Tuesday, November 8, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time for a Tattoo

She's probably covered in ink.
 Each Spring and Summer, thousands of people get tattoos. The sun is out, they are wearing clothes that shows off more skin, they are vacationing... You would think this would be the best time to get a tattoo, right?

 Actually, no.

 If you have a choice (and there are only a handful of reasons you would not have a choice), the best time to get a tattoo would be during the Fall and Winter months (roughly November through March for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). During the colder months, several factors align making getting a tattoo at that time the smart way to go.

 "But Jason", you say, "I want to show of my tattoo. I can't do that while wearing a parka!" While it may be true that you want to show off your tattoo in the warmer seasons, consider a couple of things your tattooer tells you about your new tattoo and how to take care of it. I am certain the following two phrases will sound familiar to tattoo collectors:

 Keep your new tattoo out of the sun as much as possible.

 and

 Do not go swimming or submerge your tattoo in a body of water for the first two weeks.

Sun... Bad!
 The sun is the enemy of a tattoo, especially while it is healing. Sunlight fades your tattoo, and while the tattoo is healing your skin is damaged. That damage is less resistant to ultraviolet rays and more prone to burn in intense sunlight, which will do your new tattoo even more damage. In the Spring and Summer, the sun is almost unavoidable, but in the Fall and Winter your skin will be well protected from sunlight in clothing designed to keep you warm. This makes healing for your new tattoo easier, and come the Spring and Summer months your ink will look fresh, vibrant, and fully healed.

 Have you seen a tattoo while it is healing? Check out my article about the healing process here.

 Next, no swimming while your tattoo is healing. I cannot count the number of times I have tattooed clients who were on vacation and were disappointed to hear that if they wanted to take care of their new tattoo they could not go tubing on the river or to the nearby water-slide park. A tattoo is an open wound. Until a tattoo is healed, the water you put it in gets into the skin, causing you to share intimately all the fungi, bacteria, toxins, viruses, and other contaminants in said public and/or natural bodies of water. Even if the pool you are in is the cleanest pool to have ever been known by man, that water will still get into your tattoo and carry some of that expensive ink out of your skin.

 So, when you get your tattoo in June, you will need to be sitting in the shade somewhere while your tattooed peer who thought ahead and got their new tattoo in January is enjoying the water and sun with your friends. Worse, if you decide to not listen to your tattooer, you could be facing an infection, allergic reaction, and a costly touch-up. Your friend tattooed in Winter need not worry about any of that.

Get this in Winter, show it off in Summer.
 Those reasons alone should have you considering how to budget your next tattoo into your holidays, but let's also discuss the financial wisdom behind a Winter tattoo. The Fall and Winter is the slow season for most tattooers. I know tattooers who either travel to the Southern Hemisphere or go on vacation during the Winter Months because of how slow things get. On a Saturday night in July, a tattooer cannot keep-up with the number of customers walking through the door, and those customers are paying a premium rate for the tattooer's time and effort.

 In the Winter, through, many tattooers are feeling the pinch of the season. They are buying presents for family and friends and dealing with Winter expenses just like you, but their income is not consistent. During these times, when you might be the only client they have seen in days, a tattooer can be more flexible about pricing a tattoo. During the slow season, your new tattoo can cost you less than what you would pay for it in the Spring. Your tattooer will often have more time to dedicate to your tattoo, giving you more for your money, even at a discount. Financially, getting a tattoo in the Fall or Winter is simply smart.

 So, keep all that in mind for the next few months. If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, now is the time. You will avoid the worst effects of the sun, you will be able to swim when you want to be in water, and you might even get more bang for your buck. Fall and Winter truly is the most wonderful time for a tattoo.

 Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  He loves answering questions about tattoos.  Shoot him an email at tattoonerdz@gmail.com