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Frequently Asked Questions About Tattoos

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Thinking of getting your first tattoo? Or maybe you already have a few but want to increase your knowledge of tattoos? Below are 26 of the most frequently asked questions about tattoos and getting tattooed. They discuss everything from how tattoos work to how to care for them and what to expect during healing. 

1. How old do I have to be to get a tattoo?

In the state of Florida, you must be 18 years or older - OR - you must be 16 or 17 with parent consent.

2. What do I need to get a tattoo?

If you are 18 or older, you will need a government issued ID with your birth date and picture. If you are 16 or 17, you will need a government issued ID with your birth date and picture, your parent, your parent’s government issued ID, a completed notary form [link to notary form], and it is preferred the minor has their birth certificate as well.

Forms of accepted government issued IDs include driver’s license, state issued identification card, passport, military ID, and original birth certificate (for minors).

3. When should I get tattooed?

You should get tattooed when you are in good general health (i.e. not sick, not recovering from any illness, surgery, or medical procedure, etc.) You should also not get tattooed when you are pregnant or nursing.

It is best to get tattooed when you have a well thought out idea of what you want. It does not have to be a complete design, but at least an idea to bring to your artist.

4. What should I do before I get tattooed?

A few good tips you may wish to follow:

- Gently exfoliate the area you wish to get tattooed. Shaving is not required, your tattoo artist will remove any body hair necessary (unless otherwise instructed).

- Eat a good meal before your appointment (Not a snack, but a meal. At least an hour before you get tattooed.)

- Do not do any heavy drinking the night before or immediately before getting your tattoo. Alcohol not only thins the blood, but makes you a major pain in the neck for your tattoo artist.

- Please come in sober and with a generally good mindset. :)

5. What should I get?

What you get is ultimately up to you. Our tattoo artists will make recommendations from their professional experience, especially for placement and style of tattoo, but the subject matter is ultimately your choice. If you’re not sure where to look for some inspiration, you can always check out our flash and portfolios at the shop, and try searching online. Just remember, no matter what, tattoos are forever, and our artists will always try to steer you in the right direction.

6. Should I bring my own design?

It is encouraged to bring in references of what you like so your artist can get a better sense of what you would want. You can bring in your own designs, whether you drew them yourself or if you found a reference or two online, but keep in mind, our artists prefer to give you a one of kind custom tattoo, designed just for you.

7. Can I bring my friends/family/kids?

While having a support system with you when getting a tattoo can help, bringing your whole entourage can be too much. The more people you bring with you, the more distractions you will have, the more distractions your artist will have, and ultimately it can be frustration for your everyone involved. Bringing one friend or family member along for support is okay, just not your closest 10 friends. As for younger kids, they are encouraged to be left at home with a babysitter.

8. Does it hurt?

Tattoos are a different experience for everyone. Some areas are more sensitive than others on the body. Some people take getting tattooed better than other people. Generally the more painful areas to get tattooed are the ribs, hips, chest, feet, hands, fingers, neck, and inner arms. The less painful and easier areas to get tattooed are the outer upper arm, the forearm, the calf, the outer thigh, and the shoulder blade.

9. Can I use some kind of numbing cream?

Generally tattoos do not require a numbing product. Every tattoo artist has a different preference whether or not to use one, and it is their decision whether or not one is used for the tattoo. If you have serious concerns about the pain of getting a tattoo, we recommend consulting your tattoo artist in person.

10. How long will it take?

It depends on the tattoo you are getting. Each tattoo is different, and the amount of time it requires will vary depending on many factors: the size of the tattoo, the detail in the tattoo, the area you are getting tattooed (some areas take longer than other areas), how well you sit, your pain tolerance, etc. Always consult with your artist and ask them for an estimate of how long the tattoo process will take.

11. How much does it cost?

Tattoos are priced by the artist that does the tattoo. Some artists price by the piece while others have an hourly rate. Typically once a design is finalized, the artist can give you a estimate. We suggest talking with your artist to get an estimate before getting your tattoo.

12. Why do I have to come in to get a price quote?

Prices are hard to determine over the phone or through email. Size, style, color choices, and placement all effect the price of your tattoo. Those details are hard to determine over the phone or through email. (What one person says is “small” and “simple” may be “large” and “detailed” to another person.) To give you an accurate quote, we suggest coming in to talk with your tattoo artist.

13. Should I tip?

Tipping is not required, but it always greatly appreciated by your tattoo artist, just like an other service profession. If you can not tip your artist with money, you can always tip by sharing who did your latest tattoo! Take some business cards and spread the word, or leave a nice review on Google or Facebook. That is always appreciated.

14. How do I take care of my tattoo?

You can find our tattoo aftercare information here [link to tattoo aftercare]. If you still have questions after reading our aftercare sheet, please call the shop at 904-241-4231 and ask to speak with a tattoo artist.

15. Is my tattoo falling off? Why is it flaking and peeling?

No, your tattoo is not falling off. Flaking and peeling (similar to a sunburn) is a normal part of the healing process. It is important that you don’t pick or scratch at your tattoo while it is healing. If it gets itchy, wash it with antibacterial soap and water, then rub a small amount of moisturizer on the area.

16. I got a tattoo on my leg, can I shave?

It is not recommend to shave the tattooed area while it is healing. Once the flaking and peeling process has stopped and your skin is smooth again, it is okay to shave the area. This will be approximately 7-10 days from the day you got your tattoo.

17. Can you fix my old tattoo?

That depends. While we do many “restorations” and cover ups on older tattoos, each case is unique and different. We recommend you speak to one of our tattoo artist in person to see that what you want is possible.

