Recently, a viral video showed how to do tattooing from home, and encouraged mass “employment” of at-home tattoo artists. Opal Lotus Tattoos staff recognized this opportunity to help educate our clients on safe tattooing.

For a safe tattooing experience, one should first think of what makes it safe. In reputable tattoo salons, they consider the environment, the quality of the items being used, and are efficient in their disinfecting procedures in between each client. Without proper training, at-home tattoo artists often overlook these factors leading to poor tattoo work or health risks for their client.

There is a term in tattooing for self-taught tattoo artists who have little to no professional training: “scratchers”. Although there are rare cases of scratchers who are self-taught and safe practicing, most scratchers put other people at risk from their own lack of experience.

Most scratchers are commonly found tattooing outside of their home, on a couch, or at a table. Ebay and Walmart have made it possible for anyone to purchase cheap tattoo kits. Anyone can be called a “tattooer” if one has the internet. However, scratchers lack knowledge of healthy, efficient tattooing methods such as proper sanitation.

In most cases, tattoo artists learn from a mentor for at least one year. Tattoo apprenticeships work in the same way as any other skilled trade. The apprentice tattooer observes, learns, and practices until they are competent enough to receive a salary for their work. These apprenticeships are held in a professional salon with proper knowledge and controls to ensure cleanliness. Unfortunately, most at-home tattoo artists skip this step entirely and tattoo their clients in unsafe environments despite the health risks. Remember, interns don’t get to see dentists and doctors in their homes. This principle also applies to tattooing.

Even though one’s scratchers home may look clean, there are several environmental factors that can cause cross-contamination. These include bacteria, dander, human skin, hair, blood from a previous client, and other contaminants. If one were to get tattooed at home, these contaminants can be picked up from anything one uses in the house, walks, or sits on. 

One of the highest risks here is contracting Hepatitis B from a previous client because of poor sanitation. “Hepatitis B as a virus that can cause liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, and even death” according to the CDC. To avoid this, tattoo studios wipe their tile floors with hospital grade disinfectant, clean the client’s tattoo when completed, and maintain furniture made of non-permeable material/plastic.

There is a common misconception that there’s no way to get a virus or disease if the needle comes straight out of the packaging. This is wrong as there are still many factors that could lead to a blood borne infection or pathogen, not limited to; covering the machine, tools, power supply, power cord and furniture with plastic or saran wrapping.

Tattoo shops are supplied through high reputation companies that have the purest grade materials for the safest, most efficient tattooing process. This leaves little time for those who want to use ink or needles made from a questionable, cheaper source. It has been reported that cheap tattoo ink was contaminated with MRSA-containing waters. This is definitely not something one wants to get on their new tattoo. It is extremely painful, can be difficult to heal, and can even lead to death.

Professional tattoo artists have to charge higher, as they need to consider the cost of high-quality materials and the overhead costs to work in a professional setting. A majority of people’s justification for going to a scrapper is that it’s cheaper. While professional tattoo artists charge around $125 an hour, scratchers might charge $300 per sleeve, which is 15+ hours of work. Everyone wants things done quickly and for as little as possible. It’s vital to understand one can get stuck with bad artwork on one’s body and, in extreme cases, life-threatening viruses, if these same principles apply to getting tattoos.

It is important for the public to be educated about tattoos at home and the risks that come with them. Opal Lotus implores you to research to find a skilled tattoo artist. Look at your artist’s portfolios, ask your friends about them, check out the environment for yourself before you commit to something that will stay on your body forever. Please take our professional advice kindly, and don’t get tattooed elsewhere than a tattoo salon.

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Don’t take the risk of a lifelong mistake, visit Opal Lotus to get the perfect tattoo safely and professionally. Our experienced team of artists will craft the piece you’ve been dreaming of, with results that last! Don’t wait—treat yourself to a safe and beautiful tattoo experience today.

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