Facts and myths about tattoos: what you need to know
Making a tattoo is not a decision to be taken lightly, as this is something that can stay with you for the rest of your days. Complications from this procedure aren’t common, but it still requires some care during the healing period. Let’s take a look at some facts and myths about tattoos to help you dispel some of those doubts.
- Tattoos should be made during the Winter.
Fact. While this isn’t a strict rule, choosing the colder season to make a tattoo will help diminish the chance of complications during the healing period. You probably know that it is not recommended to go to the beach or, plain and simple, sunbathe with a recent tattoo, as this may cause issues with the inflamed skin and lead to aesthetic trouble with the tattoo.
- You should keep your fresh tattoo away from water
Fact. You shouldn’t soak your fresh tattoo design, as there is a risk of infection. As soon as the healing period has passed and the tattoo is fully healed (usually a couple of weeks if you take all the precautions), water will never be a problem for your tattoo; in fact, you should keep it clean at all times, as no water whatsoever will never be able reach deep into your skin and affect your tattoo.
- You can’t give blood if you have tattoos
Myth. There is a big misconception all over the Internet, and sometimes even in large newscasts that you can’t be a blood donor if you have a tattoo. This myth has gained such popularity that even Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s best soccer players, comes into the equation – he doesn’t have any tattoo “because he is a blood donor.” That isn’t true, in fact. You can give blood if you have tattoos; however, you can’t do it during the first four months after getting a tattoo done. After that period, your tattooed self is absolutely free to give blood.
- You can catch a disease when you make a tattoo
Myth. Well, this one depends on your persona, really. If you’re not a cheap bastard, you should be safe from harm. Don’t be too picky with the prices and, first and foremost, pick a certified tattoo parlour for this adventure – after all, you are going to be “wearing” this tattoo everywhere you go, so you’d better go for quality and safe practices. However, if you choose a shady underground shop where you can’t even tell if they sterilize their machines, there is a risk factor to it. Despite people associating HIV with tattoos, there are very few such cases in the world and they are mostly from tattooing within prison with contaminated needles.
- Making a tattoo can be painful
Fact. Well, what did you expect? There’s a needle piercing through your skin at a considerable speed, so you’re definitely going to feel a sting, to say the least. However, the level of pain can be very different according to the place where you are getting the tattoo, as the thickness of the skin and the fat in the location play an important part. Other things also should be taken into consideration, such as the quality of the tattoo artist, the tattoo itself (the more detailed the drawing, the more painful it should be), your self-control (are you afraid of needles, to begin with), any medication and your habits of taking alcohol or drugs that may affect how you perceive pain.
Tattoos in places such as legs, shoulders, thighs and forearm are bound to be less painful than other locations such as the genitals, nipples, fingers, armpits, feet, ankles, face or shin, among others.
- If you have a back tattoo you can’t have an epidural
Fact. This needs to be explained further. Back tattoos may be a concern in some hospitals and to some anesthesiologists as epidurals, which are painkilling injections into the spine given during childbirth, may cause ink fragments from the tattoo to enter the deeper tissues. You should not have an epidural if your skin is raised and scaly, red, swollen or oozing fluid, or fresh and the skin is still healing. However, the anesthesiologist will try to insert the needle through spaces of the skin that aren’t tattooed.
- Taking a painkiller before getting a tattoo will help relieve the pain
Myth. Don’t do that, it won’t help. Not only this isn’t true – otherwise, everyone would be gobbling up painkillers before making any tattoos – it can also cause some additional troubles. As the experts say, some painkillers are blood thinners, which means that there is a very real risk of bleeding more during the tattoo process.
- Don’t work out immediately after getting a tattoo
Fact. Just as swimming and sunbathing isn’t recommended in the following days after getting a tattoo, you should also avoid most, if not all, sports. The reason is simple: exercise will pull and stretch your skin and this will have a bad effect on your tattoo, not only aesthetically but also in terms of irritation. The first couple of days are vital, so try to avoid working out during this period. After that, always apply a moisture product and cover the area with a bandage to protect it from sweat and salt, which can cause skin abrasion. Wait a while before working out, it’s not like you’re going to lose your amazingly sculptured body if you wait for a few days for the tattoo to heal.
- You can get a tattoo removed
Myth. Of all the facts and myths about tattoos, this is probably one of the most controversial. Well, this one really depends on what you want for yourself. There are options to remove a tattoo (or you can cover it with another, larger tattoo – who told you that it was a good idea to tattoo the name of your new girlfriend?), but they aren’t exactly ideal. One of them is surgery, but you can count on a nice big scar after that. The other popular option is laser tattoo removal, but this one comes with a few strings attached.
First off, you can count on several session for a complete removal. It’s also quite expensive and comes with quite a bit of pain as well. Different ink colors also mean that different lasers must be used, with the black ink being the easiest to remove. In the end, there is a high chance that you’ll come out of the laser treatment with a scar and empty pockets.