Think Before You Ink: 7 Safety Tips For Body Art Professionals
Some people believe that getting inked comes with health risks. While that may be true, it only depends on how tattoo and body artists do their job including how they practice sanitation and hygiene, as well as other procedures. Keep in mind that most artists handle a lot of clients every day, which means they get to touch or interact with a myriad of individuals that come with unique concerns.
Thus, as a body art professional, besides knowing how to create artful tattoos and masterpieces, you also need to know how to perform your art safely without putting yourself or your customers’ health at risk. As the famous saying says, you must think tenfold before you ink.
For your guidance, here are seven safety tips you must bear in mind as a body art professional.
1. Be Aware Of Different Tattoo Bloodborne Pathogens
Whether you’re creating a small body tattoo or a big one, you’ll always be dealing with blood. Some clients tend to bleed too much, while others may bleed moderately. Either way, you need to know how to protect yourself from your client’s blood and be safe from different tattoo bloodborne pathogens.
That’s why, before you even become a body art professional, it’s highly recommended that you go through a bloodborne pathogen (BBP) training program. This will help you become more knowledgeable on how to deal with infectious materials before, during, and after tattooing and how to dispose of these materials properly to avoid possible blood-related infections.
2. Properly Wear Work Gear And Sterilize Your Materials
For starters, make sure you wear a complete set of personal protective equipment like gloves, face masks, and glasses while tattooing a client to protect yourself in case a drop of blood may splatter into your skin. Remember to change them every time you handle a new client to avoid contaminating the other.
Additionally, using the same needles and other tattooing materials on the same clients will only put them at risk for cross-contamination. Thus, before getting started with another client, take your time to properly sterilize and scrub off the debris off your tools to kill harmful viruses or germs collected from the previous customer.
Better yet, you can switch to using disposable materials. These single-use items are much safer as you can quickly dispose of them and use new ones for your next patron.
All of the above are some steps to adhere to comply to government safety mandates.
3. Wrap Your Tattoo Station With Barriers
Even if you don’t see any blood or other bodily fluids smothered over your tattoo equipment, it’s better to be safe by wrapping your tattoo station with sanitary plastic barriers. Doing this will keep you and your client safe from accidentally or unknowingly touching a blood-tainted chair or table.
It’s highly advised that you cover and wrap the table, chair, or even the overhead light you often touch with antibacterial plastics to ensure no blood, ink, or other fluid can get into them during the tattooing process. After every session, you can easily remove the plastic cover and replace it with a new one. Talk about convenience!
4. Invest In High-Quality Tattoo Equipment
Even if the prices of the tattoo equipment from online tattoo shops are affordable, never be tempted to buy them right away. You can never guarantee that these materials are authentic, safe, and high-quality. Using low-quality tattoo materials will not only put you and your clients at risk for infection. You’re risking your tattoo business’ reputation too.
Preferably, only buy your tattoo equipment from reputable suppliers and brands known for their safety, superior product quality, and the like. Moreover, when purchasing tattoo inks, make sure the bottles are tightly sealed. Bottles with tiny holes or cracks may be at risk for mold growth and aren’t viable for use anymore.
5. Disinfect Your Working Station Regularly
Besides wrapping your tattoo station with plastic covers, it’s also ideal to disinfect it regularly after each client. You’ll never know when a small drop of blood gets through the plastic cover and taint your chair handle and infect you and your clientele. You can use a dry clean cloth and rubbing alcohol to disinfect your tattoo and body art place.
6. Never Eat, Smoke, Or Drink Within A Close Proximity Of Your Working Station
As much as possible, never eat, drink, or smoke within the confines of your working station, especially if you’re still tattooing a client. It’s said that you’re putting yourself at risk for food contamination in case a tiny drop of blood splatters into the food or drink you’re consuming or the cigarette you’re smoking.
The same goes for clients. If they wish to eat or drink before resuming the tattooing process, lead them to a separate area away from the working station.
7. Keep An Eye On Nervous Clients
Eventually, some clients will still feel nervous regardless of whether it’s their first time or sixth time getting a tattoo. Some would even pass out or vomit during the tattooing process. Thus, besides concentrating on the tattoo design, make sure you also pay attention to your client and check out with them every now and then.
Anxious clients may feel dizzy and fall, vomit, and others that can compromise their, your, and your support personnel’s safety. Make it a point that they can tap out if they feel uncomfortable doing a tattoo at the present and schedule a future appointment to give them a chance to calm their nerves.
Tattooing is a unique form of art, but with one mistake, it can all go wrong for both the tattoo professional and the client. Thus, both clients and tattoo artists must practice safety measures to avoid risking themselves from viral infections and diseases. Whether you’re a tattoo shop owner or a body art professional, the tips above will guide you in keeping yourself, your shop, and your customers safe and protected.