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Rorschach Tattoo  and piercing  
801 Dixon blvd ste 1151
 cocoa, fl 32922
Milk District Tattoo Shop
2203 Hillcrest St Ste 3  Orlando Fl 32803
Get Started

+1 321 806-4244

Bold & unique

Rorschach tattoo Studio &piercing shop

We are Single Needle, Black and Grey, Fine Line, Minimalistic, Anime, Full Color, American Traditional and Japanese work tattoo shop

Top Tattoo and Piercing Studio in Cocoa & Orlando - Visit Our Shops Today

Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shops Near Me

Quality tattoo Shop

Walk Ins Welcome

Open 10 am till 10 pm Daily

Lots of artists to choose from

Free Consultations


Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio: Premier Destination in Cocoa and Orlando"

Welcome to Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio, your go-to destination for exceptional tattoo and piercing services in Cocoa and Orlando. At Rorschach, we pride ourselves on being more than just a shop; we are a creative studio where art and professionalism meet.

Experience Unmatched Artistry in Cocoa and Orlando Nestled in the vibrant communities of Cocoa and Orlando, our shops are sanctuaries for those seeking the finest in tattoo and piercing artistry. Our talented artists are passionate about their craft, offering personalized designs that reflect your unique style and story.

A Tattoo Shop with a Difference At Rorschach Tattoo Shop, we understand that getting a tattoo is a personal journey. That's why we create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere where every client feels at home. Whether it's your first tattoo or you're a seasoned enthusiast, our Cocoa and Orlando shops cater to all.

Innovative Piercing Studio Our piercing studio is renowned for its meticulous approach to safety and hygiene. We offer a wide range of piercing services, using only the highest quality jewelry and the latest techniques. Our experienced piercers in Cocoa and Orlando ensure a safe and comfortable experience for every client.

Dedicated to Excellence Excellence is at the heart of everything we do. From the initial consultation to the final result, we strive for perfection. Our Cocoa and Orlando shops are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring that each tattoo and piercing is a masterpiece of precision and beauty.

Join Our Community At Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio, you're not just a client; you're part of our community. We invite you to visit our shops in Cocoa and Orlando, where creativity, artistry, and client satisfaction are our top priorities. Experience the Rorschach difference today – where every tattoo and piercing tells a story.


Superscript

Our Artists


Award winning tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

MIke

Veteran, Sailor, looks a little like Santa likes to tattoo Odd things and pretty flowers.

Skull tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Clarence

Veteran, Sailor, Surgical tech, likes to tattoo Sponge Bob and demonic things.

Amazing tattoo of rabbit in Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Aubrey

Degree in Anthropology and worked in the Corporate World, threw it all away to draw pretty pictures.

Spider tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

CHris

Solider, Ex cop, Grumpy Old Man, who likes to draw Dirty pictures and eat his colorful crayons


More Artists


Dagger Tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Cashlynn

Gave up a life of luxury to follow in her dad’s footsteps doing high stakes tracing

Flower tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Mckalay

Lost her job as Snoop Dogs Blunt Roller because she kept smoking them, so he started tattooing, loves Anime and eating paste.

Dragon tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Gabby

After leaving her Job as a psychiatrist and breaking up with the joker. She is so nice that we all know she must be crazy, we are just afraid to say anything, she loves to tattoo break up messages on your ex

And even more artists -Mike says he ain’t paying all these people
Car tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Chris Number 2

Left the world of Custom Car Building -because stealing them was easier, just tattooing for gas money.

Aligator jaws tattoo Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Victoria

Dinosaurs and kitty cats just don’t let her put you in a headlock 


And EVen More...

Fine Line Tattoos by Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio and Milk District Tattoo Shop Near Me

Rubix

Dogs are her favorite people

Tattoo artist tattooing arm with award winning tattoo

Athens

Smooth as 70s rock

fine line female tattoo artist

Niki

Funner than a barrel full of Monkeys she will have you laughing the whole time


Even More Artists

crissy eve award winning tattoo artists

Crissy

Sure she’s in the Army as well 

Drago tattoo

 Skyler

the dream team



CONTACT US

You can call, email, message us or whatever stop by and hang out, but for fastest response smoke signals work best

801 Dixon Blvd STE  1151 Cocoa Fl 32922

+1 321 806-4244

mike@cocoatattoo.com

10 am till 10 pm everyday

If you are a Minor and want to get pierced - thEN you must get this form notarized and your parents must come in with you



A person may not perform body piercing on a minor without the written notarized consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian, and an establishment may not perform body piercing on a minor under the age of 16 unless the minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.


Minors Must have this form Notarized and parent must accompany them to be tattooed

Florida Department of Health Notary Form to Tattoo  a minor
  • Minors 16-17in the state of Florida as long as: The minor child is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian; The minor child and his or her parent or legal guardian each submit proof of his or her identity by producing a government-issued photo identification. If the photo identification for the minor does not show a birth date, a copy of the minor's birth certificate is required; The parent or legal guardian submits his or her writer notarized consent and The parent or legal guardian submits proof that he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the minor child.


Piercing Info

thigh tattoo on girl

NIPPLE PIERCING HEALING AND AFTERCARE

Thinking of getting a nipple piercing but not sure if you’re up for the healing process? Check out the details on nipple piercing aftercare.



Thinking of getting a nipple piercing but not sure if you’re up for the healing process? We’ve got all the details on nipple piercing healing and aftercare here, so you can decide.

How Long do Nipple Piercings take to Heal?

Nipple piercings have a longer healing process than most other piercings. Expect it to take at least 6 months before your piercing is fully healed. In many cases, it can take up to 9 – 12 months. Since the recovery time and aftercare process is more intense than they are with other types of piercings, make sure you educate yourself and are fully committed to taking care of your new nipple piercings before you commit.

What to Expect for Healing time?

If a 6–12-month healing process sounds crazy, don’t worry – you’re not in for 6 months of pain and bleeding. In fact, after the first week or two, most of your discomfort should be gone. While everyone’s healing process will be a bit different, here’s a typical healing timeline for someone who follows best aftercare practices and doesn’t experience complications like an infection:

  • 1-2 weeks: You can expect some soreness, swelling, and small amounts of bleeding. Your nipples will be very sensitive, so you’ll need to be very gentle as you get dressed, shower, and cleanse your piercings.

  • 3-4 weeks: Most of your pain and swelling should have subsided. It’s still normal to feel occasional mild pain and have very slight swelling. Most bleeding has stopped altogether, but you’ll likely notice a clear fluid called lymph that dries to a crust around your piercing. It’s normal to feel some itching as the tissues heal.

  • 1-3 months: Your piercings usually become all but painless during this time, but they are still very sensitive if you snag your jewelry. You will likely still secrete plenty of lymph fluid, though it may be decreasing. Your piercings may still feel quite itchy as the nipples heal. You may notice a bump on or around your nipple piercing. Usually, this is simply a “piercing bump,” or a small amount of inflammation that will eventually subside as you continue to heal. .

  • 4-5 months: Your piercings may start to appear to be fully healed, but don’t be fooled. Remember that piercings heal from the outside in. Even if you have a layer of skin around your jewelry and never see blood or lymph fluid anymore, the inner tissues are still healing. Your piercings can still easily tear and will certainly close up if you take your jewelry out now. So, keep your jewelry in and continue your aftercare routine.

  • 6-12 months: Your piercings will fully heal at some point in this window, and you can begin wearing different jewelry. You will notice little to no lymph fluid or itchiness. If you’re unsure if they have fully healed, you can double-check with your piercer before changing jewelry.

  • Best practices for Healing Process

A solid aftercare regimen will shorten healing time, minimize the risk of complications, and make your healing piercings more comfortable.

Keep up with cleaning your nipple piercings

Proper cleansing is the most important step in your aftercare routine, so be a stickler about it. Don’t skip a single day.

Soak your piercing with a sea salt solution for five minutes twice per day for the first few months and once per day after. You can do this with moistened cotton balls or by holding a shot glass full of SSS to your nipple. When you shower, only use mild soap around the piercing and avoid fragrances or harsh antibacterial soaps. We recommend a pure castile soap.

You should also cleanse your piercing 4-6 times per day between soaks Be sure to wash your hands, whenever, you clean your piercing or handle your jewelry.

Touching and playing with your jewelry, especially with unwashed hands, only increases your healing time and risk of infection. Avoid moving your jewelry to break up the “crusties” –aka dried lymph fluid– that forms around the healing piercing. Remember that the crusties are actually a sign of proper healing (more on that below), not a sign of infection. To gently remove it, first, wash your hands thoroughly and then use SSS to soften the crusties and gently wipe them away with a cotton ball or facial tissue.

Oh, and avoid the temptation to engage in manual or oral nipple play before healing is complete – we promise the wait will be worth it!

What type of clothes for a nipple piercing

Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t irritate the new piercing and avoid shirts that could potentially catch or snag on your jewelry (i.e., thin straps, netting, mesh, loose-knit materials, etc.). We recommend thick cotton shirts as they protect your nipples while still being breathable. For females, a comfortable padded bra will help protect the piercing as it heals, freeing you up to wear nearly any shirt you prefer during the healing process. If you usually sleep topless, we recommend changing that up for the duration of the healing process. Jewelry can easily snag on sheets, so a layer of clothing will help provide some protection.

While it may seem counterintuitive, you’ll want to avoid typical “first-aid” products on your new piercings. Because antibiotic creams and ointments are usually thick and petroleum-based, they can actually trap bacteria within your piercing, increasing the risk of infection. Products like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol will only irritate the tissues, delaying healing and increasing the window for infection. The same goes for any other balms, creams, cosmetics, or harsh soaps.

(One caveat: if you do develop an infection, your doctor may prescribe antiseptic solutions or topical antibiotics to help fight it.)

do not submerge your Piercings

Submerging your piercings (in anything other than SSS) can expose them to bacteria that could lead to infection, so avoid hot tubs and swimming. If you take baths, be sure to keep your nipples above the water.

Nipple piercing healing guides

Knowing the difference between the signs of a properly healing nipple piercing and signs of infection can give you peace of mind. Here’s what you can expect from a piercing that’s healing well:

  • Lymph fluid secretion. If you’re secreting a clear to whitish fluid that dries to a crust around your piercing, don’t panic. It’s most likely just lymph fluid, and it’s your body’s way of delivering more white blood cells to the fistula to speed healing and avoid infection. It’s normal to secrete lymph until the piercing is fully healed.

  • Decreasing pain, redness, and swelling. Some swelling and discomfort are normal in the first few weeks after your piercing. It’s even normal for the soreness and swelling to become slightly worse over the first few days after you get pierced. But after that point, you should start to notice a decrease in these symptoms. If things suddenly start to get worse, it could be a sign of infection or just that you’ve been too rough with your healing piercings.

  • Mild itching. Yep, a little itch can actually be a sign that things are healing up nicely. But an unbearable itch that’s also accompanied by redness and inflammation? That could signify that you’re allergic to the metal in your jewelry. Ask your piercer if they can swap your barbells out for solid titanium jewelry (the metal least likely to cause a reaction) and see if your symptoms improve!

SIGNS OF AN INFECTED NIPPLE PIERCING

  • Pus secretion. Pus will look different than lymph fluid. It’s usually thicker, yellow to greenish in color, and may have a foul smell

  • Warmth, redness, and swelling. If redness and swelling worsen after the first week instead of improving, this may be a sign of infection. An infected piercing will also often feel warm to the touch.

  • Read streaks. If you notice red streaks emanating outward from the piercing, this is a tell-tale sign of a spreading infection, and you should contact your doctor right away.

WHEN CAN I CHANGE MY NIPPLE PIERCING?

It’s always best to wait until the piercing is 100% healed before attempting to change your jewelry. This varies from person to person but usually takes anywhere from 6 -12 months. If you aren’t sure if it’s time, stop by your piercer and have them assess your piercings.

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to have your piercer swap your jewelry for the first time anyway. In addition to helping you determine whether healing is complete, they can also sterilize your new jewelry in an autoclave, and guide you through the process of changing your jewelry yourself in the future.

EXPECTED AND ABNORMAL NIPPLE PAIN

If you’re pain-adverse, you’re probably wondering how long your nipples will be sore after piercing. Some pain is normal with any new piercing, especially in an area as sensitive as the nipples. While everyone’s pain threshold is different, you can generally expect a moment of sharp pain as you get pierced. This is usually followed by a dull ache or soreness for the first couple of weeks afterward. While you might notice the pain every now and then, it should be mild enough that you can go about your day as usual.

HOW TO EASE THE PAIN

When the pain gets slightly uncomfortable, acetaminophen can help take the edge off. Your sterile saline solution can also help. Opt for a true soak using the shot glass method above rather than wiping with a cotton ball when you need a little relief. Bras and shirts that are too tight can put extra pressure on your piercings, so stick to comfy clothing, or at least change into them when you’re just around the house.

ABNORMAL PAIN

If you’ve tried all of the above measures and your pain still feels unbearable, this could be a sign that something is wrong. Watch for signs of infection such as pus, fever, warmth, and excess swelling or bleeding. If these symptoms accompany your pain, go ahead and contact your doctor or piercer.

If you aren’t showing any signs of infection, you can still reach out to your piercer to ask them if what you’re feeling is normal. They can usually offer additional pain relief tips and help you determine whether your pain is typical or abnormal. They may recommend that you stop by the shop so they can check on your healing and watch for less common complications like piercing migration or rejection.

Heal your nipple piercings the right way

The healing and aftercare process for nipple piercings is no joke. It isn’t exactly hard, and it shouldn’t be painful for long, but it does take commitment. Still, most people with nipple piercings say that the pain and effort were totally worth it! After a few months of care, you’ll be able to enjoy the end result for years to come.


THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TONGUE PIERCINGS

We’re diving into the tongue piercing process, aftercare tips, and your most common (and not-so-common) tongue piercing questions with this ultimate guide!

 


Whatever you want to know about tongue piercings, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide. We’re diving into the piercing process, aftercare tips, and all of your most common (and not-so-common) tongue piercing questions!

WHAT IS A TONGUE PIERCING?

The term “tongue piercing” encompasses any type of piercing on or under the tongue, though it most commonly refers to a single piercing placed in the center of the tongue. This location is the most common because it allows the piercer to easily avoid hitting a nerve or damaging the webbing, or frenulum, under the tongue (i.e. the part that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth). However, other placements and configurations of tongue piercings are also possible – even the frenulum itself can be pierced. Some people have multiple tongue piercings, either in a triangle or diamond shape, or they may have “snake bites” on their tongue, with a piercing on either side of the center of the tongue.

GETTING A TONGUE PIERCING: WHAT’S INVOLVED?

First, you need to find a good piercer for your tongue piercing. An experienced professional makes all the difference in reducing pain and the risk of infection. Preferably, find an establishment that is highly recommended by your pierced pals and has a good reputation in your community.

The cost of a tongue piercing depends on the shop and the location. Tongue piercing prices may be higher in metropolitan areas, but it’s often easier to find a reputable piercer in a city than in a rural area.

Once you pick out your jewelry, your piercer will confirm that the tongue barbell is long enough to account for any swelling you experience after being pierced. They’ll autoclave the jewelry to sterilize it and prepare a sterile field, laying out the clamps, needle, and other tools needed to pierce your tongue. You may be given a special mouthwash to cleanse your mouth before the piercing is done.

Your piercer will then determine the best placement for your tongue ring. They may clamp your tongue before piercing it with a hollow needle that allows the jewelry to be pulled through easily with little additional discomfort to you. They will then screw on the bottom ball, and your piercing should be done! You may find the length of the barbell a bit uncomfortable at first, primarily due to its length. Once the swelling has subsided, you may see your piercer again to have your jewelry changed out for a shorter barbell that will be more comfortable to wear on an ongoing basis.

HOW BAD DO TONGUE PIERCINGS HURT?

As with any body piercing, there will be some pain as the piercing needle passes through the flesh. But if you’re worried that a tongue piercing will hurt much worse than that time you accidentally bit your tongue while eating a bagel, you might be mistaken. A professional piercer using a sharp, sterile 14-gauge needle will do the job quickly. Many people report that the most painful part of the tongue piercing process is the swelling as it heals. Of course, every person’s pain tolerance varies, but you can expect tongue piercing pain to be comparable to getting a flu shot or other injection.

TYPES OF TONGUE PIERCINGS

By far, the most common type of tongue piercing is a midline piercing, which passes through the center of the tongue. Other tongue piercing placements could be off to one side, horizontally through the tip of the tongue (also called a snake eyes piercing), or through the frenulum beneath the tongue.

Be sure to discuss placements and preferences with your piercer, and keep in mind that not everyone’s anatomy will be suitable for all tongue piercings. If you have a particularly short tongue or thick webbing and vein structures on the underside of your tongue, your placement options might be more limited.

TONGUE PIERCING JEWELRY

When you first pierce your tongue, your piercer will most likely install a 14-gauge This is the most common and comfortable type of tongue ring, and it offers plenty of versatility and customization once your tongue piercing is fully healed.

AFTER YOUR TONGUE PIERCING: HEALING AND TONGUE PIERCING AFTERCARE

A tongue piercing usually takes 3-6 weeks to fully heal. During that time, you should practice thorough tongue piercing aftercare with these 9 steps:

  • KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLEAN

Preventing infection is all about consistent, gentle cleansing; strong cleansers like alcohol-based mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide can do more harm than good.Rinse your mouth 3 – 6 times daily (especially after meals) with a special mouthwash or a homemade sea salt solution. Rinse for at least 5 minutes per cleaning 2-3 times a day, and rinse for at least 30 seconds after eating anything. If you don’t have access to sea salt solution immediately following a meal, you can rinse with plain water when needed. You just want to be sure to dislodge any food particles that have gotten trapped in your wound, or fistula, while eating. Continue brushing your teeth 2 – 3 times per day, gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and gently flossing once daily.

To make a homemade sea salt solution, buy sterile water or boil water for at least 5 minutes to sterilize it. Measure 1 cup into a heat-safe container and mix in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Let the mixture cool to a comfortable temperature before use.

  • EAT SOFT, MILD FOODS FOR THE FIRST WEEK

Avoid hard foods that may irritate your piercing further and stick with soft foods like soup, yogurt, mac and cheese, protein shakes, pudding, popsicles, and other soft foods. Oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and grits may seem like appealing soft food options, but they can be sticky, so it might be better to avoid them. No matter what you eat, eat carefully, taking small bites and chewing slowly to avoid irritating your new tongue piercing.

Also, avoid spicy, acidic, and hot-temperature foods and beverages during the early stages of healing. Cold food and drinks may help soothe swelling.

  • ADDRESS SWELLING PROMPTLY

If your tongue swells severely, don’t apply ice directly to the piercing, but you can let ice chips dissolve slowly in your mouth to soothe your tongue and reduce swelling. Taking ibuprofen, sleeping with your head elevated, and minimizing talking will also help the swelling subside more quickly.

Your starter lounge ring should be long enough that your tongue doesn’t “swallow” your tongue ring if it swells. However, if you experience severe swelling and your jewelry becomes too tight, it’s important to have your piercer change it for you quickly. Prolonged excessive pressure can lead to necrosis (tissue death) and a tongue piercing infection. It can also cause hyper granulation issues, where you develop a red bump that may appear fluid-filled around one side of your fistula. It’s best all-around to get your jewelry changed quickly if it feels too tight. If you do have to get your tongue ring changed, opt for a soft plastic that’s less likely to damage your teeth if you accidentally chomp down on it.

  • DON’T SMOKE!

Smoking can dry out your mouth and contribute to a tongue piercing infection developing. If you can’t give it up entirely, consider trying an e-cigarette to at least replace irritating smoke with water-based vapor. Suck gently as sucking too hard can dislodge blood clots that have formed in your fistula and make your tongue piercing bleed. If you experience any bleeding or cave and smoke a real cigarette, immediately rinse your mouth gently with a saline solution.

  • AVOID OTHER PEOPLE’S BACTERIA

Do your best to avoid introducing bacteria into your mouth during the 4-6 week healing process. That means no sharing drinks or food, no open-mouth kissing or oral sex, and no chewing on foreign objects like pen caps or your sunglasses. If you catch yourself slipping up, rinse your mouth with a sea salt solution for 30-60 seconds afterward.

  • GENERALLY STAY HEALTHY

Do your best to stay healthy during the tongue piercing healing process so that your body can focus all of its energy on healing your new tongue piercing. In addition to following the piercing care rules above, try to get sufficient sleep every night; eat nutritiously; avoid alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, aspirin, and emotional stress; and generally practice good hygiene You can further bolster your immune system by taking extra vitamin C and a multivitamin containing zinc, iron, and B vitamins daily.

  • DON’T PLAY WITH YOUR JEWELRY

It can be tempting to roll a new tongue ring back and forth across your lips or to play with it in other ways, but it’s a bad idea.. You could accidentally bite down on your jewelry and chip a tooth, cause your jewelry to migrate or excess scar tissue to develop, or increase infection risk. Try to leave your piercing alone as much as possible.

