artist drawing on a canvass

How To Get Ready For A New Tattoo?

Listen to this Article::

Getting ready for a new tattoo is a highly personal experience and routine means everything. Some people get extra sleep, others cram their body full of calories in preparation for a session. Those little things a person does to get their head in the game may be good emotionally but how good are they for the tattoo session?

Let’s take a look at time tested positives, scientifically proven practices that work, and client testimonials (some that sound ridiculous). Who knows, maybe you can add another step to the prep game you already have in place.

tops of bottles of water pointed towards each other

Drink plenty of fluids

Your skin gets damaged when you get a tattoo. To heal that wound you need proper hydration. Waste is excreted through you kidneys, which need water to get rid of all those toxins.

Being a little dehydrated can extend your heal times.

Be even more aware of your fluid intake levels if you live in a desert or arctic climate.

What Science Says:

“The available literature suggest the effects of increased water intake on health may be direct, due to increased urine flow or urine dilution, or indirect, mediated by a reduction in osmotically -stimulated vasopressin (AVP).”

Perrier, Erica T et al. “Hydration for health hypothesis: a narrative review of supporting evidence.” European journal of nutrition vol. 60,3 (2021): 1167-1180. doi:10.1007/s00394-020-02296-z

it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again

Keeping your skin moisturized – 

Your skin is constantly shedding dead cells. Having a moisturizer in your daily arsenal improves your body’s ability of sloughing them off. This makes your skin feel healthier and more likely to heal quickly, accept the tattoo ink properly, and look good for years to come.

What Science Says: 

An improvement of skin hydration was observed after additional water uptake, statistically modifying the hydration level as well as TEWL, the water-binding capacity of the uppermost layers of the stratum corneum. Improvements of softness, smoothness and skin-moisturising effect were perceived by healthy subjects, and skin micro-relief was improved.”

Mac-Mary, S et al. “Assessment of effects of an additional dietary natural mineral water uptake on skin hydration in healthy subjects by dynamic barrier function measurements and clinic scoring.” Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI) vol. 12,3 (2006): 199-205. doi:10.1111/j.0909-752X.2006.00160.x

don't touch it

Do not shave the area –

Regardless of what non-tattooers tell you, DON’T SHAVE YOUR SKIN WITH A RAZOR! If you mark your skin in any way your appointment will be cancelled.

There is also evidence that getting razor’d can increase the chances of you picking up an infection after the tattoo!

Just leave it to the professionals to do the shaving before your tattoo (Yes, tattooers are also professionals with a Bic razor)

What Science Says: 

“The evidence finds no difference in surgical site infections (SSIs) among patients who have had hair removed prior to surgery and those who have not. If it is necessary to remove hair then both clipping and depilatory creams results in fewer SSIs than shaving using a razor. There is no difference in SSIs when patients are shaved or clipped one day before surgery or on the day of surgery.”

Tanner, J et al. “Preoperative hair removal to reduce surgical site infection.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews ,2 CD004122. 19 Apr. 2006, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004122.pub2


Get a decent night’s sleep –

Hitting the club and getting drunk is not going to help you sit well for your tattoo. Neither is staying up all night binge and chilling. Getting sleep is necessary for a healthy immune system, and for the chemical in your brain that help deal with pain.

Get sleep or else the tattoo is going to hurt much worse.

What Science Says: 

“Sleep deprivation and sleep disruption increase pain sensitivity and vulnerability to pain.”

Lautenbacher, Stefan et al. “Sleep deprivation and pain perception.” Sleep medicine reviews vol. 10,5 (2006): 357-69. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2005.08.001

yummy food spread

Eat a big meal and bring a light snack –

No one wants to pass out in a tattoo shop. You will be ridiculed. Most hyper-masculine shops out there will shame you like a leper if you lose consciousness during a tattoo.

Loss of consciousness occurs because a person’s blood pressure drops when exposed to pain. If the body doesn’t have enough glucose reserves to keep their heart pumping strongly it soon becomes time for the face to meet the floor

Make sure you eat to avoid this horrific outcome.

What Science Says: 

While there is no peer-reviewed journals discussing syncope and tattooing, there are journals describing loss of consciousness and giving blood. This closely related activity shows us what happens to the body when

Philip, Joseph et al. “A single-centre study of vasovagal reaction in blood donors: Influence of age, sex, donation status, weight, total blood volume and volume of blood collected.” Asian journal of transfusion science vol. 8,1 (2014): 43-6. doi:10.4103/0973-6247.126690

An Extra Note – Fainting during a tattoo isn’t a rare occurrence. In my experience it happens more often in men, those with higher BMI’s, and in people who are generally more nervous before the appointment starts.

dude alkin
  • Wear loose fitting clothing that is dark colored –

    You may be the most chaste person in existence, but your clothes aren’t. Wearing white to a tattoo appointment is like wearing a MSI t-shirt to church. Also, make sure your new tattoo isn’t ground off your skin by those tight-fit denim… something… you wear.

Be prepared for boredom and bring something you enjoy –

More often then not the younger generation of tattooers doesn’t want to be interrupted by you talking to them. I’m not joking. Be prepared by knowing what type of client you are and coming prepared.

old movie theater

Check out our article about tattoo pain and what type of client you are – 

The Best And Worst Spots To Get Tattooed