TATTOOS AND BODY ART: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here is information on tattoos and body art in a FAQ format.
Call for more information on tattoos and piercings to ensure that you have all the facts. Tattoos and piercings are a lifelong commitment, so please take a moment to learn about them. The more you know about your tattoo or piercing, the more you'll enjoy it.
GENERAL AND MEDICAL TATTOO INFORMATION
Are tattoos art?
Do tattoos hurt?
Where can I have a tattoo placed?
Is tattooing Safe?
What is an autoclave?
What does "single-use" needles mean?
What about inks and other materials?
How do I know if proper standards are being followed?
How should I take care of my tattoo?
Myths about Tattoos
Anyone who is artistic can tattoo.
Any good artist can do any tattoo.
My tattoo doesn't look right, I'll just go back and have them fix it.
Tattoos are accepted by society now.
Artists want you to get real big designs so they can charge more.
If I don't get a tattoo today, I probably won't get one.
Photos are the best way to judge an artist's talent.
I want your cheapest tattoo.
Don't get any water on your tattoo.
Types of Tattoos
Black and Gray
Portrait and Fineline
Cover-ups and Touch-ups
ARE TATTOOS ART?
Yes tattoos are art. However, some tattoos are good art, poorly done... and some tattoos are bad art, done well. Find a tattooist who is competent with both a pencil and a tattoo machine.
DO TATTOOS HURT?
You bet it hurts. Not as much as you think and definitely not as much as some would like you to believe. Yes, some areas are more tender than others, but the discomfort is manageable if you're getting what you really want, where you really want it.
WHERE CAN I HAVE MY TATTOO PLACED?
Where to place a tattoo is, and always should be, your own decision. Don't be influenced by "it'll hurt less there" or "it'll be cooler here", get the tattoo where YOU want it!
General advice on placement is that you should consider what kind of clothes you wear, work and social, whether you would like it to show all the time or only when you want to show it off, and in some cases, the appropriateness of the design itself (i.e. the naked warrior girl might be better placed on the calf than the forearm for those who have to attend PTA meetings or be Soccer Mom/Dads!
Most tattoo parlors will tattoo your neck and hands IF you already have a lot of coverage.
There are certain areas of the body where the skin does not cooperate well with tattoos over time, notably the fingers, toes and feet. Hands are constantly exposed to the sun, scuffing and rubbing on things, likewise the feet and toes rub on shoes. This means the skin is tougher in these areas and constantly regenerating so it is likely the tattoo will fade fairly quickly. It will need to be touched up on a regular basis. It may not seem like a problem at first, but on your fifth redo, you might begin to wish you hadn't bothered! Women who are considering having children are advised not to get tattooed on the stomach and local area as the skin stretches so much during pregnancy that the tattoo is often badly damaged.
Some types of SCARRING can be tattooed over, but not all, consult with an experienced artist about this. Surgical scars should be at least 6 months old before they are ready to be tattooed over.
IS TATTOOING SAFE?
Yes... if proper sterilization and infection control standards are practiced by the studio you've chosen. Basically, this means anything that comes in contact with blood / body fluids must either be disposed of (single - use) or sterilized (autoclaved).
WHAT IS A AUTOCLAVE?
An autoclave is a heat / steam / pressure unit that achieves and maintains 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius) under 10 pounds (4.5 Kilograms) pressure for 30 minutes or up to 270 degrees Fahrenheit (132 degrees Celsius) under 15 pounds (6.8 Kilograms) pressure for 15 minutes. Most units run a 55 minute cycle from a cold start.
It is the only accepted method of sterilization that will kill every living microorganism known to mankind.
WHAT DOES THE TERM SINGLE USE MEAN?
This means that every set of needles used to apply your tattoo are brand new. They are individually packaged, sealed, and autoclaved. An indicator strip on the package changes color when processing has occurred. After use, the needles are disposed of.
One needle, one customer.
WHAT ABOUT INKS AND OTHER MATERIALS?
All ointments, pigments, gloves, ink cups, razors, etc. used to apply your tattoo are discarded after use.
Nothing is reused, this eliminates any possibility of contamination of materials.
