Top 5 Dangers of Stick and Poke Tattoos
While professional stick and poke kits are now available to minimize risk, you still need to be careful when using them to reduce the chance of unwanted side-effects
All tattoos come with their own unique set of risks. Unfortunately, stick and pokes have gotten a particularly bad reputation because many choose to create their own designs using the wrong materials and without thinking of the potential hygiene risks. And, while professional stick and poke tattoo kits are now available to minimize these dangers, you still need to be careful when using them to reduce the risks of unwanted side-effects.
Here, we’re going to highlight the five top dangers associated with stick and poke tattoos as well as share some tips on how to keep yourself safe.
1. The Spread of Bloodborne Pathogens
Also referred to as BBPs, bloodborne pathogens are transmitted from one person to another via the blood or bodily fluids. You may have heard of some of the most common ones such as syphilis, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. When creating a stick and poke tattoo, you’re puncturing the skin creating an open wound. This exposure to blood is what increases your risk of developing BBP infections.
When creating your own stick and poke designs at home, it is extremely important that you never use the same equipment on multiple people. And, this isn’t just limited to needles either! You should use new ink, ink cups, gloves, surface covers, and anything else that has come into contact with the ink, needle, you, and the person you’re tattooing. Also, make sure to dispose of your needles in the right container at a professional facility to minimize the spread once you’ve finished your tattoos.
Today, artists in the US are required to pass training programs related to the understanding of bloodborne pathogens. Aside from the fact that these training programs aren’t expensive, they’re also available to anyone wanting to create their own tattoos, not just experienced professionals. If you do experience any health issues after getting a tattoo, always consult with your physician.
You may think that a skin infection isn’t a very big danger because you can just clean it and take antibiotics to make it pass, right? Well, if you don’t pay close attention to health and safety when getting tattooed, you’re at a higher risk of getting a staph infection. While staph infections can be treated, the bacteria can also become antibiotic-resistant. Left untreated, the staph bacteria will enter your bloodstream and spread to your organs, putting you in grave danger.
The key to avoiding infections is to make sure the environment you’re getting a tattoo in is hygienic and sanitized. Start by choosing a space that doesn’t have any porous materials. For example, choose your dining room table over your living room sofa. Then, follow these steps to set up:
- Sanitize and disinfect all of the surfaces around you
- Put down a disposable work surface covering
- Opt for professional tattooing equipment rather than household materials
- Make sure all of your equipment is sterilized and individually packaged
- Use new ink cups and ink
- Always wear a new pair of latex or nitrile gloves
- If you need to shave the skin, use a new razor
- Clean the area you are tattooing with alcohol wipes
- Use professional tattoo wipes when removing excess ink
- Keep your tattoo clean
- Don’t forget to undertake the right aftercare
3. Allergic Reactions to the Ink
It is not uncommon for people to have an allergic reaction to tattoo ink. The problem is that this doesn’t always appear when tattooing. In fact, an allergic reaction to tattoo ink can start showing years after you actually get your tattoo. The ingredients used to make tattoo ink differ from one brand to the next. Also, different colors are made in different ways. For example, red ink is said to cause the biggest issues as many brands add cadmium or mercury to their recipe. Some symptoms of an allergic reaction to tattoo ink include:
- A rash
- Red bumpy skin
The key to avoiding this is to only use professional tattoo inks and check the ingredients before getting a tattoo. Pen ink, for example, is highly toxic and can cause adverse side effects. There are also knock-off brands that make inks that do not comply with the various legislations put in place to protect people getting tattoos.
4. Scarring From Going Too Deep
One of the biggest issues with people wanting to create their own stick and pokes at home is that they do not know how deep into the skin they should insert the needle. While many believe they’re not going deep enough, you only actually have to insert the needle 1/16 of an inch into the skin.
If you insert it deeper, you will experience something called tattoo blowout. This is when the ink goes so deep that it blows out under the skin, making the tattoo look blurred. Aside from the fact that your lines won’t look neat, you may experience scarring in more severe cases.
5. A Bad Tattoo
Don’t forget that tattoos, regardless of the technique used, are permanent. If you try something too complex for your first tattoo, you may end up messing it up which would leave you with a piece you might regret. When buying your materials, opt for a professional tattoo kit that comes with practice skin. This will give you a feel for tattooing as well as offer you a chance to practice your designs before inking yourself or your friends. Best of all, it will come with all of the materials you need to minimize all of the risks mentioned above!
If you’re interested in buying a professional tattoo kit, visit our online store today! We offer a number of different kits, all of which come with professional needles, inks, as well as a wealth of health and safety materials designed to keep you safe.