Friday, September 30, 2011

Hygiene & Colours


About Hygiene:

Since we´re living in the 21st century, a time where people travel very fast and so do germs and micro organisms, a time of HIV, Hepatitis and new generations of viruses and bacteria, we don´t have a cure or treatment for, a tattoo artist should show compromiseless responsibility towards his clients health and safety.

An important word is cross-contamination, meaning the spreading of micro organisms from one host to another.
Simply said: One uses a needle without sterilization for two clients, client nr.2 ends up with the diseases of client nr.1.

What can we do to avoid cross-contamination?

Very easy: Just don´t re-use ANYTHING!
The safest way to avoid cross-contamination is to dispose EVERYTHING that got in touch with blood during the process of making a tattoo.

That is exactly how we work. Everything, that is just involved in the process, but not in direct contact with blood, gets either pouched or taped, so that not even the tiniest sprinkle has a chance. (like the tattoo gun and the tapping sticks, my single stick poking works are done with a disposable one way stick)

Further than that we use only one-way pre-sterilized needles, that also counts for the “exotics” like bone, flintstone, thorn etc, these needles get carved or chipped and they go before use through a sterilization process like any other surgical equipment, too.
After use they get disposed.

That is, why we can say with confidence, that we guarantee to 100%,  you´ll leave us as healthy as you came.
Sometimes people ask me, when I´m working on the Viking festivals:
“Is it hygienic?”
Yes, it is! It doesn´t help, if you have some fancy studio that looks like a hospital, when you re-use your needles or answer the phone with bloodstained gloves, wich we NEVER do, even tough we are working under the open sky sometimes. Got me?

I got carefully educated in Germany, a country with very strict regulations, when it comes to health and safety. The department for health in Germany f.ex. even regulated the way you have to move your hands while putting hand desinfection on.
My education included also a microbiology seminary, held by Dr. Wille, University Giessen.
That doesn t even bring me close to a medical education, but Dr. Wille put some effort in it, to teach a bunch of tattooist, how the world of the tiny, invisible killers work.
He was personally involved, because his daughter got Hepatitis from a bad tattoo.

An important thing is, that we don´t see the danger, even if the just used handle or towel still “looks” clean, it is most probably not.

Every client gets disinfected before and after tattooing and leaves us with a covered tattoo, either we use spray plaster or a layer of Clingfilm.
Still the tattoo counts as  an open wound and should be treated like that, means, if you join the competition in mud-rolling with a fresh tattoo, you most probably end up with an infection.

So lets start to go through the details:

Electric tattooing

The Clipcord as non-disposable element is pouched (1)

So is the machine (2) and the spray bottle (3)

The working place (4), made of stainless steel is covered with cling-film and paper towel, gets disinfected after every client.

Ink cap, sitting on tongue depressor with Vaseline, the whole set goes in the bin after use  (5)

One way pre-sterilized needle (6) and tube (7)

Tattooing by hand

Working place , spray bottle, ink cap, Vaseline and tongue depressor get the same treatment like at electric tattooing.

Pre-sterilized needle for the dotwork poking. (1)

Pre sterilized bone needle (2) for late stone age medical tattoos

 The tools for tapping in Polynesian style (3) with a single-use metal needle comb attached

The “Hammer” (4), notice tape at one end

Do I really have to mention, that we of course wear gloves during the whole process?

I hear and see a lot of things, that really shock me, starting at the very cheap tattoos people get wherever.
BE CAREFUL! If you have only a little doubt about the hygienic circumstances, DON`T DO IT!
I know how the urge to get a tattoo feels, but there is a special kind of memory you don´t want.
I have a hard time understanding, why someone wants a cheap looking, low quality tattoo, but I don´t understand at all why one should in addition risk getting infected with HIV or other blood transmittable diseases.

Good, hygienic work cannot be cheap!

There are a lot of people out there who did not dedicate their soul to tattooing, who just see the money or the personal fame in it. These people don´t care about the craft of inking, they don´t care about hygiene and responsibility.
I understand, that these days are "Hobby Tattooists" out there, who completely skip education, but advertise with low prices and quality.
Brilliant idea! I just chose a new hobby for me: Hobby surgeon. Fuck university! I just get some skalpells in the internet and start doing boobjobs. It will look like shit, but maybe you survive and it´s cheap.
Does that sound grotesque? To me it s equally grotesqe to go to an equally uneducated person and get a tattoo done with absolute equal risk!
It s hard to see the difference between a good tattoo artist and a so called scratcher for people, who are not in the business, so:

-make sure to check out the way the tattooist works, is it clean or a messy place?

- look at pictures of the work of the tattooist. Do you like his style?

-talk to the tattooist. Does the person give you the feeling, that you´re in good hands?

- a tattooist´s quality can safely be measured on the waiting list, like a restaurant, if it s empty, don’t go there…….


Since we are a very old studio with a good reputation, we only use approved colours, which are especially made for tattooing and only available from official suppliers, who provide medical equipment, too.
The exact recipe is off course kept secret by the producers, but pigment, Alcohol, Witch Hazel and purified water is usually what a good, professional colour is made of.

Our studio has existed since 1988, so long term experience can be provided and we use our ink of course in our own skin as well, sometimes we even drink it (cheers, Markus :)

Of course we ´re updated with all rules, regulations and medical warnings regarding tattoo colour brands. We only use approved, harmless colour.

No matter, whatever you saw in TV, no professional tattooist uses actual car paint for tattooing and no one dies or ends up with an amputation because of some red tattoo colour, promise.
Stay critical! The truth doesn’t necessarily live in the flat screen!

During my years of professional tattooing, I had no one who had serious problems with his or her tattoo after healing phase, not even people who were worried in the beginning because of allergies or light psoriasis.

Still we offer an allergy test for our customers for free.

Stay clean and safe, respect art and craft of Tattoo.

Yours sincerely