How to Ensure the Safety of Artist and Client

Because getting a tattoo opens the skin, all permanent tattooing procedures can have the potential of exposure to dangerous bacteria and viruses.  Cross contamination from one client to another or from instruments or surfaces with contaminates can all pose danger. That being said, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) clearly defines steps to ensure safety of both artist and client.   When choosing a shop or artist, it is important to protect yourself, by observing these precautions in action. The procedures to protect both artists and clients include precautions before, during, and after the tattooing process.

BEFORE the artist invites the client into the tattooing space, set-up should take place:

DURING the tattooing process, the artist should:

AFTER you leave shop, it’s up to YOU!

Granted, this may seem like a lot to do to protect against cross-contamination, but consider the alternatives of hepatitis, HIV, MRSA or just a troublesome infection.   Following recommended precautions and using INK OIL products that protect your new tattoo will result in a lifetime of enjoying your body art.  Better safe and clean than sorry.

Resources:

2000 Year Old Tattoo Tool Found in Utah. Made with native plant fibers and cactus spines.

A Ph.D. student has made an astonishing discovery - the earliest known Native American Tattoo Artifact! Estimated at 2000-years-old, this tattoo tool came from the Basket-maker II culture and was discovered in Southern Utah. The find is helping experts to understand the previously nomadic culture that was very influential in the development of the Pueblo civilization in the South-West United States. As Native Americans moved less, they farmed more, developing the need for containers to carry and store crops.  The baskets, they made used fibers from plants native to the Desert Southwest. The tattoo tool is also made from native plant fibers and cactus spines.

The newly cataloged tattoo tool is one of the first to confirm the use of body art by this early culture. The tool was unearthed in 1972 and deposited in Washington State University. According to Heritage Daily, the researcher discovered a “3 ½ inch wooden skunkbush sumac handle bound at the end with split yucca leaves and holding two parallel cactus spines, stained black at their tips.” A chemical analysis of the pigment on the tips of the cactus spines found a residue of carbon, which is known to have been used in ancient body tattooing.

Researchers reconstructed a similar tool based on the materials in the ancient one and tattooed pig skin. It works!

Peppermint Essential Oil

CPTG Peppermint essential oil is steamed distilled from the leaves of Labiatae (mint) plants.  This widely used oil contains phenolic alcohols, menthol, menthone (sometimes in high concentration) and ketones.  Because of its chemical constituents, high quality peppermint essential oils, when applied topically, act as an analgesic, reducing pain, as an antiseptic, reducing infection, and as a cardiovascular support, increasing circulation.  

The tattooing process breaks the skin’s first layer of protection, exposing the body to environmental pathogens such as bacterial and viral infections.  Good artists take every precaution to keep the tattooing area and tools sterile; however, airborne pathogens and exposure to bacteria after you leave the shop can result in infections. Cleansing the tattooed skin with soaps that contain CPTG peppermint can help protect the body from these pathogens that do enter through the broken skin.

Peppermint oil can have a soothing, cooling effect on the skin providing some assistance with pain throughout the tattooing process.  Peppermint oil, as part of the cleansing regimen reduces chances of infection and also helps by calming and reducing pain sometimes associated with getting a tattoo.

During the healing process, Peppermint oil assists the body’s natural healing by increasing circulation, thus bringing healing blood and oxygen to the tissues surrounding the tattoo.

INK SOAP Proprietary Blend and INK OIL® both contain CPTG Peppermint essential oil.  When used during the tattooing process, INK SOAP® helps keep the broken skin free from infection causing pathogens and helps reduce pain.  INK SOAP® and INK OIL®, used following the removal of the sterile dressing, such as SANIDERM®, helps keep the tattooed area clean and speeds healing as it increases circulation to the tissues surrounding the new tattoo.  

*Source: Modern Essentials, 6th edition

INK OIL products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

As Lexi likes to say, families and tattoos are forever.  That may be true, but it doesn’t guarantee that tattoos or families will always be in good condition.  Families sometimes have problems, and tattoos will almost inevitably fade. There’s not much we can do to help you with your family, but knowing how to take care of your tattoo, can definitely slow the fading, aging process.

Why Do Tattoos Fade?

