Things I would never do while getting a tattoo like someone covered in ink

  • I’m a tattoo person with over 60 hours of ink and I’ve made mistakes along the way.
  • I regret refusing the numbing cream and not asking my artist enough questions.
  • I also wish I had a better budget for tattoos and staying hydrated before and during ink sessions.

Tattoos can come with a hefty price tag and, in some cases, regrets.

As someone with over 60 hours of ink, I have accumulated a lot of time in tattoo shops. And while I wear my tattoos like a badge of honor and am proud of the ones I have, I’ve definitely made mistakes along the way.

Here are the five biggest ones I created that you can hopefully learn from the next time you get inked.

Trying to walk through the pain

When I started my tattoo journey in 2009, I felt like I had something to prove to myself and those around me. At the time, many of the shops I frequented had an almost exclusively male clientele and employed mostly male artists.

The broader macho elements also extended to boutique culture in the death metal blasting of stereo speakers. Sometimes I also dealt with tattoo artists who seemed to ignore my discomfort.

Looking back, I realize that I was partly responsible for this discomfort. In my biggest attempt to look this strong and try to fit in, I really pushed myself and my body.

Instead of asking for a break or talking when things were very painful, I ignored my own feelings. I was afraid of disappointing my artist or embarrassing myself.

But in reality, artists want you to be comfortable, and talking and asking for what you need is important if you want a solid tattoo and a positive experience.

Not eating or drinking enough during a tattoo session

Getting a tattoo can stress your body and if you are unprepared, you might feel sick or even pass out.

Although I’ve never passed out after getting a tattoo, I’ve come pretty close. Now, before a big session, I make sure to eat well, get enough rest and hydrate the night before.

I also pack water or a drink with electrolytes and healthy snacks for my session so I can keep going, get the best tattoo possible, and help my artist by being aware of my body.

Refusing or not asking for numbing cream

Tattoos hurt. There’s no way around it, and there’s no real way to completely avoid the pain. But one of the best-kept secrets in the business is numbing cream.

In the past, artists offered me to use it but I refused and resigned myself to breathing through the pain. But, in reality, these creams can make the experience more bearable and less painful.


Larger tattoos are often expensive and worth the wait.


Not asking enough questions

When I first got a tattoo, I was afraid of looking stupid or boring, so I didn’t ask my tattoo artist enough questions. But it’s important to know what happens with the many moving parts of a tattoo, from placement to the expected healing process.

I now know that it is important to talk and ask the tattoo artists any questions you have before, during and after inking. Knowledge is power.

Not planning ahead and budgeting

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned over the years is that it’s worth waiting and saving up for a high quality part.

In the past I paid for tattoos because I had extra money lying around. But now I find I worry less when I know I can plan a long session or several and can afford it.

Going to a great tattoo artist can sometimes cost you over $200 an hour – if you get a big tattoo artist, you can spend thousands. So before you even book an official appointment, consult your artist where you can get a ballpark figure and budget accordingly.

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