  • DON’T CHANGE YOUR JEWELRY TOO SOON

Give your tongue 4 – 6 weeks to heal before changing your jewelry, unless you’re having an allergic reaction to your starter tongue ring or your barbell is too short and is putting undue pressure on your healing fistula. If yo

When changing your jewelry, purchase an internally-threaded tongue ringto avoid scraping your delicate fistula. You may want to get a new tongue ring that’s a little shorter than your starter one since starter tongue barbells tend to be extra long to allow room for swelling and may be uncomfortable to wear long-term. 5/8″ is a fairly standard length for a tongue ring, but the thickness of your tongue may require you to get a longer or shorter barbell shaft. Note that the longer you wait to change your jewelry, the easier it will be for you to do it by yourself because the walls of your fistula will continuously thicken over time.

  • RESPOND QUICKLY TO SIGNS OF A TONGUE PIERCING INFECTION

You don’t want to mess around with a infection If you see thick, yellowish pus rather than just whitish lymph coming from your fistula and/or are running a fever, ramp up your tongue piercing aftercare regimen and contact your family doctor or dentist. They’ll determine if you do have an infection and provide you with antibiotics if they’re needed. You should not need to remove your tongue ring as long as you continue proper tongue piercing care while taking the antibiotic. In fact, it’s best not to remove your jewelry to avoid developing an abscess. If you remove your tongue ring, keep up with your sea salt mouthwash swishes as the fistula closes.

CHANGING YOUR TONGUE RING

Ideally, you should wait until your tongue piercing is fully healed before changing your jewerly However, if you develop irritation on the bottom of your mouth because your starter barbell is too long and the bottom ball is constantly digging into the area beneath your tongue, then you may need to get a shorter tongue barbell put in after the initial swelling has subsided (typically within 1-2 weeks of being pierced).

When choosing a new tongue ring, you should first find out the exact length and gauge of your starter barbell. Straight barbells are measured from one end of the shaft to the other, not including the threaded ends or the balls. Your next barbell should be shorter than your starter one, so it fits comfortably in your mouth. A typical size for tongue rings is 14g 5/8″. Do not try to change gauges within the first 6 weeks; pick a new tongue barbell that’s the same gauge as your starter one. Later, once you’re fully healed, you can stretch to a larger size, if desired. If you are unsure of the gauge and length of your current barbell, speak to your piercer before ordering a new tongue barbell. Opt for non-reactive materials like surgical steel, titanium, and bioplastic to avoid adverse reactions to cheap metals.

POTENTIAL TONGUE PIERCING PROBLEMS

Think twice before getting a piercing if the aftercare regimen sounds too rigorous for you. Without proper aftercare (and sometimes even with proper care), you could face issues like prolonged healing, excess swelling, and infection. If you suspect any of these issues, follow the tips in the aftercare regimen above.

If you suspect that you’re allergic to the metal your jewelry is made of, ask your piercer to help you switch to a titanium barbell. Titanium is the most inert metal and, therefore, the least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

TONGUE PIERCING FAQS: THE MOST COMMON TONGUE PIERCING QUESTIONS

WHAT ARE TONGUE PIERCINGS FOR?

Tongue piercings are for personal enjoyment as well as sexual pleasure. Tongue piercings are popular because they’re easy to conceal and lend themselves to unlimited hours of fun.

If you have an oral fixation and are always chewing gum or foreign objects like pen caps, you’re an ideal candidate for a tongue piercing. As long as you don’t crack your teeth on your tongue jewelry—which is easy to avoid if you wear acrylic balls instead of metal ones—a tongue ring is a much healthier alternative to all the sugar you’d otherwise consume and the bacteria you introduce by chewing on foreign objects. After your piercing has healed, you’ll likely find yourself playing with it, rolling the top ball back and forth across your lips and twisting your tongue jewelry around in your mouth constantly. There’s plenty of innocent fun to be had with a tongue ring!

There’s also a sexual bonus that comes with tongue piercings. Many find that it’s fun to kiss someone who has their tongue pierced, plus they’re a great enhancement to oral sex for men and women alike.

Another thing tongue rings are good for is prepping for tongue splitting. It’s actually ideal to have a well-healed tongue piercing before you get your tongue split. Jump down to the “Can I get my tongue split if I have a tongue piercing?” Q&A below for more info.

WHAT TYPES OF TONGUE PIERCINGS CAN I GET?

You have several options when it comes to types of tongue piercings. You can get a traditional tongue piercing, a horizontal tongue piercing (a.k.a. snake eyes tongue piercing), a venom piercing (a.k.a. venom tongue piercing or venom bites piercing), a tongue web piercing (a.k.a. tongue frenulum piercing), a tongue tip piercing, or a combination of these tongue piercings. Here’s an explanation of what each tongue piercing type entails with illustrative tongue piercing pictures:

Traditional Tongue Piercing

Typically, tongue piercings are placed vertically through the center of the tongue. Your piercer will likely insert either a 12g or 14g piercing needle (unless you request a larger size) through the top center of your tongue, but they may pierce through at a very slight angle, either to avoid the frenulum that divides the underside of your tongue or to ensure that the top and bottom balls are positioned in the roomiest parts of your mouth. Placement is important to prevent your jewelry from constantly rubbing against or pressing into one part of your mouth and subsequently irritating it.

Horizontal Tongue Piercing

A horizontal tongue piercing – also known as a snake eyes tongue piercing or just as a snake eyes piercing – is placed horizontally through the tip of the tongue, from left to right. Your tongue has to be thick enough to accommodate this placement. Even then, it can be risky. If a snake eyes tongue piercing migrates out, you could be left with a nasty scar or even risk losing the tip of your tongue. You also have to be more cautious of the impact on your teeth with a horizontal piercing than you do with a traditional tongue piercing.

Venom Piercing

A venom tongue piercing is actually a pair of piercings. The placement is typically on either side of where a traditional tongue piercing would be placed, with one barbell put through the left-center of the tongue and another placed next to it on the right center of the tongue. Sometimes venom piercings are placed slightly further forward on the tongue. It all depends on the type of jewelry the person being pierced wants to wear and what placement their mouth will accommodate comfortably.

Tongue Web Piercing

A tongue web piercing is a piercing of the web, or frenulum, that connects the underside of the tongue to the lower palate.

Tongue Tip Piercing

Usually, when someone gets their tongue tip pierced, it’s after getting a traditional tongue piercing. This is just another vertical piercing through the center of the tongue, but it’s done closer to the tip of the tongue.

Other Tongue Piercing Configurations

The piercings listed above can be done in nearly any combination, as long as there’s sufficient space on the tongue and in the mouth to accommodate the additional jewelry. A standard tongue piercing may be followed by venom tongue piercings and/or another standard tongue piercing that’s placed in front of or behind the original one. Another popular combination is a traditional tongue piercing with a tongue tip piercing, as shown here.

WHERE CAN I GET MY TONGUE PIERCED?

Always go to a professional piercing shop or a tattoo and piercing shop to get your tongue pierced. This is not the kind of piercing you want to have done in someone’s basement, and you definitely shouldn’t try to do it by yourself at home. There are so many blood vessels and nerves in the tongue. You don’t want to risk damaging any of them, losing your sense of taste, or bleeding excessively.


 

HOW MUCH DOES A TONGUE PIERCING COST?

If you’re wondering if there’s a standard tongue piercing price, the short answer is no. Tongue piercing prices vary by location. Piercers in smaller towns can afford to charge less for tongue piercings than piercers in the city because it typically costs more money to rent shop space in a city. Also, you’ll likely find that tongue piercings cost more or less depending on where in the country you live. If you want special tongue jewelry or a pair of piercings, as with venom piercings, the cost of your piercing is likely to increase.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TONGUE RING SIZES?

Traditional tongue piercings are typically done at 14g or 12g, but you can ask your piercer to use a larger gauge needle and jewelry if desired. Different tongues will accommodate different sizes better, but with patience and dedication, you may be able to stretch your tongue ring to size 0g or beyond.

WHAT IS THE USUAL TONGUE PIERCING HEALING TIME?

The mouth is one of the fastest healing parts of the body, so you can expect most tongue piercings to heal within 4–6 weeks. If you have a setback like a tongue piercing infection, it may take longer for your tongue piercing to heal. As long as you practice proper tongue piercing aftercare and are careful about the foods you eat to minimize irritations, your tongue piercing should heal within the typical tongue piercing healing time of 4–6 weeks.

WHAT DOES PROPER TONGUE PIERCING AFTERCARE ENTAIL?

Aside from listening to instructions from your piercer, here are some of our recommendations for tongue piercing aftercare:

  • Rinsing your mouth 3–6 times per day with a sea salt solution

  • Eating soft foods during the first week or so, when your tongue is most sensitive (e.g. applesauce, pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, mashed ripe bananas, Jell-O, ice cream, rice, oatmeal, etc.)

  • Not playing with your jewelry

  • Not touching your piercing unless your hands are freshly washed or gloved

  • Avoiding others’ bodily fluids

  • Avoiding aspirin and other blood thinners (Note: If you take blood thinners for a health condition, tell your piercer before they pierce you!)

  • Generally taking care of yourself (e.g. practicing good hygiene, getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of water, etc.)

For more details, see our tongue piercing aftercare tips above!

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE AN INFECTED TONGUE PIERCING?

If you’re concerned that you may have a tongue piercing infection, you should see your piercer or go straight to your family doctor to see if you need an antibiotic. Oftentimes, though, what someone thinks an infected tongue piercing is just a typical reaction to the tongue piercing process. Let’s walk through the process and what could go wrong:

Swelling

When your tongue is first pierced, your piercer will insert an extra-long barbell to account for swelling. Some swelling is perfectly normal, but if your tongue swells so much that the top and bottom balls are pressing into your tongue, see your piercer immediately to have a longer barbell inserted and avoid damaging the tissue.

Lymph

It’s normal for the body to discharge lymph from a piercing site. Lymph is a clear, sometimes whitish, fluid that would dry to a crust in an external piercing (a.k.a. “crusties”). In an oral piercing, lymph can sometimes be mistaken for infection. Unless the discharge is a thick, yellowy substance, it’s more likely that it’s just lymph and not pus.

Signs of Infection

If you see the consistency of the discharge from your piercing turn to thick, yellowish pus, you’re running a temperature, and/or you see streaky red lines radiating out from the piercing site, then you may have a tongue piercing infection and should see your family doctor right away. It’s particularly important to deal with oral infections in a timely manner to prevent the infection from spreading to your brain and doing lasting damage. It’s best to keep the hole open by keeping jewelry in place until the infection clears up. By then, you should be able to keep your piercing as long as you practice religious tongue piercing aftercare. Always swish your mouth out after eating, as well as morning, noon and night.

CAN I GET AN INFECTION FROM CHEAP TONGUE RINGS?

There are two kinds of cheap tongue rings: inexpensive ones made from quality materials and then there are cheaply-made tongue rings. Our tongue rings are the good kind of cheap tongue rings, meaning they’re affordably priced but made from quality materials that won’t cause adverse reactions. Watch out for cheap tongue rings made from low-grade metal with a high nickel content (the metal that’s usually to blame for allergic reactions). Also, be wary of jewelry only coated with titanium, as opposed to the solid titanium barbells we carry.

All that being said, cheaply made tongue rings are more likely to cause allergic reactions than infections. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get an infection from your jewelry, especially if it hasn’t been sterilized properly. If you purchase a good-quality tongue ring and have it sterilized before you insert it into your tongue piercing, you’ll significantly minimize your chances of infection.

CAN I GET MY TONGUE SPLIT IF I HAVE A TONGUE PIERCING?

If you want to split your tongue, it’s actually ideal to have a pierced tongue first. A well-healed traditional tongue piercing will help prevent the back of the bifurcation from re-merging when your tongue is split.

How Do I Stretch My Tongue Piercing?

If you want to stretch your tongue piercing and are starting out with a standard 14g or 12g barbell, you may be able to insert the next size up with just a little gentle cajoling. You can also ask your piercer to help you change your jewelry when moving from one size to the next. They may use a taper which you can purchase yourself to help insert the jewelry that’s a size up from what you’re currently wearing. It can be a bit awkward to get a taper through a tongue piercing without using forceps to hold the tongue out, so it may be best to just get your piercer to assist you.

As you go up to larger sizes, it will become increasingly difficult to jump from one size to the next. You can make the stretching process easier by adding a layer of latex tape around your barbell, inserting it, letting your tongue adjust to the difference for a week or two, taking out the barbell, adding another layer of tape, and repeating until you’ve stretched up to the next size and can just insert a new barbell in the new size.

If you know from the start that you’d rather have a larger size tongue piercing, you can ask your piercer to pierce you at a larger size. They should be able to accommodate you, although there’s a chance you’ll have to wait for starter jewelry in a larger size to be custom ordered.


TATTOO & PIERCING STERILIZATION METHODS

It’s essential for tattoo and piercing professionals to know and practice correct sterilization procedures. Learn more about common sterilization methods here.

 



It’s absolutely essential for tattoo and piercing professionals to know, understand and practice correct sterilization procedures. Correct sterilization, alongside good hand hygiene and shop cleanliness, will help ensure that your clients stay safe and healthy and that you avoid any legal trouble that could threaten your business and your livelihood. But there are many different sterilization methods available, and they’re not all equally effective or economical. If you’re looking for answers about sterilization methods, equipment, or supplies, you’re in the right place.

DISINFECTION VS. STERILIZATION

Though many people use the terms “disinfect” and “sterilize” interchangeably, they do not mean exactly the same thing. Although both disinfection and sterilization decontaminate a surface, object, or area, the difference is in the degree to which they achieve that goal. Cleaning with a disinfectant spray, wipe or solution will kill most viruses and fungi, but it might not kill all bacteria, especially bacterial spores. For that reason, disinfecting is insufficient when it comes to cleaning any tattoo and piercing equipment that will come into direct contact with a client’s skin.

On the other hand, sterilization destroys all microorganisms. Sterilization is much more difficult than disinfection and requires specialized tools and supplies. But in medical and body modification settings, where open wounds that render people more susceptible to infection are unavoidable, it is absolutely necessary to sterilize tools and hardware to ensure they pose no risk of contamination.

TATTOO SHOP STERILIZATION METHODS

The most common piece of sterilization equipment in tattoo and piercing shops is an autoclave.Autoclaves come in a variety of sizes and with varying features, but they all do the same basic thing: use pressurized steam to completely destroy microorganisms. Autoclaves can be used to sterilize a wide variety of body modification tools and supplies including most metallic jewerly Tools and metallic tattoo equipment Most plastics and all electronics are not autoclavable. If you’re unsure whether a specific item can or should be autoclaved, check the manufacturer’s specifications or contact them directly.

Autoclaves are by far the best and simplest sterilization tool for tattoo and piercing shops. Because they are automated and lock while in use, you can feel absolutely confident that your tools are fully sterilized after being autoclaved (as long as you’ve set everything up correctly). But there are some methods that might be more appropriate or economical for certain artists or shops. In general, sterilization is achieved in one of two ways: with heat, or without it.

HEAT-BASED STERILIZATION METHODS

  • Pressurized Steam: As described above, autoclaves use steamto sterilize tattoo supplies, piercing tools, and body jewelry. The process involves packaging pre-cleaned tools (it is necessary to remove any blood, grime or other visible material on the object surface prior to autoclaving, since they may shield the surface below from sterilization) in special pouches then steaming them in an autoclave machine at a prescribed temperature, pressure and duration of time. The combination of heat and pressure allows autoclaves to achieve sterilization much more quickly and reliably than other methods.

  • Dry Heat removes microorganisms from surfaces by exposing them to high temperatures. This is the best option for sterilizing items that can’t withstand moisture, like powders or tools that are susceptible to corrosion.

  • Boiling: Boiling doesn’t kill 100% of microorganisms, so it isn’t an appropriate method for sterilizing tools and jewelry in a tattoo or piercing shop. For clients who want to sterilize their jewelry at home, however, it is an accessible and generally effective option.

  • Flame: Sterilization by fire is certainly the oldest method around, but it’s far from the safest, most precise, or most consistent. You should never use a flame to sterilize your tattoo and piercing equipment. If you can’t afford or don’t have space for an autoclave or dry heat sterilizer, you should use pre-sterilized, disposable tattoo and piercing needles instead.

NON-HEAT STERILIZATION METHODS

  • Gas: Sterilization by exposure to ethylene oxide (EO) gas is by far the most common non-heat sterilization method used in the tattooing and piercing industry. All disposable, single-use tattoo and piercing tools are sterilized using this method. The items to be sterilized are individually packaged in blister packs made of special paper that permits the EO gas to permeate through one side. An EO indicator inside the package turns blue to indicate successful sterilization, and the contents will remain sterile until the package is opened or until the expiration date on the packaging.

  • Chemicals: Chemical sterilization involves immersing tattoo and piercing supplies in a glutaraldehyde-based chemical cleaner for a specific amount of time, typically many hours. While effective, this method leaves ample room for error. Aside from soaking items for an insufficient length of time, adding new items to a chemical bath that’s in process can potentially re-contaminate the ones already in it. Unless you are trained and comfortable with this process, we recommend sticking with an autoclave or disposables.

  • Radiation: There are two radiation-based sterilization methods: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. The first method kills microorganisms using gamma rays or x-rays (i.e. short wavelength, high-intensity radiation). Non-ionizing radiation uses ultraviolet light to sterilize surfaces. It can’t sterilize an object all the way through because it uses non-penetrating lower energy with a longer wavelength.

Keep in mind that most tattoo and piercing shops don’t sterilize everything they use on-site. It’s common for tattoo and piercing artists to reduce costs and increase efficiency by autoclaving or sterilizing some tools while relying on pre-sterilized disposables for others. Many of today’s body modification artists prefer affordable, single-use tattoo and piercing and tattoo tubes sterilized using the gas sterilization method described above.

STERILIZATION INDICATORS

There are various ways to check that items subjected to sterilization processes have been completely sterilized. These indicators are divided into different classes, which provide different types and varying degrees of information. To understand the value and purpose of each of these classes, you first have to know the difference between chemical and biological indicators.

  • Chemical indicators for sterilization: Chemical indicators can also be called process indicators, and their purpose is to confirm that an item has undergone sterilization. For example, sterilization pouches contain external chemical indicators that change color when exposed to either steam or EO gas. Similar indicators can also be sealed into the packages prior to sterilization for an extra degree of certainty.

  • Biological indicators for sterilization: Instead of detecting sterilization processes, biological indicators detect the presence of microorganisms themselves.

Indicators are grouped into one of six classes depending on their type and specific function. For example, some chemical indicators test only for temperature, while others test only for pressure. Tattoo and piercing artists don’t rely on just one type or class of indicator. Instead, they use a combination of indicators to provide multi-layered assurance that their sterilization process has been effectively completed. In addition to using sterilization indicators each time you run a sterilization process, you should check your autoclave and sterilization area for spores and bacteria at least once every few weeks using a biological indicator to ensure they’re working properly.

KEEPING IT CLEAN

While sterilization tools and processes might seem confusing at first, most artists find that they quickly become second nature because they use them so frequently. It’s certainly a subject worth taking the time to master, since your clients’ health and your reputation are on the line. Whenever a client sees you for a piercing or tattoo, they are trusting you to keep them safe. If you value your craft and your career, you will honor and respect that trust. That includes explaining or showing prospective clients your sterilization equipment and procedures if they request it, including the results of your latest spore test. Whether you sterilize your own equipment or rely on pre-sterilized disposables, be sure you always open each sterilization pouch or blister pack immediately before use, in the presence of the client, to ensure transparency and peace of mind.



HOW TO CHOOSE A TATTOO ARTIST

Getting a tattoo is exciting! If you’re interested in body art but aren’t sure where to begin, follow these steps to help you decide how to choose a tattoo artist.

 



STEP 1: DECIDE WHICH TATTOO YOU WANT

Start by developing a concept for your tattoo, including its specific design, colors, and location on your body. The more detailed your concept, the better your artist will be able to design and draw it. If you can, try to gather reference photos of tattoos that have a similar style, colors, or design. When thinking about placement on the body, consider both artistic factors – how well the design fits and flows with the shape of your body – and practical factors, such as whether your current or future employers will allow you to have visible tattoos. An experienced tattoo artist will be able to provide insights and improvements for your location and design, so be ready for and open to suggestions.

STEP 2: RESEARCH TATTOO SHOPS

There are thousands of tattoo shops out there, but the internet and social media make finding the right one a lot easier. Look online for shops in your area, then check their customer ratings and reviews. Find two or three shops with overwhelmingly positive reviews and posted work that seems similar to the design you’d like to get. At this point, your primary concern should be to find shops that seem professional and trustworthy based on the information you can find online.

