A tattooer takes on a certain responsibility when performing a tattoo. Aside from putting in the utmost effort to give their client a stellar piece of artwork they’ll be happy with, a tattooer should also be concerned with the safety and health of their client. When you create an open wound, you’re creating an opening into the body, and a tattooer should take responsibility to ensure that ink is all that’s ending up inside their clients body.
A general a principle is that what touches one person should not touch another. Disposable needles and tubes help make this easier. While there is some debate between whether sterilized metal tubes or disposable tubes are safer, a tattooer should ABSOLUTELY NEVER reuse needles in any capacity, re-sterilized or not. It’s better to be too clean than not clean enough, as bacteria hides where you’d least expect. Did you know that in a hospital, the buttons for the elevator have more bacteria sitting on them than the toilet seats?
Just a little info you didn’t need to know.
The truth is a tattoo is a relatively minor scratch. There is no reason to have a problem with a tattoo if:
- If you wash your hands and wear latex or nitrile gloves.
- If you wash and shave the area to be tattooed.
- If you use a pre-sterilized tube and needle.
- Clean and disinfect your ink caps. Those bulk bags of ink caps from the supplier are not already sterilized.
- If you bag your machine and clipcord, or any other equipment that may come into contact with bodily fluids.
- If you wipe down your work station with some disinfectant. e.g. your work bench and anything the client or your equipment has touched.
The Body Safe certification we have here in Toronto has a list of guidelines that are a great resource for ensuring a clean and safe working environment.