What you should know about
The first concern when getting a tattoo or body piercing should be your health and safety. With the potential risk of contracting an infectious disease, there is much to consider to insure the safety of you and your loved ones. The second concern should be the quality in which your tattoo or body piercing will be performed as well as how well they will heal. Here we will arm YOU with the knowledge to better protect yourself in the case that you or your loved ones decide to receive a tattoo or body piercing.
Below is a list of things to look for while searching for that right place to get tattooed or pierced.
1. Health License
To legally operate a Tattoo or Body Piercing studio in the State of Texas, you must he issued a Health License for each field in question. A Health License shows the studio meets the minimum requirements by law to operate.
Is the studio in question operating with a current Health License issued by the State of Texas Department of Health (TDH)? To find this out, you can call the state health board at (512) 719-0237 and ask, or look the studio up on the TDH website, www.dshs.state.tx.u.s. If a studio is licensed then it should be openly displayed for public inspection.
If a studio is not a licensed establishment then it is operating illegally and does not meet the Minimum requirements for safety set forth by the TDH. At this point you should complain to the TDH and look for another studio. Think about it. You wouldn’t allow an unlicensed surgeon to operate on you or your family would you?
2. Studio Atmosphere
Make sure the studio in question is neat and clean. What you see in the front room is a pretty good indication of what you will see elsewhere in the studio, Ask questions about the studio’s safety procedures. What are they doing to ensure your health and well being? ‘The staff should be willing and able to answer your questions. If you feel they are brushing your concerns aside or can’t answer you, leave, seek a professional shop. They should also he SOBER. If they are not, then leave and find another studio. After all, you wouldn’t let your doctor operate on you or your loved ones while he or she were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, would you?
3. Sterile Facilities
The studio in question should have a separate room for sterilization. This room is commonly referred to as a sterile room or lab. This is where all instruments used are sterilized. Ask for a tour of this room so you may see for yourself what exactly the procedures are for sterilization. If they hesitate or do not allow you to see for yourself, then leave and find a professional studio. Sterilization is accomplished with the proper use of an autoclave. (dry heat is not considered appropriate for sterilization) An autoclave is a medical sterilizer that uses a combination of heat, steam and pressure to kill all pathogenic microorganisms known to man. If the studio does not use an autoclave, do not get pierced or tattooed there. Studios are required to keep regular records of their autoclave use and testing for a minimum of two years. Ask to see these records if you feel uncertain.
4. New needles and Single service equipment
What is single service equipment?
All equipment should be single service. This means that all equipment (needles. tubes, lances, forceps, etc...) should be set individually packaged, dated and sealed then autoclaved. If the packaged equipment to be used is more than 60 days old from date of sterilization it is no longer sterile and must be repackaged, dated, sealed and autoclaved. These packages have indicators that change color when properly sterilized so ask to see the equipment to be used on you and check the color code with the directions on the package. Also check to see initials on the package as this was the individual responsible for the sterilization, and will be the one responsible if something is wrong. Is the studio you are interested in reusing needles? Do they simply re-sterilize needles and allow them back into circulation? If so, for your own safety, you should leave and find a professional studio. You should witness not only the opening of a needle from a sealed processed autoclave pouch, but the needles disposal after its use. Used needles should be discarded into appropriate biohazard “sharps containers” to be picked up and disposed of properly by trained professionals. The studio should have documentation for their needle pickups. Any ointments, pigments, gloves, inkcups, plastic bags. etc... should be discarded after use. Ask to see a tattoo or piercing performed, even the setup before and the breakdown, disposal of needles and the cleanup afterwards. In between each customer the artist should disinfect the work area with an EPA approved virucidal that will kill any surface bacteria or viruses. Anything else to be used near you during the application of a tattoo or piercing such as spray bottles, squeeze bottles, tattoo machines, power cord, etc.. should be covered in plastic rap or bags as to not cross contaminate from one client to another.
5. Ask Questions
Be inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember. the only stupid question is the one not asked. After all, this is about you and your loved ones health and safety.
Once you have chosen a clean, professional establishment, ask to see the tattoo/body piercing portfolios. These will have a collection of each artist’s work. Your goal should be to find an artist that is capable of doing the type of work you are seeking, that meets with you in a professional manner, and last but not least, should make you feel
7. After Care
Before or after you are tattooed or pierced, you should be supplied with a written after care sheet to take home for future reference, If you have any questions about your after care instructions, or healing expectations your artist should verbally explain them to you. If the studio does not offer after care instructions, they don’t care about your safety!
8. Proper Identification
It is a Texas state law that in order to receive a tattoo you must be at least 18 years of age with a valid state issued picture ID. such as a drivers license, military ID. or passport. To receive a body piercing you must be at least 18 years old without parental consent with valid picture identification, for minor piercing proper parental consent and identification must be met. The parent or guardian should call the studio ahead for more information as to what paperwork will be needed. If the studio you visit does not require proper I.D. then you should leave and seek a professional studio.
It is too often these days that an establishment is more concerned with making money, rather than the safety of their customers. This is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly, it is your right to be tattooed or pierced in a safe environment. Stand up against any one that may put you or your loved ones in this danger by contacting the Texas Dept. of Health and/or local police if necessary. Get informed and do some research, and of course, inform your friends and family! We cannot emphasize enough that the wrong choice could lead to a severe reduction in the quality of life you or your loved ones may lead.