STEP 3: ASK ADVICE FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Once you’ve thought about your design and started researching tattoo shops, you should look for input from people you know and trust, especially if they have tattoos themselves. Gauge their reaction to your tattoo concept and location, and take any specific advice under consideration. In addition, ask if they or anyone they know are familiar with the shops you’re interested in working with – they might be able to give you some firsthand information you wouldn’t find online.

STEP 4: RESEARCH THE ARTISTS

After developing your initial tattoo idea and running it by a few people you trust, it’s time to start looking for an artist. If you have a specific shop in mind, start by checking out the portfolios of each of its artists to find one with strong overall artistry. That means looking for finished and healed tattoos that demonstrate clean and clear linework, solid and even fill, and a strong sense of composition, proportion, and control in the design. Look closely for common tattooing errors such as blown-out lines and scratchy fill. Ideally, you’ll find an artist whose portfolio generally matches the style of tattoo you’re interested in. If you’re not sure about an artist’s preferred style and how it might work with your concept, don’t hesitate to ask. These days, many tattoo artists have a professional social media account where they post photos of their work and completed pieces, so you may be able to do some of your research remotely.

STEP 5: UNDERSTAND TATTOO PRICING

Many customers getting tattooed for the first time get attached to a design concept without fully understanding what it might cost. To avoid last-minute sticker shock, make sure you research tattoo pricing beforehand. The price of a tattoo is determined by many factors including the size and location of the tattoo, the complexity of the design, the amount of time it will take to complete, the experience level of the artist, the availability of the artist, and the geographic area the artist is working in. Generally speaking, large and detailed designs will cost more, experienced and in-demand artists will cost more, and getting tattooed in a major city will cost more. Additionally, not all artists bill the same way. Some might charge a flat rate for certain types or sizes of designs, some might charge a day or session rate, and some might charge by the hour. On average, you can expect to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 for a small tattoo, around $250 for a medium-sized tattoo, and at least $500 or more for large projects. For especially large pieces, such as a full chest tattoo or a sleeve, the price tag will likely reach into the thousands. Always discuss pricing with your artist before committing, and remember to include a tip!

STEP 6: CHECK OUT THE TATTOO SHOP

The internet is a great tool for initial research, but to make sure your chosen tattoo shops live up to their online reputations, you need to see them for yourself. If they allow it, you can walk in, but otherwise, call to tell them you’re interested in working with them and want to schedule an appointment to see the shop. Your primary concern at this stage should be the shop’s overall cleanliness. Check that the floors, walls, and work surfaces are clean and that the workspaces are neat and organized. If they aren’t keeping up with basic cleanliness, they might not be practicing safe and hygienic tattooing either.

STEP 7: EXAMINE THE TATTOO EQUIPMENT

If you can, try to check out their tattooing equipment and procedures as well. Ask the shop manager if they have an autoclave and if they can show you the results of their most recent spore test. If they don’t have an autoclave, they should be using single-use disposable equipment only. Be sure that there are sharps containers available for artists to dispose of used needles. If there’s tattooing happening while you’re there, check to ensure the artists are wearing gloves and practicing good station hygiene at all times. That includes using the correct surface and skin prep procedures and using barrier film to cover all the surfaces and equipment they and the client touch during the course of the procedure.

STEP 8: SET UP A CONSULTATION

When you find the artist that you like, set up a consultation to talk to them in detail about your tattoo idea. Make sure you bring any photos, mock-ups, or examples you have so that they can reference them while drawing up your custom tattoo. The goal of the consultation should be to ensure that you’re both on the same page. At the consultation, the artist will also provide a price quote and ask for a deposit to reserve your appointment and begin working on your design. Some artists price based on size, and some charge by the hour. In either case, your deposit will be credited toward the final cost of your tattoo, but keep in mind that large tattoos may require multiple sessions to complete.

STEP 9: SCHEDULE A TATTOO APPOINTMENT

Once you’ve completed your consultation, you’ll set a date for your actual tattooing session. On the day of your appointment, be sure to:

  • eat a healthy meal beforehand

  • wear clothing that allows easy access to the area being tattooed

  • avoid drinking alcohol or taking any kind of pain medication, which can cause your body to bleed more than usual

  • bring water and a small snack

  • relax, and try to enjoy the tattoo experience

After your tattoo is done, the artist will give you complete aftercare instructions and send you on your way. Remember that the aftercare just as important as the tattooing itself, so listen closely to your artist’s instructions.

 

Finally, you get to enjoy your new tattoo! With this experience and knowledge under your belt, you’ll be confident and ready when it’s time to start planning your next piece.



THE FASCINATING HISTORY OF TATTOOS: A COMPLETE TIMELINE

Tattoos are one of the most popular forms of body modification. Learn more about the history of tattoos, their origins, and their significance!

 



Tattoos are one of the most popular forms of body modification in the world today, but they weren’t always so commonplace. Even among tattoo artists and enthusiasts, the long and fascinating history of tattoos isn’t well known. If you’ve ever wondered about the origins, evolution, and cultural significance of this 5,000-year-old art, you’re hardly alone.

THE ORIGINS AND MEANING OF THE WORD “TATTOO”

It’s believed that the modern word “tattoo” derives from one of two sources – either from the Marquesan (Polynesian) word “tatu,” which means both “to puncture” and “a mark made on the skin,” or from the Tahitian/Samoan word “tatau,” which means “to mark something.” The roots of “tatu” may also have come from “ta,” a Marquesan word that means “to strike something.”

The English word “tattoo” first appeared in 1769 in the writings of James Cook. Cook was an explorer and Captain of the Royal Navy, who defined the word as “pigment designs in the skin.” During his expeditions across the Pacific Ocean, he encountered many indigenous peoples in New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii. Cook’s word “tattoo” is most likely a phonetic transcription of “tatu” or “tatau,” the terms these peoples used to describe the elaborate and beautiful designs they proudly displayed on their bodies. The word “tattoo” stuck and has remained unchanged in English ever since. Today, “tattoo” can refer to the designs themselves, the art of creating such designs, or even convey other meanings.

HISTORY OF TATTOOS

The story of tattooing’s origins and evolution spans 5,000 years of global history. Although the tools, techniques, and styles have changed, the history of tattoos and tattooing illustrates that they have always carried deep cultural, spiritual, and personal significance.

~3300 B.C.E.

Our friend Ötzi the Iceman (and most likely many other members of his Bronze Age tribe) sported the first tattoos on record to date. Researchers discovered the mummified Ötzi in the Alps between Italy and Austria in 1991. They believe that his dotted tattoos were used primarily for healing.

Around the same time, on the other side of the world, people in modern-day Japan painted or engraved facial tattoos on clay figurines, which they placed in tombs alongside their dead. The markings likely have religious or magical significance, while the figurines themselves represented surviving members of the community who symbolically accompanied the dead into the afterlife. Japan’s earliest tattoo evidence originates from these figurines, but it’s not clear if the Japanese also tattooed their own bodies in addition to the figurines.

~2300 B.C.E.

On the coast straddling the arid Atacama desert in present-day Chile and Peru, the Chinchorro civilization practiced mummification long before their more famous Egyptian counterparts. One well-preserved Chinchorro mummy has a line of dots tattooed on his upper lip, providing the oldest direct evidence of tattooing in the Americas.

~2160-1994 B.C.E.

Only women who held positions of religious significance were allowed to get tattoos during the early dynasties of Ancient Egypt. The earliest known example is Amunet, a priestess of the goddess Hathor, whose mummified body showed that she decorated herself with many dots and dashes, forming abstract geometric patterns on her thighs, arms, breasts, shoulders, and abdomen. Scholars believe that these tattoos may have served as medicinal, spiritual, or fertility aids.

Scholars also believe that Egyptians were responsible for spreading the practice of tattooing more broadly across Europe and Asia due to their close and frequent contact with civilizations in modern-day Greece, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula.

~2000 B.C.E.

Tattooed mummies thought to date back to 2,000 B.C.E. were discovered in Xinjiang, Western China, and at Pazyryk on the Ukok Plateau. Tarim Mummies found in Xinjiang may be of Western Asian/European heritage, whereas Pazyryk Mummies are of Siberian descent, suggesting that tattoos are common among Europeans and Asians during this period (or perhaps earlier).

~1200-400 B.C.E.

In this period, the Celtic people inhabited most of Central and Western Europe, reaching the British Isles and Ireland around 500 B.C.E.

Tattoos were a fundamental part of the Celtic culture; they were made from a blue dye derived from woad plants. Common motifs in Celtic body art were spirals, knots, and braids. They were meant to symbolize the interconnection of all life.

~600 B.C.E.

Although Greek people likely saw Egyptian tattoos far earlier, textual evidence indicates that tattooing didn’t become a common practice in Greece until around this time. Unlike the Egyptians, however, Greeks used tattoos as a mark of barbarity and shame. According to the historian Herodotus (c. 484-425 B.C.E. ), Greeks learned the practice from the Persians and used it to identify criminals, defeated enemies, and enslaved people.

~500-300 B.C.E.

Roman writers, including Virgil and Seneca, describe the tattooing of criminals and enslaved people during this time, using methods and purposes drawn from the Greeks. Tattoos were referred to by the Romans as “stigma,” a term that carries the punitive connotation of the practice to modern English. As a result of the social stigma associated with tattoos, Greek and Roman physicians also devised various methods for removing them.

~50-27 B.C.E.

At the time of the Late Roman Republic and Early Roman Empire (est. 27 B.C.E. ), the practice of tattooing was common and well documented. For example, in Julius Caesar’s “The Gallic War,” he describes the tattoos of the Picts, a tribal people his armies encountered during their campaigns. Also, according to Ephesus, enslaved people exported to Asia during the Early Empire had the phrase “tax paid” tattooed on them.

~0 C.E.

Most sources estimate that tattooing emerged in the Polynesian cultures of the South Pacific around 2000 years ago, although it’s entirely possible it existed earlier. Tattoos were used during important rites of passage and indicated social rank and affiliation as in other ancient societies. They carried significant personal, social, and spiritual meaning for the Polynesians, who are known for creating some of the most intricate and skillfully designed tattoos in the ancient world.

These tattoos were not chosen by the person getting tattooed but rather by a tattoo master with extensive knowledge of both the technical and artistic aspects of tattooing. They would customize each design according to the recipient’s specific attributes, personality, status, and achievements. Though tattoo designs and locations varied between Polynesian groups, the tattooing techniques and motifs were similar throughout the South Pacific. These designs included linear, curvilinear, and geometrical patterns incorporating triangles and circles. Other shapes were common, as were basic representations of natural and manmade objects.

In Samoa, men received tattoos called pe’a to signify their passage into manhood and their commitment to serving their extended familial clan. Pe’a were large — covering the thighs, buttocks, lower back, and lower abdomen — and a prerequisite for any man who wished to receive the title of chief, matai. Samoan women were also ritually tattooed with less extensive geometrical designs, typically applied to the hands, thighs, and legs.

The art of tattooing that originated in Samoa spread to New Zealand, Hawaii, and other South Pacific regions. The Maori of New Zealand developed their own tattooing tradition called moko. Unlike other Polynesian tattoos, moko were often created using woodcarving techniques. Artists used tattooing chisels, called uhi, to cut designs into the skin up to one-eighth of an inch, then applied pigment by rubbing it over the wounds or using a serrated uhi.

Moko — especially full-face moko — was so personalized that they allowed their wearers to communicate their lineage, regional or tribal affiliation, social rank, achievements, and even occupation. It could be placed anywhere on the body but was most common on men’s lower bodies and faces, while women generally got them on their arms, abdomen, and thighs.

Tattooing in Hawaii was the least ritualized and regimented of any of the Polynesian cultures. The Hawaiian tradition of tattooing is called kakau. Hawaiians wore tattoos to show distinction, decoration, and both physical and spiritual well-being. Men most often adorned their faces, torsos, arms, and legs, whereas women were most often tattooed with natural designs from their wrists to their fingers and occasionally even on their tongues.


297

The first direct evidence of tattooing in Japan comes from a complied Chinese dynastic history. It states that the Japanese admired tattoos primarily for their beauty rather than their spiritual, medical, or magical properties. Japanese tattoo artists, called Hori, were absolute masters of their craft. In addition to their use of beautiful colors, their creative designs and technical approaches made them unique to other known tattooing traditions.

Over the course of hundreds of years, tattoos, like ancient Greece and Rome, became a punishment for criminals. By the 1600s, criminal gangs called Yakuza had embraced the association, often covering their entire bodies with tattoos that permanently marked them as outlaws.

306-337

Following his conversion to Christianity, Roman Emperor Constantine rescinded the Roman state’s official prohibition on Christianity and banned tattooing based on a passage from Leviticus: “Ye shall not make any cuttings on your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.”

Christians believed that humans were created in God’s image, so Constantine viewed tattooing as a desecration and forbade the practice, aside from marking enslaved people. However, by this time, tattooing had become commonplace in the Roman military, meaning the prohibition stigmatized many soldiers and veterans.

~450

In 2005, archaeologists unearthed a burial chamber in Peru containing the mummified remains of a Moche woman now known as the “Lady of Cao,” who died around 450 C.E. She bore many stylized animal tattoos on her arms, including spiders, crabs, cats, and snakes.

570-632

With the rise of Islam in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula during the life of the Prophet Muhammad, attitudes about tattooing began to change. Although the Qur’an doesn’t explicitly forbid tattooing, strict interpretations of the text view it as unholy. As in Christianity, some Islamic scholars believed that tattooing was a vain and unholy desecration of God’s creation. Despite these interpretations, evidence indicates that tattooing endured in many Islamic communities across the region, particularly in North Africa.

1100

The Chimú people (~1100-1470 C.E.) who lived in modern-day Peru, were among some of the most elaborately tattooed populations in South America. Carrying on the mummification traditions of the earlier Chinchorro and Moche people of the region, the Chimú mummies preserved evidence of their intricate, elaborately crafted tattoos, which featured stylized plant and animal designs, anthropomorphic beings, hunting tools, and weapons, and complex geometric patterns.

1254-1324

While archaeological evidence indicates tattooing among China’s ethnic minorities existed long before Marco Polo’s journey to Quanzhou at this time, it is one of the first detailed reports of a highly developed tattoo culture in the country. Polo stated there were so many skilled and reputable tattoo artists in Quanzhou that people from northern India and beyond came to get tattooed.

1500S

Early Spanish conquistadors like Hernán Cortés first encountered the Mayas on the Yucatan Peninsula in modern-day Mexico. In Maya culture, tattoos were a way to display courage and worship their idols.

Because tattooing had been so effectively suppressed in Christian Europe, the Spaniards believed it to be the work of the devil. They were horrified to find that tattooing was widely practiced throughout Central America. As in Europe, they sought to eradicate the practice.

1644-1912

Tattooing faces of criminals and enslaved people became a common practice in China during the Great Qing Dynasty.

1768-1779

Captain James Cook and his crew explored the South Pacific on three expeditions, landing on Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Kiribati, Fiji, and Easter Island. Thanks to their encounters with tattooed people in this region, the word “tattoo” came into the English language. As a result of their expeditions, getting tattoos became a widespread practice among European sailors, many of whom returned with Polynesian-style tattoos of their own. Over the following decades, tattoos would become increasingly common among Western European and North American sailors.

1797

During this time, the London Missionary Society dispatched its first missionaries to Polynesia. These missionaries used varying degrees of force and persuasion to convert indigenous peoples to follow European-style political, social, and religious norms, including the stigmatization of tattoos.

These missions would provide basic education and medical care but may have restricted this to people without tattoos. While some indigenous people willingly abandoned their tattooing traditions, many others fought to protect them. Over time, sustained resistance forced most missionaries to relax their prohibitions on tattooing.

1861

For nearly 100 years, European sailors had been collecting tattoos like souvenirs from their travels. However, in this year, Maurice Berchon, a French Navy surgeon, published a study outlining the dangers and complications of tattooing. As a result of this study, the French Navy and Army banned tattoos amongst all soldiers and officers.

1862

Despite the conservative social mores of the Victorian Era, the Prince of Wales — eventually King Edward VII — got a cross tattooed on his arm while visiting Jerusalem, setting off a tattooing trend among the English aristocracy.

1882

King Edward VII’s sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York, were tattooed by Hori Chiyo, a Japanese master tattoo artist.

1891

Fifteen years after Thomas Edison invented the electric pen, another American named Sam O’Reilly adopted his device, adding an ink tube and needle system to create the first rotary tattoo machine Although his patent wasn’t filed until 1891, there is evidence he had built and used his machine for years prior. Just weeks after O’Reilly received his patent in the U.S., Londoner Thomas Riley completed the first single-coil tattoo machine. These two devices formed the basic structure for all future tattoo machines.

~1900

Around the turn of the century, technological advances in tattooing and increased exposure to other cultures produced a fascination with tattooing among the American upper class, leading many sideshows and carnivals to include people with Japanese-style full-body tattoos among their attractions.

1950

After the successive traumas of two World Wars and the Great Depression, public fascination with tattooing decreased significantly. Once again, tattoos were regarded by many people in mainstream society as deviant, vulgar, and improper. Despite this, tattoos remained popular among soldiers, sailors, and those involved in nascent countercultural movements, which solidified their unseemly associations in the public mind.

2000

Nearly 150 years after coil and rotary tattoo machines were first invented, tattooist Carson Hill created the first pneumatic tattoo machine, powered by air compressors. Pneumatic tattoo machines are autoclavable and lightweight, but they have yet to gain significant popularity among tattoo artists.

PRESENT

Today, tattooing is not only a viable career but a highly-regarded art form. There are documentaries, museums, and even reality T.V. shows that celebrate the technical skill, artistic expression, and cultural importance of tattoos and tattooing. Nowadays, tattoos are rarely seen as a sign of shame or immorality as they were in the past. They are instead now considered common and acceptable forms of expression, commemoration, and spirituality.

AN IN-DEPTH HISTORY OF TATTOOS IN AMERICA

Around the same time the indigenous people in the South Pacific began developing tattooing, the indigenous peoples of North America were doing the same. Like their counterparts in Polynesia, North American tribes used sharpened bone, rock, and other natural objects to etch designs into their skin, filling the wounds with soot or natural dyes to make them permanent. Indigenous tattooing traditions included geometric patterns, such as lines and simple shapes, and pictographic representations of objects found in nature. The particular styles, motifs, patterns, and images used varied from region to region and even from tribe to tribe, allowing individuals to express their identity and affiliations through their body markings.

Throughout North America, tattooing played an important role in the social, cultural, and spiritual life of native groups, although their uses and significance varied. Among many Pacific Northwest tribes, women were tattooed to mark their age, their eligibility for marriage, the onset of puberty, their rank in the tribe, and enhance their beauty. For plains tribes, tattooing was more common for men. It was a rite of passage into adulthood for them, often performed after the boys participated in their first successful hunt or battle.

Many groups tattooed heavily their men in the Southwest and Great Plains, especially their warriors, whose tattoos were meant to intimidate their enemies. Some groups believed their tattoos would even endow them with supernatural powers or strength. It was particularly common for an individual to get a tattoo of the animal whose strength they most wanted to emulate.

Our existing documentation of Native American tattooing culture is primarily based on evidence from the East and Southeast, where indigenous groups were in contact with Europeans from the 1600s onward. For example, John Smith, the famed English explorer of the American Eastern seaboard, noted in his journals that many of the natives they encountered were decorated with tattoos on their faces, hands, chests, and legs.

For Eastern groups like the Creek, Seminole, and all the members of the Iroquois Confederacy, tattooing was an important mode of personal expression and identification. Boys had their manitou, or guardian spirit, tattooed on them after achieving manhood status and added to their collection over time to commemorate new achievements.

Unfortunately, contact with Europeans and subsequent expansion of settler-colonial power decimated indigenous populations. Christian missionaries had already spread throughout the continent by the time the United States was established, discouraging tattooing. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the U.S. government was actively engaged in the dislocation, destruction, and suppression of indigenous peoples and cultures, most notably symbolized by the Trail of Tears and the establishment of Native American boarding schools. These efforts severely damaged indigenous tattooing traditions, although many of those traditions have experienced a revival in recent decades, as newer generations seek to reclaim their ancient cultural practices and knowledge.

As tattooing was being suppressed among native groups, it was gaining popularity among American sailors, just like in Europe. However, in the 1800s, its popularity expanded beyond this group. In England, tattoos became an object of aristocratic style and fascination during the late 1800s. Notably, however, the practice was much more prevalent among American women than British ones. Just after the turn of the century, the New York World estimated that up to 75% of New York City’s female socialites were tattooed with such trendy designs as butterflies, flowers, and dragons.

After the invention of electric tattoo machines, tattoo culture flourished. The late 1800s and early 1900s saw the proliferation of fully-tattooed men and women as sideshow attractions, such as John O’Reilly, “the tattooed Irishman.” During this time, New York City became the center of the new tattooing subculture. In 1870, Martin Hildebrandt opened the first tattoo parlor in the U.S., and Sam O’Reilly, the inventor of the rotary tattoo machine, also operated a tattoo shop in the city. Then, in 1939, Mildred Hull opened her Tattoo Emporium in lower Manhattan, making her the nation’s first female tattoo shop owner. As the tattooing subculture expanded along society’s fringes, it became less popular in the mainstream.

