I recently had a chance to talk with some folks who were just about to get tattooed, or who had just gotten a tattoo, and I found myself being asked if there was anything I did to make the experience easier. Here are some of my thoughts on the actual experience of being tattooed and how to take care of yourself to make it more comfortable.
Before You Get Tattooed:
- Get a good night's sleep the night before. Sure you might just be sitting or lying there while the work is being done, but tattooing winds up being an exhausting process, especially if you're going to be getting work done that takes a few hours.
- Eat a good meal ahead of time. Don't just grab something junky, or gulp down a power drink. Getting your brain to override the body's urge to get away from the painful sensation is what takes up so much energy, along with just enduring the feeling of being tattooed itself. I like a balanced meal one to two hours before my tattoo appointment.
- Take along a water bottle to drink during your appointment. I find that having some water or juice to drink during my tattoo makes me feel better.
- Wear clothing that makes it easy to bare the area to be tattooed and won't be too tight over the tattoo afterwards. If you're going to have work done on your back, consider bringing a shirt that buttons up, and putting it on backward while the tattooing is being done. It can help you avoid the chills.
After You Get Tattooed:
- Watch those tattoo energy surges. Some people feel very "up" after being tattooed, but it's the result of hormones and other body chemicals, which can suddenly drop off and leave you feeling very crashed. It's often better to go home and rest as opposed to going out with friends.
- Eat something. Your body has just used up a lot of energy by withstanding the tattoo process and eating a small snack can really help. Some folks get nauseous after they get tattooed, and it's often due to low blood sugar and exhaustion. If you feel a bit sick after getting tattooed, try eating a piece of fruit or having some soup at first and see if that helps. If you're like me and you come out of longer tattoo sessions really hungry, eat something high in protein.
- Consider taking a nap. I often find after my longer tattoo sessions, I want to eat right away and within a half hour of that, I want to go to sleep. I never sleep long, but it seems like my body is saying "hang on, let me just get a grip on what you just made me sit through." I find that I sleep from 30 minutes to about two hours at most and then wake up again, feeling much better.
- Stay hydrated. Since the skin is not only healing, but often does a job of helping the body filter out impurities via sweat, it's important to drink lots of water during the healing stage to help make sure the tattoo doesn't get infected by your own sweat.
If you're thinking about getting tattooed, you might like
Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo
by Terisa Green
The Tattoo Encyclopedia : A Guide to Choosing Your Tattoo
also by Terisa Green