Preparing for a Tattoo: Learn How To Get The Best Results

Last updated: February 20, 2019
Published 8:22 am

Whether you’re getting your first tattoo or running out of blank space on your body, there are things you should and shouldn’t do before the big appointment. When preparing for a tattoo, use the following tips and tricks to ensure a smooth experience from start to finish.

What Should You Do the Night Before?

You’ll probably be feeling several emotions the night before your big tattoo appointment. While you’re flip-flopping between excitement, nervousness, and maybe a little apprehension, there are a few things you can do to start preparing for a tattoo.

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Make sure you meet your daily water requirements the night before getting a tattoo.

Skip the sugary drinks and extra liquid calories. Instead, drink plenty of water to make sure your skin is healthy and hydrated.

  • Get Enough Sleep: As hard as it may be, hit the hay a little early the night before getting a tattoo.

This will help keep your nerves in check the day of and put you in the right state of mind to enjoy the experience as much as possible.

  • Have a Plan: Make sure that you know what shop you’re going to. Ideally, you will have already visited and spoken with your tattoo artist.

You’ll also want to make sure you have a clear printout or drawing of your tattoo. Get any paperwork in order, like your ID and any medical documents if needed, and have an outfit picked out that won’t aggravate the tattooed area.

What to Do on The Day of Your Tattoo Appointment

What you do on the day of your tattoo appointment will depend on the location of your tattoo, but there are a few things everyone should do. See which of the following apply to you.

  • Eat a Healthy Meal: Don’t grab some fast food on the way to your appointment. Instead, have a healthy sit-down meal with your family and friends.

You want to make sure you’re energized and not full of sugar and processed foods during your appointment.

  • Shower: A shower is a great idea before your tattoo appointment, but now isn’t the time to try out a new body wash or exfoliator.

Use your normal showering products. Also, if the area you are having tattooed has excessive body hair, make sure to shave the area in the direction of the hair growth if your tattoo artist mentioned doing so.

  • Gather Aftercare Products: Once your tattoo is complete, you’ll probably want to head home and take it easy. Take the time to grab any products you want to have nearby before your appointment, like over the counter pain medication, lotion, or a new video game or movie to kill some time with while you relax.

What to Do During Tattooing

Your appointment is about to start! Here’s how to make it everything you’ve imagined.

  • Communicate: Your tattoo artist will want you to keep them in the loop. If you’re nervous, let them know. If you need a break, don’t try to tough it out. Also, feel free to strike up a conversation with your tattoo artist. Just be sure to keep still. Avoid talking with your hands or moving parts of your body.
  • Entertain Yourself: Bring some music and headphones to your appointment or download some movies on a phone or tablet.

 If you would rather zone out during your appointment than chit chat with your tattoo artist, they’ll understand. Bring anything you need to make yourself more comfortable, including entertainment or pillows.

  • Relax: Even if you’re nervous, do your best to relax. If you tense up or hold your breath, you’ll make the discomfort worse.

If you’re struggling with your appointment, speak to your tattoo artist about using a tattoo numb gel or similar product.

What You SHOULD NOT DO Before a Tattoo Session

Even if you think you’re a tattoo expert, take a minute to review these things you should never do before your session.

Also, don’t show up to your session after slamming a few drinks with your friends. This scenario might be funny in the movies, but it can make for a disastrous session in real life.

  • No Aspirin or Blood Thinners: If you want to take something for pain, choose Advil or Tylenol. Aspirin thins your blood, which can create complications during your session. Always mention any blood disorders to your tattoo artist before starting.
  • No Tanning or Exercise: Avoid tanning outdoors to prevent sunburn or dry skin. Skip the sunless tanning booth as well until after your tattoo has healed.

Aerobic exercise should be okay before your appointment, but avoid lifting weights or working out the area of the tattoo to prevent added discomfort.

  • Don’t Stress: Even if you’re nervous, do your best to avoid excess stress before your session. Stick to your regular schedule and take some time to do something that relaxes you, like a walk or an evening out with friends. Focus on the reason you’re getting the tattoo and do your best to keep nerves at bay.

With the right prep and mindset, getting a tattoo can be an enjoyable experience, even with the discomfort that comes along with it. Preparing for a tattoo is just as important as preparing for a medical appointment. Even though it’s a lighthearted activity most of the time, take it seriously while enjoying the ride.