Protective Measures to Look for When Searching for a Tattoo Shop13 Feb 2021 - Flaaim
Tattoo artists have many regulations put in place to avoid contact or the exchange of bodily fluids. This is a safety issue for both the artist and the client. When being tattooed, the top layers of skin are damaged. This can lead to seeping and bleeding, which can carry transmittable bloodborne pathogens and microorganisms like hepatitis and HIV. When a tattoo is being done, personal protective equipment is a vital necessity to keep both parties safe. Here are some things you should look for when selecting a tattoo shop to have work done. If you don’t see the following precautions, consider checking out another shop.
Hygiene and General Precautions:
Make sure your tattoo artist is washing their hands anytime they change gloves or change out tattoo machine attachments. This might sound like it should be common practice, and it is, but it’s also something to be observant of. This is about your health. If you don’t see simple and routine practices like these, feel free to speak up or walk out. Furniture should also be wiped with disinfectant cleaner between each client. Tattoo furniture should not be made of cloth fabric. It needs to be a wipeable material like leather or synthetic leather to make the surface easy and quick to clean.
Gloves and Arm Sleeves:
Rubber gloves should be worn at any point the tattoo machine or tattoo artist is touching your skin. Any contact with the tattoo area should have a safety barrier between them at all times. It is not uncommon for a tattoo artist to take breaks during the process, but should switch to a new clean pair of rubber gloves each time. Depending on the size of your tattoo and the length of time it takes to complete, your tattoo artist will change gloves multiple times. Medical gloves should also be worn before tattooing starts if the artist is drawing or stenciling on your skill. After the tattoo is complete, gloves should remain on during cleaning and wrapping. You basically have an open wound at this point with potentially a lot of surface area damaged where pathogens can get into your body. If your tattoo artist has to do a lot of leaning in to reach you or it is a long session where they just lean in to support themselves, arm sleeves can also be worn. Again, anytime skin is touching skin during the tattooing process a protective barrier is necessary.
Face masks are not considered general practice. With our increased understanding of PPE and universal precautions, they are becoming more prevalent in tattoo shops. If your tattoo artist is experiencing any symptoms of illness, they should wear a face mask or you could even consider rescheduling your appointment. If you want to proceed, ask about wearing a mask. It would probably be a good idea for your own general health to do the same. A little cough or sneeze from either of you can end up on that fresh tattoo.
Many tattoo artists also wear protective glasses. This is more for their own benefit as the eyes are another entry point for pathogens. Glasses are something else for the tattoo artist to touch and readjust. Every time this happens, the artist should change to a new pair of gloves.
Protective Aprons and Footwear:
These are both more important for the tattoo artist to avoid any unnecessary contact with your bodily fluid. Aprons can help protect the artist’s clothes so they don’t take any of your fluids home with them. Closed toe shoes should also be worn by your tattoo artist. Flip flops and other types of sandals cannot stop any drippings of tattoo ink or other fluids.
The last three personal protective equipment ideas are more for the artist than the client, but you want a clean environment. If these precautions are not being taken seriously by the individual artist, how clean is the rest of the establishment? These are fair questions to ask. This is about your health and having the safest and most stress-free tattoo experience possible.