Monday, February 06, 2006

Women Get Sick from Door-to-Door Tattoos

My comments follow the article:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Some women in Springfield are regretting their decision last week to get a tattoo from a door-to-door tattoo salesman. At least one person had to be hospitalized and the others face serious health risks.

Friday night, a man knocked on doors holding a tattoo gun and offering his services. Tamra Eason described the tool as homemade, but still agreed to pay for a tattoo. So did two other women in her apartment complex.

"It was wrapped with black tape, had a pin underneath it, had fishing wire going through it, you could tell it was a homemade gun," Eason said.

The next day, Linda Falls passed out and had to be hospitalized.

All the women have an infection in the tattoo area and have been told to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.

The health department said it's always worth the extra money to get a tattoo from a licensed professional with the right equipment and sterilization procedures.

"Getting a tattoo is like a wound. There's a risk of disease that may be long term or life threatening. It's a serious decision," said Jaci McReynalds, with the Greene County Health Department.

It is illegal in Missouri to give a tattoo without a license, so if several people file complaints with the state, the county prosecutor will pursue the case.

"Beware of deals in parachutes, brain surgery and tattoos," said Miller Cotton, a tattoo parlor owner.

I didn't think this needed to be said, but apparently it does: DON'T GET A TATTOO FROM A STRANGER WITH A HOMEMADE GUN KNOCKING AT YOUR DOOR.

I feel sorry for the women for getting sick from this scratcher, but come on, people. You're talking about a process in which a needle is poking into your skin. Do you really want to trust your health to someone idiot with a duct-tape "gun"?

I am forever amazed by the lengths people will go to put their health and their appearance at risk for a tattoo....and think nothing of it. I hear it all the time: people getting tattooed in garages, or at "tattoo parties," or by a friend of a friend who ordered a "kit" over the Internet.

Tattooing is an ART. In order to do it properly, you must be TRAINED IN IT. No "kit" or video can teach you the essentials of tattooing. To be an artist, you must first be an apprentice...and be prepared to work hard to learn your craft. And remember: just because someone can DRAW nicely doesn't mean they can TATTOO.

In addition to being an art form, tattooing is, as I said before, an instrument piercing your skin. You MUST be vigilant as a consumer. Getting a tattoo from a scratcher does not mean that you'll end up with bad ink also means you could end up with infections, Hepatitis and other serious complications.


Go to a tattoo shop, people. Ask for photos of work they have done (not just flash). Ask what hygienic procedures they incorporate. Ask to see the autoclave (don't just take it for granted that they actually have one). Insist upon new needles opened in your presence, and do not use an artist who dips his needles directly into the ink bottle or re-uses ink from another tattoo (even if it's someone you know). In a shop with proper hygienic procedures, the chances of your having a complication are very, very slim (and despite the popular myth, there has never been one single reported case of HIV/AIDS from a tattoo shop). And the chances of your having bad ink is even lovers everywhere can tell you that they can spot a scratcher tattoo a mile away (think I'm exaggerating? Check out this site: Bad

NEVER get a tattoo from a scratcher; this means no tattoo parties, no garages, no homemade or kit guns. NEVER go to an artist who will tattoo you outside of the law; make yourself aware of the laws in your area and insist they are followed. For example, an artist who will tattoo minors in violation of the law is an artist to avoid. If they are scimping on that, you have no idea what ELSE they are scimping on. NEVER use an artist who is OK with tattooing a drunk or drugged-out person. And, although this should go without saying, never use an artist who is intoxicated himself.

ALWAYS keep in mind that a good artist works in a shop with sterile conditions, uses proper equipment, and makes every effort to keep you and himself clean and safe. A good artist has no problem explaining and demonstrating her hygienic procedures. A good artist has no problem showing you examples of her work.

And for crying out loud, a good artist DOES NOT go door-to-door.

Here are some links. If you want a tattoo, READ THEM. Don't be an idiot....

Are Tattoos Safe?

Identifying a Safe Tattoo Parlor

The Secret to a Great Tattoo

Tattoo and Body Piercing Laws by State

Tattooing and Health Risk: What the Statistics Say

The Legend of the Nastiest Scratcher on Earth



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