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April 18, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

Thinking about getting a tattoo? Keep these tips and suggestions in mind

It seems like everyone has a tattoo these days. Maybe you’ve thought about getting one. But before you head down to the nearest tattoo shop, here are some things you need to know.

A tattoo is a puncture wound, made deep in your skin, that’s filled with ink. It’s made by penetrating your skin with a needle and injecting ink into the area, usually creating some sort of design. What makes tattoos so long lasting is they’re so deep – the ink isn’t injected into the epidermis (the top layer of skin that you continue to produce and shed throughout your lifetime). Instead, the ink is injected into the dermis, which is the second, deeper layer of skin. Dermis cells are very stable, so the tattoo is practically permanent.

Most tattoo shops use a tattoo machine, a handheld electric instrument that uses a tube and needle system. On one end is a sterilized needle, which is attached to tubes that contain ink. A foot switch is used to turn on the machine, which moves the needle in and out while driving the ink about one inch into your skin.

Getting a tattoo can hurt, but the level of pain varies. Because getting a tattoo involves being stuck multiple times with a needle, it can feel like getting a bunch of shots or being stung by a hornet multiple times. Some people describe it as “tingling.” It all depends on your pain threshold, how good the person wielding the tattoo machine is and where exactly on your body you’re getting the tattoo. Also, keep in mind that you’ll probably bleed a little. Getting a tattoo can take several hours, depending on the size and design chosen.

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, there is one very important thing you have to keep in mind – getting it done safely. Although it might look a whole lot cooler than a big scab, a new tattoo is also a wound and is at risk for infections and disease.

First, make sure you’re up to date with your immunizations (especially hepatitis and tetanus shots) and plan where you’ll get medical care if your tattoo becomes infected (signs of infection include excessive redness or tenderness around the tattoo, prolonged bleeding, pus, or changes in your skin color around the tattoo).

Make sure the tattoo studio is clean and safe, and that all equipment used is disposable (in the case of needles, gloves, masks, etc.) and sterilized (everything else). Some states, cities, and communities set up standards for tattoo studios, but others don’t. You can call your state, county, or local health department to find out about the laws in your community and ask for recommendations on licensed tattoo shops.

Professional studios usually take pride in their cleanliness.

Make sure the tattoo studio has an autoclave (a device that uses steam, pressure, and heat for sterilization). You should be allowed to watch as equipment is sterilized.

Also, check that the tattoo artist is a licensed practitioner. If so, the tattoo artist should be able to provide you with references.

Be sure that the tattoo studio follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Universal Precautions, regulations that outline procedures to be followed when dealing with bodily fluids (in this case, blood).

If the studio looks unclean, if anything looks out of the ordinary, or if you feel in any way uncomfortable, find a better place to get your tattoo.

Here’s what you can expect from a normal tattooing procedure:

The tattoo artist will first wash his or her hands with a germicidal soap.

The to-be-tattooed area on your body will be cleaned and disinfected.

The tattoo artist will put on clean, fresh gloves (and possibly a surgical mask).

The tattoo artist will explain the sterilization procedure to you and open up the single-use, sterilized equipment (such as needles, etc.).

Using the tattoo machine (with a sterile, single-use needle attached), the tattoo artist will begin drawing an outline of the tattoo under your skin.

The outline will be cleaned with antiseptic soap and water.

Sterile, thicker needles will be installed on the tattoo machine, and the tattoo artist will start shading the design. After cleaning the area again, color will be injected.

Any blood will be removed by a sterile, disposable cloth or towel.

When finished, the area, now sporting a finished tattoo, will be cleaned once again and a bandage will be applied.

The last step in getting a tattoo is very important – taking care of the tattoo until it fully heals. Follow all of the instructions the studio gives you for caring for your tattoo.

To make sure your tattoo heals properly:

Keep a bandage on the area for up to 24 hours.

Avoid touching the tattooed area and don’t pick at any scabs that may form.

Wash the tattoo with an antibacterial soap (don’t use alcohol or peroxide – they’ll dry out the tattoo). Use a soft towel to dry the tattoo – just pat it dry and be sure not to rub it.

If you don’t have an allergy to antibiotic ointment, rub some into the tattoo. Don’t use petroleum jelly – it may cause the tattoo to fade.

Put an ice pack on the tattooed area if you see any redness or swelling.

Try not to get the tattoo wet until it fully heals. Stay away from pools, hot tubs, or long, hot baths.

Keep your tattoo away from the sun until it’s fully healed, then wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to protect it from fading.

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