Choosing a tattoo studio is vital to your health. Every state has different laws governing tattoo studios. Check with your local state governing office to find out what the regulations are there. At the very least, it is best to use a studio that is licensed. This usually means that successful completion of a health department course on infectious disease transmission has been taken and an exam has been passed. First of all, when you enter a tattoo studio, take a look around. It should be clean and organized. Disinfectants used should be EPA approved. You don’t want to use a studio that is not kept very clean and neat.
— Twit Twoo Tattoo (@twittwootattoo) October 19, 2013
Ask about the artist’s professional memberships. Tattoo artists that belong to professional organizations usually keep up with all the latest trends and best practices. It is important to note, however, that many of the most notable tattooists do not belong to any association. If there are laws in place in your state for tattoo studios, it is usually the local health department that regulates tattoo studios.
Watch the tattoo artist do work on another client to see if you like their style and to see that they are following safe procedures.
Look for the following items. If you don’t see them, ask the artist about them. If the artist tells you they are unnecessary or “overkill,” leave immediately and go look for another studio. Your health is more important than the risk of using a tattoo artist that is less than totally dedicated to the safest practices in his or her studio.
1. Autoclave – an autoclave is used in hospitals to sterilize equipment. It uses heat, steam, and pressure to kill every organism on the equipment. It usually takes about an hour for an autoclave to run a cycle from a cold start to effectively kill all organisms. You can even ask to see the autoclave and sterilization certificate. The tattoo artist should first clean the equipment and then place it in a special pouch before placing it in the autoclave. There is a strip on the outside of the pouch that indicates when the equipment is sterile. The needle bar and tube are reusable pieces of equipment that must be sterilized before each use.
2. Single Use Items
Single use items should be used only once so that the chances of cross contamination are eliminated. The single use items include:
Most of these items are purchased in sterile packaging that should be opened in front of you just before the artist begins work.
3. Sharps/Biohazard Container
Used needles and objects that have come into contact with blood or bodily fluids should be disposed of in a sharps/biohazard container.
4. A universal container for any ointment, ink, water, etc. should not be used especially if any of these items have been removed from the container to be used on a client.
5. Some studios are required by law to have a sink in the work area supplied with both hot and cold water. Even if it isn’t required by law in your area, it only makes sense to have one for the cleanliness of the studio.
Getting a tattoo is very safe if you choose your studio wisely. Follow these guidelines and you are well on your way to getting a tattoo you will enjoy the rest of your life.