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Tattoo Safety Check-list

By on August 14, 2015

Everybody from Rihanna and Drake to the local businessman and little Johnny down the block seems to be tatted up these days.

Body art is very, very popular among teens and everyday people. There are common tattoos on shoulders, backs, and legs to full arm-sleeves or the infamous Nick Cannon back tattoo after the Mariah Carey split.

The process of acquiring this living art is a unique talent, but it puts tattooists and piercers at risk of coming in contact with blood. Specifically, tattoo artists may also be exposed to a bloodborne pathogen, such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). And if you (the client) don’t ask the right questions you might be at risk of getting a bad infection, let along poor artwork.

Sloppy work can result in exposure to one of these viruses. Artists can be exposed to a bloodborne virus during the set-up, procedure, break down, and clean-up stages. These exposures can occur through needlesticks, contact with dried blood on equipment or surfaces, or blood splashes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. Keeping a clean shop and using safe work practices, ensures a safe and professional atmosphere for artists and clients. Pay attention to the type of establishment you are in.

Avoid the urge to get inked up while incarcerated, intoxicated, or on a dare. These are bad ideas all around.

Before you get tatted up, heed these suggestions:

1. Insist that you observe  your tattooist remove a new needle & tube set-up from a sealed envelope immediately prior to your tattoo.

2. Make sure your artist puts on a new pair of disposable gloves before setting up tubes, needles and ink supplies.

3. Visually inspect the cleanliness of the shop furnishings & tattooist; much like a medical facility.

4. Feel free to question the tattooist as to any of his sterile procedures & isolation techniques. Take time to observe them at work & do not hesitate to inquire about their experience, license, and qualifications.


Lastly, if you are unsure about getting a tattoo, by all means wait. It can save you embarrassment and a trip to the clinic.



  1. Staff Contributor

    October 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Glad to hear this is helpful Johnnie.

  2. Johnnie at GentlemanREDUX

    July 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Talk about a timely post. I’m strongly considering getting a tattoo in the next few months. Like G-Roc, I had a fear about them (the permanent nature of a tattoo that is), but I’ve since gotten over it because I know what it is that I want and what it would symbolize for me, etc. I’m glad you call the health implications out though. This is very relevant, and I WILL be insisting on some cleanliness when I hit the parlor.

  3. Staff Contributor

    July 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    You can always get more than one…

  4. G-Roc

    July 7, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo but I guess in the back of my mind I’m scared. I’m always telling people that I don’t know what I want and I don’t know where I want it. I figured the only people who really get them are athletes, rappers, and corner boys anyway; well those are the ones who get them excessively.

    But if I ever do decide to get a tattoo, you better believe I’ll be asking more questions than a little bit.

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