Unfortunately there are not a lot of requirements for tattooists as far as government regulations go. They can vary from none at all to Board of Health inspections.If the Board of Health inspects they give a license or permit. The inspectors usually only checks for the basics, an autoclave and non-porous surfaces ect. Some counties don't even require that. There is no test for tattooing knowledge or ability.

Most people assume that if it's a business that is open and working they must be professionals. This is far from the truth in most cases.Another often wrong assumption is that if a tattooist has been working for for a long time they know what they are doing. Experience is great and you want someone experienced but it could mean that they have been doing it wrong for a long time.

If you are considering any form of body art, arm yourself with knowledge, so you do not regret your decision.

Your tattooist should be working out of a well established, legitimate location, not a seedy back room or a hide away in a basement. Shops that do hairdressing, sell clothes, pipes, paraphrenalia are not appropriate places for body work to be done. Body art is invasive to the body and should be done in a salon specializing in nothing other than body arts. It should be immaculately clean as a doctors office would be.

Your tattooist should be able to provide a photo album full of pictures of their work. You should be able to ask questions and have them answered honestly and intelligently. If the tatooist evades your questions, gets flustered, nervous, irritable or tries to rush you through, simply say "I would like to think about it." and leave the shop. You should be able to get a tour of the tattooing room and sterilization areas before getting any work done.

Make sure your see the autoclave and a recent spore test result statement. It should read either negative or N. Accept no excuses. If they cannot provide a recent test result LEAVE.

If possible talk to some previous customers of the tattooist you are considering. Ask about their experiences and how they were treated.

You should be asked to fill out a consent form no matter what your age is. This consent form should ask basic health questions. Are you pregnant? Are you under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Do you have any medical conditions that the artist should be aware of? These questions are for your safety, answer honestly.

An ethical body artist will not work on someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (and they shouldn't be working on you if they are under the influence.) This can be dangerous. It's better to be patient and find a professional you are comfortable with and confident in and have the work done while you are straight. There is really nothing to fear, you will be safer, make better decisions, heal easier and you will have faced a fear and conquered it as well!

You should NEVER be asked to remove any clothing other than what is necessary to expose the area to be tattooed. Make sure your tatooist changes gloves often to avoid cross contamination.

Find a tattooist who stands by their work. They should be able to touch up a tattoo. They should be able to solve any problems and answer any questions you have.

Make sure you see everthing taken out of a sterile pouch in front of you.

These basic guidelines will help you on your way to a happy, successful tattooing experience.

©Rose Pulda of Miraculous Creations. Used by the goodness, grace and permission of the very same.