Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Getting a tattoo is a big commitment - it's with you for life, so you want to find the best tattoo studio in your local area to do the tattooing for you.

When you choose a shop, you should go for one with plenty of honest reviews, make sure it's clean and has a good atmosphere, and friendly staff that make you feel reassured.

The right shop should be happy to draw you custom artwork, be up front with their pricing structure, be friendly and open to your ideas and of course have an up to date license on display.

It's not the most exciting thing to read, but here's a bunch of tag lines that will help you find us through search engines - we're the most cutting edge, hygienic and friendly tattoo studio in Harlow and should definitely be your first choice.

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You can contact us on the phone at 01279 291 664, over email at gumtoad@hotmail.com or on social media @gumtoadtattoos.

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

Caring for your New Tattoo

· Leave the dressing on for at least 4 hours but no longer than 12.

· After removing, gently but thoroughly wash the tattoo with warm water and the recommended tattoo wash or gentle, non-perfumed soap.

· Ensure that all cream, plasma and any blood has been washed off, but do not scrub the tattoo. You should continue to very gently wash the tattoo 1-2 times a day during the healing process.

· Pat the area dry with kitchen roll or a very clean towel and apply a thin layer of bepanthen or your recommended tattoo cream.

· Reapply the cream 3-4 times per day and ensure the tattoo doesn't fully dry out - this can damage the tattoo.

· Over the next 1-2 weeks the tattoo may look a little dull - this is part of the healing process as new skin forms over the top of the ink and will clear up over time.

· During the healing process you must care for the tattoo; stay out of the sun and sun beds, and avoid swimming and soaking in the bath. Try to wear loose, soft clothing that won't rub whilst it's healing.

It may take up to 2 months for the tattoo to fully heal - if it isn't looked after well in this time it will become permanently faded or damaged. Alcohol or drugs can also affect healing - a healthy body makes for a healthy tattoo.

Everybody's tattoo will heal slightly differently and it may be necessary for you to return to the studio for a touch up session to add a little more ink to the healed tattoo to fully complete it. It is only obvious that a touch up is needed after the tattoo has healed. If you'd like to book a touch up, wait for at least three weeks after getting the tattoo and contact the shop for a date and time.

If you follow all the advice listed in this sheet you should have no problem with your new tattoo, but if there's anything you're unsure about or you'd like some advice please contact Gumtoad through email - gumtoad@hotmail.com - or come back to the studio for a chat.

Some brands of aftercare products that have good reputations outside of the usual Bepanthen that we sell in the studio are 'Hustle Butter' and 'Tattoo Goo'. If your skin is very sensitive or you're experiencing a lot of itching with Bepanthen you may need to switch to something more natural - Hustle Butter is good for this. It might also be a good idea to purchase some tattoo wash if you're having trouble finding fragrance-free, extra gentle soap to wash it with. We've used the 'Child's Farm' fragrance free baby body wash with success - you can find it in Boots.

A scientific illustration of the healing process.

It's totally normal for your tattoo to look gross and scabby as it heals!

Every body heals differently - some bodies take longer with the healing process but as long as you keep the tattoo clean and moisturise it enough to stop it from totally drying up, you should have no trouble.

Don't smother the tattoo with moisturiser; it needs to breath. You just need a small amount to stop it from drying up and cracking, which can result in a loss of ink and more exposure to bacteria.

If you've had an aftercare skin applied to it - something like a clear, flexible plaster - you don't need to do anything with it until you take it off 3 days after. It's sometimes easier to remove it under luke-warm running water. After this, care for it as normal in this guide.

Clean your bed sheets every week or as often as possible whilst your tattoo is healing, and always wear clean clothes if they come into contact with your fresh ink. If you get stuck to your sheets or clothes, be extremely careful peeling them off. It's best to go in the shower and let the lukewarm water loosen the fabric from the fragile skin.

And remember - no scratching!

The first thing that you must ensure when choosing a tattoo shop is that it is hygienic and organised. Blood borne illness is very real and can be spread easily if hygiene practices aren't followed properly.

The second thing you should be confident of is the attitude of your artist. When you come into the studio for the first time you should have a good feeling about the atmosphere, decor and staff.

The third thing to be sure of when choosing a tattoo artist is that their style suits the kind of tattoo that you're planning to get. Most tattoo artists are very versatile in the work that they do but each artist has their strengths and weaknesses; if you play to an artist's strengths when choosing a design, you're more likely to get a really awesome piece that's made the absolute most out of the abilities of the artist.

Getting a tattoo is a very personal process and although your mileage may very, these three points are solid areas that you need to feel confident in. You'll know you've made a good choice when your tattooist is clean, kind and skilled and you walk out of the shop with a piece you're proud of. This is a top priority for Gumtoad Tattoos - we really are prepared to go above and beyond to create artwork that you'll be glad to own on your body.

#tattooartist #responsibletattoos