The taboo linked to tattooing is progressively fading (pun intended!). A great deal of discrimination has been linked to the inked. Tattoo enthusiasts have often been stereotyped as society outcasts, and even today, we are prone to hiding our tats in formal settings, especially the workplace.
Your body is your canvas, if you want to decorate it with tattoos, its totally your business! I’ve recently had my second one done, and thought I’d share my experience with you.
Tezzy’s Tattoo Story
Given all the societal bias we’ve been fed on getting inked, my first tattoo was more discreet by location. Based on traditional Maori art, this is a ‘good luck’ tattoo that presides around the crescent of my ankle-bone. It stands for progress and going forward, very apt for the foot I thought. And being Maori by design, it is a piece of Kiwiana I take with me wherever I go.
I love my ankle tattoo. So much so, that I was beginning to think it was done on too discreet a location, and I’ve been itching on getting a second tat that would be more proudly prominent.
Quite unlike my first time where I did a great deal of research on tattoo designs, my second tattoo was initiated by an impromptu visit to Powerhouse Tattoos, Palmerston North (New Zealand) this week.
This is where I had my first one done, and this time round I met the very talented James Bishop.
A Few Points to Consider When Choosing a Tattoo Design
- A tattoo will mark you for life. Make sure you really, really like what you’re about to get done.
- Google up designs. Pinterest is a great tool for storing away potential tattoos to consider.
- Ask yourself why you want this design: Does it signify something important to you? What if this importance changes over time? Will you be happy having this tattoo on you 20 years down the line?
- Do you want to add colour to your tattoo? Consider your skin shade (will it show?). Consider your wardrobe (will it blend it with your look? How about your wardrobe a few years down the line?).
- Find a reputable tattoo artist. They are professionals, they can help you make decision.
- Where will this tattoo be placed? Think about your lifestyle. Do you want it in a discreet location, or do you want to wear it loud and proud? Can it be easily hidden if need be?
Having lost my beloved father very recently, I wanted a tattoo that would be a tribute to him of sorts. This time round, I settled for a long-stemmed rose. My father was a huge fan of roses, and having one on my arm is symbolic of holding a rose for him forever.
I looked up many designs on Pinterest, and even sketched a few (check out my Pinterest board dedicated to tattoos by clicking here). I sent these to James, and he recreated a few more options for me.
I considered getting the tattoo in colour, but James advised against it. On darker skin, the hues may not come up as expected, and coloured tattoos also have a tendency to fade faster. A monotone tattoo will not get dated, and would look stylishly appropriate for years to come.
First off, James did a carbon transfer of the rose design on my arm (pretty much like the temporary tattoos we got as kids).
I spent quite a few minutes checking it out in the mirror. Once satisfied with the size and positioning of the tattoo, I lay face down on a swiveling tattoo bench, the tattoo arm precariously resting on a stool, and James got to work.
The area to be tattooed first gets disinfected with special wipes. The tattoo pen looks and sounds like a mini drill. The tip gets dipped in ink, and the sharp pinch of metal penetrates the skin with flowing colour.
Does getting tattooed hurt? Hell yeah! When I got the one on my ankle, I could best describe it as feeling like being constantly scratched by an angry cat. On my arm, it felt more like kitten scratches given this area is not as boney as the ankle.
My rose tattoo took just under half an hour to complete. After completion, the tattoo gets a quick dab of antiseptic, and is wrapped up in cling film.
I was advised to remove the film an hour or so later, and wash the tattoo with lukewarm soapy water. I was given a tattoo balm to apply sparingly to the area to keep it hydrated.
In that one hour with the cling film on, my tattoo was piercingly sore. It felt like I’d scraped my arm on coarse gravel. Washing it somewhat subsided the burning, and thankfully it is starting to heal as predicted.
Getting a Tattoo: The Healing Process
A fresh tattoo is basically a raw wound. The first three days are therefore crucial in keeping it germ and infection free.
Never touch a new tattoo with unwashed hands. Keep the area clean, dry and lightly moisturized with a high-quality tattoo balm.
It is essential not to over-moisturize the tattoo, or soak it in water for a prolonged period as the ink is just settling in. The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a permanently smudged look!
Around Day 4, the tattoo will start to scab. As tempting as it may be, do not pick on your tattoo! Doing so not only puts you at risk of infection, but can disfigure your final work of art.uA tattoo can take up to 2 months to completely heal. Continue using tattoo balms to keep it hydrated.
Keep it out of direct sunlight, and leave it uncovered as much as possible. If you have to wear clothing over your new tattoo, make sure it is of loose, breathable material.
Post Tattoo Care
Even after a tattoo is completely healed, caring for your body art will prolong its life, and help it retain its original colour.
- Wear sunscreen daily.
- Cover from direct sunlight.
- Keep it moisturized.