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What To Do Before Getting a Tattoo Checklist

You have an awesome vision for your new piece of art and picked a studio to bring it to life. Now what? While you may focus on how to provide proper aftercare for your tattoo, there are a few things you should do before arriving at the studio. These will help you have a great experience and allow your fine ink to heal properly. Use this "before getting a tattoo" checklist to ensure you're ready for a piece of art that will remain vibrant and vivid for years to come.

1. Use Proper Hygiene

The first item on any "before getting a tattoo" checklist is taking care of yourself physically and mentally.


Getting a good night's rest will help you relax during your appointment. It also helps your body recover more quickly. You may also be more sensitive to pain if you're sleep-deprived, making your tattoo feel more painful than it would normally.


Keep your soon-to-be-tattooed area clean before your appointment. Dead skin cells, sweat, and dirt build up on your skin throughout the day. If you haven't showered, you could increase the chance of these particles getting into the tattooed area, causing an infection. Plus, showering will do everyone at the studio a favor—no one wants to sit next to someone who just returned from an intense workout for several hours.


Eat a balanced meal before your appointment. If you don't, you may become lightheaded during your session, which could lead to many other problems. It's also a good idea to bring snacks with you, especially if you're getting a detailed tattoo that may take several hours to complete. If you can, avoid excessive dairy products or sugar, as these foods can make you feel bloated. Not only does bloating make you feel sick and tired, but it expands your skin and could affect how the ink adheres to your skin.

Tip: Take some extra vitamin C. It's great for your skin and will promote the healing process.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before getting your tattoo. Hydrated skin accepts ink better, creating a sharper and more vibrant tattoo. It can also help your skin heal faster. Shoot to drink at least a half gallon of water within 24 hours of your appointment. You'll also want to avoid heavily caffeinated drinks like coffee, as these are dehydrating. Also, avoid energy drinks. They'll make you jittery, which will make it harder to stay still while your artist works.

3. Prepare Your Skin

Moisturize the area using an alcohol-free lotion once or twice a day for the week leading up to your appointment. If the place you want your tattoo is hairy, you'll want to shave it two or three times before getting work done. Also, protect the area as much as possible from cuts, burns, scrapes, or bruises. If you have a cut or bruise where you'll eventually want your tattoo, allow it to heal for at least a week before getting inked.

4. AVOID ALCOHOL & Pain Relievers

Avoiding alcohol should be bolded, uppercased, and circled on your "before you get a tattoo" checklist—whatever you need to do to remember not to do it. It isn't just about making a wrong design choice that you'll regret later. You could face serious health complications if you drink too much before getting your tattoo. Alcohol is a temporary blood thinner, and drinking could lead to excessive bleeding. Not good at all! If that wasn't enough, drinking might dilute the ink and make your body art appear faded.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil have the same effect—don’t use them before your appointment.

5. Protect Area from the Sun

Getting a tattoo with a sunburn is not fun and makes the healing process take longer. Plus, tanning dries out your skin, which isn't great for you or your tattoo. Apply extra sunscreen on the area that will be tattooed if you'll be outside for long hours before your appointment.

6. Wear Proper Attire

A tattoo studio is not the place to show off your newest, skin-tight designer dress.

Wear loose-fitting clothing where your body artist can easily access the area you'd like tattooed. Keep in mind that you'll be sitting in the same position for a significant amount of time. Comfort is key! Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty, too. You’re creating an open wound that may bleed and ooze, which may get onto your clothing. Your body artist may also use some oil-based products (like Vaseline) during your session, which are notoriously hard to get out of clothing.

7. Don't Forget Last-Minute Items

You'll want to bring a few things before heading to one of our Orlando tattoo shops. If you're under 18, make sure you have your minor consent forms and bring a parent or guardian with you to the studio. Bring some water and snacks in case you feel lightheaded. Also, friends are always welcome to accompany you!

Your Before Getting a Tattoo Checklist

Getting ready for your fine ink comes down to ensuring you're properly taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Fine Ink Studios are Orlando's premiere tattoo and piercing studios, providing spa-like services from the most talented body artists around. We have locations throughout Central Florida, including many in the heart of Orlando's world-famous attractions. Ready to get started? Book your appointment now!

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