In the 1930s, when the Social Security system was established, people had to memorize their nine-digit Social Security number. Rather than risk forgetting it, many people decided to get it tattooed on them instead. In the 1940s, legendary tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins — better known as Sailor Jerry — popularized the classic American style of tattooing, which features bright, bold colors and strong lines along with frequently patriotic or militaristic subjects. During World War II, tattoos became increasingly popular among military men as both a sign of service and a symbol of strength and masculinity. Regardless, to most people within the mainstream, tattoos remained associated with criminality and social deviance throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

As Baby Boomers fueled the rise of broad counter-culture movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s, tattoos became more socially acceptable. Music icons such as Janis Joplin inspired young people to seek out tattoos that expressed their alignment with hippie culture, the anti-war movement, or other emerging subcultures like motorcycle clubs. Stylistic approaches also expanded beyond the traditional Sailor Jerry school during this time, adding more subtle and intricate designs and techniques inspired by artistic traditions worldwide.

In the 1980s and 1990s, tattoos continued to gain in popularity due to the influence of famous musicians. Punk, metal, and other underground music scenes embraced tattoos as a symbol of rebellion and social antagonism. At the same time, more mainstream celebrities like Pamela Anderson sported now-cliche designs like barbed-wire armbands, expanding tattooing’s cultural reach and acceptance far beyond the underground. The rising popularity of tattoos featuring Chinese symbols, Polynesian designs, Native American motifs, yin-yang symbols, and other significant elements from different foreign cultures during the 1990s led to some of the first major discussions about cultural appropriation.

During the 2000s, tattoos became entirely commonplace in American culture. Alongside the traditionally religious, patriotic, and nautical styles and subjects, new generations of tattoo artists expanded the technical and conceptual vocabularies of the art form to include more minimalistic, abstract, and realistic approaches. Today, tattooing is one of the most common forms of personal and artistic expression. Millennials are the most tattooed generation in American history, bringing the U.S. tattooing industry to an annual estimated worth of over $3 billion and ensuring that tattoos will continue to hold a prominent place in American art and culture for many years to come.

INTO THE FUTURE

Tattooing is one of humanity’s oldest and most widespread artistic practices, and it’s only gotten more popular over time. Today’s tattoo artists aren’t just pioneering new styles, techniques, and technologies — they’re also reviving some of the most revered and iconic styles from our collective past, including ancient and indigenous styles that were suppressed or discouraged in prior generations. Tattooing has come a long way, so it is important to remember its past while looking forward to its future.


26 DIFFERENT TATTOO STYLES: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Are you’re interested in getting a tattoo, but aren’t sure which style to get? Check out these 26 different tattoo styles to choose from.

 



Today, tattooing is one of the most popular ways that people express themselves. People get tattooed to commemorate special dates or events, show off a favorite image or object, express their personality and spirituality, or identify themselves as members of a particular group or culture. It’s also an art form that’s thousands of years old. It’s no surprise, then, that the range of tattooing styles is massive. If you’re interested in getting a tattoo but aren’t sure which style is right for you or how to describe the style of tattoo you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.

TRADITIONAL STYLE TATTOOS

Traditional-style tattoos are defined by bold, black lines and bright colors. They often incorporate time-honored motifs such as hearts, flowers, ships, anchors, animals, women, or skulls. This style rose to prominence in the mid-1900s United States through the work of artists like Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, Bert Grimm, and Don Ed Hardy.

NEW SCHOOL/NEO-TRADITIONAL TATTOO STYLE

In the late 20th century, a new generation of tattoo artists took the bold lines and colors of Traditional-style tattoos and added intricate details, greater color variance, and a heavy dose of Art Nouveau to create the New School tattoo style. While designs in this style are firmly anchored in the traditional tattoo aesthetic, they are more lush, composed, and intensely detailed, making this one of today’s most popular tattooing styles.

CHICANO STYLE TATTOO

The Chicano tattooing style was created in the mid-1900s by Mexican and Mexican-American artists in the Southwestern United States. The Chicano style is traditionally defined by smooth black and grey tones, creating highly illustrative designs that often feature religious, political, and historical imagery.

IGNORANT STYLE TATTOO

The Ignorant-style tattoo is a relatively recent development in tattoo art. Ignorant style tattoos are characterized by minimalist linework that evokes cartoons or graffiti art and often features humorous, absurd, or tongue-in-cheek images and text.

SKETCH STYLE TATTOO

Sketch-style tattoos are another recent innovation in tattoo art. Sketch-style tattoos are heavily illustrative and often feature the type of free-flowing, pencil-like lines that you might find in an artist’s sketchbook. This style is an excellent alternative for people looking for something slightly less traditional.

TRASH POLKA TATTOO STYLE

Pioneered in the 1990s by German tattoo artists Simone Pfaff and Volker Merschky, Trash Polka tattoos are defined by designs that blend surrealism, photo-realism, and abstraction, often relying primarily on black with stark red accents. Typically, Trash Polka designs evoke the morbid and macabre.

HENNA STYLE TATTOO

Henna is an ancient style of temporary body art that originated in Egypt but is common throughout southern Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and North Africa. From ancient times to today, traditional henna application is an important part of many cultural and religious rites and rituals in these regions, especially marriage. These days, many people choose to make permanent the beautiful, intricate, and geometric patterns of traditional henna by getting a henna-style tattoo.

YAKUZA STYLE TATTOO

Japanese-style tattoos, also called Yakuza style or Irezumi tattoos, have a long and fascinating history. The motifs that define modern Japanese style tattoos, such as samurai, dragons, snakes, clouds, tigers, and koi, date back to tattoos of the Edo Period (1603-1868). When tattoos became socially taboo in later Japanese history, criminal gangs embraced them as a mark of rebellion and allegiance, covering their entire bodies in elaborate tattoos.

BLACKWORK TATTOO STYLE

Blackwork tattoos aren’t defined by particular motifs or technical approaches — as the name suggests, they’re defined by the color black. Blackwork artists avoid chromatic hues and grey tints, relying entirely on black fill to complete their designs, regardless of its style. Blackwork tattoos are heavily influenced by traditional Polynesian tattooing.

VIKING STYLE TATTOOS

The Vikings were Scandanavian warriors from the middle-ages, famous for their violent naval raids and tattoos. Actual Vikings likely sported designs consisting primarily of runic symbols, geometric patterns, and knotted shapes. While such designs are still popular today, the style also includes non-traditional designs inspired by stories and characters from Norse mythology, such as Odin and Thor.

ILLUSTRATIVE TATTOO STYLE

The Illustrative tattoo style is a meta-style that encompasses many others, such as Chicano, Realism, New School, and Trash Polka. Generally speaking, Illustrative style tattoos rely on the techniques and principles of traditional drawing and illustration to create their designs, such as linear perspective, stippling, cross-hatching, and strong linework.

GOTHIC STYLE TATTOOS

Gothic-style tattoos feature many of the same subjects and stylistic approaches as art from the Gothic and Gothic Revival artistic movements, which are defined by elaborate and ornate designs, often featuring a combination of religious and macabre imagery with supernatural undertones. Gothic style tattoos might also be influenced by modern Goth culture or horror tropes and imagery.

CARTOON STYLE TATTOO

Cartoon-style tattoos aim to recreate the look, feel, and emotion of your favorite childhood cartoons and comics. Because there are many different cartooning styles, cartoon tattoos are less defined by a common technical or aesthetic approach and more by their subject matter, whether it’s Mickey Mouse or Looney Tunes, Spongebob or Spider-Man.

REALISM TATTOO STYLES

The Realism tattoo style aims to create tattooed images that are as close to the real-life thing as artistically possible. Though this style is most popular for portraiture tattoos, tattoo artists push the boundaries of photo-realism to depict anything from inanimate objects to landscapes, animals, or even the grotesque and surreal.

VICTORIAN STYLE TATTOOS

Tattooing became a major cultural and artistic phenomenon in Victorian England (1837-1901), both among the working classes and the aristocracy. Victorian-style tattoos aim to recreate the relatively simple style used by Europe’s early modern tattoo artists, whose most popular designs included naval and religious images, hearts and expressions of love, and simple portraits.

WATERCOLOR STYLE TATTOO

Watercolor tattoos are a relatively new innovation, evoking the fluidity, lightness, and mixed color saturation of watercolor painting. With few dark lines and borders, colors blend into one another and into the skin around the design to produce the effect of the image emerging organically from the skin.

DOT STYLE TATTOO

Dot-style tattoos, also called Dotwork, are created by placing small, individual dots of ink rather than using traditional linework and fill. Although time-consuming, this style of tattooing can produce some highly original and beautiful designs.

GEOMETRIC STYLE TATTOO

Geometric-style tattoos are some of the oldest and most widespread types of tattoos in the world. Nearly every culture that practiced tattooing used geometric design, and the tradition is going strong today. Geometric designs are popular because of their beauty and flexibility. They can be a stark and simple shape or a highly elaborate and complex pattern that creates a larger image, such as a mandala.

GRAFFITI STYLE TATTOO

Graffiti-style tattoos seek to bring the personality and flair of street art to the human canvas. From the stylized script of graffiti tags to the blend of cartoon and color typical of graffiti illustrations, Graffiti-style tattoos allow you to take the beauty and artistry of the street with you wherever you go.

WOODCUT STYLE TATTOO

This tattooing style is based on a classic printing technique called woodcut, in which the artist carves the negative of an image into a block of wood, which can then be inked and pressed onto paper to replicate the image many times. Woodcut style tattoos recreate the fine linework, detail, and stylized appearance of this time-honored artistic technique.

MINIATURE/ MICRO TATTOOS

Micro tattoos are one of the hottest trends in tattooing from recent years, primarily fueled by celebrities and social media stars who sport them. As the name suggests, micro tattoos can be anything, as long as they’re teeny-tiny. While miniature tattoos are popular because they’re fashionable, they’re also a good option for people who can’t get or don’t want larger tattoos.

PATCH/EMBROIDERY TATTOOS

This style of tattooing aims to reinvent an age-old handicraft. But instead of your mom embroidering your name on your camp clothes, skilled tattoo artists like Duda Lozano use a careful combination of linework, shading, and highlights to “embroider” whatever design you want straight into your skin.

STICKER TATTOOS

Sticker tattoos take the nostalgia of popping quarters into a corner store sticker dispenser and slapping it onto your skin. By outlining designs with a solid white border and using drop shadowing, tattoo artists can create the illusion of your tattoo being a sticker floating slightly above your skin. Artist Luke Cormier is one of the most popular practitioners of the sticker style.

MASHUP STYLE TATTOOS

Mashup tattoos do exactly what the name promises: take techniques from various tattooing styles, as well as influences from pop culture, and smash them together to create something completely new. This style has become popular for its freedom and flexibility, with artists such as Mashkow, Daria Pirojenko, and Chris Rigoni producing wildly different designs that all live comfortably in the growing Mashup tattoo tradition.

ORNAMENTAL TATTOOS

Ornamental tattoos draw on various other styles such as geometric, henna, and illustrative styles to create complex, intricate, and typically symmetrical designs. Although representations of natural objects sometimes occur in this style, it’s most typically confined to shapes and patterns executed in black.

BRUTAL TATTOOS

The Brutal tattoo style which aims to revive the ancient and ritualistic aspects of tattooing to save it from what its founders see as the soulless commodification of the art. By covering massive swaths of skin in nothing but thick, dark black, Brutal Black seeks transcendence through the practice of intentional pain.

CONCLUSION

Whether you’re looking for something elegant and ethereal, humorous and fun, dark and mysterious, or anything in between, there’s a tattoo style for you. Throughout history, tattoos have evolved to suit the aesthetics and tastes of people around the world. When you get inked, you’re joining in one of humanity’s oldest artistic traditions.



HOW DO TATTOOS WORK & WHAT’S THE PROCESS?

If you love the artistry of tattooing and want to know more about the science & process of how tattoos work, this article is for you.

 


Tattoos are one of the world’s oldest and most popular forms of body modification. But even though most people know what tattoos are, many don’t fully understand how tattoos and tattooing works. If you’re one of those folks who loves and appreciates the artistry of tattooing but wants to know more about the science of how tattoos work, this article is for you.

HOW DO TATTOOS WORK?

On the most basic level, you likely understand that tattooing involves inserting ink into the skin to create a design. This basic understanding is a good place to start, but there are a few important details to know.

First, tattoo needles insert ink into the skin, but not in the same way as hypodermic needles administer vaccines or draw blood. Those medical-use needles are hollow, and liquid passes through them to enter or exit the body.

In contrast, what we commonly refer to as a “tattoo needle” is a group of needles that are not hollow. Instead of ink passing through them, tattoo needles use a principle called capillary action to carry the ink into the tiny spaces between each needle within the group. As the needle group punctures the skin, it deposits the ink that is left behind beneath the skin surface. Tattoo machines create thousands of these tiny punctures every minute, allowing tattoo artists to create complex, detailed designs.

WHY ARE TATTOOS PERMANENT?

Understanding the skin structure is important in understanding both how tattoos work and why they are permanent. The skin is divided into three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. During tattooing, tattoo needles pierce through the epidermis – the outermost layer – and deposit tattoo ink into the dermis, which contains hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels. Unlike the cells in the epidermis, which replace themselves frequently, skin cells in the dermis take far longer for the body to replace. This is part of the reason why tattoos are permanent.

Another reason has to do with the way the body responds to tattooing. Because the process of tattooing creates thousands of tiny wounds, the body’s immune system responds by sending special cells to help heal the area. Some of these cells try to remove the ink particles, but most of the particles are too large. Instead, the body’s response traps them within the dermis. While the particles will deteriorate and fade over time, they’ll remain mostly visible through the epidermis.

THE PROCESS OF GETTING A TATTOO

Now that you know how tattoos work, you can start thinking about your own body art. The first step of the tattooing process should be to develop some ideas about where and what you would like to have tattooed. Depending on where and how large you want your design to be, what that design is, and how much money you’re willing to spend, a professional tattoo artist can help you decide on the final size, location, and design.

When choosing a tattoo artist, make sure they’re reputable. If your tattoo artist doesn’t have good hygiene standards, your beautiful body art could turn out to be a dangerous, infected mess. Your artist will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for your tattooing appointment, and they’ll also send you home with a complete set of instructions that will help your skin heal fully and quickly. The aftercare process is critical in ensuring your tattoo’s health, appearance, and longevity, so be sure to follow your artist’s instructions carefully.


THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BELLY BUTTON PIERCINGS

Belly button piercing has gotten popular over the years. Learn more about the piercing & healing process with this guide!

 

Belly Button has gained significant popularity over the years. It experienced its “golden age” in the early 1990s when celebrities like Christina Aguilera gave this type of body piercing mainstream exposure. Now that we’re well into the 21st century, more folks than ever are sporting this popular piercing.

While some people just want to emulate their favorite pop stars and divas, just as many people use navel piercing as a form of self-expression. Since belly button piercing is certainly here to stay, we’re happy to provide you with this comprehensive overview all about navel piercing. Explore this article to learn what you can expect during the piercing process, how to properly take care of your navel piercing, and what kinds of body jewerly you can wear.

WHAT IS A BELLY BUTTON PIERCING?

A standard belly button piercing is placed about 1/2″-1″ above the belly button, traveling down and out through the upper lip of the navel cavity. The end result should be that the bottom ball of your belly button ring nestles right inside or on top of your belly button. If you have an “outie” belly button, it may affect the placement of your belly piercing somewhat, but not dramatically. The bottom ball of your belly ring should still rest overtop your belly button when the piercing is done.

Some people choose to have their belly button pierced in a different configuration. Theoretically, you can have your belly button pierced from the bottom, the left, the right, or any other angle. Even if the piercing’s angle in relation to the navel cavity is different, however, the same principle described above applies: one ball should rest directly over your belly button, the barbell should go through the inner wall of your navel cavity, and the outer ball should sit somewhere between 1/2″ and 1″ away from your belly button.

As always, make sure you’re getting pierced by a reputable and knowledgeable piercer. If your piercer tries to place your belly button piercing so high that the bottom ball is outside of the navel cavity, they’re performing the piercing incorrectly. This incorrect placement qualifies as a surface piercing, which has a high chance of migration or rejection.

BELLY BUTTON PIERCING: WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Unless you have an “outie” belly button or are getting a non-standard navel piercing, your piercer will likely insert the needle approximately 1/2″ above your belly button, and then pull it out through the belly button cavity. Most likely, a curved piercing needle will be used and will be followed by Bent barbells make ideal belly button jewelry because the shape is a good fit for the area being pierced. Also, a bent barbell or traditional belly button (i.e., a bent barbell with a decorative end) is less likely to put undue stress on the fistula, which is the hole where you were pierced. Reducing the pressure on the healing fistula will increase your chances of having a successful belly button piercing that doesn’t slowly migrate out.

Belly button piercings are slightly more prone to migration and rejection than other piercings. That makes the placement of a belly button piercing and the gauge of your starter jewerly important to a belly piercing’s success. You need to be pierced just far enough back from the lip of the belly button, and you should start off with at least a 14 gauge The heavier the gauge, the less likely the jewelry will be to migrate.

BELLY BUTTON PIERCING PAIN

As with any piercing, you can expect to experience a brief, sharp pinch as the needle punctures the skin, as well as the feeling of pressure as the needle passes through the flesh and when jewelry is first installed. Like other soft tissue piercings, however, the pain is momentary and not very intense.

If you’re really concerned about pain, you can ask your piercer to apply a numbing cream beforehand. You’ll need to wait 20 to 30 minutes after application to experience the full benefits of a topical anesthetic, but once you’re numb, you’ll experience more pressure than pain during the navel piercing process.

BELLY BUTTON PIERCING COST

The cost of a belly button piercing varies from place to place. Typically, you’ll find that belly button piercings cost less in rural areas and more in cities, due to the different costs of running a shop in these settings. You could pay anywhere from $35 to $60 for a belly button piercing, depending on where you go, but $45-$50 is the average.

THE BELLY BUTTON PIERCING RECOVERY PROCESS

Belly button piercing healing times vary widely from person to person. While some people’s belly button piercings appear to be fully healed within 4-6 weeks, they actually need 3-6 months—and sometimes up to a year—to heal completely, inside and out.

This long healing time is due to the location of the piercing. The body essentially hinges at your waist, and that can keep your new navel piercing in a perpetual state of irritation. Additionally, the waistbands of pants and skirts are liable to rub against your piercing throughout the day, further irritating an area that’s already sensitive just from being pierced. For at least the first 6-8 weeks of recovery, you should try to wear loose, flowing, or low-waisted clothing that doesn’t sit tightly against your new piercing.

Belly buttons also tend to trap lint and dirt, making dedicated navel piercing aftercare extremely important. If you keep your belly button piercing clean and do what you can to reduce friction by wearing low-waisted pants and skirts and generally loose-fitting clothing, your new belly piercing will heal faster and better.

During the belly button piercing healing process, be sure to follow these belly button piercing aftercare guidelines as closely as possible to minimize the chances of your jewelry migrating or rejecting and promote healing and avoid an infection:

  • Keep your belly button clean! Allow warm water to run over your piercing when you shower (but don’t scrub your navel piercing with soap; letting sudsy water run over the piercing is fine). During the day, you can spritz or rinse your navel piercing regularly with a saline wash, You should also perform sea salt soaks at least twice per day. To make your own soak, boil water for at least 5 minutes to sterilize it, measure out 1 cup into a heat-safe container, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt , then let the mixture cool off. Apply this solution to both the top and bottom of your belly button piercing using clean cotton balls. Alternatively, you can fill a small glass or container with the sea salt solution, then bend over, pressing the rim of the container to your stomach so that it completely covers your belly button piercing. Hold the container firmly as you stand upright, and hold it tightly against your skin for 5 minutes.

  • Be gentle when removing “crusties.” Your body’s natural reaction to any piercing is to produce lymph, which is a fluid that often dries to a whitish crust. In the past, piercers used to tell people to turn their jewelry a couple of times a day to loosen up crusties, but that’s no longer considered a healthy practice. Moving your jewelry around to break up the crusties can invite bacteria into the healing fistula, which can lead to an infected navel piercing. We recommend using cotton balls saturated with sea salt solution, or even just warm water, to soften the crusties before gently wiping them away.

