Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’
How to Care for Your New Tattoo
A friend of mine decided to get a tattoo the size of his head in Thailand on our there, and as I watched his face through the whole 5 hours, I could not figure for the life of me why he would do it. But I admit that tattoos have their own dark beauty. Ingrained in your skin, these pictures represent a real passion for skin art (or a really bad decision). Caring for your tattoo starts with choosing the right tattoo artist. Pick the one you feel you can rely on the most. He should be using disinfected tools these instruments are going to penetrate your skin, and if not cleaned properly, can cause nasty infections and unspeakable diseases. Pick your design carefully (it’s on for life), and take the plunge.
Once the tattoo is finished, the only thing on your mind would be the hours of mind numbing pain that you just went through just to implant that picture you liked so much a few hours ago into your skin. A good tattoo artist will educate you on keeping your tattoo healthy, and tape a piece of soft tissue or cellophane over fresh tattoo. Be advised that if the tattoo artist uses cellophane to dress your tattoo, blood will come leaking out to stain your shirt. If you still can walk after the ordeal, head to your local pharmacy and purchase a mild disinfectant (preferably chlorohexadane antiseptic solution or similar), some A D ointment, sterile cotton balls (normal ones will do as well, but these are safer), and proceed home.
Do not take a shower. Wash your hands of any dirt, and then disinfect your hands with the disinfectant you purchased. Make sure that your hands, down to your nails and hand webs, are clean before you begin. Then begin cleaning your tattoo gently with the mild disinfectant and cotton. Clean off the tattoo as gently as possible, as excessive force would stunt the healing process, or even damage, your tattoo. If you can’t reach your tattoo (because its on your back and you are not an orang utan), ask a friend for help, but make sure that he disinfects his hands as well.
During the first few days of getting the tattoo, things to avoid are showers, soaps, body lotions and scents. All these will irritate the tattoo and may cause the tattoo to get inflamed. A sore tattoo might not heal properly. Instead, constantly apply the A D ointment. If you can’t find A D ointment at the pharmacy, ask the pharmacist for other similar products. The ointment will keep the tattoo moist and healthy, quickening the healing process. Before applying a new layer of ointment, gently wipe off the previous layer of ointment with a cotton ball soaked with the disinfectant solution, and then carefully apply the new layer. After applying constantly for three to four days, you can stop using the ointment and use an unscented body lotion instead. However, be aware that scabbing might form and scratching the scabs might damage the tattoo. Instead apply the A D ointment or some calamine lotion to relieve the itch, and let the scab fall off naturally.
Most tattoos will heal in about a week. While tattoo care is initially tedious, a healthy tattoo is worth the effort.
Three Tips for Getting a Tattoo in Thailand
When I arrived in Thailand with my husband the summer of 2008, I had no intentions of adding to my pair of modestly sized tattoos. Even if the thought had momentarily crossed my mind, I certainly didn’t dream of adding a third piece that would cover half of my back. Then one lazy afternoon, as we wandered the streets of Bangkok near Khao San Road, we stumbled across a lovely little tattoo shop. Through a picture window, we could see the artists at work, as well as a plethora of pictures of clients from around the world. Looking at the picture above, you can see that the rest is history. Following is my advice to anyone considering getting a tattoo in Thailand. 1. Remember: Safety First!
The first issue I addressed with the artist was the cleanliness of the tools and facility itself. Looking around, I was satisfied with the shop in general but needed some extra reassurance as to the condition of the actual needles. Without hesitation, the artist showed me where the individually packaged, sterile needles were kept. Anyone considering getting tattooed anywhere needs to realize that many diseases can be spread through dirty needles and take proper precautions to make sure they will be safe.
It is bad enough to see someone wearing the same piece of clothing as you, but (if you’re anything like me) it is especially important to feel like your tattoo is unique and special. A tattoo artist is foremost an artist, not just someone who has learned to tattoo by number. When I decided I wanted a merlion design, I brought my artist a picture and asked him to make it his own. That way, I knew it would be one of a kind.
3. Get the biggest bang for your baht.
I suggest discussing price early on, as it is a major deciding factor. Since every tattoo is different, there is never a set price. You should be aware, though, that the cost of a piece will likely increase along with the amount of color and detail. Luckily, I preferred an all black tattoo, which really kept the price down. However, I wanted lots of details like shading and intricate patterns. Everything is so affordable in Thailand that I ultimately paid a mere fourth of what I could have spent back home in the states. Even so, I set a limit that the artist was able to work with.
If you follow these three tips, you will be well on your way to owning your own enviable piece of body art. Taking the time to find the right artist and design will make your experience well worth the effort. For more information on making the most of your trip, check out my article: “Vacationing in Thailand: Beyond the Basics of Traveling Abroad.”