The properly equipped tattoo studio will use biohazard containers for objects that have come into contact with blood or bodily fluids, sharps containers for old needles, and an autoclave for sterilizing tools. Studios are also required by law to have hot water.

A reputable tattooist will wash his or her hands before starting to tattoo a client, and between clients, as well as wear disposable latex gloves (a new pair for each client). He or she will refuse to tattoo minors without parental consent, (in some countries it is illegal to tattoo a minor even with parental consent) as well as intoxicated people, people with contraindicated skin conditions, those who are pregnant or nursing, or those incapable of consent due to mental incapacity, and attempt to ensure that the customer is satisfied with and sure about the design before applying it. Moreover, she or he will open new, sterile needle packages in front of the client, and always use new, sterile or sterile disposable instruments and supplies, and fresh ink for each session (loaded into disposable containers which are discarded after each client). Also, all areas which may be touched with contaminated gloves will be wrapped in clear plastic to prevent cross-contamination. Equipment that cannot be autoclaved (such as countertops, machines, and furniture) will be wiped with a hospital-strength germicidal disinfectant.
Tattoo artists, and people with tattoos, vary widely in preferred methods of caring for new tattoos. Some artists recommend keeping a new tattoo wrapped for the first twenty-four hours, others suggest removing temporary bandaging after a few hours. Many tattooists advise against allowing too much contact with water for the first few days or weeks; in Japan, in contrast, a new tattoo is often bathed in very hot water early and often.

General consensus for care advises against removing the scab that forms on a new tattoo and avoiding exposing tattoos to the sun for extended periods, which can contribute to fading. Various products may be recommended for application to the skin, ranging from those intended for the treatment of cuts, burns and scrapes, to petroleum jelly or lanolin. In recent years, specific commercial products have been developed for tattoo aftercare. In other cases, the client will be advised to use no products on a new tattoo. A properly applied tattoo will heal as well no matter the aftercare, as long as infection is avoided.
Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, diseases may be transmitted if the instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized. However, infection from tattooing in clean and modern tattoo studios employing single-use needles is rare. In amateur tattoos, such as those applied in prisons, however, there is an elevated risk of infection.

Infections that could be transmitted via the use of unsterilized tattoo equipment include surface infections of the skin, herpes simplex virus, tetanus, staph, fungal infections, some forms of hepatitis, and HIV. No person in the Bulgaria is known to have contracted HIV via a commercially-applied tattooing process. Tetanus risk is prevented by having an up-to-date tetanus booster prior to being tattooed.
Allergic reactions to tattoo pigments are uncommon except for certain brands of red and green. People who are sensitive or allergic to certain metals may react to pigments in the skin with swelling and/or itching, and/or oozing of clear fluid called sebum. Such reactions are quite rare, however, and most artists do recommend a patch test prior to tattooing.

 

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