible to take deep breaths and hold still.

Immediately after your tattoo is completed, the artist will put a layer of ointment or lotion over it and apply a bandage instantly depending on the style and size of the services rendered by the artist.

It is normal for you to feel pain within the first few minutes but your body will adjust as soon as possible. Your tattoo artist will talk you through what you are to expect in a few weeks and how to take care of the tattoo till it is fully healed.

The healing process of the new tattoo wound commences after you end the tattoo session and walk out of the tattoo shop.

For the next few weeks that will follow, ensure that you follow all the aftercare instructions and tips properly, and once your tattoo heals, you can now flaunt your tattoo to the world.

Frequently Asked Questions: Tips Before Getting a Tattoo

What Should I Do Before And After The Tattoo?

Ensure that you follow all the aforementioned explanations about what to do before you go get that tattoo. Next, follow all the tips about tattoo aftercare given by your artist to ensure your healing happens on time.

What Can I Take To Ease The Pain?

After your session with the artist is complete, your artist will add lotion to the open wound and then wrap it up.

Wrapping it will help reduce the pain. Also taking a granola bar at this time seems like a great thing to do since it contains vitamin C and will help to soothe the pain. Ask your artist for tips on what to take to ease the pain.

Do I Have To Do Anything Before Getting A Tattoo?

Yes, several things are needed to be done before getting inked. Your aftercare should also be taken seriously if you intend to get healed in time.


Getting inked is not quite a simple process but can be fulfilled by resting, taking food that has vitamin C, getting your skin well hydrated, and avoiding alcoholic drinks or caffeine, before going for an appointment.

It is recommended that you avoid going to get that piece of art if you are suffering from underlying health conditions that can further delay the healing process.

Always bear in mind that staying healthy is the primary core of everything, hence seek medical care if the healing phase has passed and you do not notice any improvement.

Robert Green

Robert Green, the brain and brawn behind TattooLous is a tattoo enthusiast and a raging bullbat. After getting 20 tattoos made and even working as a professional tattoo artist for almost 5 years at a stretch, Robert chose to contribute towards the tattooing community in a different yet rewarding manner. Robert believes that the tattoo-making industry is rife with possibilities and, therefore, strives towards educating budding tattoo artists about the choice of kits, machines, aftercare products, and more. Moreover, each of Robert’s drafts is even relevant to the professional tattoo experts who are seeking additional insights into exclusive products and accessories.

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