After the tattoo procedure has been completed, the work area surfaces are disinfected with an EPA approved veridical which kills any surface bacteria or viruses.
HOW DO I KNOW PROPER STANDARDS ARE BEING FOLLOWED?
First, look around. Is the studio clean and professional looking? Appearances can tell you a lot. Then, ask questions.
A professional studio takes pride in its safe tattooing procedures and won't mind answering your concerns.
HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY FIRST TATTOO?
Our job is done, now it's your turn... Not looking after your tattoo properly may result in loss of quality, so you should follow these instructions carefully... Do not listen to your friends and people in bars who think they have a better idea!!!!!
Remove bandage in 2 to 4 hours.
Wash tattoo carefully with warm water and mild soap.
Apply a thin layer of Clockwork Tattoo Ointment or which is a 100% natural tattoo healing ointment. It is petroleum and paraben free and contains no artificial fragrance or ingredients. Use for small or medium tattoos. Also works well for minor cuts, scrapes, bug bites and other mild skin irritations 4X a day for about a week or until the skin is no longer dry. Aquaphor is good as well
You may use lotion after the first week ( Lubriderm).
Don't use fancy creams, hippy potions, or perfumed lotions.
You do not need antibiotic creme.
Showers are fine. Baths, swimming, and sauna are out until the tattoo is healed
No sun or tanning 'til the tattoo is completely healed.
Sunburn on a fresh tattoo can cause severe irritation and allergy.
Do not pick, scratch, or 'help' the scab to come off.
If you have any questions please call the person who did your tattoo.
ANYONE WHO IS ARTISTIC CAN TATTOO?
Don't bet your skin on it.
The ability to draw neat designs does not make a tattooist. Without the proper equipment, mechanical skill and technical knowledge, that pretty paper design can turn into anything from mush to scar tissue in a couple of months. Every tattooist has artistic talent. Unfortunately, this is false.
A good deal of a professional tattooist's time is spent fixing or covering someone else's "artistic talent".
ANYGOOD ARTIST CAN DO ANY TATTOO?.
Not necessarily. While most professionals are capable of a variety of styles, they usually have a specialty, a unique style of tattooing they've developed and are very good at. That artist who's known for his killer tribal work may not be the choice for the portrait of mom and dad you've been planning. Match the design you want with the artist who can pull it off. CLOCKWORKCUSTOMTATTOO SPECIALIZES IN EVERYTHING!!
MY TATTOO DOESNT LOOK RIGHT, ILL JUST GO BACK AND HAVE THEM FIX IT?
Bad idea. Odds are that if their first attempt is botched, so will their second, and third... Steer clear.
A professional may be able to fix-up that blotched job, but if you keep going back to the butcher, you'll probably end up with an even darker, uglier tattoo that requires a cover-up... Much larger and much more expensive.
TATTOOS ARE ACCEPTED BY SOCIETY NOW.
Yes, more than say 10 or 20 years ago, but not as mainstream as you may think. Most non-tattooed people still associate tattooing with sailors, circus sideshows, skid row drunks and outlaw rebels. You would be wise to place your first tattoo where it is covered by normally worn clothing.
ARTISTS WANT YOU TO GET REAL BIG DESIGNS SO THEY CAN CHARGE MORE
Nonsense. Most established professionals have more work than they can handle and can make more money doing a lot of small, uncomplicated pieces than a few large complex ones.
IF I DONT GET A TATTOO TODAY, I PROBABLY WONT GET ONE
Don't get one. An impulsive whim is a really stupid reason to make such a permanent decision. If you wouldn't get a tattoo tomorrow, don't get one today.
PORTFOLIOS ARE THE BEST WAY TO JUDGE AN ARTISTS TALENT?.
They do give you a good idea of what the artist is capable of. Drawings or FLASH may reflect a tattooist's taste and artistic ability.
If you're shopping price, it's a safe bet you're getting tattooed for all the wrong reasons... It's cool, my friends have one, I'm expressing my individuality, it'll piss mom off. If you're serious about getting a tattoo, get exactly what you want, even if you have to save up for it.
DONT GET ANY WATER ON YOUR TATTOO.
