Thinking about getting a tattoo? It can be a little nerve-racking, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over (you’re going to need to be well rested, so don’t do that). And, in the meantime, check out our Top 4 Things to Expect When Getting a Tattoo. 

A tattoo artist works on a man's armNo Alcohol or Aspirin 

Before you go taking something for the pain, you should know that both aspirin and alcohol have blood-thinning properties, which translates to: You will bleed more. Blood thinners make clotting more difficult, which means your tattoo will have a longer healing time and be more susceptible to infection. Excellent hygienic aftercare is necessary always, but especially if you’d like to partake in celebratory shots, or even the lifeblood that is your morning coffee. Best bet? Forego the pain meds & liquid courage in the name of health & healing. 

 Don’t Talk to People 

Okay, talk to people, but take their individual experiences with a (large) grain of salt. Everyone has different tolerance levels for pain, so while they may give you their honest perspective, you may find that it doesn’t match up with your own experience while in the chair. The best thing to do is take a mental inventory of how well you’ve handled pain in the past. Can you withstand a lot, or do papercuts make you cry? It’s all about perspective, but you’ll never know until you try. 

 You Will be Shaved 

Yes, even if there’s hardly any visible hair, you will be shaved. Reason being, we are mammals. And as such, we are covered in our own type of fur called vellus hair, or more commonly known as peach fuzz. Even if you can’t see it so well, it’s there. In fact, the only places you don’t have it are the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. Any hair can get in the way, thus causing blank spots where the needles missed. So, settle in for a quick shave before your artist gets going. 

 HYDRATE! & Eat Something 

Listen to the advice of your mother and doctors everywhere on this one. Make sure you’re well fed and hydrated before you sit down for however long to endure some level of pain in the name of art & individuality—please. This one isn’t rocket science; a well-nourished body withstands trauma better. Be sure to drink as much water as you can in the week leading up to your appointment. That’s about 9 cups a day for women, and 13 for men, at least. In short, you feel better when you’re not hungry and your body is a better canvas for the ink when properly hydrated. 

Other things to keep in mind: Get a full night’s rest to feel your best the next day, artwork over bone will hurt more, and sharing the story behind your tattoo choice may be both cathartic for you and interesting for your artist. Receiving a tattoo is a memorable experience, and it should be a good one to look back on. So, you know…do your part, and whatnot. As always, be sure to follow all post-care instructions from your artist. Now, go forth & book an appointment for some new fancy flesh!