Many people at some point in their lives have contemplated the idea of getting a tattoo, delicately placed on a part of their body that may or may not be visible to the public. The fact remains tattoos are still something that people appreciate and have been around for many centuries, with its roots based in religious and tribal communities. As a tattoo artist, they need to know how to be good at applying a tattoo image, have some idea of its history and how to apply a tattoo following hygiene standard procedures.
The main focus for any tattoo apprentice is not just sourcing the best tattoo kits but knowing how to use the tattoo kits in a safe way. This is especially important for people who wish to develop a career as a tattoo artist, because this requires a high amount of experience, a lot of unpaid work and much attention to fine detail. The tattoo machine you use is actually making puncture wounds into the skin making it vulnerable to infection or disease. Therefore, all artists must work at the highest level of health and safety precaution method.
The first step is to research in to what is needed in tattoo kits and how best to keep them sterilised. The standard procedure for sterilising tattoo equipment is by using an autoclave, which is also used in hospitals. These are heat, steam and pressure units maintaining up to 137 degrees Celsius and 15 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes. Other autoclaves can maintain up to 121 degrees Celsius of 10 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes. Some also run at 55 minutes in order to ensure completely sterilised equipment.
Many of the equipment from the tattoo kits are used once only as a strict safety precaution. This prevents any possibility of contamination; these include ink cubs, ink, needles, gloves and other such equipment. Some materials can be reusable as long as the tube or needle bar is sterilised; this is done by placing them in pouches with a strip and left in the autoclave for a complete sterilisation process. The strips are used as an indicator of when the sterilisation process is completed. When a piece of equipment is sterilised, it means that any traces of germs or microorganism is killed ensuring absolute safety of using the equipment.
Further procedures include covering spray bottles, tattoo machines and clip cords with clean plastic bags so there are no risks of contamination. Of course the tattoo artist must always wash his hands and disinfect the working area before beginning; they must however use an approved disinfectant and always wear fresh gloves per job. The artist must also put new ink caps and ink into them, disinfects and removes the hair from the area that is going to be tattooed upon, puts a plastic bag over the spray bottles and tattoo machine, and opens a sealed pouch autoclave sterilised item and clamps it on to the machine. Furthermore they must dampen the area before placing a stencil outlining the tattoo on it. Once the stencil is removed the area must be dry before starting the tattoo process.
It is normal to see the tattoo artist use different sized needle tips. This all depends upon the width of the outlines. This also applies to the ink size as thinner inks are used for working on outlines and thicker inks are used for colouring. Sometimes the artist may use a different machine for the shading; however different artists work at their own pace and have their own system. Although all tattoo artists must know how to apply tattoo art safely, which includes knowing when to clean once the outlines have been completed. Each time a shading or colouring is completed, the artist must clean the surface again. In essence they are cleaning, replacing and cleaning some more as they go.
As bleeding is normal in the process, the tattoo artist must apply a bandage to prevent any further bleeding once they have finished with the tattoo. It makes sense to always go through the hygiene and tattoo process with the customer, as this way they will know what will be happening. All customers must be advised as to what they should do next once the tattoo has been applied and when to take their bandages off. All tattoo artists must follow the standard approved cleaning process without missing a single point, in order to ensure the safety of their customers.
Anna Stenning is knowledgeable is safely maintaining tattoo kits and applying tattoos having researched this in many tattoo parlours.