7 Tattooing Tips for First-Time Tattooers & Needle Afraid People
You might be apprehensive about getting your first tattoo, and the first tattoo advice on the Internet can frequently be misleading. Maybe you’re worried about the expense, or you’re concerned about the long-term effects of your ink choice. Even if you’ve laid aside plenty of cash and have your heart set on the design of your dreams, your phobia of needles could stand in the way of your new ink since (spoiler) getting a tattoo entails using a hand and having the needle repeatedly pushed into your flesh. However, as a tattoo veteran, I can promise you that it is not a medical treatment and can be a very enjoyable and thrilling experience.
Throughout my ill teenage years, I’ve been poked and prodded with IV infusions, injections, and blood tests, all of which necessitated needles. I wouldn’t say I liked those needles, which frequently resulted in bleeding and bruises as nurses attempted to find a vein that would work. That being said, I can tell you that my medical needle experiences are nothing like my tattoo-related needle experiences. A needle only penetrates the first layer of your skin when getting a tattoo, so there are fewer veins and blood vessels to worry about. So that’s a start.
Still not persuaded? If you’re afraid of needles, here are seven reassuring insights, and advice for your first tattoo.
1. It Will Not Appear Medical
Fearful of needles, people often have a visceral reaction to how the needle looks as it goes in. The arrow used in a tattoo gun, on the other hand, appears to be more of an artistic tool than a medical one. Furthermore, it is not at all frightening to see.
When you watch your artist’s work, you’ll see that the needle doesn’t appear to be going into the skin, and it seems like someone is scribbling on your skin with a loud, buzzing pen. When obtaining a tattoo, no veins are punctured, and no blood is involved (although sometimes your skin bleeds tiny little droplets, which is normal and barely noticeable).
2. It’s All Right Not To Look
Some people find it difficult to observe the procedure even knowing all of this. And that’s perfectly fine! It’s fine if you don’t glance at the area while your artist works, and nobody expects you to keep an eye on things.
3. The Suffering Is Tolerable
It’s easy to let your imagination go wild about how a tattoo needle feels on your skin if you’ve never had one before. Don’t involve too worked up over it; it’s quite doable. When I was getting my first tattoo, I was terrified of how much it would hurt, believing every horror story about the agony and relying on my previous needle experience as a guide. I was underwhelmed as soon as the needle pierced my skin for my first tattoo.
Don’t get me wrong: I was in pain, but nowhere like as bad as anticipated. It’s a continuous and predictable ache that may be readily masked with some focus. I’ve heard the agony described to a sunburned cat scratching. It feels far more mild and methodical than a spontaneous act of aggressiveness from a mad feline, but it does have certain stinging and burning feelings in common with the cat simile.
4. Take Rest Periods
If the discomfort of the needle makes you nervous, there are a few options for dealing with it. One method is to take breaks every half hour (or as often as possible). Drink some water, move a little, check your email – anything that will allow you to re-energize or relax. Make sure you’re breathing evenly and deeply during the tattoo to keep yourself comfortable. Although it may feel natural to hold your breath when you’re in pain, it’s not a good idea.
I practice highly regulated and meditative breathing exercises when I get a tattoo. Counting to ten as you breathe in and out will calm your body, but it will also divert your attention away from the soreness on your skin.
5. Your Friends Are Distractions
There are numerous techniques to divert attention away from the discomfort of the tattoo needle. Artists are aware of this and that you are in pain as they place their work on your body. If the dental drill-sounding equipment is getting to you, listening to music can help you shut out the sound of the needle buzzing.
In tattoo parlors, music is virtually always playing. Even if it isn’t loud enough to block out the needle’s sound, tapping along to the music can be beneficial. When I’m getting inked, I keep one portion of my body moving in a rhythmic manner (which doesn’t interfere with my artist’s job, of course), which serves as a terrific diversion for me.
However, talking to your artist is perhaps the simplest (and most courteous) type of distraction. I normally converse with my artist throughout our session, and keeping my focus on my part of the discussion helps the discomfort fade away. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about your artist (and meet some new people!).
6. So, who’s your artist?
Inform your artist about your worries. Tell them you’re nervous about needles and that this is your first time. This will immediately put you at ease with your artist, but they will also be able to say things that will put your mind at ease because they know their trade better than you do. Not to mention that talking about your emotions can be cathartic in and of itself.
Of course, having an artist who pays attention to your body response and checks in regularly is great. If this is not the case immediately away, don’t be hesitant to maintain open contact lines throughout the process. They are aware of your situation and will do all possible to make the process more comfortable and manageable for you.
7. Inquire about numbing cream
Why not address the issue of pain as a whole? Many shops do not inform you that numbing the region before tattooing is an option, yet it is offered at max parlors. If the pain of the needle is bothering you, don’t be hesitant to ask for some numbing cream ahead of time. You’ll still be able to feel something, but the stinging and discomfort will be significantly reduced (which makes the extra hour it takes to set in worth it).
Regardless of the circumstances, performing anything new, strange, and perhaps painful is certain to cause some worry. But rest assured: once the ink is on your body and part of your soul, it will all be worth it.