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FAQ’s

You have questions. We have answers.

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Does it hurt?

The sensation of tattooing is more like an irritation. Many describe it as feeling like a cat scratch or sunburn. Some areas on the body are more sensitive than others, but rarely is it intolerable. We tattoo dozens of people per week, and our tattoo artists can only recall one or two instances where a person quit before the tattoo was finished in over the more than 20 combined years that they have been tattooing.

Where on the body hurts the most/least?

A common misconception is that a tattoo will hurt more over bone or in thin skinned areas, and hurt the least in fleshy areas. This is not true. It is entirely down to the sensitivity of the nerve endings in an area. If an area is quite sensitive to the touch, it is likely to be a sensitive placement for a tattoo. A good demonstration is to run your fingernails on the outside of your forearm, and then on the inside. You will feel that it is more sensitive on the inside, and indeed it is more sensitive to tattoo the inside of the forearm than the outside.

That said, don’t let fear of pain affect your choice of where to place your tattoo. You feel it once, and enjoy wearing it for life. So you should place it where you want it the most.

How long does a tattoo take to heal?

On most areas of the body, no more than two weeks total, though the skin can be a little dry for a week or so after the healing. More information is available in the aftercare section.

How much does a tattoo cost?

Please see our section on tattoo pricing.

How small can I have my tattoo?

Tattooing the skin is not like drawing with a pencil. There are limits to how small you can tattoo a design in the skin. For intance, if you try to tattoo lines too tightly together, they tend to blend together over time. Also, if you try to shrink a design too much, you will have to sacrifice detail, and for many pieces this is a bad idea and the final piece would not look good. Some designs can be simplified and done smaller, but any piece that relies on detail to look good should have enough size allowed to accomodate the detailing.

Can I swim with a healing tattoo?

It is best to avoid chlorinated or lake water for the first week at least. During the first week, the tattoo is more open and vulnerable, like “road rash”, and chemicals or bacteria in bodies of water can affect the tattoo more readily during this time.

Will tanning affect my tattoo?

As a general rule, UV rays are damaging to the skin, and therefore not good for your tattoo. During the healing period, avoid tanning and excessive exposure to the sun. A sunburn will ruin a fresh tattoo. After it is healed, at the very least expect bright colours to appear darker as the skin darkens. As your tan fades, the tattoo will brighten up again. One remedy against this is to use a good sunblock if you are exposed to sunlight for extended periods, and if you tan you may wish to use a “lipstick” type sunblock to draw over the whole tattoo, preserving the brightness of the tattoo without producing an uneven tan on the surrounding skin.

Where should I not get a tattoo? Will you tattoo hands, faces, necks, etc?

First, we ask that you think hard before placing a tattoo in a visible area. A difficult to conceal tattoo can affect your career choices, and we will decline to tattoo your face, neck or hands if we feel it would not be in your best interests. Some areas on the body do not hold pigment well due to continual wear and abrasion. The hands are one example of such an area, as are the sides and bottom of the feet, the toes, and crease points such as the knees and elbows. In general we will not place a tattoo in these areas because we want the piece to look good for life, though if we do tattoo these areas we will not guarantee the work because of the tendency to fade, and touch ups will be at your expense.

I think my tattoo has faded. Can I have it touched up?

We do offer free touch ups, though rarely do we actually have to do them. If you take care of your tattoo properly, it should not be necessary. However, some areas notoriously will fade. If you are getting a tattoo in one of these areas (assuming there is no alternative placement), we will advise you of this, but we will not offer free touch-ups on such areas. Some areas for example are the sides of the feet, hands, and the pant line on the waist. If you require a very minor touch up, we encourage you to wait until your next tattoo so you can do them both at the same time. It saves your time and ours.

If I gain or lose weight, work out, or become pregnant... will it affect my tattoo?

For an adult, minor weight changes will not usually affect your tattoo. Dramatic changes in weight can distort more symmetrical designs such as lettering, straight lines or perfect circles, etc. Also, the actual placement of the tattoo can change due to dramatic changes in weight. For example if you gain a great deal of muscle mass or weight, a tattoo centered on the bicep may move towards the back of the bicep. If you plan to gain/lose a lot of weight, let your artist know so this can be taken into consideration. Pregnancy will almost always distort a tattoo on the stomach or front hip area. Stretchmarks in particular can drastically distort a tattoo, so we encourage you to take care of your skin during pregnancy as advised by your doctor. If you are a teen and get a tattoo before you finish growing, we will advise you on design aspects regarding how growth will affect the design in later life.

In all these cases, if the change is minor, some re-working of the tattoo can fix the distortion. If the distortion is dramatic, more work would be required.

I have a piece that needs to be finished/added on to that was done by another artist. Will you do this for me?

It really depends on the piece. In general we will, but as artists have distinct styles that can clash with one another, it is often necessary to alter the existing piece so it flows together and looks as though it was done by one artist. This may require only a little extra work if the original piece was done by a good artist, however if the original piece was done poorly, we will suggest either to redo the tattoo or cover it up with another design. In all cases, we have to see the piece before any decision can be made.

Can I be allergic to tattoo pigment?

Yes. Thankfully it is not very common, but a person can be sensitive to tattoo pigments to a greater or lesser degree. A mild reaction usually will result in a raised appearance and slight discomfort that will subside over time as the body assimilates the pigment. A severe reaction can require treatment by a dermatologist, sometimes with removal being the final option. It is rare to have a severe reaction, but please be aware that it is possible. Some pigments are slower to heal, and the slower healing can be mistaken for a reaction. Red pigments in particular can take longer for the body to heal. If you have a reaction during the initial healing period, you may be allergic to your aftercare product, in which case you should contact us so we can suggest an alternative product.

Do you offer tattoo removal?

Yes. Inquire by email.

Do you do cosmetic tattooing (permanent makeup)?

No. This is a specialised form of tattooing which shares much in common with conventional tattooing, but the techniques and pigments are rather different. There are clinics that offer cosmetic tattooing, but we cannot recommend any particular clinic for this purpose. If you are interested in cosmetic tattooing, we strongly encourage you to fully research any clinic that offers this service, as you should with any tattoo studio or similar service. Ask to see before and after pictures, be sure that the clinic offers a clean service, and be informed of any risks or long term implications. You should take into consideration that cosmetic tattooing is as permanent as any other tattooing and always visible, and “shopping for the best price” rather than the best practitioner is likely to result in visible, regrettable work.

Do you do all-white pigment tattoos?

No. They seem like a neat idea, but the visual effect rarely turns out the way one would expect. White pigment will not show as white under the skin because of the skins own pigmentation. In other words, for a colour to be properly visible, the pigment has to be darker than your skin tone. On a light skinned person, it will show as more of a “cream” colour. Also, large areas of white are seldom consistent, so several sessions would be required to get solid colouring.

Do you do Blacklight/Glow in the dark tattoos?

No. Until definitive safety studies have been conducted regarding these pigments, we will not use them. We want to give you a tattoo you will love, not something that is potentially carcinogenic! If you find a studio offering these pigments, we feel that they do not have your safety in mind, and it is quite likely that they are also lax in other areas of safety and cleanliness.

If you have a question which was not answered above, feel free to phone or email us at: info@liveoncetattoo.com