Does it hurt?

Done in a professional setting, getting a tattoo is only mildly irritating, annoying at best. Within a few minutes the body begins to release endorphins (natural pain killers). This eases the discomfort. Most refer to the feeling as a vibrating pinch. The more relaxed you are, the easier the process.

How much does it cost?

Price varies according to size, complexity and time involved. Larger work is usually done at an hourly rate. Don't limit yourself by putting a price limit on your tattoo. You get what you pay for. Good tattoos aren't cheap and cheap tattoos aren't good.

If I gain or lose weight, will it affect my tattoo?

Not usually. The skin has a lot of elasticity (stretch) that naturally adjusts for changes in the body. During pregnancy, a woman's abdomen will stretch considerably and tattoos along the waistline will be distorted., but once the body returns to normal, the tattoo will take it's original shape. Deep stretch marks can damage tattoos, but repairs are usually possible. Building muscle won't affect the shape of a tattoo, but can make it look smaller on the enlarged surface area.

Can a tattoo be removed?

Yes. Cover up work can be challenging, depending on the design to be covered and what the new design will be. Usually the new design has to be larger and darker, but a good cover up doesn't have to be a solid black square. Only darker colours cover but by using some imagination, an effective cover up won't show any of the original design. Names are some of the most frequently covered tattoos.

What makes a tattoo fade?

Mainly the sun. Lighter colours tend to fade first. The quality of pigments used, and how well the tattoo was applied are direct factors in the longevity of a tattoo. A top quality professional tattoo will last a lifetime with good initial care and a little sun block. Also the lighter the skin tone, the brighter the colours will be.

Are there any areas you can't put a tattoo?

Heavy callous areas such as around heels, elbows and fingers aren't well suited for tattooing. These areas tend to wear fairly quickly and the result is a smudgy looking blur. Toes and knees are also bad areas to have a tattoo. Remember, tattoos last your entire life, you should place them where they always look good.

What are the most popular designs?

Certain designs have been part of modern tattoos now for decades, such as the panther, rose, eagle and the butterfly. Current favourites are the sun, daisies, dolphins and tribal style. Many studios specialise in custom work, where each design is crafted for the individual.

How long before I can resume normal activities (swimming, tanning etc) after getting a tattoo?

About two weeks. Within a couple of days a dry, flaky layer of skin will develop over the tattooed area. Maintain a small amount of lotion on the skin during this period to keep it from getting dry and itchy. Most of the flaking will end in about a week resulting in a shiny , wrinkled layer of new skin. Once this happens, you can return to your normal activities. If any smaller spots take longer to heal, wait until they're done.

What are the chances of getting AIDS from a tattoo?

In a professional tattoo studio that maintains a strict method of sanitation - zero. Always make sure the equipment is single service use. All instruments and needles need to be autoclave sterilised, and the pigments used on each person, thrown away. Make sure the artist follows these precautions and procedures and works in a sanitary environment. Getting a tattoo by an amateur in their home can be very dangerous especially if they have no knowledge of sterilisation or safe operating procedures. Bacterial infections, hepatitis and syphilis are prevalent in a dirty work environment. The money spent at a professional tattoo studio is well worth the assurance that the only thing you get is a tattoo.