Everything you need to know before getting a tattoo

Image Credit: Special Arrangement/Manorama Online

In the olden days, tattoo was limited to just the idol of a favourite God or one’s own name inked on the wrists. No one experimented with designs or colours or didn’t even ink at any other part of the body. However, the simple ‘inking’ has grown into an elaborate art of tattooing that involves intricate and complex designs drawn in myriad colours and shades. Even as tattooing is gaining popularity, many are worried whether it could cause health problems or skin diseases.

Body is canvas
In tattooing, your body is the canvas on which the artist unleashes his creative and artistic prowess. Electronic needles are mostly used to draw tattoos. Many sport persons have dedicated their entire body for tattooing.

Spanish footballer Sergio Ramos reportedly has forty-two tattoos on various parts of his body. From the image of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary to famous quotes and memorable dates, Ramos doesn’t shy away from trying different designs and patterns. He even has the image of a football ground and the map of Spain tattooed on his body.

Interestingly, there are removable and non-removable tattoos on Ramos’ body. He usually takes months to finalise the designs and patterns. It is important to note that picking the right tattoo studio is as important as choosing a beautiful design.

No to tattoo
Even though many sports persons are known for their addiction to tattoos, there are lots of others who stay away from inking. Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo has chosen to leave his body ‘bare’ as he is someone who regularly donates blood. He had often said that he doesn’t like to tattoo as he wouldn’t be able to donate blood after that. One cannot donate blood for at least 4 months after tattooing.

How is it done?
Tattoo artists use electric needles to draw designs and patterns on the skin. In order for the tattoo to be permanent, the ink has to get into the dermis, the tissue that is underneath the outer skin. The tattooed area has to be tended just like a wound is tended at least for the first few days. From your names or tiny designs to large and extensive designs, you could get anything tattooed on your body. The price would range from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000 depending up on the size of the design.

Licence became mandatory for tattoo artists and tattoo studios, since 2021, after complaints were raised about health and hygiene. The licence is issued by a board that comprises of a medical officer, health supervisor, an official from the district chemical analytical lab and an officer from the state pollution control board. The needles and other equipment that are used for tattooing should have the approval of the state drugs control department. The authorities should ensure that disposable needles are used at the tattoo studios. Tattoo artists can apply for license only after submitting certificates that prove their qualifications.

The customers too should ensure that you are choosing a licensed tattoo studio. It is wiser not to fall for cheap and shady way side tattoo parlours that pop up during festivals. Make sure that you choose a licensed tattoo studio and artist to avoid complications in the future.

Health matters
“Tattoo isn’t allowed at many offices and companies. So, a lot of people approach to remove old tattoos. Tattoos could be removed only through laser treatment. However, this procedure is harmful for the body. It is better to not get inked from wayside tattoo parlours that do not have license. Tattoos would last longer and wouldn’t affect health if they are done from licenced studios by well-trained artists. Iron moulds that are used to create designs could cause allergy in some people. Their skin might react horribly to such things. Those who have tattoos on their bodies aren’t allowed to donate blood, to avoid the risk of HIV transmission, assuming that the needles that are used for tattooing aren’t disposable. Tattoos are done in hospitals too as part of certain treatment. Trained professionals are hired for such jobs,” says Dr TP Thankappan, Head of the department of dermatology, Medical College, Alappuzha. 

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