Watch the Hands
Safety measures taken by the tattoo artist include acute attention to the hands, which must be inspected for cuts, sores (these should be covered with a Band-Aid) and hangnails and should have short nails to prevent punctures to latex and vinyl gloves. (Medical studies have shown that impacted blood can remain for up to five days underneath the fingernail if hand washing and gloves arenít properly handled.)

Unless chemicals, heat, cold or trauma have damaged the hands, infectious organisms have a hard time establishing themselves on the surface of the skin, experts say. Tattoo artists who have lesions, dermatitis or allergic reactions to gloves should refrain from tattooing until the condition clears up. Using gloves has increased the importance of frequent and proper hand washing since bacteria beneath gloves thrive in the damp, warm environment and may irritate the skin.

Now for an extremely important health safety point: Donít let a friend try to tattoo you! According to doctors at the Childrenís Medical Center, University of Massachusetts, studies show that most adolescents do not get their tattoos from professional parlors -- which require an over-18 ID or parental permission -- but from friends or amateurs who use makeshift tools such as pens, erasers and paper clips with little if any sanitary precautions. This is extremely dangerous. The measures taken by professionals protect you from disease and infection.