What type of Body Art do you want?
To get what you want from body art, you first need to decide if it’s right
To be happier with your decision:
Be sure body art is right for you.
Make the decision without pressure
Check out the studio
Interview the artist
Consider it permanent
Will you like your body art 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
Will the design still be the statement you want to make?
Will you feel proud of it if you get a new job? Change careers? Get a
new partner? In any social situation?
Things to consider before getting a tattoo:
Consider a tattoo permanent. While laser treatment can remove
tattoos sometimes, it is expensive and removal can cause scarring.
Try a temporary tattoo or use markers to decide if you want a tattoo.
Approximate the size, design and area you are considering.
Getting a tattoo hurts. Most people find the pain is more annoying
than unbearable. Some think the outlining of a design hurts more than
Where Will It Hurt?
Least painful areas to get a tattoo are the fleshy parts of the arms and
Chests and back areas are more painful. Sternum and ribs are the
Areas over bone hurt more.
Areas near joints (wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles) hurt most because
more nerves are located there.
Taking Care of Your Tattoo
Tattoos take about 2-3 weeks to heal. The tattoo artist should supply
specific instructions for treatment. In general:
Don’t pick at the skin or at scabs that form after a tattoo, even if it
itches. This can increase the chance of infection and postpone healing.
Stay out of the sun. Use sunscreen. Sunlight will fade a tattoo over
Moisturize your skin, but not too much.
Things to Consider before Getting a
A piercing gun should never be used except for earlobes.
The size of jewelry inserted matters. It must be large enough to allow for
swelling and to minimize infection.
Only certain metals are safe. Jewelry used in piercing should be made from
316L surgical-implant-grade stainless steel, 14-or 18-karat solid gold, niobium
or titanium only. Jewelry made from anything else increases the risk of
infection or allergic reaction.
Don’t use jewelry for pierced earlobes for any other site.
Healing Times for Piercings
Lip: 6-8 weeks
Earlobe or eyebrow: 6-8 weeks
Ear cartilage: 2 months to 1 year
Tongue: 4-6 weeks
Cheek: 2-3 months
Nipple: 2-6 months
Navel: 6 months to 1 year
Genitals: 4 weeks to 8 months, depending on locations of piercing.
Body Artists’ Associations
The Association of Professional Piercers and the Alliance of
Set standards of practice and ethics that members agree to follow.
Provide ongoing education.
Work to keep their professions safe and legal.
Belonging to a professional organization shows that the artist has a
strong commitment to the practice and to high standards.
There are no comparable associations for those who practice branding
Branding and scarification make marks or designs by scarring the skin.
They should be considered permanent.
Branding is done by heating surgical sheet metal to 1900-2100 degrees
and then applying it to the skin.
Scarification is done most frequently (and most safely) with a scalpel
blade making small cuts to the skin.
Things to Consider before
Flat, fleshy areas are the usual sites for branding and scarification:
shoulder, back, thigh and arm.
Avoid branding/scarification near joints. It may hinder movement and
Plan on a healing time of 3-6 weeks.
It’s important that the artist and
studio practice good health and
safety standards. Unclean,
unsterilized instruments carry a
risk for HIV and hepatitis B
The price of body art depends
upon its size and elaborateness.
Don’t skimp on price. It often
means skimping on quality as
If you have any of the following signs of
infection, see your health care provider:
Thick yellow or green discharge from the body art, including pus
Continuos oozing or bleeding
Heat or read streaks originating from and moving away from the art
The pain doesn’t go away or increases
You have any unusual pain or swelling
Check out the Studio
Is the studio an established business?
Is the studio clean? Everywhere? Floors, counters, tables, and
Are new disposable needles or scalpels used for each customer?
Are all instruments and equipment sterilized?
Are new containers of ink used each time?
Does the artist always wear latex gloves? Are the gloves changed
every time he/she touches a nonsterile surface?
Does the staff answer all your questions willingly and thoroughly?
Do they provide specific instructions for taking care of your body art?
Interview the Artist
What training does the artist have? A good professional will have
received training and/or served as an apprentice.
How much experience does the artist have? What is his or her specific
Does the artist belong to a professional body artists’ association or
What other education does the artist have related to this practice?
Look for knowledge of anatomy and physiology, CPR training,
prevention of blood-borne diseases and seminars specifically related to
the work being done.
Ask to see a samples book. Body artists often document their work by
taking photos of the final product. Look for a wide range of styles and
Ask for other clients and references. Check them out.
For more information contact
ETR Associates at
P.O. Box 1830
Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1830,
or e-mail a www.etr.org
About the creator of this bulletin board…
About the Creator of this bulletin board:
Christa Sandelier is currently serving as the Area Coordinator for the Jester Center at the University of
Texas in Austin. She received her Bachelor's degree at Delaware Valley College in PA and her Master's
at Shippensburg University in PA. After spending time as a Residence Director and working on her
Master's at Shippensburg University she worked as an Area Coordinator at Colorado State University.
Christa has written a number of works for ResLife.net and also co-authored a chapter for ACUHO-I's
Pursuing a Career in Housing. She has also served as a panelist for an audio conference for Paperclip
Communications on supervision. Christa is an active member in ACPA, serving on the Placement
Center Committee. She is looking to begin her doctorate in the near future.