  • Don’t change your jewelry prematurely. With so many belly button rings available, it can be tempting to change your starter jewelry soon after having your navel pierced. Try to resist! Typically, the belly button ring your piercer installs at first should be extra long to account for swelling. Even if you have little to no swelling initially, you may have some before your belly button piercing is fully healed. At any time, a little dirt can get trapped in the fistula and cause swelling and irritation, so it’s best to just stick with the longer jewelry for at least the first few months. Also, the process of changing jewelry can irritate a healing belly piercing, particularly if you’re using externally threaded belly button jewelry, which isn’t recommended because it can scrape the delicate healing fistula. The only reason you should change jewelry before your belly button piercing is fully healed is if you’re experiencing an allergic reaction (see below).

  • Avoid all oils, balms, and creams! They can clog the healing fistula, potentially trapping bacteria and increasing the risk of infection. If your skin is dry around your piercing, add a drop or two of tea tree oil to your sea salt solutions. Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic qualities and will help moisturize your skin. You shouldn’t apply tea tree oil directly to the piercing, however. Always dilute it in sea salt solution (no more than 2 to 3 drops per cup of sea salt solution).

ADDRESSING COMMON BELLY BUTTON PIERCING PROBLEMS

There are a few common issues that can occur while your belly button piercing heals. Some are more serious than others, but as long as you know how to identify and address them, your belly button piercing shouldn’t be at risk. Here’s how to recognize and treat the most common belly button piercing problems.

  • Excessive swelling: Some swelling is normal for a new piercing, and each person’s body will respond differently. You should only be concerned about swelling if it begins pressing your jewelry into your skin in an uncomfortable way. If that happens, see your piercer immediately and ask them to swap out your current belly button ring for one with a longer barbell. Otherwise, the pressure could cause necrosis (tissue death), which can lead to infection.

 

  • Allergic reaction: If the skin around your piercing is consistently and noticeably red, irritated, and itchy, you may be having an allergic reaction. Some people are more sensitive to certain body jewelry materials than others, and a lot of cheap body jewelry contains a high percentage of nickel, which is a common metal allergen. Titanium is the most inert metal that body jewelry can be made from, and therefore the material least likely to cause an allergic reaction. If you are having an allergic reaction you’ll need to change your jewelry, regardless of how recently you got your piercing. You may want to get your piercer to help you change your jewelry since it can be difficult with a fresh piercing.

 

  • Hypergranulation: Hypergranulation occurs as the result of excess moisture and/or pressure, which can both be an issue with new belly button piercings. It presents as a taut, red bump around your fistula (piercing hole) that looks almost fluid-filled. If you’re experiencing hypergranulation, you should ramp up your aftercare routine to 3 sea salt soaks per day, along with additional saline rinses in between. In addition, be even more careful to wear loose, breathable clothing so that your piercing stays as dry as possible. If it seems that pressure is more the issue than moisture, ask your piercer to take a look and swap your jewelry for a longer barbell.

 

  • Infection: Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, infection creeps into a new piercing. The signs to look out for are discharge of thick, yellow pus (not clear lymph, which is benign), red streaks emanating outward from your piercing, skin that’s hot to the touch around your piercing, and fever. If you suspect you have an infected belly button piercing, see your doctor right away and ask if you need an antibiotic. If they tell you to take out your jewelry, don’t worry—it’s actually better to leave your jewelry in while taking your antibiotic so that infected fluids have a way to drain out. Without drainage, the infection could potentially cause an abscess. Just take your antibiotics on schedule and clean your belly piercing regularly. You should do full sea salt solution soaks 2-3 times a day and mist your piercing with aftercare spray 3–6 times a day until the infection clears up.

 

  • Scarring: Some people develop hypertrophic scars around their belly button piercings, which present as a small, circular scar immediately around the fistula that has a relatively flat top with a slightly textured surface. Some people develop atrophic scars after removing their belly button jewelry, which are recessed scars with a rough-textured surface that doesn’t quite fill the hole where the piercing was.ilicone scar therapy gels are the best options for treating hypertrophic scars and atrophic scars. Simply massage one of these ointments into the scar tissue twice a day for as many weeks or months as it takes to diminish the appearance of your belly piercing scar. You should wait until your piercing is fully healed before beginning either of these treatments, though, since they could clog your healing fistula.

 

  • Keloids: Keloids can look like scars, but they are actually the result of a genetic issue that affects a very small percentage of the population. Keloids present as smooth-surfaced, bulbous, and reddish scars that grow excessively past the area immediately surrounding a piercing. Treating keloids often requires the help of a dermatologist, although silicone scar therapy gel can help reduce their appearance in some cases.


HOW TO CHANGE A BELLY BUTTON RING

You should try to avoid changing your belly button ring until your piercing is fully healed, which can take between 3-12 months (see above). Changing a belly button ring can be a little tricker than changing other types of body jewelry, especially if your fistula isn’t well-healed and reinforced, so you might want to ask your piercer for help the first time.

First, you’ll want to make sure that your new jewelry is the same gauge as the jewelry you’re removing. One of the easiest ways to change a belly button ring, especially for newer piercings, is to use a taper To remove your old jewelry, unscrew the top ball of your belly button ring and pull down gently on the bottom ball until the barbell slides out through the bottom of the piercing. To install your new jewelry using a taper, unscrew its top ball and screw the taper on in its place. You can then insert the taper into your piercing and use it to pull the rest of the jewelry through. Once the barbell is in the correct position, you can unscrew the taper and replace it with the ball.

If you’re having trouble getting your new jewelry in, you can use a drop of water-based lubricant on the jewelry, the taper, or the piercing to help make the process smoother. Be careful not to use too much though, or else you may not be able to handle the jewelry.


We hope this guide answered your questions and helped you better understand belly button piercings, the belly button piercing healing process, and the types of jewelry you can wear with a belly button piercing. Be sure to check out our full online store for even more body jewelry options, and the PainfulPleasures community page for more information about piercings, body jewelry, and body modification.

Happy piercing!



THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO NOSE RINGS & NOSE PIERCINGS

Nose piercings are one of the most popular types of body modifications. Check out our nose rings & piercings guide for all you need to know!

 



Alongside ear piercings and tattoos, nose piercings are one of the most popular types of body modification in the world today. It’s no surprise why: nose piercings are beautiful, eye-catching, versatile, and even carry deep cultural connections for many people. If you’re interested in getting your nose pierced and want more information or are searching for your next nose ring, you’ll find everything you need below.

TYPES OF NOSE PIERCINGS

There are many different types of nose piercings to choose from, but some are more complicated than others. Before you commit to one, make sure you understand its pros, cons, and aftercare needs.

  • Nostril piercings: These are the most common type of nose piercings, placed in either the right or left nostril at or around the supra-alar crease (the small indent above where the nostrils first begin to flare). It’s also possible to get a high nostril piercing, which requires placing smaller jewelry (~20g) through the nostril closer to the nasal bridge. It can be tricky to change high nostril piercing jewelry yourself, so don’t hesitate to ask your piercer for help. For most people, the choice of which nostril to pierce is completely based on personal preference. However, in Indian culture, women often pierce their left nostrils in the belief that it will make childbirth easier. It’s also a symbol of social standing, a mark of beauty, and a way of honoring the Hindu goddess of marriage, Parvati.

  • Septum piercings: Septum piercings are the second most popular type of nose piercing. It is inserted through the “sweet spot” of the nose, the soft tissue between the Columella (underside of your nose) and the bottom end of the septum that separates the nostrils. If you’re interested in a septum piercing, make sure your piercer is experienced in performing them since it’s fairly easy to get them wrong. If you experience excruciating pain during your septum piercing and significant discomfort afterward, it’s likely your piercer punctured your septum cartilage. In that case, remove your jewelry, allow your piercing to heal, and find someone who knows what they’re doing to re-pierce it later.

  • Bridge (a.k.a. Earl) piercings: Bridge piercings are placed across the bridge of the nose, directly between the eyes. Due to its prominent location and high rate of rejection, this piercing is relatively uncommon. As with other surface piercings, the body will do its best to push the hardware out of the skin rather than heal around it. For surface piercings to be successful, piercers need to place them as deeply as possible and use heavy-gauge jewelry. Bridge piercings are especially complicated since there’s very little excess tissue between the skin surface and the bone below. If your body rejects a bridge piercing, you could be left with a scar right between your eyes.

 

  • Nasallang piercings: This tricky 3-in-1 piercing is the nasal equivalent of an industrial ear piercing. Essentially, it is a double nostril piercing combined with a septum piercing, all connected by a long, straight barbell. For a nasallang piercing, a piercer will go through one nostril from the outside, through the “sweet spot,” and out through the opposite nostril. If you plan to get a nasallang piercing, you should take the same precautions as with a standard septum piercing because they also carry the same risk of incorrectly piercing the septum cartilage.

  • Rhinoceros (a.k.a. vertical tip) piercings: The “rhino” piercing places the jewelry behind the tip of the nose (called the Tip Defining Point) so that one end of the jewelry perches on the center tip of the nose while the other protrudes from the front-underside of the nose. The procedure involves piercing the underside of the nose, just in front of the Infratip Break (i.e., the underside of your nose, close to the tip), and out between or slightly behind the domes that forms the Tip Defining Point.

THE NOSE PIERCING PROCESS

When you first meet with your piercer about getting your nose pierced, you’ll need to tell them whether you want a nostril piercing, a septum piercing, or another type of nose piercing. If you want a nostril piercing, your piercer will ask which side you want to be pierced. Once you decide, your piercer will mark the area where they plan to insert the needle. Once you’re happy with the placement, your piercer can begin!

It is normal to cry involuntarily while getting your nose pierced. It’s a common physiological response (particularly to nostril piercings) that has nothing to do with your ability to tolerate the momentary discomfort associated with nose piercings.

NOSE PIERCING PAIN

All piercings can be painful when the skin is punctured, but most people report that nose piercings aren’t especially painful or difficult. There’s a sharp pinch during the actual piercing, usually followed by a dull ache or throbbing for a few hours or days after the procedure. If you’re worried about pain, ask your piercer to apply a topical anesthetic before the procedure. In most cases, a standard dose of Ibuprofen is sufficient to manage nose piercing pain during the healing process.

If you’re getting a septum or nasallang piercing, however, you should be especially careful. Immense pain during or after a septum piercing likely means your piercer pierced the septum cartilage by mistake. In that case, you’ll need to remove your jewelry, let your nose heal, and try again with a more experienced piercer.

NOSE PIERCING COST

Nose piercing prices vary widely based on the complexity of the piercing, the type of jewelry you want, and where you live. Prices are often lower in rural areas than in cities, where shops tend to pay more to rent space. In general, a nostril piercing will be cheaper than a bridge or septum piercing, both of which should cost less than a nasallang piercing since it’s the trickiest one. You can also save money by sticking with the basic starter jewelry the shop includes in the cost of the piercing. Buying nicer jewelry before your piercing heals is pointless unless it fits you perfectly before and after, which is unlikely with anything but a nose hoop. Most of the time, you’ll need a shorter barbell later, so be patient and buy something stellar once you’re fully healed!

NOSE PIERCING HEALING TIME

Each type of nose piercing takes a different amount of time to heal, and healing times vary from person to person. Below are the average healing times for each type of nose piercing:

  • Nostril/high nostril piercing: 4-6 months

  • Septum piercing: 6-8 weeks (as long as it is performed correctly)

  • Bridge piercing: 8-12 weeks

  • Nasallang piercing: 4-6 months (as long as it is performed correctly)

  • Rhinoceros piercing: 6-9 months

 

These healing times are also dependent on how well you follow your nose piercing aftercare regimen. Diligent aftercare will help ensure that your nose piercing heals completely.

NOSE PIERCING AFTERCARE

During the initial healing process, it’s important to keep up with your nose piercing aftercare routine. Your routine should include maintaining good hygiene, sleep, and eating habits while minimizing tobacco and alcohol use. Together, these measures help ensure that your piercing heals as well and as quickly as possible.

Your piercer should provide you with complete aftercare instructions and supplies before leaving their shop. This basic aftercare routine should consist of 2-3 sea salt solutionSSS) soaks per day. You can either soak cotton balls in SSS and apply them to your piercing for 5 minutes at a time, or you can submerge your piercing in SSS for the same amount of time. It is important to soak both the outside and the inside of the piercing the best you can.

You can find various SSS options in the piercing aftercare section of our online store, or you can make SSS at home. To make your own SSS:

  1. Boil 1 cup of water for 5 minutes to sterilize it.

  2. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (not table salt, which contains iodine). If desired, you can also stir in 2-3 drops of tea tree oil for its moisturizing and antiseptic qualities.

  3. Let the mixture cool a bit, and then proceed with your SSS soak.

Between SSS soaks, you can also cleanse your piercing with an after care spray It will not only help keep the area clean between soaks, but it can also help reduce dryness and discomfort.

In addition to the aftercare steps outlined above, you should also avoid the following during the healing process:

  • Applying oils, balms, or creams directly to your piercing. These can clog the fistula, trap bacteria, increase the risk of infection, and delay the healing process.

  • Turning, twisting, or sliding your jewelry, even to loosen up “crusties.” Crusties are dried lymph, a clear fluid that the body naturally excretes during the piercing healing process. Instead, soften crusties with warm water or sea salt solution and gently wipe them away with a wet cotton ball or swab. If you turn your jewelry to loosen the crusties, you could push bacteria into the delicate fistula and delay healing.

  • Changing your jewelry during the first 3-4 months.

You should only change your starter jewelry early if you’re having an allergic reaction or experiencing significant swelling, causing the jewelry to press into your skin. If you do have excessive swelling, itching, or a rash, swap out your jewelry for either a stainless steelor solid (not coated) These metals are the most inert and the least likely to cause an allergic reaction. If your jewelry isn’t long enough to comfortably accommodate the typical amount of swelling, you’ll need to have larger jewelry inserted to prevent necrosis (tissue death), which can lead to infection. It’s best to get your piercer to help, even if it means paying a small fee. If you try to change your jewelry yourself, you might damage the delicate, healing fistula (i.e. the hole where you were pierced) or risk having the fistula close up while trying to get the jewelry back into it. If you have no choice but to change your nose piercing jewelry yourself, make sure your new nose ring is the same gauge as your starter, so you will have less trouble inserting it.

STRETCHING A NOSE PIERCING

If you want to stretch your nose piercing, you’ll need to wait 2-3 times longer than the average healing time listed above before each stretch. For example, a septum piercing takes 6-8 weeks to heal, so you should wait 12-24 weeks before initially stretching your septum, and between each additional size increase.

If you want to stretch more gradually, you can wrap a nose ring with incremental layers of tape To do this, remove your jewelry, wrap it with a layer of stretching tape, and re-insert it. Make sure to give your piercing plenty of time to adjust to the new size, reinforce itself, and then repeat the process. With the tape method, you can slowly work toward the next size rather than jumping an entire size at once. Either way, you should always take a break if stretching becomes uncomfortable.

NOSE RING JEWELRY: NOSE STUDS & NOSE HOOPS

When it comes to nose rings, there are many options available. For nostril piercings, the most common types are nose studs which come in three primary shapes: nose screws, nose bones, and fishtails.

  • Nose screws: This type of jewelry consists of a short pin with a decorative top on one end. The other end is curled into a semi-circle, perpendicular to the pin. Depending on which nostril it’s going in, the semi-circle bend is either to the left or the right. Nose screws are easy for people to change on their own, but they can twist during the day, causing the portion inside the nose to poke out of the nostril.

  • Nose bones: A nose bone is comprised of a decorative top connected to a short, straight post with a ball at the end. Typically, the bottom ball is slightly wider than the post and doesn’t unscrew from the post. Nose bones are even easier than nose screws to put in and take out by yourself.

  • Fishtails: A fishtail nose ring has a long, straight shaft with a decorative top attached. Their variable-length makes them easily customizable, and piercers often use them to create custom nose screws.

In addition to these common nostril ring styles, PainfulPleasures carries one of the world’s largest assortments of nose rings, with so many lengths, gauges, and style options available that you’re sure to find the perfect nose ring for you!


We hope this comprehensive guide to nose piercings and nose rings has helped you understand the history, process, and details of nose piercings and given you a sense of the various styles of nose jewelry available.

Is it safe to have a drink or two before getting tattooed?

 


 

  • cocoa, orlando, tattoo, shops, shop, piercing, studio Rorschach Tattoo Shop and Piercing Studio

Nervous the day before your tattoo? This is a perfectly normal response, particularly if it’s your first time getting tattooed. As such, you may be wondering if it’s okay to grab a drink or two before your appointment.

Our answer to you is simple: don’t do it!

A tattoo appointment is only optimal when you’re prepared, alert, and healthy — qualities that are impaired by alcohol consumption. In this blog, we’ll explore why even just a cocktail or two could negatively impact your tattoo appointment before and after. We’ll also provide you some healthy recommendations for pre-tattoo activities.

ALCOHOL THINS THE BLOOD

Light bleeding is to be expected when you get tattooed. Your blood’s ability to clot prevents the bleeding from being excessive. Clotting happens when red blood cells called platelets hurry to the tattoo site, clumping together to close the hole (broken skin).

However, even just one beer or cocktail affects your blood’s ability to clot. Your favorite whiskey, beer, or margarita may help you feel less nervous, but it reduces the platelets in your bloodstream. It also causes the platelets to be less sticky, so they’re not able to clot as efficiently.

How does this affect your tattoo?

When your blood doesn’t clot properly, you bleed more; and when you bleed more during a tattoo, two things can happen:

  1. Your artist’s visibility is impaired by the pooling of your blood mixed with the tattoo ink; they may not be able to tattoo you at their best.

  2. Your blood mixes with the tattoo ink, dilutes it, and causes your finished product to look faded or washed out.

 

ALCOHOL IMPAIRS JUDGMENT

Impaired judgment has a multi-faceted effect on your tattoo experience.

THE BEER GOGGLE EFFECT

After a few drinks, things may look a lot better than they would if you were sober. This is often called the beer goggle effect. When it comes to approving a mock-up or stencil, you want to have a clear mind and vision; you don’t want to don a rosy pair of beer goggles, which may cause you to approve a concept you don’t 100% want on your body.

MUTUAL RESPECT BETWEEN ARTIST AND CLIENT

You wouldn’t want your tattoo artist to have a drink before tattooing you, right? You’d like for them to be alert and at their absolute best.

Your tattoo artist expects the same from you! While it’s perfectly fine to be nervous, showing up (even mildly) intoxicated for an appointment can impair your ability to make sound judgment, sit still for the duration of the tattoo, and communicate effectively with your artist. This is especially important if the final design of your tattoo has not yet been finalized the day of your appointment. Moreover, if you’re intoxicated enough for it to be visible in any way, a professional tattoo artist will refuse to tattoo you.

So, aside from avoiding an “alcohol tattoo” of impaired quality, you’ll want to avoid an impaired relationship with your artist. Therefore, it’s for the best that you show up sober.

CAN YOU DRINK AFTER GETTING A TATTOO?

When your body is healthy and sober, it’s quite efficient in repairing the damage caused by a tattoo. Unfortunately, because of alcohol’s effects on the blood mentioned above, a couple drinks after your tattoo can compromise the healing process that occurs days to weeks after needles have touched your skin. So, in a nutshell: Drinking after tattoo = not advisable.

We recommend our selection of tattoo aftercare (as well as avoiding alcohol) to promote a healthy tattoo healing process.

WHAT CAN YOU DO BEFORE YOUR TATTOO?

While mixing alcohol and tattoos is not our recommendation, there are plenty of things we do recommend before your tattoo appointment to ensure an optimal experience!

  1. Avoid the sun and stay hydrated several days before your appointment. Hydration is a process that occurs over several days (i.e. not in the time it takes for you to chug a big glass of water). Staying hydrated keeps up your energy and state of well-being, so you’re better prepared for your tattoo session. It also helps not to have a big sunburn on the place where you’ll be tattooed!

  2. Dry brush or apply lotion to your tattoo site to help with blood circulation and cell turn-over. For dry brushing, use a gentle bristle brush and sweep over the skin.

  3. Rest up and stay well-fed. Tattooing burns calories and takes up energy, especially if it’s a longer session.

  4. Eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables that are high in vitamin K. This helps to thicken the blood for your tattoo procedure.

 

Still nervous before your tattoo? Make sure you’ve chosen an artist who you trust to have an open, honest conversation with; and bear in mind, your nerves may dissipate and be replaced with pure excitement as soon as the tattooing begins.

But one thing’s for sure: alcohol and tattoos don’t mix like your favorite cocktail! In the end, you’ll want an amazing tattoo, not an alcohol tattoo.


MY TATTOO IS ITCHY: HOW TO STOP AN ITCHY TATTOO

If you have a tattoo, you probably know they get itchy. Itchy sensations on and around fresh tattoos are unavoidable. Learn how to heal an itchy tattoo.

 


 



If you have a tattoo, you’ve probably had some itchy tattoo experiences. Unfortunately, itchy sensations on and around freshly tattooed skin are unavoidable. But don’t worry, if your tattoo itch is driving you crazy, we’re here to help.

WHY DO TATTOOS ITCH? IS IT NORMAL?

