Tattoo Advice and History > Tattoo Advice > Alcohol & Tattoos: Can I Drink Before I Ink?

 

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Drinking & Tattooing

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? - Matt

A) There are quite a few reasons not to drink before or during a tattoo. First, you are making a decision that will stay with you for a lifetime. Ink is permanent and it's best to be in a clear state of mind so that you choose what, where and who will be putting artwork on your body. You want to be able to be a part of approving the artwork, checking out the stencil, watching where it is placed; basically, observing each step of the tattoo process. After the artist applies the stencil and asks for your approval, it is good to have a clear perspective and know what you will be looking at in the mirror for the rest of your years.

Another reason why drinking and tattooing don't mix is that the alcohol can cause your blood to thin, which will result in more bleeding, and in turn make it harder for the pigment to adhere and heal correctly. Why risk the need for a touch-up or sub par results when you can prevent it?
 
Many artists will refuse to tattoo an inebriated client simply because there is more risk of them not being able to sit still (while not even realizing that they are moving around); the added likelihood that they will be distractive while they are trying to tattoo (and distract others in the shop); as well as the chance that they will wake up the next day distraught over their new addition and bring this agitation back to the shop and tattooist. It's usually just not worth it for tattoo artists to risk and I have seen plenty of people turned down and asked to return when they are sober.
 
While I understand the anxiety over pain, I highly recommend that you overcome this hurdle with other methods. Positive reinforcement and visualization are methods that I commonly employ. Some other methods that might work based on the individual are meditation, and deep breathing. Check out this post about pain, what to expect and ways to prepare if you are concerned about this inevitable aspect of getting tattooed. You can make it without alcohol ... really, you can. You'll be glad that you were engaged in the experience once it's over.

Getting a tattoo is a fantastic adventure. Each one can be a great addition to life's memory book and being able to recall that day and time is something that can't be duplicated. And hey, though you'll have healing to deal with the day after, you won't have a hangover.
 

Last updated on March 1, 2012 by Jinxi Boo