18. Can you tattoo my finger/hands/neck/head?

Each tattoo artist has a preference on what areas of the body they will and will not tattoo.

Generally, finger tattoos are recommended against doing because of the type of skin that is on your finger. Finger tattoos are prone to falling out and fading easily, thus requiring many touch ups which can get costly. For the same reason that hand, neck, and head tattoos can be recommended against, finger tattoos are an easily visible tattoo, which some career fields or possible employers frown upon. We have a conscience and would feel terrible if you were turned down or away because of that hand, neck, head, or finger tattoo you have. This is not to say we won’t tattoo those areas of the body. We just choose to be more selective about who receives these kinds of tattoos.

19.Can you do white tattoos?

Although white pigment is used in tattoos (mostly for highlights), it is not used as the only color of a tattoo. White pigment fades faster than any other pigment. While a “white ink” tattoo looks great at first, after a few months or even weeks, it will fade and have a yellow tint to it. Basically it looks great for that first photo but it won’t last.

20. Can you do blacklight/UV/glow in the dark tattoos?

No. We don’t offer blacklight/UV tattoos as preferred by our tattoo artists. While blacklight/UV tattoos may not be considered “dangerous,” they are not very useful unless you carry a blacklight with you everywhere. We also don’t do glow in the dark tattoos as those may be harmful to your body.

21. Can I cover scars or stretch marks with tattoos?

Scar covering is a possibility with tattoos, depending on it’s age (we suggest at least three years old), size, and type of scarring. Covering stretch marks with tattooing is also possible, but because of the type of skin, the process takes a little longer than a normal tattoo, therefore is more costly.

22. How do tattoos work (like how does it stay in the skin)?

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23. What kinds of styles of tattooing are there?

1. American Traditional - Defined by its use of bold, single pass lines, and strict color palette of black, red, green, and yellow. Classic american traditional tattoo imagery consists of anchors, roses, swallows, clipper ships, etc.

American Traditional Rose Tattoo

2. Neo Traditional - Similar to, and inspired by American Traditional, Neo Traditional allows for bold and fine line work, along with a limitless color palette. Almost any image can be transformed into a neo traditional style.

3. New School - Exemplified by its sculpted line work, and its unlimited color options. It is also recognized as being similar to a “graffiti” or “cartoonish” style.

4. Japanese - This style is most noted for its ability to fit the form of the human body. It can be done either small or large scale, but it always follows the shape of the body. It typically consists of classic imagery such koi fish, dragons, geishas, hannya masks, etc.

5. Realism (Black and Grey, and Full Color) - Just as the name would suggest, these are tattoos that reflect the realistic or real world look of an object or person. These can either be done in a black and grey palette, or full color palette. Most often these are tattoos reproduced from an existing image, or a few existing images.

Realistic Lion Face TattooRealistic Roses Tattoo

6. Geometric/Dot Work - Relatively new to the tattoo styles, geometric work consists of repeated patterns, or geometric shapes. Sometimes this can be combined with the use of “dot work” (multiple dots done in succession to form a gradient) instead of traditional style “shading.”

7. Lettering/Script - As the name would suggest, lettering or script can be a beautiful or artistic way of displaying a word or phrase, more as a piece of art rather than a piece of text.

Side Script Tattoo

8. Bio-Mechanical/Bio-Organic - Usually a large scale tattoo consisting of either mechanical-like or organic (“alien-like”) textures. It’s based on the form and muscle-structure of the body to uniquely fit each individual.

9. Watercolor - Extremely new to the tattoo industry are watercolor tattoos. In order to work successfully, they have strict set of requirements such as: your skin-type, your environment, placement, and subject matter. If done properly with all these requirements met, they can form a lasting tattoo image.

10. Tribal - Typically a solid black design structured to fit the form of the body. Best done by “free handing” (drawing directly on the skin with a marker) to fit the human form. Polynesian/Maori tribal is similar in that it is solid black typically and consists of intricate patterning. These intricate designs require study and research because each small detail means something specific to the bearer of the tattoo.

Tribal Leaf Arm Tattoo

Most of these styles can even be mixed to form their own unique tattoo.

24. Why does it matter what my skin type/pigment is, and what is the best kind of tattoo for my skin type/pigment?

Your skin pigment and type allows for certain types of tattoos to be executed successfully, and can also dictate what kinds of tattoos not to do. Typically, the darker the pigment of your skin color, the less light tattoo pigments will successfully show. The lighter your skin pigment, the more color range and options your may have. If you are unsure about what pigments are best suited to your skin type, we recommend speaking with your tattoo artist for their professional opinion.

25. Is it safe to get tattooed with diabetes/other medical conditions?

Clients with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes should be informed that it may be unsafe to get tattooed from the waist down, due to poor blood flow or circulation. This can cause a prolonged or difficult healing process for your tattoo. If you have a medical condition but are unsure whether or not it is safe to get a tattoo, we always recommend talking with your physician first, and then speaking with your tattoo artist.

26. What is an allergic reaction to tattoo pigment?

Tattoo ink contains several ingredients and chemicals, and you may be allergic to any one of them. Substances like iron oxide, mercury sulfide, ferric hydrate, aluminum, and manganese are only a few of the ingredients that may be included in the ink, depending on the color. An allergy to any of these substances can cause an allergic reaction once the ink gets into your skin. Red tattoo ink is the most common cause of tattoo allergic reactions, although any color can be to blame. If you think at any point you are having an allergic reaction to the tattoo pigment, we advise you to speak with the tattoo artist who did your tattoo, and follow their recommendation.

Now that you've read up on all you need to know, we hope you can confidently begin your journey into a brand new tattoo!

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