It is absolutely normal for tattooed skin to itch while healing, which may last weeks or months depending on the size and location of the tattoo. During this time, your new tattoo is essentially an open wound, which the body is working hard to heal and repair. This process is what allows your skin to lock in tattoo ink, but it’s also what causes itching. There are a few primary reasons a new tattoo might itch.

  • Peeling Skin: As your skin heals the thousands of tiny puncture wounds from your tattoo, the damaged outer layers will dry, flake, and fall off to be replaced by new, living skin. This dry skin may cause itching as it pulls at the living skin around it, similar to the itch of a peeling sunburn.

  • Scabbing: We’ve all had an itchy scab, and a healing tattoo is no different.

  • Hair Regrowth: Artists shave the skin they’ll be tattooing to prevent tattoo needles from getting caught, to reduce the risk of infection and ingrown hairs, and to keep hair from obstructing the ink’s path into the skin. However, as hair regrows during healing, it might cause itchiness.

  • Allergic Reaction: It’s not uncommon for skin to react to some of the metallic ingredients used in tattoo ink, which may cause it to itch. Luckily, the large majority of these reactions are minor and subside in a few days.

CAN I SCRATCH MY ITCHY TATTOO?

No! Do not scratch your healing tattoo, even if the itch is intense.

Scratching a new tattoo will prolong healing, damage the tattoo image, and increase the risk of infection. If you want your tattoo to heal correctly and remain clear for years to come, resist scratching and follow the suggestions below instead.

WHAT TO DO FOR AN ITCHY TATTOO


  • Apply Moisturizer: Non-petroleum based skin moisturizers, are your first line of defense against tattoo itch. They will help prevent dry, flaking skin from itching and provide nutrients to help your skin heal more quickly. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer to your tattoo (if it obscures the image, you’ve used too much) and dab off any excess with a clean, dry paper towel.

  • Pat, Don’t Scratch: If you’ve got an intense itch and can’t moisturize right then, lightly pat or tap your tattoo instead of scratching it. Those motions are less likely to tear away healing skin and damage your tattoo. You could also place a thick, clean cloth over your tattoo and gently rub the area through the barrier, shielding your skin from damage.

  • Cool It Off: Applying a damp, clean cloth to the itchy area for a few minutes should help alleviate the sensation.

With these tips, your new tattoo should heal correctly with minimal itching.

DO HAND TATTOOS AND FINGER TATTOOS HURT?

Before you get a hand tattoo, there are some important things you should know. Do hand tattoos hurt? How about finger tattoos? Learn more here.

 



Hand tattoos have become more popular recently, thanks to a wave of pop stars like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus brandishing them. But whether you’re thinking about your own small finger tattoo or a design to cover your whole hand, there are some important things you should know about inking hands before you take the plunge.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A HAND TATTOO

Many people worry about tattooing their hands because they’ve heard that hand tattoos hurt more than tattoos in other places. That can be true, as the skin on the hands is thinner and packed with more nerve endings than most other places on the body (the palms in particular). In general, anywhere bones sit closer to the skin surface will be more painful to tattoo, but the best predictor of hand tattoo pain is your own personal pain tolerance.

One of the most important things to know about hand tattoos is that they are one of the most prone to fading and ink loss. Because the skin is thinner, the ink doesn’t hold as well in hands to begin with. Additionally, we use our hands constantly and they are almost always exposed to the sun. Such frequent movement and exposure means that sharp lines and fill colors are more likely to fade and blur, especially on fingers and knuckles, and that you’ll likely need touch-ups to maintain detailed or line-intensive designs.

The final thing to consider if you’re thinking about a hand tattoo is your own personal and professional ambitions. While they may be having a moment in the pop culture spotlight, some employers still may not appreciate or even hire applicants with hand tattoos. Unfortunately, if you’re in a more traditional career, you may want to consider a hand tattoo’s potential impact on your employment as well.

PLANNING YOUR HAND TATTOO

As with any tattoo project, you’ll want to find an experienced and reputable tattoo artist whose style you admire. This is especially important for hand tattoos since they are more difficult and complicated to tattoo successfully than other areas of the body. Check reviews on Google or Yelp, as well as their portfolio and social media before committing to an artist.

Once you’ve found your artist, you’ll want to plan a tattoo design that will work with the natural challenges of hand tattoos. That means you’ll probably want to steer clear of designs with lots of fine lines and details that will likely fade. Trust your artist’s experience and let them help craft a design that will minimize the impact of any fading or ink loss.

HAND TATTOO DESIGNS

Because they are hard to conceal, hands are a great place for a small, simple hand tattoo that you’ll like to see because it means something special to you, or for a statement piece that will be impossible for others to miss. Words, icons, or a tattooed wedding band are popular finger tattoo designs, while the back of the hand is large enough to accommodate many types of designs. Talk to your tattoo artist or search for hand tattoo designs on social media if you need some inspiration.

HAND TATTOO AFTERCARE

Although aftercare is largely the same for hand tattoos as for other areas, hand tattoos do present some unique aftercare challenges since they’re so hard to rest and keep clean. It’s a good idea to schedule your hand tattoo appointment before a couple of days off of work so that you can rest it as much as possible and give the ink a chance to set well early in the healing process. In general, try to minimize manual tasks and sun exposure as much as you can during the first 1-3 weeks after you get your tattoo. You’ll also want to wash your hands regularly to avoid infection of your new hand tattoo. Be sure to follow your artist’s specific aftercare instructions and check back with them if you notice any complications.




 


TIME BETWEEN TATTOOS: HOW LONG SHOULD A TATTOO HEAL?

There are a couple of good reasons to wait between tattoos. What are these reasons, and how long before you can book that next session? Find out here.

 


Getting a tattoo is exciting. From the thrill of finding an artist whose work you love, to choosing the perfect location and design, to the endorphin rush of actually sitting through your session, the process can be addictive. You might even want to do it all over again immediately. But there are a couple of good reasons to wait between tattoos. What are these reasons, and how long before you can book that next session?

HEALING AND RECOVERY

You should fully heal any current tattoos you have before getting a new one. A tattoo requires inflicting thousands of tiny puncture wounds on your skin and introducing a foreign substance into the body. As soon as this starts, the immune system will work overtime to repair tissue damage and prevent infection. It’s critical to give your body all the time it needs to do this job, both for your health and because a well-healed tattoo will hold its color and clarity better and for longer than a poorly healed tattoo. If your body is healing multiple areas at once, it will be less efficient in healing any individual area.

SO HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A TATTOO TO HEAL?

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question. While the average healing time for a tattoo is about 3–6 weeks, each person’s experience will depend on factors such as size and location of the tattoo, their individual skin quality and immune strength, and even factors such as climate and lifestyle.

Although every person’s healing will look different, good tattoo aftercare will ensure that you heal as quickly and fully as possible. Keeping up with your prescribed aftercare routine will reduce the risk of infection, maintain the color and clarity of your tattoo, and get you back in the market for a new one as soon as possible.

WHAT ABOUT TOUCH-UPS? CAN YOU TATTOO OVER A FRESH TATTOO?

Your new tattoo might need a touch-up, but you will only know after it has fully healed. Don’t panic about your design if you see some inked skin falling away during healing — it is normal for the outer layers to flake off at this time. However, if you notice patchy color, fading, or blurriness in your tattoo after it has fully healed, you can consult your artist about a touch-up.

IMMUNE SYSTEM STRENGTH

You should not get a new tattoo if you’re sick or if your immune system is otherwise compromised. As outlined above, a tattoo subjects the body to physical trauma and immune system pressure. If your immune system is already weakened, a new tattoo could result in complications for both your health and the ultimate appearance of that tattoo.

Good things come to those who wait, so before you book your next tattoo session, make sure your body is ready for your new ink.

HOW TO TREAT AN INFECTED EAR PIERCING

Ear infections can be minor, while some may require medical care. In this article, we’ll cover how to treat an ear infection at home. Read the full article.

 


 



While all piercings carry some risk of infection, proper piercing safety and aftercare will give you the best chances at avoiding one. However, it is possible that even with proper aftercare, a new ear piercing can still become infected during the healing process. Some infections are minor and can be successfully treated at home, though some may require medical care. In this article we’ll cover these basics about ear piercing infection and care:


 

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR EAR PIERCING IS INFECTED

It’s normal for the skin around a new piercing to look a little unusual for a while, so don’t panic if it does. Just because there’s something going on doesn’t mean it’s necessarily an infection. The information below will help you determine whether you’re experiencing ordinary healing symptoms, a piercing complication, or if your piercing really is infected.

SIGNS OF NORMAL HEALING

After a piercing, the body will take steps to begin healing as it would after any other type of wound or physical trauma. The typical healing time for an earlobe piercing is 6–8 weeks, while ear cartilage piercings typically heal in 6–12 months, depending on the specific person and piercing site. During that time, you can expect some light bleeding, swelling, itching, and the discharge of clear lymph fluid. ear piercing aftercare should help alleviate these normal healing symptoms.

TREATING NORMAL POST-PIERCING SWELLING

If the swelling around your new piercing is uncomfortable, you can treat it with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) like acetaminophen and by applying cold compresses. If you use cold compresses, make sure that you wrap them in a clean towel or paper towel and only apply them for about ten minutes at a time. Use a clean towel for every application. If these steps do not reduce the swelling, see your piercer immediately. They may need to replace your jewelry with a larger size to prevent tissue death and infection.

SIGNS OF HYPERGRANULATION

Hypergranulation is typically the result of excessive moisture and pressure on a new piercing. It presents as a reddish bump next to the piercing that may appear to be fluid-filled, or as a ring of puffy reddish skin around the piercing. If you are experiencing hypergranulation, you can ask your piercer to replace your jewelry with a more loose-fitting option and add one additional sea salt solution soak per day to your aftercare routine. Typically these steps bring hypergranulation under control within a week or two.

SIGNS OF ALLERGIC REACTION

If the area around your ear piercing begins to develop an itchy rash, immediately consult your piercer. It may be the case that you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to the material your jewelry is made of. Typically, allergic reactions are caused by low-quality jewelry with high nickel content.

SIGNS OF BACTERIAL INFECTION

It is likely that your piercing has become infected if you experience any of the following symptoms during the healing process:

  • Discharge of thick, yellowish pus from the piercing

  • Red streaks on the skin around the piercing

  • Skin around the piercing feels hot to the touch

  • Excessive swelling, itching, or pain that does not subside

 

If you’ve caught the infection early, it might be possible to treat it yourself at home. However, you should keep in mind that ear cartilage piercing infections are generally more difficult to self-treat than earlobe piercing infections. Do not remove your jewelry, even if your piercing becomes infected. Doing so could allow the piercing to close, trapping the infection inside your body.

AT-HOME EAR PIERCING INFECTION TREATMENT STEPS

  1. Always wash your hands with antimicrobial soap and warm water before handling or cleaning your piercing and jewelry.

  2. Clean the piercing site and jewelry with a full sea salt spray three times per day or use a sterile piercing aftercare spray Clean both the front and back of the piercing, as well as the jewelry itself, with a SSS-soaked cotton ball and then pat the area dry with a paper towel. It is not necessary to move or rotate your jewelry while cleaning.

  3. Rinse the piercing with an antiseptic spraytwice per day between full soaks and pat dry with a paper towel.

AT-HOME EAR PIERCING INFECTION TREATMENT TIPS

  1. Do not apply any type of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the piercing. These can dry out and irritate the skin, destroy helpful cells, and further damage skin tissue, prolonging the healing and disinfection process.

  2. Do not apply cosmetics, ointments, creams, or balms to the piercing. These can trap bacteria in the piercing.

  3. Take the following steps to minimize environmental risk factors that might expose your piercing to additional trauma or bacteria:Clean your cell phone with disinfecting wipes each dayTie back long hair to avoid snagging it on your jewelry or putting your piercing in contact with any hair care productsChange pillowcases and sheets Avoid pools, hot tubs, or otherwise fully immersing your piercing in water

Within 48 hours of beginning these at-home treatment measures, you should see an improvement in the symptoms of infection. Continue these steps until the infection symptoms have completely subsided.

 

Although many ear piercing infections can be successfully treated at home using the steps outlined above, you should contact your primary care doctor or an urgent care center immediately if any of the following occurs:

  • The symptoms of infection are the same or worse after 48 hours of at-home treatment

  • The symptoms of infection spread beyond the piercing site

  • The area becomes so swollen that the jewelry cannot move or becomes embedded in your skin

  • You develop a fever in addition to the previous symptoms of infection

In these cases, it is likely that a doctor will need to prescribe you oral antibiotics to successfully treat the infection. Continue your full piercing aftercare routine in addition to taking antibiotics to treat the infection.

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU TIP A TATTOO ARTIST?

It is customary to tip in the service workers in restaurants and hair salons, but do you tip tattoo artists? Read more to learn about tattoo tipping etiquette.

 



You know that it’s customary to tip service workers like restaurant servers, hair stylists, and cab drivers. But what about tattoo artists? If you’ve ever had questions about tattoo tipping etiquette, we’re here to help.

DO YOU TIP A TATTOO ARTIST?

The short, sweet, and correct answer is: Yes, you should tip your tattoo artist!

Even though tattooing as a profession is part fine art and part skilled trade, tattoo artists provide highly personalized service to each customer. As such, they should be tipped like any other service employee. But that’s not the only reason to tip your artist.

 

WHY TIP A TATTOO ARTIST?

Like other service workers, tattoo artists don’t pocket the majority of the fees they collect for their services. To understand the importance of tipping in the tattoo industry, it helps to know how costs and wages generally work for tattoo artists.

While you and your artist might agree to a flat price or an hourly rate after you’ve chosen your design, understand that the artist will not receive 100% of that agreed-upon amount. According to tattoo artist Kaitlin in Hanover, Maryland, all tattoo artists work “on a percentage or booth rental basis at the studios they work with,” unless they’re the owner of the studio. That means “artists typically do not see more than half the money a client pays.” The rest of the money goes back to the shop and helps pay for overhead expenses like rent, building maintenance, and taxes, as well as owner or manager wages. Additionally, most tattoo artists have to purchase supplies like ink and needles out of their own pockets. “While tipping is not expected, it is greatly appreciated,” Stockon says, as “tips help artists out more than you would think.”

Tipping is also a way to build a stronger relationship with an artist whose work you admire enough to put on your body forever. If you plan on going back to that artist in the future, it certainly doesn’t hurt to make a good impression by giving a good tip.

 

HOW MUCH TO TIP A TATTOO ARTIST

In Stockon’s experience, “a lot of people like to use the regular service industry 15% – 20% rule,” which is a good baseline. But you might also want to consider other factors when calculating a tip, such as how much prep time your artist spent on your design before your appointment, how long the appointment itself took, and your overall experience and enjoyment of the time you spent with your artist.

While your artist will be happy with the standard percentage tip, if you have the means and if they’ve provided you excellent service, it might be worth it to give a little more right now for a piece of custom art that you’ll have for a lifetime.

 

GENITAL & PRINCE ALBERT PIERCING AFTERCARE

Genital and Prince Albert piercings are more common than many people think, and for good reason. If you are thinking about getting one, see how you can take care of it with our gential piercing aftercare guide.

 



You might assume that genital piercings are pretty rare, which is understandable — you aren’t as likely to see a Prince Albert or clitoral hood piercing in everyday life as you are an ear or nose piercing. But they’re more common than many people think, and for good reasons. In addition to being sexy and exciting, many genital piercings provide increased stimulation during sex, both for those with the piercing and their partner.

If you want your genital piercing to look good, remain healthy, and provide the sexual stimulation you’re looking for, it is absolutely critical to practice good piercing aftercare. This short guide will walk you through the basics of genital piercing aftercare, go over some dos and don’ts of the genital piercing healing process, and provide tips for avoiding some of the most common complications of genital piercings.

GENITAL PIERCING TYPES AND HEALING TIMES

How long it takes a genital piercing to heal depends largely on what type of piercing it is. Some genital piercings can heal in as little as 6-8 weeks, while others will take 6 months or more. Below is a list of the average healing times for most male and female genital piercings.

 

FEMALE GENITAL PIERCING AVERAGE HEALING TIMES

  • Christina Piercings: 3-4 months

  • Clitoris Piercings: 4-6 weeks

  • Fourchette Piercings: 2-3 months

  • Horizontal Clitoral Hood Piercings: 6-8 weeks

  • Inner Labia Piercings: 4-6 weeks

  • Outer Labia Piercings: 2-3 months

  • Princess Diana Piercings: 4-8 weeks

  • Triangle Piercings: 2-3 months

  • Vertical Clitoral Hood Piercings: 4-8 weeks

MALE GENITAL PIERCING AVERAGE HEALING TIMES

  • Ampallang Piercings: 4-6 months or more

  • Apadravya Piercings: 4-6 months or more

  • Dolphin Piercings: 4-8 weeks

  • Dydoe Piercings: 2-3 months or more

  • Frenum Piercings: 4-6 months or more

  • Guiche Piercings: 2-3 months

  • Hafada/Scrotal Piercings: 2-3 months

  • Lorum Piercings: 2-3 months

  • Prince Albert & Reverse PA Piercings: 4-6 weeks

  • Pubic Piercings: 2-3 months

If you’re still deciding whether to get a genital piercing, you should understand which types will best suit your desires and anatomy, as well as how their healing will impact your daily life.

You should also be aware that some of these piercings (such as Christina piercings, frenum piercings, dydoe piercings, hafada piercings, and pubic piercings) are surface piercings, which are more prone to migration and rejection. For these piercings it is important that your piercer use the largest-gauge jewelry possible and pierce as deep as they can for your specific anatomy.

GENITAL PIERCING AFTERCARE

Your piercer will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions for your specific genital piercing, but we’ve outlined here the basic dos and don’ts for the duration of your recovery and aftercare.

WHAT TO DO

Keep your Piercing Clean: The best way to keep your genital piercing clean is by doing sea salt solution (SSS) soaks 2-3 times per day for the duration of the healing process. You can soak your piercing by fully submerging it in SSS for at least 5 minutes (which is convenient for penile head or shaft piercings) or by soaking a clean cotton ball in SSS and applying it to your piercings until they have each been saturated for at least five minutes. Between full soaks, you should rinse your piercing with a saline rinse like 2-3 times per day to keep the fistula clear of debris and your skin hydrated. You can make your own by mixing ¼ teaspoon of sea salt with one cup of sterile water. If you make your own SSS you can also add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil, which is a natural antiseptic

Take Care of Yourself: Good general health and hygiene will aid healing significantly. Drink lots of water, wash your hands often, try to get 8 hours of sleep per night, and eat nutritious foods. These practices will bolster your immune system and allow your body to focus on healing your piercing.

Be Gentle on Your Genitals: While your genital piercing heals, it is important to treat it gently and avoid any trauma that could prolong your healing or increase the risk of infection and rejection. That means wearing comfortable clothes that aren’t too tight against your piercing, refraining from sexual activity (see Resuming Sexual Activity, below), and avoiding unnecessary handling of your piercing or jewelry.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Don’t Drink Alcohol or Take Blood Thinners: Alcohol, excessive caffeine, and aspirin all thin your blood, making it more likely that your genital piercing will bleed and be unable to clot effectively. If you want something to manage pain and discomfort while you heal, take a small dose of acetaminophen.

Don’t Smoke: Nicotine hinders the immune system and prolongs healing, so if you’re a smoker, it’s best to curb or quit smoking before you get your piercing. You may also try lower-nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes or nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges.

Don’t Submerge Your Piercing in Water: Immersion in non-sterile water, such as in a bathtub, hot tub, pool, or other body of water, can expose your piercing to bacteria that could increase the risk of infection.

Don’t Handle Your Piercing or Jewelry Unnecessarily: It is best to keep your hands off your jewelry while your genital piercing heals, as touching it can expose it to bacteria and inflict physical trauma on the piercing. If “crusties” form around your piercing, do not move the jewelry to break them up. Rather, soak them in SSS or aftercare spray and wipe them away with a clean cotton ball. You’ll also have to wait until your piercing is fully healed to change or remove your starter jewelry. If you’re unsure about when or how to change your jewelry for the first time, have your piercer help you.

Don’t Clean Your Piercing with Normal Soap: Soap can cause skin dryness and irritation, which both increase the risk of infection. It’s okay if some soapy water runs over your piercing while you’re showering, but stick to SSS soaks and aftercare spray for cleaning your piercing. If you feel you need something stronger due to malodor or another piercing problem (see below), you could add an antiseptic mouth rinse to your aftercare regimen in addition to SSS soaks.

Don’t Use Creams, Balms, or Ointments: These can all clog a piercing, trapping bacteria and increasing the risk of infection.

