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  • Kory

The More You Know Thursday

This week we are going to run through a quick game of "Myth or Truth". You would be surprised the with the amount of people who believe some of these myths to be true, which in some cases makes people who would otherwise want a tattoo never pull the trigger! So let's start cutting the heads off of these myths, paving the way for your first (or next) tattoo!

Myth or Truth: Tattoo guns contain only a single needle.

Myth: In reality, tattoo guns contain multiple needles which are usually grouped in odd numbers depending on how much coverage and shading the tattoo requires.

Myth or Truth: Scratching or peeling a healing tattoo won't harm the outcome of the tattoo.

Myth: Scratching or picking at a tattoo can cause permanent loss of pigmentation in those areas.

Myth or Truth: Applying a lot of ointment to a healing tattoo helps it heal faster.

Myth: Applying too much ointment to a tattoo can cause bubbling at the surface level and healing complications because the skin can't breathe. On the other hand, keeping the tattoo too dry can cause the skin to crack. There needs to be a happy medium.

Myth or Truth: Going into a chlorinated pool with a tattoo will fade the colors (on a healed tattoo).

Myth: The chlorine cannot get below the first layers of skin like a needle and, therefore, cannot cause the colors to leak out or fade. It isn't a good idea to enter a pool with an unhealed tattoo that is still oozing and raw, though.

Myth or Truth: If you get a tattoo, you will never be able to donate blood.

Myth: According to the American Red Cross, if you are tattooed at a shop that uses proper sterilization and is state regulated, you will be able to donate blood immediately. Otherwise, you can't give blood until a year after getting inked. Currently, 32 states regulate their tattoo shops making it easier for the residents of those states to donate.

Myth or Truth: If you are pregnant and have a back tattoo some hospitals may not be able to give you an epidermal.

Truth: According to the March of Dimes, it is a good idea to check with the policies of the hospital you will be giving birth at. Some doctors will refuse to pass the epidermal needle through skin that has been recently tattooed for fear of possible contamination of ink in the medicine being administered.

Myth or Truth: Drinking alcohol or taking aspirin before getting a tattoo will help ease the pain.

Myth: Alcohol and aspirin are actually blood thinners, which cause more bleeding during the tattooing process. This could, in turn, lead to issues with healing or color intensity.

Myth or Truth: You shouldn't get red tattooed on your body because it is more likely to fade or give you an allergic reaction.

Myth: While some people may be allergic to certain inks, the pigment used specifically in red dyes has been upgraded over the years to react better with people's skin. Any tattoo that is not properly taken care of will fade regardless of what color it is.

Myth or Truth: Getting a tattoo hurts more than giving birth to a child.

Myth: In reality, getting tattooed does hurt -- but it does not produce the same type of pain as childbirth. The pain of getting a tattoo feels more like scratching a bad sunburn.

Myth or Truth: It hurts more to get lighter colors tattooed than darker ones.

Myth: This misconception comes from the fact that lighter colors are normally added to a tattoo toward the end of a session when your skin is already sore and open.

Myth or Truth: Having a tattoo means that you will be unable to get an MRI because the ink will react to the radiation in the machine and will cause your skin to swell or burst.

Myth: While tattoo ink may have contained high levels of metals in the past, there are much safer pigments nowadays that no longer contain metals like mercury. No metal in the ink means no reaction during an MRI.

Myth or Truth: Tattoos are art.

Truth: True enough. However, like any piece of art, it is subjective. Some tattoos are good art done poorly and some tattoos are bad art done well. Find a tattooist who is competent with both a pencil and a tattoo machine for the best results.

Myth or Truth: Anyone who is artistic can tattoo.

Myth: Don't bet your skin on it. The ability to draw cool designs does not make a tattooist. Without the proper equipment, mechanical skill and technical knowledge, the design originally done on paper can leave you with scar tissue in just a few months.

Myth or Truth: Every tattooist has artistic talent.

Myth: A good deal of a professional tattooist's time is spent fixing or covering someone else's "artistic talent."

Myth or Truth: Any good artist can do any tattoo.

Myth: While most professionals are capable of a variety of styles, they usually have a unique style of tattooing they've developed and are especially good at. That artist who's known for his intricate tribal work may not be the right choice for that portrait of mom and dad. Match the design you want with the artist who can pull it off.

Myth or Truth: My tattoo doesn't look right so I'll just go back to the guy and have him fix it.

Myth: This is just a bad idea. Odds are that if his first attempt is botched, his second, third, fourth and so on will be too.

Myth or Truth: Wall certificates prove that it's a good tattoo shop.

Myth: With the exception of "APT" certificates, which show the artist is affiliated with a professional organization that is concerned with safe, sterile tattooing procedures, most other "certificates" claiming professional status are merely wallpaper freebies from supply companies. The exception to this would be certificates for Bio Training, which reflect the ability to study safety standards with waste and such, but do not inherently mean that the shop is awarded for executing the material they learned.

Myth or Truth: Photos are the best way to judge an artist's talent.

Myth: The best way is to see real tattoos is on real people. Photos are the second best option. Though drawings may reflect a tattooist's taste and artistic ability, they give no clue as to his or her ability to tattoo those designs on your skin.

Myth or Truth: Don't get any water on your tattoo.

Partly True: You must not soak a new tattoo, but gentle hand-washing of it is necessary to remove harmful bacteria as it is healing. When you shower, simply apply a little extra coating of ointment to the tattoo and avoid direct shower spray on it. Blot off excess ointment when you're done.

Myth or Truth: Tattoos bleed a lot.

Partly True: This varies from person to person. Generally, most people will bleed at least a little while getting a tattoo. However, depending on the length of time it takes, the area that is being tattooed and the amount of shading being done, there may be little to no blood.

Myth or Truth: When a tattoo is old, it will turn blue.

Myth: This only applies to those tattoos that were created 50 years ago or before. The inks used in tattoos have improved a lot since that time.

Myth or Truth: Laser tattoo removal works by burning off the tattoo.

Myth: This may have been true of older lasers, but newer Q-switched lasers work differently to remove a tattoo. They photothermically fracture the tattoo pigments and rely on the body's immune system to clear them from the tattoo.

Myth or Truth: Fading creams work better than a laser.

Myth: There is no data published in scientific journals to support tattoo removal creams, as opposed to laser processes.

Myth or Truth: Multicolor tattoos cannot be removed.

Partly True: It is well known that black tattoos tend to respond better to laser removal than most other colors. Colors like yellow, pink and white are the most difficult to remove. However, the more ink pigments that are contained in a multicolor tattoo, the more likely it is that one of them will not come off well.

Myth or Truth: A lot of people get HIV from tattoo needles.

Myth: There are no reported cases of HIV infection from a tattoo in the U.S., but there are three from dentists' offices.

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