Simone Virzi, Staff Writer-
Tattoos and body piercings were the hot topic at the “Got Ink?” program, an event in which two employees from “A Touch of Color” in Hamden came to enlighten Southern students about these popular forms of self-expression.
“A lot of people don’t know where to go to get a good tattoo,” said Kaleb Edgar, a tattoo artist and manager at A Touch of Color. He said to look at tattoo shop reviews online or to verbally ask people where they went and find out if they were happy with it.
“Avoid tattoo parties,” said Edgar. “Most cover-ups we do are from someone from a tattoo party. Most of the time it’s crap.”
Someone thinking about getting a tattoo should not be spontaneous. The individual should consider the design and placement before making a permanent decision, said Edgar.
“Put time into thinking about it,” said Edgar. “Keep it away from [areas on the body] where it may prevent you from getting a job.”
Pain should also be taken into consideration; an individual will experience more pain if the tattoo is close to the nerves.
“That’s where you’re going to feel it,” said Edgar. “Ribs are the most painful spot.” For a first tattoo, he said the wrist and shoulder are ideal areas.
Aftercare is essential to avoid infection. An individual should ask their tattoo artist for written instructions explaining how to properly care for the tattoo.
“Stay away from tanning, the ocean, and the pool,” said Edgar. As a tattoo heals and starts to peel, it may become itchy. Edgar said a trick to stop the itchiness is to tap the tattoo.
Although body piercings are not permanent like tattoos are, the individual should still take precautions.
“The place has got to be clean and organized,” said Justin Salley, a body piercer at A Touch of Color. “Talk to the piercer beforehand. Make sure they have knowledge [about piercings] and ask a lot of questions about aftercare.”
It is important to make sure the piercer does not reuse needles, as this may cause infection or spread diseases.
“Request to watch them open needles,” said Salley. “Needles should be individually wrapped; tools too.”
Some people may consider getting a piercing at a business like Generation X in the Milford Mall because it is not as expensive as a tattoo shop. Salley said even though the price is cheaper, the individual is better off spending money on a higher-quality piercing.
“They offer cheap piercings because they buy cheap jewelry,” said Salley. “You can’t skimp on price when something is going on or in your body.”
Aftercare should be taken seriously, especially because of the risk of infection, said Salley.
“Natural products work the best,” said Salley. Instead of using products like Neosporin or Vaseline, he said he will suggest H2Ocean aftercare spray to his clients.
Since tattoos and body piercings appeal to many college students, including Marcus Armistead, the program helped guide students in the right direction of how to get a quality tattoo or piercing.
“The [Got Ink?] program was educational but interesting,” said Armistead, a community coordinator who helped plan the event. “I want more tattoos. Now we all know the safe way to get a tattoo.”
A Touch of Color, located at 1212 Dixwell Ave. in Hamden, is open Monday to Thursday from 1 p.m-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. They offer a 10% discount to local college students or 15% to active military with identification.