Frequently Asked Questions
Following are the most frequently asked questions we receive. Click on the question to read the answer. If you have any additional questions, contact us.
How do I care for my tattoo?
Tattoo artists, and people with tattoos, vary widely in their preferred methods of caring for new tattoos. Some artists recommend keeping a new tattoo wrapped for the first twenty-four hours, while others suggest removing temporary bandaging after two hours or less. Many tattooists advise against allowing too much contact with hot tub or pool water, or soaking in a tub for the first two weeks. This is to prevent the tattoo ink from washing out or fading due to over-hydration and to avoid infection from exposure to bacteria. In contrast, other artists suggest that a new tattoo be bathed in very hot water early/ General consensus for care advises against removing the scab that forms on a new tattoo, and avoiding exposing one’s tattoo to the sun for extended periods for at least 3 weeks; both of these can contribute to fading of the image. Furthermore, it is agreed that a new tattoo needs to be kept clean. Various products may be recommended for application to the skin, ranging from those intended for the treatment of cuts, burns and scrapes, to cocoa butter, hemp, salves, lanolin, A&D, Bepanthen or Aquaphor.
Oil based ointments are almost always recommended to be used in very thin layers due to their inability to evaporate and therefore over-hydrate the already perforated skin. In recent years, specific commercial products have been developed for tattoo aftercare. Although opinions about these products vary, there is near total agreement that either alone or in addition to some other product, soap and warm water work well to keep a tattoo clean and free from infection. Ultimately, the amount of ink that remains in the skin throughout the healing process determines, in large part, how robust the final tattoo will look.
If a tattoo becomes infected (uncommon but possible if one neglects to properly clean their tattoo) or if the scab falls off too soon (e.g., if it absorbs too much water and sloughs off early or is picked or scraped off), then the ink will not be properly fixed in the skin and the final image will be negatively affected.
- Remove bandage in two hours.
- Wash tattoo with warm water and mild soap. Blot it dry. Wash tattoo daily 4-5 times.
- After washing tattoo, apply a small amount of Bacitracin Ointment and rub it in like skin lotion to keep it from drying out. Do this for a minimum of three days (NO LONGER)! If you use too much ointment on your tattoo for too long a time, you could have an allergic reaction. If you have a reaction, discontinue use immediately.
- Do not expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight. Do not enter a swimming pool or hot tub until your tattoo is completely healed (at least 3 weeks). Baths and showers are fine.
- After four days, if dryness occurs, a mild skin lotion can be used moderately. A light scab will form in 7-10 days. DO NOT PICK IT OFF!
Any questions or persistent conditions, please feel free to call us. The better you treat your tattoo, the better the outcome!
Does it hurt?
Yes. Tattoos hurt. Stubbing your toe hurts, getting your eyebrows waxed hurts. Does a tattoo hurt that badly? No. Tattoos are more irritating than anything else. I have had people compare the feeling of a tattoo to a scrape or a scratch. Some have even said that it tickles. A tattoo does NOT feel like a shot. The needle is going up and down so fast that it does not feel like a needle. Tattoos only start to hurt if you get a very large tattoo. Anything that is small and only takes an hour or so is going to be something that you can bear. It is always a good idea to break a tattoo that is going to take a fair amount of time into a few parts. Often times you can get the outline and then go back when the outline is healed to get the color. You do not have to do this, but for any tattoo that is going to take more than three hours, it is a good idea.
If you are worried about the pain, you can take a non-blood thinning pain reliever. Do not get drunk. Alcohol does nothing for pain and it makes you much more likely to make bad decisions and get sick. There is not a tattoo artist in the world who likes to clean up vomit. Do not drink. Likewise, other illegal substances do not do a whole lot for your pain either. Some of them actually make it worse by increasing your sensitivity, making the tattoo seem like it is taking much longer than it actually is, or making you more likely to get light-headed. Stay sober.
If you are female, it is NOT a good idea to go during your time of the month. You are much more sensitive to pain during that time. Going when you are sick is NOT a good idea either. Your body is already dealing with whatever illness you have and making it deal with a tattoo can be too much for it. Eat an hour or so before the tattoo. Having low blood sugar makes it more likely to become light-headed.
Any questions, comments or worries, please feel free to call us.
Will my tattoo fade?
Tattoos today are much more resilient and brighter than the ones your grandpa got overseas in WWII. Today, we use much better inks that are brighter and last longer. Fading is, for the most part, a thing of the past as long as you take care of your tattoo. All tattoos will look like they fade a little bit after they have healed. Right after the tattoo is done, it is still on top of your skin. When the tattoo heals it is under your skin, and therefore, looks a little lighter. Taking care of your tattoo will also make it heal brighter than it will if you do not take care of it properly.
The most important thing to keep your tattoo bright is to keep it out of the sun, not only while it is healing, but also for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Constant sun exposure makes your tattoo fade. The sun fades everything, it fades the paint on your car, it makes your hair lighter, and I am sure that you have seen what it does to a newspaper that you leave in a car window. It fades tattoos too. While the tattoo is healing, be sure to keep it covered with some sort of clothing. After (and only after, not while) the tattoo has healed, you can start using a high SPF sun block (not a sunscreen). It will really help to keep the tattoo dark and will help to keep the lines from getting that sort of fat, fuzzy look.
Any questions, comments or worries, please feel free to call us. Most cleansers are available at your neighborhood drugstore.
How old do I have to be?
In the state of California, you must be 18 years of age to get a tattoo. We make absolutely no exceptions to this law and you will be required to show valid identification prior to any work being done.
Can I bring my own design?
Just about any design you can think of can be made into a beautiful tattoo. You are more than welcome to bring in your own design or pick one of our hundreds of designs that line our walls. If you already know what you want, great! It is very simple to convey your idea to our artists. The easiest way is with a picture. It doesn’t matter what the picture is on (keychain, t-shirt, book, drawing…etc.). Even if you can’t draw, our guys still love to do the custom work. Just describe it well or even bring in a stick drawing. We can turn it into your dream tattoo on paper right before your eyes!
Can you fix my existing tattoo?
Old tattoos can be easily reworked into a fresh work of art. Color can be added to brighten your existing tattoo or with a little creativity even turned into a completely new (although larger) tattoo. There’s no use in going through life with “Susan” tattooed on your arm if you love “Steve.” Thanks to the modern possibilities of the Tattoo Factory experience, it can all be corrected. Why wait? We fix other tattoo shop’s mistakes all the time!
How much is it going to cost?
When it comes to tattoos, you get what you pay for. Yes, there are plenty of people tattooing out there that will ink you cheap, and you’ll be crying to a real artist to have it covered up. Look for quality, and be willing to pay for it. It is not worth haggling over the price of a tattoo. It’s disrespectful to the artist. If you can’t pay for quality, don’t bother. This is not a bargain bin. It is a piece of art you will wear for life.