Why did you get your first tattoo

First tattoo: you have to know that beforehand

No question about it, tattoos are some of the coolest accessories a man can wear - but they are also the most durable. The perfect tattoo should therefore go beyond trends and be something that you will love forever. But how can you be so sure? We spoke to famous tattoo artist Lalo Yunda and Miki Vialetto, who runs the Tattoo Life website, and clarified the 10 questions you should ask yourself and answer before things get serious.

And before we forget it: Tattoo studios are currently (still) allowed to open under strict hygiene regulations. But you should perhaps also think about whether you absolutely have to get your first tattoo now, if the number of corona infections is increasing rapidly. Maybe you will wait a little longer and think carefully about your first tattoo ...

1. How do I choose the right tattoo design?

Ramiz Dedakovic / Unsplash.com
Tattoos should match the personality and not just reflect trends

A tattoo stays forever - and that is exactly why the decision for the right motif is so important. Not only is it costly to remove it, but it is also extremely painful - more so than stabbing. Therefore, it is better to deal long and carefully with the choice of the tattoo motif. You can find plenty of inspiration on social media, for example. Check out the profiles of tattoo artists on Instagram and Pinterest and save motifs that you like. Tip: Print out your favorites and hang them up where you often look - next to the computer, in the office or on the wall next to the bathroom mirror. If after a few weeks you've seen yourself on a subject, you shouldn't prick it. If you still like it, the chances are good it will stay that way forever. By the way: Here you can find popular tattoo designs and their meanings.

2. Which position is suitable for the first tattoo?

Just as important as the question of the right motive is the choice of the perfect position. "Tattoos can hide an area of ​​the body that you don't particularly like or flaunt a part even more. It all depends on the size of the tattoo and its placement," says Miki Vialetto.

Basically: The biceps is well suited for beginners - it doesn't hurt that much here. Ribs and areas with little muscle above the bones hurt the most. "Elbows, shoulder blades and ankles are only for very determined masochists", says the expert. If you have ever wondered what happens when you build muscles with tattoos, you will find the answer here.

The same applies to the placement: Better to think more than too little. A face tattoo could well become a career obstacle. Whether your mother likes the motif shouldn't matter. "Don't get a tattoo on your back instead of your wrist just because your family can't see it," says Yunda. "You will always wish afterwards that you did it the way you originally wanted it to."

Brianna Santellan / Unsplash.com
Inquire about good studios in advance on the internet and in your circle of friends

3. Are tattoos harmful to health?

Despite the fact that so many people are tattooed, far too little research has been carried out into colors. Are they dangerous? The study situation is not clear. However, critics suspect a connection with cancer. The European Chemicals Agency therefore recommends banning two pigments as a precaution. Specifically, it is about "Green 7, CI 74260" and "Blue 15, CI 74160". The tones are needed to produce two thirds of all available tattoo inks - not just shades of blue and green, but also skin tones and pink tones, for example. Should the ban be enforced, there would currently be no adequate replacement. Tattooists in the EU were left with black, red and yellow tones.

4. How do I find the perfect studio?

A serious artist will work with you to develop the design and help you choose a position. Which brings us to the next point: Choose your needle master well. "If the tattoo artist works with unclean equipment, there is a risk of hepatitis or even HIV infection," warns the expert. Have all equipment shown to you before the sting, ask about the hygiene measures (if the tattoo artist becomes unfriendly, it is better to do the bend). And insist that only color pigments are used that can be removed with the laser in an emergency if you don't feel like looking at the motif later. Better safe than sorry.

5. How do I prepare for my first tattoo?

You should pay attention to these things in the last 24 hours before the tattoo appointment:

  • Appear well rested and not on an empty stomach to keep the circulation stable.
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee, drink plenty of water instead so that the skin is sufficiently hydrated.
  • Be careful with medication: Aspirin tablets, for example, are taboo because of their blood-thinning effect. Still swallowed? Then be sure to tell the tattoo artist!
  • Wear loose clothing that is comfortable even when sitting or lying down for long periods of time and that does not rub on sore skin after the sting.

6. What exactly happens when you get a tattoo?

The area of ​​skin that you have chosen for your desired motif is thoroughly disinfected and also shaved, as even the smallest hairs can interfere with the application of the motif. The tattoo artist should always wear gloves because he is working on an open wound. After the skin surface has been rubbed with milk fat to avoid scabs, the template is applied to the skin: either by means of a kind of "decal" or free-hand. Changes can still be agreed in this process.

There are now two ways of getting color into the skin: Either the tattoo machine itself is filled with color or the needle is dipped in color again and again during the tattooing process. Depending on the part of the body and your own sensitivity to pain, the procedure hurts more or less. The ankles and wrist are particularly sensitive to pain. First, outlines are tattooed. Filling and shadow areas will follow later. Usually only one needle is used for the border and several needles for the filling.

Finally, the tattoo must be disinfected again, rubbed in with milking fat and finally pasted over (with a bandage or cling film) so that no dirt can get to the fresh wound Care tips after tattooing are available after the jump.

Julia Giacomini / Unsplash.com
Tattoo prices vary based on size and artist

7. How much does a tattoo actually cost?

The prices for a tattoo vary depending on the effort and degree of awareness of the tattoo artist. On average, an hour is around 100 euros. Larger motifs, bright colors and eye-catching shades take a long time and cost several 100 euros accordingly. Lot of money. But you shouldn't be put off by this and go to the next best cheap studio: Quality has its price and after all, you get something from the motif for life - even in the negative sense, if it has been badly worked.

8. When is the right time?

For sun worshipers, tattoos are an absolute "no-go" in summer, because the sun bleaches tattoos so that the color intensity is reduced. Before the appointment, the area to be tattooed should not come into contact with UV radiation. The radiation expands the pores so that more blood will flow when tattooing.

9. How do I take care of the fresh tattoo?

You did it, the desired tattoo motif now adorns your body. But it's not done with that. Because a fresh tattoo is like a superficial skin wound. Because of this, wound secretions can leak or crusts appear. Two things are particularly essential: hygiene and care.

  • It is best not to touch the tattoo and if so, only with washed hands.
  • The fresh tattoo needs regular cream.
  • Long showering and bathing in water containing chlorine should be avoided completely.
  • You should also skip visits to the sauna or the gym until everything has healed.

10. What if I regret my tattoo?

The last thing you should be aware of is that the motif will grace your body forever. So be sure that you will continue to like the tattoo in the future and that you will not get bored or even regret it at some point. If you think twice and find a good tattoo artist, it is very unlikely that you will regret your tattoo.

Provided you don't have your partner's name engraved on you. Love goes Tattoos don't. You may think a breakup is painful, but the laser treatment afterwards is even worse. And it also hurts your wallet: On average, you pay 100 euros per session and you will probably need far more than one run. You can find more information here: How to get rid of your tattoo.

No matter which motif and which part of the body you have in mind for your first tattoo: ask yourself exactly whether you might still like it in a few years. after all, you will wear the tattoo on your skin for the rest of your life. Still determined? Well then go!

This article may contain links to providers from whom MEN'S HEALTH receives a commission. These links are marked with the following icon: