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Alcohol & Tattoos: Can I Drink Before I Ink?

Today's Tattoo Corner topic is about drinking alcohol before getting tattooed. Matt asks:

Q) Hi Jinxi, A friend of mine told me that he always drinks before getting tattooed, but I have heard that it's not a good idea.  Do you have any advice when it comes to drinking and inking?

You can read my answer to Matt's question here.

Have you ever arrived at a tattoo appointment inebriated? Do you know of anyone who has?
Share your stories below.

References (1)

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  • Response
    One of the main reasons people self-medicate is the fear of pain. Naturally, tattooing causes some discomfort. The amount of pain a client experiences varies with tattoo placement, how well prepared you are for the tattoo, and your own level of tolerance. Many tattoo “virgins” find the process of getting tattooed ...

Reader Comments (9)

It is not wise to drink prior to being tattooed as alcohol thins the blood. In doing so, as the artist is trying to lay the ink into your skin, you are bleeding the ink out and the color in the tattoo will heal up splotchy and uneven. Most artist will not tattoo people who are drunk or have been drinking.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCupcake Colette

Great answer and advice, Jinxi. As a tattoo artist I agree with everything you said --- especially the part about how obnoxious drunk clients can be. I had to make a rule to just NOT tattoo anyone that looks like they have been drinking - it is not worth it.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterR.C.

My tradition is to not drink whilst getting tattooed. After an hour of Saran Wrap, I wash my tat then kill a 12 pack of Miller High Life to celebrate.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOscar

I never drink before I get work done. Not only do you need to be able to be still and follow directions when you are getting inked, but seriously, do you really think your artist wants to smell ya all boozy. LOL!

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZandra

Jinxi, your response was perfect! I work in a tattoo shop, and I must say, there is nothing harder to deal with than person who is intoxicated. Also, more than anything, you will want to be actively involved in such important decisions and the overall experience of getting tattooed. It is much better to just channel your thoughts elsewhere if you are experiencing pain, but if you can't deal with the thought of being in any amount of discomfort for the process, you might not be completely ready to get tattooed.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKailee

I never drink before I get tatted. It thins your blood & makes you bleed more from what I've been told. Not to mention thats gotta get on a tat artists nerves...having to deal with stinky booze breath & people acting all goofy cause they're intoxicated. Dealing with the pain isn't an issue for me, I seem to have a high tolerance for it. My artist ... Read Moreusually wraps the new tat in saran wrap & after a couple hours I take it off & completely soak it, for 5 or so minutes in HOT water to let the pores open up & let the excess ink out. Doing this hurts for like 5 seconds but then feels AMAZING after!Then I submerge it in cold water to tighten the pores back up, put a thin layer of ointment & rewrap it in Saran for @ least 12 hours. This seems to work well for keeping my sleeve tats & large tats from scabing & peeling. Not to mention it makes it feel SO much better! I've never had to have any art pieces touched up or anything, but I owe that to my tat artist, he's AMAZING!

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

I agree, in most places it is illegal to tattoo someone who is obviously intoxicated. I don't think tattoo artists should have to put up with that...everyone knows drunk people are annoying.

Personally, I don't drink for the first 3 days after my tattoos either. I have observed that it noticeably depletes my immune system if I do, and I have extended healing times and often I start getting a cold or something as well. I need my entire immune system to be working at full force when I'm healing a tattoo.

However...being that I have worked in a shop myself, and most of my friends are tattoo artists...I have some fond memories of that rule being broken. On numerous occasions, we'd all close up shop and then go drinking, and somehow in the wee hours of morning it sounded like a fun idea to set up and tattoo each other with something awesome we'd come up with over the course of the night or an inside joke, all in the shop manager's kitchen. I have 2 or 3 that were done that way. They aren't beautiful, but I cherish the memories. :) It was more for fun that it was to create a masterpiece, you know?

And to be honest, I didn't notice any pain relieving qualities at the amounts that I was drinking. I felt the pain just the same, I just was more distracted by the buzz. I did notice more bleeding and drippy inky plasma, but not to a dangerous or worrisome level. It was just somewhat obnoxious.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterParker (aka Toxic Sunset)

ive been sober every time ive gotten a tattoo.....haha yes celebrate with drinks later....soo i believe thats the way to go.true story....last week a group of friends and i were waiting to see if we could get a tattoo.i live in texas so of course a youngin redneck walks in,he didnt look drunk just stupid..he wanted....ug a texas flag on his ass cheek.so ewww the baby redneck gets his wish an hour later..the next day i hear he called the tattoo shop angry and bitching that he was drunk and "didnt know any better" and they shouldnt have tattooed him...soooooo unless having tattoos is your lifestyle and not a trend dont get drunk before

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpoisonkupkake

Getting drunk and then tattooed is worst idea. Its like insulting your tattoo artist skills, cause it just makes the job that much more difficult. Plus your immune system is what heals a tattoo, drinking just weakens that as well. Take some pain medication if you can not handle the pain during or after.

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJPR
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