Tattoos

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Is tattooing safe?

  • Tattooing can be safe when done by a professional artist who is careful to protect customers and themselves from infections.
  • Touching the new tattoo area without washing your hands can also cause other infections.
  • Tattooing, can increase the risk of getting blood diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B or C.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination is strongly recommended before getting a tattoo.

Choose the location of your tattoo carefully.

  • Some sites can become infected more easily than others.
  • Some sites have different amounts of pain.
  • How will you like your choice of tattoo and site 5 or 10 years from now?
  • In future, will you want that tattoo to always be seen?
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What are the risks?

  • Needles should be used only once. Re-using needles for tattooing is like sharing injectable drug needles.
  • Make sure you watch your body artist remove the sterile bar and needles from the package.
  • Only fresh ink should be used for your tattoo. Ask to see your ink poured into new, disposable 'caps'. A virus can survive for a long time in ink.

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How do I care for my tattoo?

  • The body artist should give you a written list of things to do to prevent infection. Infection can ruin your new artwork and be harmful to your health.
  • Make sure that your new tattoo is covered with a sterile non-stick bandage when you leave.
  • Eat well. Be active. Be yourself. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your tattoo to heal.
  • If you must touch your tattoo, wash your hands first!
  • If your tattoo becomes sore, red, swollen or oozes pus, you may have an infection. See your Doctor immediately!
  • Tattoos can take up to 6 weeks to heal.

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What to consider when choosing a body artist/ shop.

  • A photo of a tattoo artist wearing disposalable gloves while woking on a tattoo.Take the time to find a professional before you get a tattoo. How long was their training?
  • Shop around before you get a tattoo. Get all of your questions answered.
  • The body artist should not be smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs while working on you. You should be sober too.
  • Written aftercare instructions should be available.
  • Is the shop clean? A dirty shop increases your risk of infection, which could ruin your tattoo and your health.
  • Do they sterilize equipment and disinfect work surfaces to remove blood and body fluids?
  • Do they use an autoclave?
  • Do they have a sink to wash their hands? Is a new disposable razor used if the area needs to be shaved?
  • Do they clean the area to be tattooed with soap and water and then wipe with an antiseptic swab?
  • Do they use new disposable gloves for each tattooing?
  • Are new disposable needles used for tattooing?
  • A good body artist will answer all of your questions – just ask them!
  • Information on infection control guidelines for tattoo parlours, piercings and other personal service setting is available here

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