Aging is a natural process for everyone and everything, including tattoos.  Aging is especially noticeable on people. As we age our skin becomes thinner, looser, less elastic.  Since tattoos are located in the skin, they naturally age with that skin. When skin is dry, undernourished or damaged, the look of your tattoo will be affected.  Ink quality is also a factor in tattoo aging. Ink made with low quality components or ink that is too diluted by an inexperienced artist, will tend to fade more quickly than high quality, concentrated ink. The last, most easily controlled aging factor, is UV damage.  Exposure to the sun, causes premature aging and fading of tattoos. UV light breaks down the ink used in the tattooing process. That ink is then absorbed by the body and your tattoo looses the crisp, vibrant look it had in the beginning.

How to Slow the Fading Process

Recommendations:  Choose an experienced artist that uses high quality ink products.  If you know you spend a lot of time in the sun, choose darker ink colors, avoiding whites and yellows, and always use a high quality, natural sunblock.  Avoid sunblocks that have been associated with carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals; choose instead mineral or, better yet, plant-based UV protection.  And lastly, protect your skin with natural, plant-based moisturizers that add years of healthy, smooth skin as a canvas for your tattoo.

Our favorite is obviously INKED Oil, a proprietary blend of organic and CPTG essential oils that moisturize skin with added UV protection against aging and fading.  You can purchase INKED Oil for long term tattoo care on our website.

While many people approach a new tattoo with excitement, there are others who, although they want a tattoo, may fear getting one. They may be afraid of needles or worry about the pain. Others may just feel anxious about the process.

Enter aromatherapy! Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses plant-based essential oils for the purpose of altering one’s psychological or physical state. Aromas have been used to treat everything from wounds to anxiety for thousands of years. Today, we have more than culture or tradition to support the use of essential oils.

A Mayo Clinic post on its website credits the use of lavender oil for helping make needle sticks less painful for people receiving dialysis, improving relaxation for people who are hospitalized and reducing pain for children undergoing surgery.

Other essential oils can reduce pain, lower anxiety, and alter mood. Any emotion governed by the limbic system of the brain can be enhanced by aromas. When scents stimulate the nasal receptors, neurotransmitters are released ad chemicals are secreted into the blood system. These can alter a person’s mental and emotional state. These same essential oils also stimulate deeper, slower breathing, which enhances relaxation.

Using essential oils during the tattooing process has been associated with lowered blood pressure, lower anxiety, and reduced pain. Essential oils aromas can help clients acquire a positive state of relaxation for the tattooing experience benefiting both the artist and the client.

INK SOAP contains a proprietary blend of essential oils selected for their calming effects. Using INK SOAP as a wash both before and during tattooing can calm the client and may reduce the pain of the needle sticks. Using INK OIL as an aftercare can help build pleasant associations between the tattoo, the artist, and the experience.

Our daughter had been asking for a tattoo every year on her birthday for 3 years. Her father’s answer was always, “NO!” In 1999, on her 18th birthday, we were in Las Vegas celebrating at Hard Rock Café, when she announced that tomorrow she was getting a tattoo. She explained that she didn’t need our permission because she was 18. Her dad tried to talk her out of it, but when he couldn’t, he asked if we, her parents, could come along to approve the environment. She agreed, and the next morning, we set out with a list of Las Vegas Tattoo Shops.

What he knew, that she didn’t, was how critical it is to choose the right shop. When getting a tattoo, the right shop can be every bit as important as the design of your tattoo and the artist you select to do it. To ensure your outcome doesn’t result in surprises, do the work to find a quality shop.

Most cities have a myriad of shops to choose from. Begin your search with well-established shops that have experienced artists. Talk to other tattooed people and get referrals. Once you have narrowed your search, visit the shops on your short-list to assess the following:

It took visiting six tattoo shops ,with her dad as inspector, before he found the shop where we would ultimately get family tattoos that we still love 20 years later. Thanks, Dad, for making our first tattoo experience a great one!

Choosing the right shop takes more than a nice street sign and a catchy name. The most important characteristics for long-term satisfaction are cleanliness and certification. You may find a great artist, but if your tattoo becomes infected or if you leave the shop with hepatitis, your experience will ultimately be unsatisfactory. I think most of us instinctively know the importance of safety, but how do go about assessing these all-important factors? 

Let’s begin with certification. Each state and some cities have their own licensing and inspection procedures. You can contact your business licensing bureau or health department or you can ask at the shop to see the state license and health certification. Most shops will have these posted, if not framed.

