The popularity of tattoos with HPU students is obvious by the
number of tattoos displayed on bodies around campus.
But before your skin is committed to ink for life, do your
All tattoo artists were not created equal, and making the wrong
choice could affect your health as well as the quality of your
|HPU student shows off body art - a tattoo
of the Hawaiian Islands
by Rick Bernico
Tattooing involves multiple injections of dye into the skin
by a small machine using one or more needles. You may experience
pain, and some bleeding. The procedure can take several hours,
depending on the size of the tattoo, which takes 7 to 10 days
to heal. The risks involved include allergic reactions to the
dyes and contact with bacterial and/or viral infections.
There have been cases of hepatitis B transmission through tattooing,
according to the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences. Transmission of HIV and hepatitis C are possible
but have never been reported (March, 2002).
According to the Center For Disease Control, U.S. studies on
viral hepatitis C reveal that in the last 20 years, less than
one percent of people with newly acquired hepatitis C also have
If proper sterilization techniques are followed, there is minimal
risk involved. According to About.Com, which offers the following
safety checklist as a guide to getting a tattoo:
- Make sure the artist is wearing gloves.
- Ask about what training the artist has completed.
- Ask if the artist has been vaccinated for hepatitis B.
- Make sure that ointment, ink, or water is not returned to
a community container after it has been used on a client.
- New, sterile needles should be removed from an autoclave
bag in front of you.
- Always ask to see pictures of the artists work.
Ive worked with people who can talk anybody into
the chair, said Mark Claunch, owner of Sharkys Tattoo
on Nuuanu Street. He said that he informs his customers
about the procedure and shows samples of his work, before he
agrees to do a tattoo. Can you actually draw?
is one of the questions you should ask an artist before you
get the tattoo, Claunch said.
Claunch has this advice for choosing an artist:
- Scrutinize the artists work for smooth lines and bold
colors that are completely filled in.
- If you see a tattoo that you like on someone, ask where
he or she had it done.
- Shop around. A biker-style tattoo parlor may be great for
skull tattoos but may not be ideal for a more subtle design.
- Tattoos are for life! Choose the design carefully. What
you love today may not be so cool 20 years from now. Claunch
spends half of his time covering up ill-chosen tattoos.