Partly true. You must not "soak" a new tattoo, but gentle hand-washing of it is necessary to remove harmful bacteria from the healing tattoo. When you shower, simply apply a little extra coating of ointment to the tattoo and avoid direct shower spray on it. Blot off excess ointment when you're done bathing.
BLACK AND GRAY
Black and Gray basically means tattoos done with use of degrees of black to Gray shading. There is usually no application of color at all, although depending on the design a small amount of colour can be added to enhance areas of the design.
This type of tattoo is particularly suited to darker skin tone, which does not accept colour well, and also to those who are regular sun-worshippers or solarium addicts.
Time tends to soften the tones of the piece and give it a realistic depth quality.
Color tattoos are full color pieces lined with black and also shaded. There are 2 main types of color design.
1) Old style traditional tattoos, using black color and no tones.
2) We use colour shading to obtain subtle color merging.
Color tends to fade if subjected to intense or long-term regular sun exposure as the skin cells, which hold the pigment molecules are damaged by u-v rays and removed by the body system.
It can be retouched if necessary and without much sun exposure looks good for many years.
All colors are dermatological tested pigments but those with known allergies should request an allergy test prior to the application of a colour tattoo.
PORTRAIT AND FINELINE
Portraits can be taken directly from photos, which should be of good quality and large enough to clearly see the details of the face or animal in question. There is a minimum recommended size for this kind of work and anyone interested should contact us for more details.
Fine-line is exactly what you would expect from the description and is mostly used for portrait work. It can be used for high detail and definition in larger pieces.
Tribal is the name given to solid black graphic designs which have become popular in recent years.
Its origins are, among others, in the Polynesian islands where the tribes have a tradition of tattooing for ritual and ceremonial purposes; the Maori of New Zealand with their facial mokos are probably the most well known example.
Modern tribal designs do not generally have any symbolic meanings and are simple body decorations for those who are unsure of what kind of picture they could live with. Celtic designs, gangland style lettering and Japanese characters all come under this description in modern tattooing. tribal combines well with the other styles mentioned and can be useful as background or connecting separate pieces.
Freehand tattooing simply means that the tattoo is drawn directly onto the body area without use of a stencil or pre-prepared drawing.
The advantages of this are that the tattoo can be better fitted to the body, making use of the body shape, to give the image more movement.
Freehand is also used for cover-ups, to allow a more direct fitting of the new image over the old, making use of the existing shape and lines.
I would be happy to prepare a custom design for you, custom tattoos are prepared on paper and may, in certain cases, be applied by stencil to the body area.
All custom pieces are designed as a unique piece similar to an artist's commission.
CLOCKWORK CUSTOM TATTTOO does not repeat custom pieces so they remain completely original, contact CLOCKWORK CUSTOM TATTTOO to discuss your requirements.
COVER-UPS AND TOUCH-UPS
Many people have tattoos that seemed like a good idea at the time and whether it was through a bad choice of tattooists, a bottle of J.D. or whatever, the results won't go away. There is a solution apart from a laser or a long sleeved shirt:
Some bad tattoos are restorable to a proper version of the original plan and these are known as reworks, but the majority are usually only savable through cover-ups and you may be limited on the choice of design.
Remember that a cover up cannot always be your dream tattoo as it may not be possible to fit a specific design to the old piece, this depends how dark and distorted the old tattoo is. Usually we can come up with a good compromise though and anyone needing help or information about cover ups should contact CLOCKWORK CUSTOM TATTTOO and be prepared to send a photo!
Tribal is not usually applicable here unless you want a black square, but there are more options than the standard black panther or peacock depending on the size of the old tattoo and intensity of dark pigments.
Every cover-up is an individual custom fitted piece and those interested should contact us for more details.
BODY PIERCING FACTS
BODY PIERCING - FREQUENT QUESTIONS & ADVICE
Things to be careful of during the healing period:
Clean your hands before touching or cleaning the piercing during the healing process, and don’t let others’ hands touch the piercing at all during healing.
Avoid contact with other people’s body fluids (saliva, sweat, etc.). Even your own sweat may irritate the piercing. Be sure to rinse the area after all exercise to remove all sweat.
If you have genital piercings, always use a condom or dental dam during healing.
Always wear clean clothing and change bed sheets during healing.