Once you’ve determined that the shop is properly licensed, you can assess the cleanliness yourself. Watch from the beginning of a tattoo on someone else. Does the artist or apprentice sterilize the tattooing area, including the table, tray, equipment and his/her own hands? Does the artist remove a new, sterile needle from original packaging? Is the tattoo machine covered in sterile wrap and is your artist wearing gloves? Do she/he change the gloves after answering the phone, refilling a bottle, or handling money? Are the pigment trays new or sterilized? Can you see an autoclave machine in the shop? If not, ask if one is used for non-disposable equipment. Ask yourself, is the shop clean?

Lastly, watch the application of aftercare. Is the artist dipping into a tub that can result in cross-contamination or is the aftercare a personal container for each client or better yet, a spray or pump that does not require opening, thus keeping the seal to prevent any introduction of pathogens?

Visits to shops may require that you put off getting your new tattoo for a day or two, but in the long run, you will be protecting yourself and ensuring that the environment you have chosen for your new ink will contribute to permanent satisfaction.

The first and most important thing you can do to preserve your tattoo is to protect it from sun damage. Of course, you can just cover it up, but part of the joy of a great tattoo is flaunting it. Go ahead and wear tanks or shorts, just make sure you protect your ink with a high quality sunblock with at least a UV protection of 30.

Skin hydration with a high quality moisturizer, is also critical to keeping your tattoo vibrant and healthy looking. Dry skin is opaque. It hides your ink and distorts the vibrant, clear colors of your tattoos. Keep skin healthy and transparent with a non-petroleum based moisturizer with a natural or organic formulary.

INKED, by INK OIL, accomplishes both of these anti-aging recommendations. INKED is made with all-natural grapeseed and coconut oils, used for centuries because of their ability to penetrate and hydrate skin, as well as provide a small degree of UV protection. INKED proprietary blend contains raspberry seed extract with a 28 to 50 SPF protection factor according to a study in 2000, published by Elserier Publishing*. The peer-reviewed research showed raspberry seed oil with an absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges for a broad spectrum UV protectant. This doesn’t mean one and done. As with any sun protection, INKED should be re-applied every two hours when skin is exposed to the sun. If skin turns red, put on a sleeved shirt or long pants immediately. Sunburn, with its accompanying peeling can cause irreparable damage to your skin and your tattoo.

Protected by INKED

*https://www.berrybeautiful.us/assests/characteristics-of-raspberry-(rubus-ilaeus-l)-seed-oil.pdf

INK OIL is a proprietary blend of powerful essential oils.  One of those oils, Lemongrass, gives INK OIL its pleasant aroma.  However, its therapeutic properties go far beyond the good smell. As documented in the Journal of Advance Pharmaceutical Technology and Research, lemongrass is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that help skin heal and prevent dryness and aging.  Lemongrass aromatherapy has also been shown to calm anxiety and nervousness.

Examining these benefits in terms of your tattoo, lemongrass helps tone your skin and calm the irritation and tenseness often associated with the tattooing process.  Using INK OIL with lemongrass before and during the tattooing process can calm the mind and prepare the skin for a new tattoo. Used following the removal of Saniderm*  or another pathogen barrier, INK OIL will help protect your tattoo from infection and speed healing

My Dad didn’t know much about tattoos or piercing, but having a career in the medical field, he did know safety and cleanliness. (Read “Choosing A Shop” on our blog page.)  Now I’ve got the perfect shop for him!  My Dad would have been proud to get his tattoo at VAMP BODY ART.

VAMP, owned and operated by Adam and Melini, is located in Santa Clara, Utah, one of the most conservative communities in Washington County.   Few people thought it was possible to get a shop licensed here, but VAMP got it done.  As a stand-out business in a modern strip mall, VAMP BODY ART opened when a dentist relocated leaving the building vacant.  The shop boosts three private tattoo rooms, a piercing parlor and a room dedicated to nothing but cleaning and sterilizing equipment!  VAMP ‘s private rooms, modern equipment and attention to safety, makes it a stand-out shop.

At VAMP BODY ART, you have three quality artists to choose from and  of course, Melini’s detailed, perfectionist piercing.  You can use VAMP with confidence for quality body art.  And while you're there, check out the jewelry and pick up a bottle of INK OIL tattoo and piercing aftercare. Check them out at vampbodyart.weebly.com

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