State of Illinois - Illinois Department of Public Health

    What to Know Before Getting a Tattoo

    While a tattoo may only take a few minutes to acquire, it is permanent. You should understand the risks and research the process before getting a tattoo. Tattooing involves breaking the skin, one of your body's main protective barriers. This means you may be more susceptible to skin and blood infections. Specific risks include:

    • Blood borne diseases. If the equipment used to do your tattoo is contaminated with the blood of an infected person, you can contract a number of serious bloodborne diseases. These include hepatitis C, hepatitis B, tetanus and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    • Skin infections. The use of unsterile equipment or re-used ink can result in skin infections, ranging from minor to potentially serious antibiotic resistant infections. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, or pus-like drainage.

    • Granulomas. Bumps may form around the site of the tattoo as a reaction to the ink.

    • Scars and keloids. The ink may cause scars and keloids (raised, ridged areas caused by overgrowth of scar tissue).

    • Allergic reactions. The ink may cause an itchy rash at the tattoo site.

    • Swelling or burning. Tattooed areas may swell or burn during Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams.

    Additional topics to discuss with your body art professional include their Bloodborne Pathogen Training, the establishment's proficiency requirements, and the establishment's autoclave monthly spore test results.

    If abnormal itching, irritation, redness, swelling or fever should appear, please contact a physician immediately. These could be signs of a potentially serious medical condition that should be addressed.

    To ensure that your body art procedure heals properly, we ask that you disclose if you have or have had any of the following conditions.
    Please let your artist know if you answered YES to any of the questions.
    Disclosure does not legally prevent you from having a body art procedure.

    Butterfat Studios Tattoo Release

    By completing this release application, I acknowledge that I have been given full opportunity to ask any and all questions about obtaining a tattoo from BUTTERFAT STUDIOS, and that all questions have been answered to my satisfaction. I specifically acknowledge that I have been advised of the following specific facts and matters:

    In order to maintain a clean environment for myself and others, I agree to follow any and all instructions provided to me while I am being tattooed, such as:
    -- refraining from touching area of tattooed skin while on premises
    -- refraining from touching sterile tattoo equipment area and tools
    -- placing personal items such as drinks, keys, and money on an area designated by the artist

    I acknowledge that it is not reasonably possible for the agents and employees of BUTTERFAT STUDIOS to determine whether I might have an allergic reaction to the dyes, pigments, or processes used in my tattoo, and I agree to accept the risk that such a reaction is possible.

    I acknowledge that variations in color and detail may exist between any tattoo as designed and as ultimately healed on my body.

    I acknowledge that I have advised my tattoo artist of any medical or skin condition that might interfere with or affect the healing of this tattoo, such as, but not limited to, acne, scarring, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, moles, or sunburn in the area to be tattooed.

    I have received aftercare instructions that I agree to follow while my tattoo is healing, but acknowledge that infection is always possible as a result of obtaining a tattoo, particularly if I do not undertake proper aftercare. I agree that any touch-up work needed due to my own negligence will be at my expense, including sun damage and picking or disturbance of scab.

    In the event of serious personal differences, unreasonable delay on the part of either party, or improper aftercare, willful neglect, or destruction of the tattoo, I acknowledge that BUTTERFAT STUDIOS and its agents and employees shall have the right to end the professional relationship at any time and/or cancel any current or future appointments or any expectation of future work.

    I acknowledge that I have had full opportunity to discuss any concerns and have any questions answered regarding the tattoo design, placement, cost, and procedure, and I hereby agree and submit to my tattoo artist's plan and ultimate vision for a successful tattoo. I release and hold harmless BUTTERFAT STUDIOS and its agents and employees from any and all manner of liability, claim and legal action.

    I, the undersigned, therefore agree and hereby release and hold harmless BUTTERFAT STUDIOS and any of its employees and agents from any and all liabilities, claims, and legal actions, including non-performance, personal injuries, or property losses or damage, in connection with any result, activity, or accommodation related to my tattoo appointment.

    The undersigned does hereby further agree to abide by all the rules and regulations as presented by BUTTERFAT STUDIOS.

    Tattoo Aftercare

    Tegaderm Bandage:

    If your tattoo is bandaged with Tegaderm, as opposed to plastic wrap, you should keep the bandage on for 4 days, as long as it isn’t gapping or leaking. (If gapping or leaking occurs continue to step 2 below and proceed to follow each step.) After 4 days, remove the Tegaderm bandage and immediately shower. Wash the tattoo thoroughly a mild soap. Your tattoo should be well into the healing process, and you should have much less scabbing occur. You may apply an unscented lotion like Lubriderm or Jergens to keep the tattoo moisturized.

    Standard Bandage:

    1. Leave your bandage on for at least 1 hour or up to overnight, as long as it isn't gapping, leaking, or letting in air.

    2. When you take the bandage off, get immediately into a hot shower. Aim the water so it hits your skin just above the fresh tattoo and runs over it. The water should flow over and across the tattoo rather than hit it directly.

    3. Start with the hottest water temperature that you can stand, and as you get used to it, make it hotter. This process helps draw out the white blood cells that are trying to form a scab, meaning that you'll skip that step and end up with little or no scab at all. Instead of forming a scab, the tattoo will flake as it heals.

    4. Use your hand and mild soap to gently wash the tattoo. Clean it until you don't feel any slipperiness or crustiness under your fingers. Continue to wash the tattoo for a total of 5 - 10 minutes.

    5. When you get out of the shower, pat the tattoo dry gently with a clean towel. Let the tattoo air dry for about 15 minutes, and then apply a very, very thin layer of A&D ointment - not even enough to see a shine.

    6. If you do the hot water wash at night, put down a towel before you go to sleep, or wear a loose-fitting garment to bed. That way, if there's any seepage, you won't stick to your sheets. If you do wake up stuck to something and a very gentle pull won't release it, take whatever you're stuck to into the shower with you and soak it off.

    7. For the next 3 days, apply a very thin layer of A&D ointment 2 - 3 times a day with a clean fingertip. Then, throw away the packet. You'll receive a new packet after each tattoo session.

    8. DO NOT share ointment or use anything else that anyone gives you. It is not absolutely necessary to apply ointment, so don't worry if you are stuck somewhere without any. The ointment gently promotes healing and eases the itch.

    9. After those first 3 days, you may apply an unscented lotion like Lubriderm or Jergens. Apply a very thin layer a few times a day, and continue at your discretion.

    • DO NOT pick or scratch your tattoo. If it itches, moisturize it and slap it.

    • DO NOT allow your pet to lick the ointment or your tattoo. Pets are often attracted to A&D ointment.

    • DO NOT soak your tattoo for at least 2 weeks (no baths, swimming pools, hot tubs, etc.).

    • DO NOT expose your tattoo to direct sunlight for at least 2 weeks. Healing tattoos can sunburn and scar easily.