Applying a Tattoo: From Sterilization to the Bandage

Applying a Tatto featured image
Published on May 10, 2023

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A tattoo is not merely a piece of art; it's a testament to a painstaking process that requires precision, cleanliness, and a great deal of skill.

From sterilizing the equipment to bandaging the fresh tattoo, each step is crucial in ensuring a successful and safe tattooing experience. Let's unravel the process of applying a tattoo, step by step.

Tattooing Process: How Tattoos Work

How Tattoos Work


Today, safety is the primary consideration in tattoo application. Any puncture hole has the potential to become infected or infected with a disease, which is what a tattoo machine is doing to your skin.

An autoclave is now the best and only method that is appropriate for sterilizing tattoo equipment. A heat, steam, and pressure machine called an autoclave is also used in hospitals.

It can reach and sustain temperatures of up to 132 degrees Celsius (270 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes while applying 7 kilograms (15 pounds) of pressure.

Others can sustain 5 kilograms (10 pounds) of pressure and 121 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. For thorough sterilization, most autoclaves run for 55 minutes after a cold start.

Nearly all tattooing supplies, such as ink cubs, needles, ink, gloves, etc., are only used once to reduce the chance of contamination, but some reusable supplies, such as the tube or the needle bar, must be disinfected.

They are placed in unique pouches that have indicator strips attached, and they are then left in the autoclave for a full cycle. Once the sterilization is complete, the indicator strips' color changes. Every living bacterium is guaranteed to be destroyed during autoclave sterilization.

The sterilizing typically happens before the client enters the salon, so he won't likely witness it. You will only be able to view the pouch that the needle bars were sterilized in; however, this will be explained in greater detail later.

To avoid infection, other tattooing supplies including spray bottles, clip cords, and the tattoo machine itself are required to be wrapped in plastic bags.

Before starting the tattooing process itself, the artist should wash his hands, clean his workspace with an EPA-approved disinfectant, put on fresh gloves, and adhere to the following rules:

1. He covers the spray bottles, tattoo machine, and other apparatus with fresh plastic bags.

2. Removes fresh ink caps and fills them with tattoo ink.

3. Removes the equipment from a sealed pouch that has been autoclave sterilized and clamps it to the tattoo machine.

4. Shaves and cleans the tattoo-ready region.

5. After dampening the area, a stencil with the tattoo's outline is applied.

He will remove the stencil once more, allow it to cure for a few minutes, and then begin tattooing.

The artist starts running the machine over the stencil with various needle tips depending on the width of the outline.

In order to prevent the outline stencil from being lost when cleaning a permanent line, right handed artists typically start at the bottom of the right hand side and work their way up, while left handed artists typically start from the left side.

Because it can be removed from the skin more easily and without smearing when used for outline work, thinner ink is typically utilized than ink for shading and coloring.

The tattoo machine should be buzzing as he moves over the stencil and works the ink into the skin, and where the needle pierces the skin, smooth, clear lines should start to develop.

The tattooed region is washed with sterile soap and water when the outlines are completed. If necessary, the artist will review some outlines once more to make sure they are drawn correctly.

Then, after perhaps a brief break, the shading is added. He will likely use a different machine and a different needle for the shading than he did for the outlines.

Each artist has a unique method of working, and the choice of machine depends on the artist's background and preferences.

The tattooed area is cleaned once more and prepared for color after the shading is finished. To guarantee a solid and equal coloration without any "Holidays," the artists typically go twice over each colored line when applying the color.

The pigment has either faded throughout the healing process or the artist missed a section of the skin in areas that appear uneven.

This is not to say that they did a poor job; it's just that when you look at the application, you can't really notice those stains.

The tattoo is sprayed and cleansed once more following the coloring. The tattooist will next wipe away any blood or plasma that was expelled during the tattooing process using a disposable cloth.

Even under normal circumstances, bleeding always happens during tattooing, but the majority of it disappears after a few minutes.

If illegal substances or alcohol were used before or during the procedure, the bleeding can last longer and there might be other issues. Any tattoo artist will refuse to ink someone who is intoxicated or high.

The tattoo artist will put a bandage over the tattoo after thoroughly cleaning the inked area to stop it from bleeding, getting blood, and continuing excreting tattoo ink on your clothes. After this bandage has been applied, it should be removed in about two hours.

Enjoying Your New Tattoo

Enjoying Your New Tattoo


It might be difficult to get a new tattoo, especially if it's your first. But if you simply break it down into steps, the procedure isn't as terrifying as you may assume.

Finding a store that can accommodate your needs only requires that you find your design and determine where to install it.

Simply maintain a regular breathing pattern while reminding yourself that the pain will pass quickly but your new tattoo will last a lifetime.

Looking for more information on tattoos? Check out our list of articles below for tips on how to apply a tattoo, the best tattoo artists, and more!

Ryan S. Mills
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