Tattoo choice leads to questions of personal taste, personal safety

By: Cala Villavicencio

It’s your 18th birthday, and you have been saving hundreds of dollars for the first one.  You’ve been looking for it since you were in middle school. You made the appointment last week, and today is the day. The day you finally get the tattoo you’ve wanted forever.

When I turned 18 this was what was going through my head. I was so nervous, imagining the unbearable pain of a needle going through my skin and leaving a beautiful, permanent line that can only be removed at thousands of dollars. Tattoos are becoming a more normal thing in our culture nowadays, and some seniors have taken initiative to get one of their own when they’re 18 from a trusted tattoo artist.

One of the most noted things that come into conversation when talking about getting a tattoo or having one is people asking you “Well, what does it mean?” This traces back to popular belief that each and every tattoo has a deep and spiritual meaning with the person who has one. Thinking about today’s culture, if you want a tattoo, you can get one, and it really doesn’t have to mean anything. Making up your mind for your first tattoo can take weeks, months, even years.

People can make up their minds on anything, but one thing to keep in mind is that the bigger the tattoo, the more it will cost. Unfortunately, a sleeve won’t take only one session, and a tattoo of a face taking up a majority of your back will be very costly. Making up your mind for the tattoo is very important also because you will have this on you for the rest. of. your. life. If you’re wanting to get a professional career, be careful on where you get this tattoo as well, as it may affect your chances on getting a job in the future.

What helped me make up my mind once and for all was when one of my family members passed along, and I wanted something in memorial of him. For the longest time, I had decided on a huge hundred-leaved rose and his name along the end of it. I had my mind set on this but then changed my mind when a friend of mine posted a picture of her tattoo with the same design, just a different flower. This shocked me at first that this friend had the same idea as me, and I felt that it would be disrespectful to get the same one, so then I decided on a signature on my wrist.

When I got to the tattoo shop, the artist had mentioned if I got the signature that small, the letters had a potential to blot together as years went on and that it would have to be retouched more often than I was hoping, so then I decided on getting the signature going along my forearm.

If you’re wanting to get a tattoo, you also have to think of the right place. In the Cedar Falls area alone, there are over 10 different tattoo shops you can visit to schedule your own appointment. My only experience is at Third Eye Gallery and Tattoos, but I know of people who have gone to different places, such as Omega Red, Twisted Fate and Eternal Ink. I am very biased on Third Eye because I knew the tattoo artist personally, so I cannot really give personal recommendations, but all of these places have licensed professionals behind the tattoo gun, creating different and beautiful pieces on hundreds of individuals in the area.

When it comes to taking care of your tattoo, coming home with your area wrapped in Saran Wrap can be quite a bit of change. Just like a piercing, you never know how often you touch the area you got tatted until you feel the pain of the first hour. It doesn’t hurt a whole lot, but you can feel a burning sensation, as if you placed your area under a hot light for a while. It is bearable but it doesn’t kill you.

You always want to be sure you have a travel-sized bottle of Aquaderm or an Aqua-based lubricant. Vaseline is not good for a new tattoo. You want to be sure to not keep your tattoo constricted under any clothing or bandages, and you’ll also want to stop by a convenience store and pick up some antibacterial soap to use during the first week of healing.

Wash and apply Aquaderm about four times a day, making sure the tattoo is clean and well kept. After doing this for about four or five days, you’ll want to get unscented lotion, applying this about five times a day, cutting down on washing the tattoo, as it can start fading. You want to keep wary of this because it happens more often than you would think.

I do not plan on being a tattoo artist, so don’t take all of these recommendations as if I were a professional. I am solely giving these recommendations as a person who knows a lot about the topic and after I saw someone with a new tattoo applying both Aquaderm and lotion one after another on their new tattoo.

I hope that you can takes these tips and recommendations into mind the next time you think about getting a tattoo because safety is the most important thing.

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