Tattoo and Body Modification Risks to Consider

There are a number of reasons for getting piercings, tattoos, and other body modifications. Whether the reason is shock value or a deep desire to become a walking work of art, take the time to consider what you want and where you want it. Tattoos, piercings and such can cost you a pretty penny, but undoing the modification may cost more. Common sense tells us that infection is the main concern with any body modification, but there are other things to consider. Bear in mind this is not a complete list of everything that could go wrong, but a general idea of what areas to research before hand.

Tattooed names are only a good idea if they’re your children. Whether you’re married to the love of your life, or just dating, nothing is certain. While it’s tempting to put your sweetie’s name on your body to show your undying devotion, think again. If there is a break up, no matter how messy, you’re going to wish you had not done it. Also, the next person you get into a romantic relationship with probably won’t be so keen on seeing your ex’s name on your body.

Trendy tattoos won’t be cool in a few months. Before you rush out to have the logo of the coolest “now” band, sports team, or clothing label tattooed on your body, consider how quickly trends change. Anything that is all the rage right now will be a vague memory in a few months. Also, other trends (like those tribal armbands) tend to lose their coolness as soon as a new tattoo style trend develops. Following trends with tattoos is pointless.

Covering a tattoo with another one isn’t always an option. There are times when tattoo artists, even the most skilled ones, cannot cover a tattoo with another one. The artist may suggest you get laser removal done to at least lighten it enough to cover. The typical cost is $200-$500 per session, and it does take multiple sessions to lighten or remove a tattoo. A lot of the cost depends on size.

Piercings are removable – but tend to leave scars. Piercings can be undone at no cost; however, they tend to scar. On males, the scarring isn’t so visible – but on females, makeup seems to bring them out. If your facial piercing was done with a hollow needle, chances are the scar will look like a hole is still there, even years later.

Genital piercings on females can cause loss of sensation. Piercings on female genitalia are not to be done by a novice. The best way to pierce the clitoris is by not piercing the clitoris itself. The hood above it is a wise alternative. If the person piercing you is off by just a tiny bit, a piercing through the clitoris can damage nerves and cause sensation to be lost – permanently.

Genital piercings on males also have risks that may or may not be worth taking. The risk of impotence caused by hitting the erectile tissue by mistake is probably number one on the list. Also, narrowing of the urethra could be a problem with the Prince Albert type of piercing.

Ear lobe stretching (or gauging) will require being sewn up to reverse. If the holes are too large, plastic surgery will be needed. Earlobe stretching can prove to be a very expensive lesson learned if you decide at some point – after a lot of excessive stretching – to remove the plugs.

No matter what type of body modification you choose, there is a good possibility one day you may wish you hadn’t. More important than that, there is research you should do before you decide to allow someone to do any sort of body modification or body art. Part of your research will be in person, and having a list of questions you want answered when you visit a tattoo studio or piercing parlor will help you make certain you won’t get botched work or put yourself in the position for health risks.

1. Ask the tattoo artist or piercer about how they sterilize their equipment and if they use individually packaged one-use needles. If they are in the habit of reusing needles – even if they sterilize them – leave immediately. There is NO excuse for reusing needles – ever.

2. Check the shop out for cleanliness and note whether or not there are latex gloves and sanitizing cleaners around work stations. It’s a good idea to make a visit to check out tattoo and piercing parlors when they have customers in them getting work done. If an artist is tattooing someone and not wearing gloves, it’s a safe assumption they don’t adhere to health codes.

3. Ask the artist or piercer about their experience and view their portfolio. Any artist or piercer worth their salt will have a portfolio of their work, and will be happy to show you. That’s why they have them. If they don’t have a portfolio or are reluctant to show one, chances are they have done some lousy work they are ashamed of.

4. Aside from needles, there are other materials piercers and artists use that should be thrown out after each customer. Ink caps, razors, and stencils are a few of the others.

5. Does the artist or piercer belong to any professional organizations or associations related to their skill? Most of the better qualified artists and piercers do, and can back it up with documentation.

6. Do they provide aftercare instructions in writing? It’s one thing to be verbally told a list of do’s and don’ts but quite another to have a complete list on paper to use daily. If you have instructions on paper, you aren’t likely to skip anything important by forgetting.

7. Check to see if they have posted Certification of Board of Health approval. It should be hanging on the wall – usually behind the reception area. If you don’t see one, ask where it is. Make sure you check to see if the date on the Board of Health certificate is current. If they can’t show it to you – leave.

8. Ask for references. Usually, artists and piercers have a list of names and phone numbers of people that have given consent to be used as references. Ask if they have a reference list, and take a copy home.

9. Make sure they use an Autoclave for sterilization. An autoclave is a heat sterilization machine that is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. When it comes to your health and well being – you can never be “too careful.”

10 Finally, make sure all needles are opened in front of you. Don’t ever assume the artist or piercer opened that package when you came through the door. A package opened without you seeing it should be considered contaminated, and insist they get a new one and open it while you are watching. If they refuse – leave without having any work done.Even

if your question or concern is not in this listing, by all means, ask anyway. Even if you feel it’s a stupid question, remember it’s your body and you could likely get any number of diseases from unclean equipment and needles. Some of the diseases are: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, Tetanus, and Tuberculosis. Your health and safety is number one.

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