Your tattoo artist should be knowledgeable in this area, and should be willing to discuss their sterilization methods with you.
If unwilling, RUN, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. NO TATTOO IS WORTH RISKING YOUR HEALTH. It is possible to apply a clean tattoo with proper sterilization and work methods.
The following guidelines are accepted by top professional tattoo artists from around the world and passes medical guidelines including those set by the Center for Disease Control.
At your request, you should be able to watch your tattoo artist prepare the equipment to be used in your tattoo.
The artist should lay out NEW ink cups, and ink individually poured for your tattoo only.
The machine should be put together in front of you with the needles and tubes (round metal sleeves that the needle rides in) opened from a SEALED plastic or paper bag with an INDICATOR proving the equipment inside has passed through the sterilization process (usually indicated by a color change).
Gloves should be worn throughout the entire process, changed to new ones if a break is taken.
The gloves, inks, jelly, razors, and wipes should be used individually and thrown away. These items cannot be sterilized.
The area in which you are being tattooed should be cleaned and no activity should take place which may cause contamination to your supplies.
After the tattoo is done and bandaged, your supplies should be thrown in the trash with the exception of needles and tubes which should go into a contamination tray for proper disposal.
The entire area should then be disinfected (counter, seat, arm rest) with a hospital germicidal solution.
Along with these simple guidelines, question the studio’s sterilization methods and time.
The only acceptable method of sterilization is AUTOCLAVE STERILIZATION.
Current medical guidelines as of 1994 are as follows:
273 degrees or higher
minimum 15 pounds of pressure
55 minutes cold start (or 45 minutes with hot start).
NO OTHER METHOD, TIME, OR TEMPERATURE IS ACCEPTABLE, per medical guidelines. DRY HEAT, TOASTER OVENS, OR PRESSURE COOKERS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE!