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Tattoos are permanent artwork on skin and because we hope to help keep your skin safe and as young as possible, we thought it might help to embrace tattoos since they have become such a big part of not only the younger generation but for many people alike of all ages. So whether you have a tattoo or not, they're are more popular than ever, and recently I spoke with some clients who unfortunately got tattoos that they didn't love. Now laser tattoo removal is an option but it is extremely painful, and that pain is compared to hot bacon grease on your skin. So to avoid getting a laser tattoo removal treatment or receiving a bad tattoo, here are some suggestions.

1. Plan, plan, plan out what you really, really want. Start by cutting out pictures, photos, images from Instagram, the Internet wherever you can find and then piecemeal it together and let them know this is what you want and envision. Some artwork is easier to do than others. If your artist isn’t that well trained in doing what you like, DON’T do it. Because this will be on you forever, it's best to have just what you want.

2. Visit different companies and get to know the artist and the shop.

Don't just trust the 'good reviews' because reviews don’t always tell you the truth about the people or artist. In fact you want to read the bad reviews and see what people really say not just that they like it, you need to read about the people who didn’t like it and why, fake good reviews are very common, but not so much for bad reviews.

3. Booked up artists are probably busier and that may mean better. Artists who take walk-in customers may mean that they aren't very busy. Some of the best tattoo artist are booked weeks if not months out, in fact some may take months to get a consultation appointment. Also, negotiate prices if they aren't that busy. Just because someone charges lots $$$ doesn't mean you should pay it. So in my opinion the better the artist the busier, and the harder it will be to get an appointment. That’s actually good because then it gives you more time to plan and make sure that they are the right artist and shop and that your design is going to be just what you hope for.

4.) Avoid doing big pieces all at once unless you’re absolutely 1000% positive that who you’re working with knows exactly what you want and they are the right person to do it.

If you look at people who do large scale work they did it over the course of weeks or months. Doing big pieces on your first visit can be uncomfortable especially if you are leery of needles or unaccustomed to pain. Shoot for 1-2 hours max unless you are really able to sit longer. Piece-meal small pieces into larger works that can develop over time.

5. Shop around for good prices.

Most people have an idea of what artwork they want and a budget. But it’s not about how much you want to spend but that you will receive a quality of art vs. what someone charges and how good it looks in the end. And absolutely never accept a 'free tattoo' because there’s no need to practice on anyone. Years ago I had friends who would arrive with really bad artwork, and I would ask them 'how much did you pay for that?' And they would say 'oh he did it for free because he’s practicing', and I would just shake my head and think 'oh you poor thing.'

6. If you get a bad vibe from your artist (or the shop) it’s easier to sacrifice the initial deposit and walk away then live with something you regret and have something you’re really not happy with.

You want to get-to-know your artist, and occasionally everyone has a bad day, but if the artist is moody or acts strange, remember: TRUST NO ONE and never trust your artist without looking at what they're doing; always ask questions, make comments. Its like getting a haircut from a stranger always watch what they’re doing and trust your instincts. If it feels bad, you need to stop, and if they somehow feel insulted? 'Rejection is God's protection' - temperamental, Premadonna, egotistical and arrogant artists are ultimately hiding something. Years ago I worked in the entertainment industry of Los Angeles and found the bigger the artist or celebrity, the nicer they were, it's no coincidence.

7. This is paramount, get a final draft or stencil and see the design before putting it on your skin. Don’t let someone draw on you and have them think it’s going to be fine just because it's 'their vision'. Absolutely have them show you on paper otherwise you can’t really see what they have in mind for you unless you see the final proof. Thats what stencils are for, it may take a little longer, but that is what can make a difference.

8.) The tattoo artist you go to should treat you like a king or queen.

Not just because you have money but because you’re involving them in your lifelong process. If you don’t feel comfortable it’s probably not gonna be a good situation. A lot of times shops play random music that they like to hear and it’s good suggestion if you bring your headphones and you don’t want to hear whatever music they’re playing because it’s going to change how tense or relaxed you feel. The customer experience goes both ways and its not just because you pay, its the good vibes and experience that convinces you to stay.

9.) Chances are no one will notice that you have a bad tattoo in fact if you look at a lot of musicians, celebrities, and even tattoo artists it seems that everybody has one bad tattoo. It’s true. But if your tattoo is something that’s bad but to other people they may not notice or vice-versa. What this means is that as bad as it looks to you it may not be that bad to others so don’t take it so hard, thats why they laser tattoo removal.

10. Respectively, it's a tattoo, it's not brain surgery or chiseling stone like Michelangelo's David.

The after care of ink that is injected into your skin will require some aftercare. Make sure that your tattoo artists gives you the exact aftercare instructions that you need. Some say let it 'heal dry' while others say use aquaphor.

Regardless you should: remove the bandage after 24 hours. Wash gently with antimicrobial soap and luke warm water and softly pat dry. Apply a layer of antibacterial ointment twice a day, but don't put on a bandage, let it begin to breathe and dry out. Then gently wash your tattoo several times a day with soap and luke warm water and gently pat dry. The healing process should take between 2-3 weeks. There are tons of websites with more in-depth information. Use common sense when approaching this lifelong commitment and always remember to ask around to others who have tattoos about their experiences and recommendations.

Good Luck and remember to always ask lots of questions, good artist will love to share their experiences with you!

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