Identifying a Safe Tattoo Parlor
Other than the use of Universal Procedures and laws requiring that minors be tattooed only with parental permission, there are few regulations covering tattooing. Tattoo parlors must be licensed; this happens when artists qualify by completing a health department course on infectious disease transmission and passing an exam, but businesses arenít regularly inspected. (Legalization allows anyone to acquire a machine, get a license and start tattooing whether they have any artistic ability or not -- a situation that tattoo artists object to.) Here are some basic steps you can take to help ensure that youíre choosing a safe tattoo parlor:
  • Look around to see if the studio is clean and professional. That says a lot!
  • Ask questions: Is there an autoclave? Are the needles and other materials single-use? Are EPA-approved disinfectants used? Are gloves being worn? (Professional tattoo artists wonít mind the questions.)
  • Play watchdog with the tattoo artist to be sure safety measures are being followed in the application of your tattoo.
  • Make sure all needles are opened in front of you.
  • Membership in professional organizations is not required, but artists who participate are probably better informed about trends, innovations and safety issues.