RESUMING SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH A GENITAL PIERCING

Although it will be tempting to take your new genital piercing for a test run in the bedroom immediately, it is critical to abstain from all sexual activity (including oral sex and masturbation) until your genital piercing is entirely healed. Returning to sex too soon could cause physical trauma to the piercing, extending the healing time, or expose the piercing to bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. When your piercing is healed and you’re ready to resume sex, there are still a couple things to keep in mind. It’s a good idea to use a condom while the piercing is still relatively new to reduce the risk of bacterial exposure and minimize the movement of your jewelry during sex. Second, understand that there will likely be an adjustment period for both you and your partner as you discover together what sex with a genital piercing feels like. Take it slow, explore together, and if anything causes pain to your piercing or your partner, stop to figure out what’s wrong and if you can continue.

TROUBLESHOOTING GENITAL PIERCING PROBLEMS

There are a few common problems you may experience with your new genital piercing, but as long as you recognize them in time and address them quickly, they shouldn’t compromise your piercing.

SWELLING

It is normal to experience some slight swelling with a new piercing, which is why your piercer will start you off with jewelry large enough to accommodate some expansion of the tissue around it. However, if the swelling is so intense that skin begins to press uncomfortably against or swallow the ends of your jewelry, you need to see your piercer immediately as prolonged pressure can lead to tissue death and infection. To help control swelling, you can take a low dose of acetaminophen or apply a cold compress wrapped in a clean cloth for 10-15 intervals.

ALLERGIC REACTION

Before you are pierced, alert your piercer if you have previously experienced contact dermatitis with specific materials. If so, they will likely recommend using stainless steel jewelry, which are less likely to cause allergic reactions than other materials. If you develop red, itchy spots around your piercing, you may be having an allergic reaction. Contact your piercer and, if necessary, they can help change your jewelry.

INFECTIONS

Following the aftercare steps described above should go a long way in preventing infections, but they may still occur. If you develop red streaks radiating from your genital piercing site, a discharge of thick, yellow pus instead of clear lymph that dries to a white crust, skin that's extra hot to the touch, or a fever, you may be developing a genital piercing infection. In this case, you should increase your daily SSS soaks to three and add tea tree oil and an antiseptic to your regimen. If these steps do not improve your symptoms within a couple of days, see your doctor immediately in order to obtain antibiotics to treat the infection. Medicine, along with your normal aftercare routine, should get the infection under control.

Even if you develop an infection, it is best not to remove your jewelry, as doing so may trap bacteria inside the piercing. If you want to abandon your piercing due to infection, see your piercer to help remove your jewelry and make sure that you continue with two SSS soaks per day, aftercare spray, and antiseptic rinses to keep the piercing clean and healthy until it heals.

HYPERGRANULATION

Hypergranulation will look like either a dark red, pus-filled bump that appears alongside a genital piercing, or like a ring of red, puffy skin all around one side of the piercing. Hypergranulation is likely due to a combination of excess moisture and jewelry that is too tight. To address excess moisture, try blotting your piercing with clean facial tissue after SSS soaks and giving your piercing time to air dry after showers before you put clothes on. If severe moisture accumulates around your genital piercing during the course of the day, you may try applying a small amount of fragrance-free baby powder around, but not on, your genital piercing. If your jewelry is digging into your skin, you should see your piercer to swap out for larger jewelry. These steps in addition to your aftercare program should bring hypergranulation under control in a week or so.

COSPLAY AND TATTOOS AT ANIME INK CON

As the first ever anime focused tattoo convention, Anime Ink Con celebrates a successful first year.

 


What do you get when you combine one part tattoo convention with one part anime convention? The answer is Anime Ink Con. For three days, anime fans, tattoo artists, and cosplayers took over Hall B of the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Temporary bookshelves were packed tightly with manga and collectible figurines, ranging from Barbie-sized to toddler-sized. Brightly lit display cases were chock-full of vibrant tattoo inks and shiny tattoo machines. This was the first sight greeting attendees when they walked through the doors of Hall B: the world of anime and manga sitting side by side with the world of tattooing.

June 14th through the 16th, 2019 marked not only the first-ever Anime Ink Convention, but also the first-ever tattoo convention focused on the crossroads of Japanese anime and tattoo culture. From the minds of the co-owners behind the all-female Richmond tattoo shop, Black Rabbit Tattoo, Anime Ink Con played host to tattoo artists, manga sellers, body mod collectors, crafters, and alternative apparel vendors. Everyone in attendance, con-goers and featured guests alike, all shared a love for Japanese animation.

For the first time ever, talented, anime-inspired tattooers from Los Angeles all the way to Beijing came together to celebrate anime and tattoo passionate fans.

Some of the artists in attendance have established themselves as sought-after anime tattooers. Rorschach Tattoo and Piercing Shop in Cocoa Florida the mastermind behind the convention, tattooed alongside her fellow artists from Rorschach Tattoo and Piercing Shop in Cocoa Fl, including the popular artist Mike Directly across from the Black Rabbit booth sat New Jersey-based artist Clarence and Los Angeles-based artist Elle Each of these artists boasts a hefty Instagram following, an extensive wait-time for new tattoo appointments, and a penchant for providing amazing anime tattoos; these artists also illustrate the diversity possible even among a single-niche style.

Cute female characters in suggestive poses and outfits combine with a plethora of pink hues in LeGore’s anime artistry. Pereira exhibits a similar affinity for the intersection of cute and sexy, but with a more intense focus on bold shading as an illustration of her traditional influences. The two artists made the most of their close proximity at the convention when they married their signature styles in a unique collaboration piece. With both artists gravitating towards vibrant colors and erotic (but cute) characters, their collaboration piece perfectly displays their strengths as tattoo artists while also illustrating the technical potential of anime tattoos.

LeGore and Pereira ink much of their distinctive work in sexy poses. On the other hand, Wall and Mesi are best known for their true-to-form anime style. Still, even between these two classic anime artists, differences remain. Mesi works frequently with large-scale portraits of single characters, and Wall produces many limb-dominating sleeves and character mash-ups. Other artists who worked the convention display a wide range of work, all with anime as a common theme. Some artists work in ultraviolet hues with cute characters reminiscent of Lisa Frank, and others work in black and greys with a predilection for horror.

The array of talented artists was certainly the main attraction for attendees, but crafters, pin makers, and apparel designers entertained con-goers between their tattoo appointments. As attendees waited for spots to open up with their favorite artists, they could shop for anime-inspired stickers, t-shirts, and enamel pins.

A cosplay contest served as entertainment for attendees, like myself, whose closets are already stuffed full of anime apparel and pin-covered backpacks. A panel of tattooed cosplay models posed questions to contest entrants about what inspired their costume, how they chose their character, and what it took to design their costumes.

With cosplayers competing against one another, tattoo artists dressed as Pokémon trainers during their sessions, and attendees milling through the aisles to find the perfect tattoo, it goes without saying Anime Ink Con had a successful first year. The event is poised to become an attraction for artists, cosplayers, fans, and everyone in between.


IN THE NAME OF THE MOON: TEN SAILOR MOON INSPIRED TATTOOS

Sailor Moon defined the childhoods of countless female anime fans. These ten tattoos pay tribute to the pretty guardian and her fellow Sailor Scouts.

 



Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic Japanese anime series of all time. Anime seldom reaches mainstream success to the point where a title is recognizable to anime fans and non-fans alike, but Sailor Moon’s combination of campy supervillains, girl power, and unforgettable superhero transformation sequences resonated with countless young girls all over the world. For many fans, like myself, Sailor Moon was the beginning of lifelong anime fandom. Ask any fan what the first series they ever watched was, and it’s quite likely they’ll say Sailor Moon. The series therefore holds a special place in the hearts of many fans as the start of a lifelong love for anime, but even more than that, Sailor Moon offered a cast of many unique female characters, both good and evil. Sailor Moon not only was the primary reason I eventually found a group of friends in the anime cosplay community, it also taught me about friendship, love, and fighting for what you believe in.

 

Sailor Moon, also known as Usagi Tsukino, is, in many ways, a typical teenage girl, and that’s a large part of her appeal as the hero. She struggles to get good grades and wake up on time for school. This tattooed tribute to the imperfect hero captures Usagi doing what she does best when she’s not fighting the Negaverse.

 

This unique Sailor Moon inspired tattoo bridges the trendy mandala style with the anime trend. Sailor Moon’s first and most recognizable weapon, the moon stick, and the three cat sidekicks: Luna, Artemis, and their kitten, Diana, combine to create this intricate, geometric piece.

 

Another geometric Sailor Moon tattoo, this piece incorporates Sailor Pluto’s signature weapon, the Garnet Rod. Pluto’s staff serves both as a weapon and a key to the Space-Time Door, which Pluto must guard in solitude.

 

This tattoo serves as a tribute to arguably the most popular sailor guardian aside from Sailor Moon herself. Sailor Mars, otherwise known as Rei Hino, has a tumultuous relationship with the eponymous Sailor Moon, as they often butt heads due largely to Rei’s short fuse and Usagi’s tendency to test her patience. Her fiery temper is also the basis for many of her attack powers as Sailor Mars. Rei’s popularity is due to her fiery personality and outspokenness, and despite her frequent exasperation with Usagi, she never lets her friends down.

 

One of the most appealing things about Sailor Moon to me as a child, and what often draws me to anime nowadays, was just how pretty the series was. Everyone from the heroes to the villains were beautiful, with cool costumes, cute weapons, and adorable sidekicks. With its blindingly bright colors and sparkly accents, this tattoo captures the iconic beauty of Sailor Moon.

 

Sailor Moon not only offered young girls lessons on friendship, bravery, and perseverance, but also proved itself to be ahead of its time in telling the love story of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune (Haruka and Michiru). For many girls who grew up to realize they were a part of the LGBTQ community, Haruka and Michiru serve as one of the first examples of girls loving girls. Even more, Haruka’s short hair and affinity for masculine attire shows that all girls can be heroes, regardless of who they love and whether they feel truly girly.

 

Another massive appeal for the Sailor Moon series is the fact that each sailor guardian is unique, with different powers and individual personalities, so there is bound to be a character that resonates with everyone. Sailor Saturn, or Hotaru Tomoe, resonates strongly with many fans because of her dark origins. Because her powers can bring on the entire destruction of the universe, Sailor Uranus and Neptune fight to avoid waking Hotaru’s powers. She is also a very lonely character until she meets Sailor Chibi Moon. Her loneliness prior to meeting the sailor guardians is likely what makes her character so relatable to those who count Hotaru as their favorite.

 

A common characteristic of anime in which a group of superheroes fights against evil is the power-up. This theme in anime calls for a costume change and an accompanying power-up transformation. Typically, with each new major series arc comes a new heroic form. When Usagi powers up to Eternal Sailor Moon, her costume undergoes some major changes and she gains wings.

 

Sailor Moon’s extensive cast of awesome female characters along with its themes of female friendship and strength make it popular among feminists. This tattoo of Sailor Neptune’s signature weapon, encompassed by the words, “fight like a girl”, draws on the commonly used insult and makes it a positive statement instead. To fight like a girl is admirable, because in Sailor Moon, the heroes are strong, unique girls.

 

One of my most vivid memories from watching Sailor Moon as a child is how enthralled I was in the gorgeous transformations sequences, when the sailor guardians would shift from normal teenage girls to superheroes. These sequences were colorful and sparkly, and in my bedroom I would pretend I could transform beautifully like the sailor guardians. Although that dream may not be possible, a tattoo memorializing one of my favorite aspects of the series manages to capture its beauty.

IGNORANT TATTOOS

Ignorant tattoos are a style that started with a French graffiti artist named FUZI UVTPK.

 


 



To call these tattoos “ignorant” is a total misnomer. When the word ignorant is thrown around, it is typically in reference to a lack of awareness, or education, and it is usually aimed at bigots or children being scolded by a parent. To understand the name, we have to understand the style and its tongue and cheek origins. The style centers around simple designs, mostly line work without any extra coloration. Ignorant tattoos tend to have a DIY look, because they are mostly performed at home, not in a parlor. They also take on qualities of graffiti art and cartoon-like features. This is because the style was pioneered by a French graffiti artist who goes by the name FUZI UVTPK.

FUZI wanted a style that was “wild” and “without rules,” so he created a style that allowed him to express something free. When asked about the style, he said “Ignorant Style was based on how graffiti looked in the beginning in NYC, and it was meant to look like it was made by a child who is just learning the art form — naïve but pure. Ignorant Style is a reaction to the standardization of graffiti.” So you see, ignorant tattoos aren’t about a lack of an education, it is more of a reaction or a rebellion against rules and standardization. It is an homage to freedom of expression without being tied down by convention or guidelines.

The style has been an underground hit, and over the past decade, ignorant tattoos have only become more popular. Oakland based artist Galen Leach has adopted this style himself. He had formerly been a bike messenger, only performing these donation based home tattoos on the weekends. After three years of this, he realized there was a high enough demand for his art that he could make rent with ignorant tattoos, so he quit his day job to become a full-time ignorant tattoo artist.

Galen’s art is similar to many of the other “ignorant” artists. It’s not easy to pin down a theme in an art form that is based on rejecting rules and standardization, but even so, it must have a few identifiable characteristics to exist as a bona-fide style. Many of Galen’s tattoos are comical and tongue in cheek, which is a theme that stands out among ignorant tattoos. Surprisingly, Galen hasn’t experienced negativity or criticism that is often levied against DIY tattoos. Instead, when he posted his work on instagram, he found a huge network of support and more clients.

It looks like ignorant tattoos are here to stay. I can’t personally suggest going out and getting a tattoo in a random person’s kitchen, there are too many health and safety issues to worry about, and you want to be sure you work with an ethical artist who uses good quality ink and sterilized equipment. However, having said that, these designs are both cool and hilarious. So it may be something worth looking into if you are interested in a new tattoo that embraces simplicity and rebels against standardization.

NEW TATTOOS FOR OLDER PEOPLE

Tattooing isn't just for the youth. If you are over 50 and are wondering if you can still get your first tattoo, the answer is yes.

 



Senior citizens and fresh tattoos are not typically words you hear mentioned in the same sentence, but there are plenty of people out there who either get their first tattoo late in life, or they continue getting new tattoos as they age. There are an increasing number of stories of octogenarians waltzing into a tattoo parlor for their first tattoo. There is a myth out there that old people can't get new tattoos, and it simply isn't true. Take for example Judi Dench, who at 81 years old, got her first tattoo as a birthday gift from her daughter. It seems appropriate that her tattoo reads "Carpe Diem."

So, while it is true that older people can get fresh ink, it is also true that older skin is different than young, elastic skin. It must be treated differently. There are forums where tattoo artists talk about the differences and difficulties of tattooing old skin, and it is a goldmine of information for tattoo artists who are tasked with inking the elderly. One of the common themes is that tattooing older skin takes more time. A tattoo that might only take one session to complete for an 18 year old client could end up taking two or three sessions for someone more senior. This is because skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to bruising as we age. Aged skin is more fragile, there is a loss of subcutaneous fat, and aging skin repairs itself more slowly than young skin. All these factors will affect the way an artist approaches aging skin.

According to one survey, half of all people in the US and Britain got their first tattoo by the age of 21. More interesting, only 5% of people got their first tattoo after age 60. It makes me wonder why they waited so long, but we all have our reasons. I suspect that people who get tattoos late in life have wanted one for a long time, but have been afraid to get one due to stigma, or maybe their job wouldn't allow it, and after retiring, they were able to fulfill their dream of getting a tattoo.

If you're aging and worried about image quality, then there is some good news. It turns out that there are actually some benefits to waiting until you're a little bit older to get inked. According to Myrna Armstrong, a professor from Texas Tech who studies tattoos, older saggy skin becomes a benefit. She says that "If you already have saggy skin, you don't have to worry about the tattoo sagging." Older people are also less prone to getting impulsive tattoos that they later regret. It's no secret that the indiscretions of youth lead to some awful tattoos. Another benefit is that the tattoo will fade less, because it will have less time to fade, which is a little morbid, but clearly true. It’s also true that there will be less time for the lines to blur, and for the sun to do its damage. So if you're thinking you are too old for a new trick, I’d say you’re incorrect. There are lots of reasons that late is better than never, so go ahead and get that tattoo you have always wanted, I doubt you will regret it later.

SUN, SAND, AND TATTOOS?

Summer is upon us and as we collectively hit the beach (or lake or pool) for some much needed fun in the sun, take a moment to make sure you are not screwing over your tattoos. For us tattooed folks, summer can be an opportunity to show off our ink while having some fun, but […]

 


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Summer is upon us and as we collectively hit the beach (or lake or pool) for some much needed fun in the sun, take a moment to make sure you are not screwing over your tattoos. For us tattooed folks, summer can be an opportunity to show off our ink while having some fun, but taking care of your tattoos during the summer months can be tricky if you are unprepared. The number one rule of keeping your tattoos looking great for the long haul is "cover, cover, cover"! If you are going to have bare limbs, you NEED to use sunscreen… and not some wimpy SPF 15 either. You need vampire-strength suncreen – preferably SPF 50, but definitely at least SPF 30 – AND you have to use it correctly, which means reapplying every four hours or after getting wet. I know – a drag, right? But so is watching your awesome tattoo fade, feather, and bleed from too much sun exposure over time.

Sun is the #1 enemy of tattoos. The more sun exposure your tattoo gets, the worse it will look over time. It is somewhat ironic that the desire (for some) to show off their tattoos during the warmer weather will ultimately result in those tattoos looking like something you might want to keep hidden down the road, but there you have it. If you are going to show your ink, slather it in sunscreen every time.

What about new tattoos and the sun? Those are two things that do NOT belong together, like fish and peanut butter. Summer is a lousy time to get a tattoo for the very reasons that make summer so much fun – lots of sunshine, less clothing, sweating, sand, water exposure – all of which are very bad for new tattoos.

If you get tattooed during the summer (guilty!), then you need to take your aftercare very seriously. First and foremost, do NOT head to the beach, pool, or lake without protecting your new tattoo. If you are still wrapped, then cover the area with lighweight, loose, 100% cotton clothing – period. Stay out of the sun as best you can and definitely stay out of the water. You will also want to avoid getting dirty or sweaty. Dirt, sweat, sand, sun, water – all of these can possibly lead to infection. Keeping your fresh tattoo clean and covered should be your #1 priority.

If you are still healing but no longer wrapped, use Tattoo Goo's sunscreen (not all sunscreens can be used on healing tattoos – Tattoo Goo can) and still try to keep it covered with loose clothing. Sunbathing is a no. Swimming or water sports are a no. Tackle football or serious athletic activity is a no. Sand is a no. If that all sounds like a major buzz kill, try getting an infection on your healing tattoo that ruins your new ink at least or sends you to the hospital at worst. Healing tattoos are no joke. You wouldn't head out for a day of beach volleyball if you had just been injured in an accident and had a huge area of road rash, would you? Healing tattoos are wounds, plain and simple. Treat them with care and caution and they will be a source of pride and joy for years to come. Treat them poorly and you may end up paying a high price for that afternoon in the sun.


IF YOU CAN’T TAKE THE PAIN, SHOULD YOU GET OUT OF THE TATTOO SHOP?

Remember when the only folks who had tattoos were burly bikers and salty sailors (plus the occasional floozy)? Of course you don't, because those are horrible stereotypes that have been roundly disproven. Shame on you! But at the very least, you might remember when tattoos conferred a certain bad-assery to the wearer. Having a tattoo […]

 



Remember when the only folks who had tattoos were burly bikers and salty sailors (plus the occasional floozy)? Of course you don't, because those are horrible stereotypes that have been roundly disproven. Shame on you! But at the very least, you might remember when tattoos conferred a certain bad-assery to the wearer. Having a tattoo meant you had endured pain – real pain – and lived to tell about it. Of course not everyone can handle that distinctive buzzy-bee sensation.

I'm aging myself here, but if you remember Happy Days (whaaaah?? say the 20-somethings), you might remember the episode where Richie (a very young Ron Howard) attempted to get a tattoo to impress a girl (which always works by the way). He endured one single dot before he bailed. The message? Richie just wasn't man enough to handle the pain. More modern entertainment shows us what getting tattooed "like a man" looks like and two notable examples come to mind. One is Henry Rollins as a skinhead a-hole on Sons of Anarchy, getting tattooed across the chest without batting an eye. He also managed to get stabbed to death minutes later in the bathroom… also without batting an eye. It's Henry Rollins – what do you expect? Second, Lord Aragorn AKA Vigo Mortensen getting his Russian on and getting inked in Eastern Promises with a blasé expression on his face that says, "You stab me with needles is no problem. I do this all day and then kill five to six of you no problem." Kind of makes you miss the sweeter, simpler Happy Days.

The question remains – does getting tattooed make you tough? Ummm, no. The pain caused by tattooing is manageable, albeit very uncomfortable and occasionally very painful. Does it hurt as much as breaking a bone? No. How about getting shot? Probably not (no personal experience there). Wasp sting? In the ball park. Natural childbirth? I would rather have my knee ditch tattooed and re-tattooed for 19 hours than go through giving birth (pain meds free) to my daughter again. Natural childbirth wins in the more painful department hands down – sorry gangsters. If you take something to alleviate the pain of being tattooed does that make you less "cool"? Well, does getting some pain relief for giving birth make you less of a mom? Hell no.

