Most people don't realize the dangers or most common mistakes of home tattooing. If they did no one would ever get any tattoo out of someone's dirty kitchen or backroom.
1.NEVER GET TATTOOED IN A KITCHEN
That is the most bacteria filled room in the house besides the bathroom. The abundance of food bacteria and mold spores is staggering. Most home tattooists use this room because they think it has a cleanable floor and a table.
2. MOST HOME TATTOOISTS USE TAP WATER
Again from the kitchen. Tap water is a cesspool of bacteria. The risk of bacterial infection from tap water is EXTREMELY high. I've seen this happen and it is not pretty. The reasons they use tap water is because it's free and they just don't have the knowledge of the risk.
3. DISPOSABLE TUBES
You will see most home tattooists using these. Why? Well it's because they do not own an AUTOCLAVE so they are not able to use stainless steel tubes. This device is used to sterilize equipment. If they cannot afford or respect the industry enough to get this equipment then they without a doubt don't respect the fact that they are giving you an unsanitary tattoo. Some pros use disposable tubes. They are not the for sure sign of a hack, the point is does he/she have access to an autoclave? If not STAY AWAY!
4. CROSS CONTAMINATION
Just because they are wearing gloves DOES NOT mean they are sanitary. If you touch something dirty with gloves on, your hands are still dirty and you can still pass contamination. Did he/she touch their ink bottles with the same gloves they touched you with?? That is MAJOR CC. and very common with home "artists".
The area you are being tattooed in is also rich with CC. Most home tattooists don't possess the chemicals to sanitize their area (and this does not mean alcohol or bleach). So yes, every single thing he/she touches is contaminated and everything touching you is contaminated. You are pretty much being infected with everything that could be there from every other person that ever sat down for a tattoo in this area. Again the knowledge is just not there.
5. YOU DON'T EVER GET A "DEAL"
The myth of "I only got charged $50 for this tattoo I got a deal."
You should NEVER be charged for a home tattoo. The reason he/she is tattooing out of a house is because there work is not good enough to charge people in a shop. If he/she were that good they would have a job tattooing at a legit tattoo parlor. It's because they are still learning the trade and are broke and need new equipment. You are basically being used if you are charged at all. Half of what you pay at a tattoo shop is going towards making sure you get a sanitary tattoo. The artist in the shop maybe would have charged you a little more but he/she is still only getting 50$. The rest of the money goes to keeping the shop going and as sterile as can be. YOU WILL NEED IT FIXED at some point. If their work is subpar, you will need a pro to fix it. Now you’re in the realm of paying way too much for what you really wanted. We have to charge you more to fix messed up tattoos. It's not easy to rework something that’s all jacked up. It is way easier to start from scratch. The only benefit to the artist in the shop is he/she can get a before/after picture for a portfolio.
6. WHAT"S A PORTFOLIO??
A portfolio is all the pictures of the artist's work. If he/she doesn't have one LEAVE. If there are no pictures of healed tattoos, leave as well. The reason there are no healed tattoo pictures is because tattoos generally look really good when they're first done but it takes about a week before they appear damaged and/or faded. If there aren't any healed pictures it is probably because none of their tattoos have looked good at the end result.
7. REAL MACHINE DOESN'T MEAN REAL ARTIST
Anyone can get a tattoo machine. Some are inexpensive. Just because there's a real machine doesn't mean you're going to get a real tattoo. A good machine in fact will REALLY do more damage than good if the person using it is not properly trained. If the "artist" EVER refers to the machine as a gun, STAY AWAY!! Guns kill people machines give tattoos
8.WHO ARE YOU GONNA BLAME?
If your tattoo is not healing correctly and you think you have come up with an infection or blood borne pathogen, who are you going to blame? The home tattooist? WRONG. All he/she has to do is deny you were ever there and that they did not do the tattoo. This is why at a shop there are records of everyone who gets any kind of tattoo. We are not worried about being blamed for anything so in turn we keep records for proof. The home tattooist has no records because what he/she is doing is ILLEGAL. The most that would happen to them is that they are warned for doing tattoos if they are caught doing them because there is no proof he/she infected you by means of a tattoo.
9. IS THERE A PET OR INFANT IN THE HOUSE?
If so leave immediately. Pets are extremely dirty. Hair and just general waste from this animal is all over that house no matter where you’re at. Infants are usually in diapers which in turn hold fecal matter. Infants also touch absolutely everything. This guy or girl would have to be CONSTANTLY cleaning the entire house to keep contamination from reaching the tattoo area they have created. You even to need to keep your own pets away from you when you are healing your tattoos at your own house. I have seen a ringworm infected tattoo from a barn cat, you do not want this. A tattoo is an open wound that cannot be covered just keep that in mind.
10. NEVER GET TATTOOED AT A TATTOO PARTY
This is a real mistake. The traveling home tattoo artist is an even bigger risk.
Random party houses are nowhere near clean. The full equipment needed to do a tattoo party is way more than is usually brought. You cannot bring a sanitary/sterile environment to someone else's house on a regular basis, it is just not possible. Plus the artist is usually rushing through tattoos because normally there are 4 to 5 in a row and he/she wants to get them done get the money and leave. It's a quick way for a home tattooist to make a lot of money and run.
11. HOMES ARE NOT INSPECTED BY A COUNTY HEALTHBOARD.
Tattoo parlors are regularly inspected by a certified health board official. Most parlors meet and/or far exceed health board regulations. Home tattooists are not being inspected by a certified official because what they are doing is, once again, ILLEGAL. If a home based tattooist were to be inspected, they would more than likely be shut down.
12. TATTOOS ARE FOR LIFE
A tattoo is a spiritual thing that will change your mind as well as your body for the rest of your life. Putting your life in someone else's hands that may or may not care about what they are getting ready to do to you is foolish. Tattoos are to be respected. There are many risks involved in home tattooing. Most of the people doing this do not have the knowledge to scale down these risks because they are not properly trained. Look into what you are about to do to yourself it is worth the effort.