What can be more exciting than getting a tattoo which depicts inner-feelings and showcases the personality one so proudly owns? People usually pay a lot of attention to the intricate details when they decide to get inked, such as tattoo’s design, colour and place. What they seem to forget sometimes is the importance of maintaining hygiene in a tattoo shop. It is always a good idea to inquire about the cleanliness of the tattoo shop to find out if the highest level of hygiene is practised there.
There are many risks attached when getting a tattoo and to avoid such risks one needs to be very careful about the hygiene standards being practised there. The Public Health Regulation, 2012 states that all the procedures involving skin penetration carry a high risk of infection and hence the body art practitioners must comply with the rules and regulations. It is imperative to ensure that the selected studio follows safe practices and has high hygiene standards which it monitors regularly. The tattoo artist needs to follow all the rules set by the studio as the work progresses.
The area that needs to be tattooed needs to be clean and hair-free, for which most artists usually shave that area. Most of the times the artists use a razor for this purpose. The knife used by the artist needs to be the disposable type and should be thrown away immediately after use. If not done so, there are chances of severe infections and several diseases like AIDS. After shaving, the area to be tattooed should be cleaned with a skin antiseptic. At the same time, tattoo artists should at all-time wear gloves too for the safety of both, the customer and the artist. The artist should always wash hands before and after attending to a client, before and after a procedure, after exposure to a body procedure, after touching a client’s body and after removing the gloves. If there are cuts or wounds on the client’s body, they should be neatly covered with a sealed waterproof bandage.
Furthermore, disposable needles should be used by the artists to minimize chances of infections thereby safeguarding customers’ interests. To prevent cross-contamination, the inks and pigments along with the cream must be transferred into single-use containers. Procedures that involve skin penetration carry a higher risk of spreading diseases as microorganisms can quickly enter the body when the skin is fragmented. Most of the outbreak of diseases like hepatitis C and B have occurred when contaminated needles were used from one person to another. The artist should open the sterile packaging of the equipment just before the procedure.
It is wise to have a proper look at the studio and asks questions about how the materials are kept sterile. At the same time, the service of getting tattooed should be taken from professional artists who have some experience of the work. An experienced artist usually pays attention to the fine details, understands the importance of hygiene and makes sure that the conditions are sterile. Sometimes in order to save money, people tend to take services of unprofessional artists which is a highly dangerous practice. Such artists usually ask for a lower price and hardly pay attention to the hygiene. Such exercise can lead to high infection risks along with blood poisoning.
The safety of procedures and operations associated with tattooing should be augmented. All procedures should be carefully done to abolish microbial contamination of the tools, equipment and surroundings. All the equipment should be in good working order, be cleaned via scrubbing, or using instrument washer and ultra-sonic cleaner and dried after use. The facilities used by the studio to sterilize their equipment is of utmost importance. If the equipment is sterilised on site, they must be disinfected using a bench-top steriliser in accordance with the healthcare standards. The artists must aim for the highest standards by using advanced facilities and preserving a sterile working atmosphere. The sterility standards must be as high as a hospital standard of using a vacuum and steam sterilization for all the equipment. Also, the tools, needles and the accessories should be opened in front of the customers and discarded immediately after use. All the tools must also be wrapped and packaged before dispensing through a bench-top steriliser.
The professional tattoo artist should be adequately educated to help them reorganise the studio to maintain highest standards of hygiene. There should be a proper record of the maintenance of the tools specifying the parameters which need to be considered during sterilization. The sterilization records must be kept for at least a year showing the time and date when the tools were sterilised and the length of time for which they were disinfected along with the temperature and pressure levels of the steriliser.
The studio as well should ensure that all its tattoo artists are highly qualified, are professionals and pay attention to the minute details of their work. Also, the artists must be registered with the local council and should renew the license on expiry. The studio should be adequately ventilated, adequately lighted and should meet all the necessary requirements. The surfaces should be finished with materials that are easy to clean, and floor should be non-slippery. The studio owner should ensure that separate basins for cleaning are provided at the studio – a hand wash basin with a continuous supply of clean, warm and drinkable water and a separate sink with a supply of clean, warm water for cleaning equipment. A liquid soap, preferably alcohol based, single-use towels and automatic hand dryers should also be provided at the studio for proper cleaning and maintenance. Also, while tattooing is in progression, linen, gowns and aprons should be used. After the usage, they must be thoroughly washed with detergent and hot water to remove all types of contamination. An adequately covered waste disposable bin should also be placed on the premises.
A careful effort towards hygiene helps to shun away all the diseases and keeps clients safe.