Getting tattooed hurts and everyone handles the pain differently. Also some parts of your body hurt WAY worse than other parts when it comes to going under the needle. Some of the worst bits? Hands, feet, knee ditch (tender squishy patch behind the knee-cap), ribs, armpits, elbow, neck – the list goes on. The most painful tattoo pic I have ever seen was posted by the amazing Mike Some poor soul had her tattoo under his nail bed. Yes… under. His hand was tattooed and then his fingernails were removed to have the nail beds tattooed (insert silent screaming here). Ow f–king ow ow OWWWWW!!! That dude wins the pain threshold game. Good luck torturing him for critical info – he ain't going to break. I personally got all squinchy-faced and sweaty getting my armpits and ribs tattooed, and I also felt a bit nauseous while having my elbows tattooed, but I don't think it's the same.

What if you want to get a tattoo, but have a really low pain threshold? Fret not! There are many products on the market (many of which you can buy right here on Rorschach Tattoo and Piercing Shop) that dull the pain to varying degrees. I have used lidocaine ointment, and valium. Valium doesn't really take the pain away, it just makes you care less. More of an "ohh welll" than an "ow shit!" The lidocaine worked the best, out of all of those, but you need a prescription for that. Funny side story – I had a nurse who was doing some medical tattooing on me to read about it under "Blood Ink and Tears") and she was telling me how she went to get her belly peirced AND get a tattoo with her daughter. Before she headed in to her session, she simply shot herself up with lidocaine at the site and she didn't feel a thing. Of course she was a licensed nurse and knew how to get the dosage right, but it was kind of funny. Don't do that by the way. Naughty naughty.

If you decide to use some pain relief, talk to your artist first. Some products can make your skin slippery or greasy and your artist probably has a preference. Be wary of products that promise a "pain-free" experience, because that is not realistic. And funny nurse story aside, DON'T misuse prescription drugs in an effort to block the pain during a session. Many drugs have side effects, like blood thinning, that can make your session a disaster. You also need to be somewhat conscious during your session so you can sit properly and take direction from your hardworking artist. This is also one of the reasons why getting drunk to dull the pain is a truly awful idea. Drunk people are sweaty and slippery, can't sit straight or still, and bleed too much. Have a drink after, NOT before!

I have heard rumors and stories of people who slept through getting tattooed. If you are one of those people, then good on ya. And don't go to parties filled with tattoo artists and then fall asleep. Just saying. Ok last funny story – this one I saw on TV. The reality show Bad Ink features truly horrendous tattoos and their inevitable cover up. There is a trainwreck aspect to the show that is unavoidable, but hey – that's reality TV for you. I caught an episode while I was a guest at The Legoland Hotel (another uniquely painful experience) and it was pretty epic. Some poor guy had the great misfortune to be friends with rugby players and get drunk in their presence. Blackout drunk. Luckily one of the partygoers was a budding tattooer and had his machine with him. Our dumb guy agreed to a tattoo of "anything you want". On his ass. And then promptly passed out. Let that sink in for a bit. When he woke the next morning, no one could keep a straight face around him due to the 2" block letters on each butt cheek spelling out "WELCOME ABOARD". The letters were pretty nicely done, actually, but still. The guys in Vegas fixed him up as best they good (after they almost hyperventilated with laughter) with a giant screaming eagle across his backside. I wonder what the ladies think when they get a gander at that?

What is the moral of this blog post? Pain is part of the tattoo process, but it doesn't have to be a horror show. Talk to your artist prior to your appointment and come prepared for a little relief if you need it. Also remember being well fed, well rested, and well hydrated goes a long, long way to help with the pain. You don't have to be a Russian gangster who doesn't flich and you definitely don't want to be that guy slumped over the kitchen table passed out cold, while his buddies tattoo the funniest thing ever on his ass. Find the middle ground.

DO YOU HAVE A DANGEROUS TATTOO?

In the large and multicultural world of tattoos, everything seems possible. You can get a tattoo in almost any part of the world, on any part of your body, in a variety of settings and in a wide range of manners. Traditional stick poke in Thailand? Yes. Old School sailor flash down by the bay in […]

 



In the large and multicultural world of tattoos, everything seems possible. You can get a tattoo in almost any part of the world, on any part of your body, in a variety of settings and in a wide range of manners. Traditional stick poke in Thailand? Yes. Old School sailor flash down by the bay in San Francisco? Yup. In the window display at the Mile Mall in Las Vegas? Of course. With everything seeming to be on the table in the world of tattoos, are there any no-nos? Any tattoo don'ts or taboos? What I'm getting at is, are there certain images or phrases you should NOT get tattooed, anywhere, anytime, or in any manner? Yes.

Tattooing has been around for milleniums, and the rules and societal norms that surround tattooing have shifted dramatically over the course of history. As Westerners, we tend to sift everything through our own particular filter, tattooing included. However, tattoo traditions exist in many cultures and freely employ what would have been considered taboo traditons in our Western culture. Things like tattooing women, tattooing faces and hands or large portions of the body are only recently accepted in our culture, but were considered a normal part of other cultures that have a much longer history of tattooing than Europe and Norh America.

If this interests you at all, seek out some of the fascinating books that cover this topic. If you are Googling in front of the tattoo shop, trying to figure out if those Russian stars on your shoulders are a good idea – read on.

RUSSIAN STARS

Russians have been the defacto bad guy in movies for a while now. I blame this on YouTube and the amount of videos of Russians doing completely crazy shit and then just walking away like, "Is no big deal." You have probably heard of the Russian mafia and you should go way out of your way to not annoy them in the slightest. Organized crime in Russia has many secret rituals of which I thankfully know nothing. That being said they take their tattoos – and the meaning of those tattoos – very, very seriously. One of the most common images you may see is the Russian star. According to the FSBthese signify "crimanal authority" and have to be earned. My advice? Don't get that tattoo, bro – just. don't.

OK so those cool looking stars are out. What about some nice Japanese imagery?

 

YAKUZA BODY SUIT

The Yakuza are Japanese organized crime members and their history of tattooing stretches back centuries. Tattooing in Japan became associated with criminals and was eventually outlawed. This is an ongoing issue in Japan even today with politicians trying to make it illegal once more. Due to its illegal status, and the secretive nature of the organization, the Yakuza would have full body suits done that could be completely covered up. No hands, feet, face or neck, and with ample room for sleeves and slacks to cover the ink. Having a completed body suit showed courage, determination (it was done stick poke style – ow and double ow), and success in the organization due to the significant cost.

Imagery revolved around traditional motifs like samurai, dragons, and koi fish. Approximately a ziilion people have appropriated these images today for their various tattoos. Are you pissing off the Yakuza? Most likely not, but I would still cover my tattoos while travelling in Japan as a nod towards cultural sensitivity (and stigma). And if you do have a traditional Yakuza style suit, I wouldn't go around bragging about what a bad ass you are to the wrong people lest they ask you to prove it. Just saying.

Still want to walk on the wild side? How about a good old fashion…

 

PRISON TEAR DROP TATTOO

This guy is the poster child for tear drop tattoos. Just remember; this is his mug shot and that tear probably means he killed someone.

Probably the most famous prison tattoo (in Western culture) is the teardrop below the eye. The most common meaning is that the wearer has killed someone. It can also signify the murder or death of someone close to you. It also might symboliza a prison rape, an attempted murder, or more than ten years behind bars, depending on which blog you read. This one appears open to interpretation. It also doesn't appear to be just for prisoners. Lil Wayne has his for departed (murdered) friends. Amy Winehouse had hers for her (dirtbag) husband's continuing incarceration. Chances are you could get this tattoo and not get killed for having it – but it will still make you look like you did a stretch in the big house. So you have to ask yourself, is that the look you are going for?

In the end, it is your tattoo and your body – but it always pays to think before you ink…and be nice to Russians.

HEALING A TATTOO WITH SANIDERM

A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Seattle to finish a sleeve I started a while back with tattoo artist Tina Bafaro. As a burgeoning collector I have a decent amount of ink, but as any true collector knows… not nearly enough. For me, the ink is barely dry before I am planning my next project […]

 


cocoa, orlando, tattoo, shops, shop, piercing, studio 

A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Seattle to finish a sleeve I started a while back with tattoo artist Mike As a burgeoning collector I have a decent amount of ink, but as any true collector knows… not nearly enough. For me, the ink is barely dry before I am planning my next project and strategizing ways to explain to my husband why I need another tattoo. I enjoy all the many aspects of tattoo collecting: meeting great artists, travelling and checking out new cities, acquiring a new peice of art. I even (sort of) enjoy being tattooed…most of the time.

According to everyone who has tattooed me, I have “perfect” skin for being tattooed. Curious as to what that means exactly, I asked Tina when she made a comment about this very thing. According to her, perfect tattoo skin has to do with minimal sun exposure so the skin is suple (I knew staying indoors my whole life as a dedicated book worm would pay off!), texture, lack of scarring and what have you, and the ability to take the ink well. Bursting with underserved pride, I briefly wondered if I should put this important life “skill” on my resume, but then Tina went back to tattooing and the bitter sweet bite of the tattoo machine silenced my thoughts.

Want to know what I really suck at? Healing. I tattoo like a dream, but I heal like a nightmare. I do everything on my care sheet to the letter. I tend to my healing tattoo like a nervous mother or a jealous lover, always hovering, tending, and worrying if I am doing everything right. Yet no matter how carefully I tend to myself, I always end up a flaking – and frequently scabbing – mess. The tattoo gods gave me those tiny pores, but then they punished me with excessive lymph and plasma – ahhh the cruelty of fate!

Well this time around, I tried something new – Saniderm is esssentially a medical grade adhesive bandage that seals your tattoo and prevents dirt, germs, and other nasties collecting on it and causing trouble. Standard tattoo care says remove your wrap after 4-8 hours and let it dry and heal naturally. To prevent scabbing, you are generally instructed to wash periodically, avoid extended water exposure, and keep a very light film of tattoo artist approved ointment on the tattoo for days. The healing process usually takes a week to two weeks.

Saniderm sends you in a completely different direction. Your first Saniderm bandage goes on for 8-24 hours and is removed when the lymph (that sticky clear fluid) build up breaks the seal. A thorough wash, and then you apply a second Saniderm bandage. Now if you are done seeping, you leave that one on. If you are an overacheiver like me and you continue to seep, that bandage comes off in a day or two. Another wash – and then the final bandage goes on. You do not use any ointments. You do not let the tattoo air dry. You COMPLETELY cover it with Saniderm per their instructions on their website. And that is it. Literally.

I had Tina apply my first bandage at the shop. It took us a while because that shit is a little tricky to work with – think cabinet liner paper with two backings and you can never quite find the little pull tab. I encourage you to try out a little peice on your skin before you get tattooed just to get a feel for it. I slept with that bandage and in the morning had some squashy areas where I had seeped. I removed the wrap, washed, and put a new bandage on. The second time I applied, it was easier as I had a better handle on how to use it. I flew home and the next day did my final bandage (I had seeped enough to break the seal in a few spots). My tattoo was completed on a Thursday and I put on my final Saniderm bandage on Sunday. Guess when I took it off? Guess how long it took my tattoo to heal? Tuesday. I took the bandage off Tuesday night and It. Was. Healed.

The picture on the left is what my tattoo looked like immediately after removing the final Saniderm bandage. For comparison’s sake, I left a small section of my tattoo not covered by Saniderm and healed it using my regular methods. The picture on the right is what the non-Saniderm part of my tattoo looked like (both pictures where taken at the same time).

As I mentioned I tend to flake and scab when healing a tattoo. The above section of my tattoo was treated with great care. I followed care instructions to the letter and used an amzing healing ointment given to me by Tina, but I think we can all agree the difference is pretty startling. Even more exciting? I shortened my healing time by more than a week. My Saniderm-healed skin had that slightly itchy “new skin” feel out of the bandage, but otherwise was completely healed. In five days. Even better? NO color loss. At all.

So needless to say I am planning on healing with Saniderm for my next tattoo. I am sure there are people out there that are not a good fit for Saniderm. I encourage you to read their website carefully and call their help line with any questions or concerns before you try their product. In the meantime, I will share a few hard-won tips about Sandierm from my own experience.

1. Shave, shave, and shave again!!!

Tina was working around healed areas of my tattoo so when she shaved my arm, she did not shave the entire thing – only where she was working. Peeling Sandierm off hair – even miniscule arm hair like mine – is hateful. Shave the entire area you are planning on wrapping, plus an inch all the way around the site. Smooth skin is happy skin.

2. Wash very thouroughly after those first two wraps.

When you are still replacing wraps, make sure you wash alllll that sticky lymph off! Tina gave me a huge stack of surgical gauze that is used in dentistry. The surface of the guaze “grabs” the lymph and washes it off without hurting the new tattoo – magic. If you are not lucky enough to have a source for surgical guaze, use your finger tips and approved soap and gently scrub the lymph away – it is what causes scabbing and color to pull out.

3. Dry before you wrap.

Before you apply your Saniderm, gently pat dry your skin and give it a few minutes to air dry – wetness can break the seal.

4. Practice before you apply!

It can be a little tricky to work with, so practice with a small section first (shave!!!) – you will thank me later.

5. Read ALL FAQs and product descriptions before you use it!

Don’t take some bloggers word for it! Do your research and make certain Sandierm is right for you AND you understand how to use it correctly before you commit!

Then when you are all done healing, enjoy your bright, vibrant tattoo!

 





















Things The Health Department Wants you to know


1. How do I obtain a Tattoo Artist License?

2. How do I reactivate a Tattoo Artist License?
  • To reactivate a Tattoo Artist License, complete an Application for Tattoo Artist License (154kb PDF) and submit it, along with $85 (the $60 license fee and $25 reactivation fee), to the local Department of Health office in the county having jurisdiction of the tattoo program in the county in which you reside. Please make sure to check "Renewal" at the top of the Application, which follows the statement "Type of License." It is also recommended that you contact the local Department of Health office to learn if there are any additional local fees for the license renewal.
3. How long does it take to receive the Tattoo Artist License?
  • Applications are processed in accordance with Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, which allows the Department 30 days from the date the application is received to deem it complete or incomplete and 90 days to process complete applications. Tattoo applications are generally processed in a shorter period of time. Contact the local Department of Health office for further details.
4. What courses are approved for the Bloodborne Pathogen Training?
  • You may access all Department approved providers for the Bloodborne Pathogen and Communicable Diseases Course using the following link: Bloodborne Pathogen Course Providers.
  • Please note, some providers have several versions of bloodborne pathogen courses which are specific to a particular state's requirements. Be sure that you have completed a course specific to Florida's requirements found in Rule 64E-28.006, Florida Administrative Code.
5. Is an apprenticeship required to obtain the Tattoo Artist License in the state of Florida?
  • No. An Apprenticeship is not required in the state of Florida to apply for the Tattoo Artist License (154kb PDF).
6. Who will send the Tattoo Artist License to me?
  • The Application for Tattoo Artist License is processed by the local Department of Health office having jurisdiction of the program in the county in which you reside.
7. Is the Tattoo Establishment License transferrable from location to location?
  • No. A Tattoo Establishment License is not transferrable(58.2kb PDF) from one location to another.
  • Should you wish to relocate your tattoo establishment, you will need to begin the licensure process by submitting a completed Application for Tattoo Establishment License(44kb PDF) to the local Department of Health office and scheduling an inspection. A new license must be issued before practicing tattooing at the new location.
8. Do I have to include the "Name of Licensed Establishment" and "Department of Health License Number" on my application?
9. Is the Tattoo Establishment License transferrable from person to person?
  • No. A Tattoo Establishment License is not transferrable(58.2kb PDF) from one person to another.
  • Should you purchase a tattoo shop, you will need to begin the licensure process by submitting a completed Application for Tattoo Establishment License (44kb PDF) to the local Department of Health office and scheduling an inspection. A new license must be issued before practicing tattooing under the new ownership.
10. When should I apply for the Tattoo Artist License?
  • Once you have completed the required bloodborne pathogen and communicable diseases training course and decided where you intend to practice tattooing, submit your completed application.
11. How do I obtain a copy of my Tattoo Artist or Establishment License?
  • To obtain a copy of the Tattoo Artist License, please contact the local Department of Health office in the county having jurisdiction of the tattooing program in the county in which you reside.
  • To obtain a copy of the Tattoo Establishment License, please contact the local Department of Health office in the county having jurisdiction of the tattooing program in the county in which the business resides.
12. Are minors allowed to get a tattoo in the state of Florida
  • Minors of the age 16 through 17 may get a tattoo in the state of Florida as long as:The minor child is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian;The minor child and his or her parent or legal guardian each submit proof of his or her identity by producing a government-issued photo identification. If the photo identification for the minor does not show a birth date, a copy of the minor's birth certificate is required;The parent or legal guardian submits his or her written notarized consent in the format prescribed by the Department; and
    The parent or legal guardian submits proof that he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the minor child.
13. Can I renew my Tattoo Artist License online?
  • Yes; provided you have received your billing invoice; Licenses may be renewed through MyFloridaEHPermit.com; Please note that although you may submit your payment online, you must submit a completed Application for Tattoo Artist License (154kb PDF) to the local Department of Health office. Licenses will not be issued without receiving both, payment and application.
14. Can I submit an application online?
  • No. At this time, all applications must be submitted by email, fax, or mail to the local Department of Health. Please contact your local office for further details.
15. How do I apply for a mobile tattoo license?
  • The Florida Statutes do not have provisions for a mobile tattoo license. All tattooing must occur in a licensed fixed or temporary tattoo establishment
16. If our mobile tattoo unit would be stationary at a Flea Market at all times of operation, could we obtain a tattoo establishment license? What about a temporary license for the same during festivals?
  • The unit must be incapable of being moved in order for it to be licensed as a tattoo establishment. The application requires the establishment to be a Fixed Location or Temporary Location. Fixed is defined in Rule 64E-28.002(9), of the Florida Administrative Code, as incapable of being moved. If you are able to meet this requirement, you may be able to receive an annual license.
17. Can I get a tattoo license for my mobile tattoo unit?
  • The Florida Statutes do not provide provisions for issuing an annual tattoo establishment license for a mobile tattoo unit. A temporary tattoo establishment license may be issued for a mobile tattoo unit, providing the tattooing is at a convention or other similar event and the mobile unit meets the same licensure requirements as a permanent tattoo establishment. The temporary license may be issued for up to 14 consecutive days at a single location.
18. Does my tattoo license allow me to tattoo at a customer's home?
  • No. Conventional tattooing and cosmetic tattooing, including permanent makeup and microblading, may only be practiced at a licensed tattoo establishment.
19. Do I need a license to take a microblading or permanent makeup class?
  • If during your training you will be practicing on a live human model, you will need to apply for a Tattoo Artist License.
  • If you already hold a valid tattoo artist license, certification, or registration from a jurisdiction outside of Florida, you may apply for a Guest Tattoo Artist Registration.
20. I am not going to charge a fee to anyone I tattoo, do I need a license?
  • Yes. Regardless of whether you charge a fee, tattooing may only be practiced in a licensed tattoo establishment by a licensed tattoo artist.
21. What do I need to teach tattooing, permanent makeup or microblading?
22. I would like to teach the required Blood-borne Pathogens and Communicable Diseases course. What do I need to do?
23. I took the 3-hour Bloodborne Pathogen course in 2017. Does that certificate expire? It doesn’t state so on the certificate but thought I should ask?
  • The certificate you receive after completing a bloodborne pathogen and communicable disease course does notexpire. You are not required to renew this training.
24. Does cosmetic tattooing fall under the cosmetic portion of the State of Florida Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics License at a licensed facility?
  • Cosmetic Tattooing/Microblading is considered as a form of tattooing in the state of Florida and would not fall under the Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics License. A Tattoo Artist License is required for any person who plans to practice Microblading/Permanent Cosmetics in Florida.
25. Who should the check be written to?
  • For the Tattoo Artist License, please make the check payable to the local Department of Health office having jurisdiction of the program in the county in which you reside.
  • For the Tattoo Establishment License, please make the check payable to the local Department of Health office having jurisdiction of the program in the county in which the business is located.
  • You may access County Health Department contact information using the following link: County Health Department Contact Information
26. Can I use a portable sink inside a tattoo/microblading establishment?
27. If I have a cosmetology license, do I need a tattoo artist license to provide microblading (tattooing) services?
  • A person that tattoos the body of any human being is required to obtain a license as a tattoo artist, the exception to this is a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 466 who performs tattooing exclusively for medical or dental purposes.
28. If I am a licensed esthetician do, I also need a tattoo artist license to provide microblading (tattooing) services?
  • A person that tattoos the body of any human being is required to obtain a license as a tattoo artist, the exception to this is a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 466 who performs tattooing exclusively for medical or dental purposes