We are all well aware of the risks involved with tattooing. As a result selecting a safe tattoo studio is very important, and one mustn’t overlook the details of what that entails. Risk of infection, contracting a disease, and perminant skin damage are all possible thanks to a poor tattoo artist or an unsanitary parlour.

These are risks that are by no means worth taking, regardless of the convenience of these shops. As such, identifying and choosing a safe, sanitary tattoo studio is very important.

A well-equipped tattoo parlour, in the interest of saftey, will have a number of items. First, a biohazard container for any objects or materials that may come in contact with blood or other bodily fluids. Also, they should have a sharps container for disposal of needles and an autoclave (a device designed to heat fluids beyond their boiling point for the purpose of sterilization).

Biohazard Container

(Biohazard Container)

Tattoo Autoclave Machine

(Tattoo Autoclave Machine) 

Potentially the most important saftey feature in a good tattoo studio, however, is a one-use policy. Needles should be used once, on a single client, and then immediatley disposed of. Using a single needle for multiple people creates a huge risk of contracting a disease. Contaminated needles and ink should never be re-used under any circumstances.

Any time that the risk of contamination exists, the tattoo artist should wash his or her hands. This includes preparing the client for the piece, during the work, and between patrons. Use of disposable gloves (latex and non-latex should be available in the event that a client is allergic to latex) is also required.

In most states and many countries it is required that minors have parental consent to receive a tattoo, and that people whom are pregnant, nursing, impaired (by alcohol or drugs), or suffer from any type of skin condition cannot be worked on.

Failure of a tattoo studio to adhere to any of these standards is a good indicator that they are less than reputable and should be avoided. Prior to the tattoo being applied, the artist should ask for approval of the position of the stencil. After this, the artist should remove the needles from sterile packaging and prepare new ink of the pigments needed. After the tattoo is finished, equipment should be autoclaved. Any articles that cannot be autoclaved (such as countertops, machines, and furniture) will be wiped clean with disinfectant or disposed off.

Being a member in any type of tattooing association can speak volumes for the reputability of an artist. Certifications are a major plus when selecting your parlour and artist, but many of the best tattoo artists belong to no such organization. In many states (including Hawaii and Oregon), tattoo artists must take and pass a test related to their knowledge of health and saftey standards before they are allowed to do business. Practicing without this certification in these states is a felony offense. Similarly, in the UK all tattoo parlours require a health and safety license which requires the artist to undergo some investigation etc.

It’s just not worth it to risk any type of infection or contamination when getting a tattoo. Going to a home-grown tattoo artist or an unsanitary studio is an invitation for trouble. Choose your parlour and artist wisely.