The Tattoo Guide for the Common Student

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By Angela Hickey

With tattoos come many questions and concerns, especially from anxious parents. In D.C., there are no basic tattoo regulations that have to be enforced, such as the sanitation of parlours in the area. This causes some pretty big problems and raises important questions: 

“Where is a good place to get a first tattoo?” “Will it hurt?” ”What tattoo is the best one for me?”

Getting a tattoo comes with a lot of decisions that need to be made. If you’re seriously debating getting one, make sure to do some serious research on everything from artists to designs. The more information you have, the more informed you can be when you make your final decision. 

Tattoos are a big commitment for people to consider. If this is your first tattoo and you’re unsure of what to get, don’t be afraid to ask the tattoo artist for common recommendations or to look at their personal portfolios for inspiration. 

For your first tattoo, you may want to pick a spot that’s going to be less painful and somewhere that is easy to cover up if you don’t want anyone to know about it. Some more common places can include the wrists, thighs, biceps, shoulders, calves, and forearms.

If you definitely want one but aren’t sure where to start, check for some basic things before picking a place to go. Research potential artists thoroughly, go through their instagram or check their reviews on Yelp!. Do anything that will help you pick the best artist to bring your vision to life. 

Concerning tattoo pain, there are definitely things to think about when considering tattoo placement. It’s most painful to get a tattoo on a part of your body with many nerve endings, close to bones without much fat, or where your skin is very thin, such as on your rib cage, hips or hands. 

If the pain is what mainly scares you, there are many tips in order to minimize pain, such as taking breaks if the tattoo is larger or staying hydrated before and after the session. But drinking any kind of alcohol before getting the tattoo is not recommended, due to the fact that it could thin the blood and cause you severe harm. 

If you didn’t like the original job, you can always find someone new who specializes in cover ups or alterations, like some of the shops featured on this list. 

Whether this is your first, second or fiftieth tattoo, always follow the aftercare instructions. This will prevent any infections and allow the tattooed skin to heal properly as well as protect the art from being damaged.

Again, D.C. has no requirement to enforce any type of regulations when getting a tattoo, so make sure to do some thorough research before you make any big decisions. But, if you’re unfamiliar with the D.C. tattoo scene, there are plenty of options you could go with.

Hyena Tattoos – Described as very clean and professional according to reviews on local guides, this highly rated parlour provides good deals available through walk in or appointment. Tattoo appointments and piercings are both available.

Fatty’s Tattoos – With locations in Dupont Circle, H Street Corridor, and Silver Spring, the customers’ experiences at this place seem to be very memorable. This parlor is also available through walk in and appointment. Providing tattoos and piercings, their overall customer experience seems to be mostly positive, depicting a clean environment, good experience, and overall friendly staff.

Globe Electric Tattoo – Accessible by appointment only, you can contact this prominent tattoo parlor by phone call or email, which is suggested for quickest response. They’re very big on privacy for their clients and provide an exclusive experience for everyone who walks in. With a soothing ambience and atmosphere, dedicated clientele, and highly acclaimed artists, this place is very highly recommended for any nervous tattoo recipients.

Embassy Tattoo – Also providing tattooing and piercing, this place is very highly recommended if you want a custom experience. This parlor that also sells custom art is available to book appointments by phone or email. Also, providing very popular $20 piercing on Tuesdays, attracting college kids from all over the area.

Red Octopus Tattoos – This parlor provides regular and cosmetic tattoos as well as piercings, also well known through the sales of their personal merchandise. They welcome custom designs and walk ins and encourage clients to ask about sterilization methods and overall procedures in order to ease nervous minds. Receiving good reviews, having a pleasant staff, and providing clean locations gives this place a very high recommendation for anyone receiving their first tattoo. 

First tattoos are always a little nerve wracking and can sometimes cause some concern. Hopefully this guide helps you to make a more informed decision on any and all tattoos you may want in the future. So be sure to make an informed decision and to give the artist a big tip when you’re done. 

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