Getting a tattoo or piercing is basically like getting minor surgery, as it involves breaking the skin barrier and inserting materials into the body. That means tattoo artists and piercers must take some of the same hygienic skin prep precautions that medical professionals take in order to minimize the risk of bacterial infection and contamination. Additionally, skin prep keeps the skin moist and supple during these procedures, which helps ensure the quality of the end result.
Tattoo and piercing skin prep
To ensure safety and cleanliness, your tattoo artist or piercer will apply medical skin prep supplies prior to beginning their work. First, they will use a skin cleanser around the area to kill any bacteria and microorganisms. Usually this is a skin prep wipe containing isopropyl alcohol or a similar sanitizing agent. They may also use skin prep markers or other marking materials like tattoo stencils to help them map out the design of the tattoo or plan the location of the piercing.
For tattooing, they may then apply an antiseptic ointment or gel as well, which helps minimize the risk of contamination during the time it takes to complete the procedure. It also provides moisture and lubrication for the skin, making it the best possible canvas by aiding in the transfer of pigments.
In addition to these sanitary measures, your tattoo artist or piercer may also apply skin prep anesthetics. These numbing sprays or creams help to minimize sensation in the area where they’re applied, reducing the pain and discomfort that clients might feel during the tattoo and piercing process.
Skin prep can also refer to antiseptic aftercare products, which some tattoo artists and piercers use during procedures as well. Ointments and moisturizers from producers such as Hustle Butter, Recovery, Tattoo Goo, and INK-EEZE are specially formulated and designed to meet the specific recovery and skin care needs of tattooing. Using such products throughout the recovery period will help ensure that your tattoo heals as quickly and completely as possible.
Be sure to discuss skin prep and aftercare with your tattoo artist or piercer before you leave the shop. They should send you home with complete aftercare instructions and all the supplies you’ll need.