Choosing a Reputable Tattoo Parlour or Shop

Seventy-five percent of the UK people who have tattoos end up wishing that they hadn’t according to a study by the British Journal of Dermatology in 2003. Of course, many of these people might just have changed their mind afterwards, and there isn’t much that anyone can do about indecisiveness.

If you are absolutely sure you want to have a tattoo, you’re over 18, and you are looking for the place to do it for you, just keep the following guidelines in mind and you’ll hopefully end up with a tat you can be proud of for years to come…

Make Sure They are Registered!

Check that the person you want to tattoo you is registered and has an up to date health and safety certificate. This should give you some peace of mind. By law (the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, to be precise) anyone who carries out tattooing, must be registered with their local authority, who should visit their premises on a regular basis to make sure they are complying with the law. Never go to an unlicensed tattooist, that’s just asking for trouble.

Health Concerns

To put your mind at rest, and to avoid any problems with the tattoo, the tattooist should ask whether you if you have had any of the following:

  • any allergic reactions to latex, anaesthetics or sticking plasters
  • any condition that might compromise your immune system (such as MS)
  • heart disease or a pacemaker
  • impetigo
  • seizures, epileptic or otherwise
  • high blood pressure
  • haemophilia.

If you have any of those conditions, or have had them in the past, you’ll be asked to get written authorisation from your GP before you’re tattooed. All this information also has to be recorded.

Check The Hygiene

Are they displaying a health and safety certificate? They should be, so ask to see one if it’s not immediately obvious. Look around and see if the place is clean and tidy…it should be spotlessly clean. Look out for:

  • Are they wearing gloves? Visit the parlour before you have your tattoo and see if the artist(s) are wearing gloves to tattoo other clients – this is basic health and safety practice so if there are no gloves, give them a miss. Tattooing punctures your skin and leaves you prone to infection even if it’s done with spotless hands and instruments – don’t risk compromising your health.
  • Needle safety every single needle must be brand-new, not cleaned or disinfected. Watch the artist throw old needles away and take new ones out to use on you. Dirty needles are a serious health risk, and could leave you with a chance of contracting HIV, hepatitis or tetanus.

Get Recommended

Get a recommendation. If you have friends with tattoos, it makes sense to ask them where they were done, and if they were happy. Check the Internet to see if there are any testimonials online. Visit the parlour and ask to see examples of previous work.

Reputable by Association

Are they a member of the Association of Professional Tattoo Artists, or the Tattoo Club of Great Britain? The Tattoo Club has a list of registered tattoo artists which they are happy to divulge. Their website and contact details can be found at:

A tattoo is a lifelong investment – costly to put right if you’re not happy with the results. A little time researching the best place for you will pay dividends in the long term.

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