If you have an ear piercing, clean your telephone with some rubbing alcohol.
Check any threaded jewelry (such as barbells) twice a day to make sure the ends are tight, otherwise you may find yourself trying to digest your tongue bar.
Frequently Asked Piercing Questions
Can I remove the jewelry, even for a little while?
Do not remove your jewelry until your piercing is healed. Even then, the holes may close very quickly, especially in some piercings like the tongue. If you absolutely need to remove the jewelry for a short time (such as for surgery), come in and we can put in temporary nylon retainers.
Should I take vitamin supplements?
You make take vitamin supplements (C, E, and B-complex) to help the healing process
How can I tell if I have an infection, and what should I do?
The most obvious sign of infection is pus coming out of the piercing (although on tongue piercings, what looks like pus is often just plaque). If the pus is white, the infection is very minor. Use a strong antiseptic for just a few days. If the pus is yellow, the infection is a bit more serious. If a strong antiseptic doesn’t clear it up within a few days, come in and let us look at it. Green pus indicates a serious infection. Come in as soon as possible, and if you can’t do that, see a doctor. Whatever the case, do not remove your jewelry, as the holes may close around the infection, resulting in an abscess.
Do not use ointments, such as Neosporin; they block air from circulating.
If I clean it more, will it heal faster?
Do not over-clean; over-cleaning will irritate the piercing and lengthen the healing time. Remember, it’s not your cleaning that heals the piercing. What you are doing is just making it easier for your body to heal.
What is this red bump?
A small ridge or bump of scar tissue looking a bit like a pimple or small infection is probably a keloid. Whatever you do, do not pick at them as this can make them bigger. There are a few things you can try to reduce them (what works is different for everybody): put vitamin E or aspirin on them; see a dermatologist for recommended medical techniques; reduce the jewelry gauge (although this is not always an option). Generally, a keloid appears because of irritation, so your goal is to remove the irritation. Catching keloids early is important in stopping them.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS, CALL US IMMEDIATELY AT: 631 580 7330
BODY PIERCING AFTERCARE
THIS PAGE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND CONTAINS THE BASICS, NOT THE FULL INSTRUCTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE CARE SHEET YOU RECEIVE AFTER YOU ARE PIERCED. IT IS ALWAYS ADVISABLE TO CHECK WITH YOUR PIERCER IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR PIERCING.
CLOCKWORK TATTOO PROFESSIONAL PIERCERS ARE HIGHLY TRAINED IN ANATOMY, JEWELRY PLACEMENT, AND STERILIZATION STANDARDS. GETTING YOUR PIERCING DONE PROFESSIONALLY AT OUR STUDIO GIVES YOU THE BEST CHANCE OF HAVING A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE!!!
A piercing is healed by your body, not by cleaning agents. Aftercare simply helps your body be in the optimum state for healing. All pierced areas should be clean and free of contaminants. An antibacterial soap is a good starting point for the cleaning of most (not all) piercings. Be sure that your regular soap does not contain any fragrances, moisturizers or deodorants. These can irritate the area. In addition to keeping the area clean, you should eat well, drink a lot of water, take your vitamins and be well rested. These things will all help your body heal. Salt water soaks can be used, but are not generally recommended for piercings other than the mouth.
Gently wash piercing and surrounding area with antibacterial soap. Carefully remove all crusty formations from the piercing and jewelry. Rotate jewelry. Rinse off soap and rotate jewelry again, making sure all soap residue is gone. If piercing is slightly infected or irritated, soak it with antiseptic solution and work it into the piercing by rotating the jewelry, and allow it to soak for one or two minutes. Always rinse off all cleaning agents after cleaning your piercing. Warm saltwater soaks or Clockwork all new Saline Piercing Spray is a 100% natural solution. It contains only distilled water, sodium chloride (natural salts) and citric acid for a mild and very effective piercing solution.Remove crusty deposits and secretions during healing. General healing times are: Nipple, men: 2-3 months; Nipple, women: 3-4 months; Navel: 3-9 months.
