The Dangers of Shopping for Price: scratchers, infections and bad tattoos


With tattoos becoming increasing popular by the day, the dangers associated with getting tattoos are also increasing. While most adults are already aware of these dangers, very few teenagers seem to realize what’s at risk. Often, it’s much more than just a bad patch of inked skin. Yet bargain-shoppers in the tattoo world can’t seem to keep sound reason in mind when they shop for price, rather than quality of technique, cleanliness AND artistry.

This blog serves as a reminder for people who pass on reputable tattoo studios and opt for a subpar tattoo artist working out of an unsanitary shop or worse, from home. The dangers of getting a tattoo from unreliable studios and scratchers are as follows.Capture04

An Unsafe Environment

Most scratchers work out of kitchens, living rooms and basements. The fact that they lack professional equipment like the mandatory autoclave means that they cannot properly ensure your safety. And they do NOT care. Given that even professional tattoo artists use disposable tubes now, this is actually a positive thing. But really, tubes aren’t the only things that matter and a scratcher is unlicensed, untrained in cross-contamination, blood-borne pathogens, or legally responsible for any the numerous requirements set by an insurance company willing to make themselves responsible for a professional tattooists actions and inactions.

Capture03The Risk of Cross Contamination

Simply wearing latex gloves doesn’t make the practice sanitary. In fact, tattooing while wearing gloves for prolonged periods of time can also cause contamination. Unless precautions are taken, everything the scratcher touches becomes contaminated. While contamination is dangerous, cross contamination is even more so.

The problem is that most scratchers don’t have the complete set of equipment and chemicals to do a sanitary tattoo job, (and even if they claim to, it is impossible; ignorance is rampant!) Fact- Without proper sterilization of equipment at every step and phase, the person getting a tattoo runs a high risk of contracting chronic diseases and infections. And winning a court battle with an illegal artist whom you knowingly went to rather than a professional establishment is a hard fought battle thousands are fighting every day. Don’t be one of them.

Lack of Proper Equipment

Keep in mind that a tattoo machine is easy to come by, the one’s you will find at most scratchers are almost always inexpensive, low quality starter kits. The problem is that the people getting the tattoo fail to differentiate between an actual tattoo machine and ones scratchers use. If you absolutely have to shop for a price, I would suggest that you visit a reputed parlor and simply observe their standard operating procedure. This benchmark you witness will serve as the best way to differentiate between a good and a bad tattoo artist. Simply having a tattoo machine doesn’t mean diddly!! And it does not in any way guarantee that the tattoo you are about to get will be a good one.

They Won’t Take Ownership of their Work if Things Go South

What will you do if something happens to go wrong, whether the tattoo isn’t healing right or if you get some sort of infection? Go back and complain to the cheapest price you could find? Keep in mind that scratchers already lack proper knowledge and training in what they are doing, and if something does go wrong all they have to do is deny that it’s their tattoo or their responsibility to begin with. A scratcher doesn’t keep a record because what they are doing is already ILLEGAL. And they damn sure aren’t going to admit guilt confronted. Most will vanish, disappear, and pop up in another town to notch up another batch of ‘victims’. We hear about it every day in our shops.

They Aren’t Regulated by Health Department InspectionsCapture02

What makes a tattoo studio a reputed one, apart from the name of the tattoo artists that are operating inside it, is that the shop is regularly inspected by officials to check whether they have implemented the guidelines given by the health department. Not only do scratchers not follow the guidelines, they aren’t even inspected. This is the part of the argument that sounds
like – “yeah, I’m not paying my money for a business license, or taxes, or insurance to do this to people! That’s jus the ‘man’ trying to get in my pocket!”, etc, etc, etc. Don’t be taken in by this load of garbage. YOU ARE AT RISK, not them. (Or so they think! This Scratch-master earned himself some jail time for DAMAGE he inflicted on one of his victims.)

Just make Good Decisions, is all. And, parents, help your teenagers make good decisions too. If they want a tattoo, encourage them to take their time, wait till they are of legal age, and even take them to visit shops and meet artists along their journey, helping them to recognize and desire good, safe, sterile, tattooing. Remember that getting a tattoo is a serious business. You are giving an artist a part of your body and before you do that, you must be able to completely trust the person that is going to work on you. And if you shop for tattoos according to price, you are only going to create more problems for yourself, (potentially life-threatening ones!) And besides, neither Laser-Removal nor Cover-Ups are cheap!

— Remember, You only live once (see above), and everyone DESERVES to have GOOD TATTOOS!