These piercings are best cleaned with Clockwork all new Saline Piercing Spray is a 100% natural solution. It contains only distilled water, sodium chloride (natural salts) and citric acid for a mild and very effective piercing solution. Any crusty formation around the piercing and on the jewelry should first be softened and removed with a cotton swab dipped in warm water or warm salt water. Apply and rotate the cleaning agent through the piercing. Allow piercing to soak for one to two minutes before rinsing with warm water. Avoid heavy lotions, make-up, foundations or powders during the healing process. Cover piercing with hand or tissue when using hair spray. General healing times are: Ear lobe: 4 weeks; Eyebrow: 4-8 weeks; Nostril: 6-12 weeks; Ear cartilage: 8-12 weeks; Septum: 6-12 weeks.
MOUTH RELATED PIERCINGS
Tongue - Use a 50/50 solution of antiseptic mouthwash and water for at least 15 seconds after putting anything in your mouth other than water (this includes cigarettes). Avoid giving oral sex (receiving is fine) and wet kissing during the initial healing period. Try to avoid alcohol and spicy foods, and try to do everything slowly (i.e. Eat small bites slowly and speak slowly at first). Do not use straws for at least two weeks. General healing time: 1 week for your tongue to become "mostly functional" again, and 4-6 weeks for total healing. Lip, Labret, Cheek - Should be cleaned on the inside as described for tongue piercings, and on the outside as described for facial piercings. Occasional warm salt water rinses can be used. General healing time: 6-8 weeks.
Genital piercings should be cleaned following the instructions for torso piercings. However, the cleaning products may irritate the urethra in both men and women. For piercings that pass through the urethra (Prince Albert, Apadravya, Ampallang), drink a lot of water and urinate often, especially after cleaning, to flush out any residues in the urethra opening. Your urine is sterile to your body. Women should take care not to let any cleaning agent enter the vagina, as yeast infections may result from the depletion of bacteria. Genital piercings should be cleaned after intercourse as well. Use of a condom is necessary during the healing period, and oral contact should be avoided. Also, certain lubricants and spermicides may irritate piercings. General healing times are: Prince Albert, Clit Hood, Labia Minora, Clit: 6-8 weeks; Ampallang: 6-12 months; Labia Majora, Frenem, Scrotal: 2-3 months; Dydoe, Apadravya: 4-6 months.
INFORMATION ON CLEANING AGENTS FOR PIERCINGS
Betadine (may discolor gold or plastic jewelry). Strong antiseptics need only be used in the case of infection, and are not generally required.
Salt Water Soak - good for loosening up crusty formations. Sea salt is best; Clockwork all new Saline Piercing Spray is a 100% natural solution. It contains only distilled water, sodium chloride (natural salts) and citric acid for a mild and very effective piercing solution do not use table salt. Bactine - Bactine is an appropriate cleaning agent for facial piercings, since it contains a small amount of lidocaine. It is good for ears. Also appropriate for infected piercings is Neutrogena Antiseptic Cleanser - a good alternative to Bactine for those people with sensitive skin or an allergy to lidocaine.
Clockwork all new Saline Piercing Spray is a 100% natural solution. It contains only distilled water, sodium chloride (natural salts) and citric acid for a mild and very effective piercing solution
Dilute soap 50% with bottled water, shake and apply as a liquid. Fragrance-free and color-free are best.
Provon Soap - gentle on the skin.
Antibacterial Dial - Not for sensitive skin. Lever 2000 Antibacterial Soap - This is the best type of cleaning agent to start with. For most piercings, it is enough to keep it clean and bacteria-free, and allow the body to do its healing unassisted.
MOUTH-RELATED CLEANING AGENTS
Gly-oxide, Peroxyl - Used by oral surgeons and dentists to enhance healing, these rinses should be used only in the case of mild infection. Mouthwash - There are many suitable brands of mouthwash, but it is important to choose an antiseptic one that does not contain alcohol. Tech 2000 is a good example. For some people, too much use of mouthwash can kill the mouth’s own bacteria (if this happens, you’ll notice bad breath and an off-color tongue).
Anbesol - Anbesol is appropriate for tongues and the insides of lips. Although it stings a bit when you apply it, it also numbs the area and is good if the piercing is particularly sore. Anbesol may also help reduce keloiding. Zinc supplements are not generally recommended.