Knowing how to recognize the signs of a bad ink job that is being done too deeply is very important. It is also important to know how to deal with a painful tattoo session.
Getting a tattoo is generally not as painful of an experience as people make it out to be. Tattoos can be painful, but when there is extreme pain it is usually a result of a tattoo artist that is inking you too far under the skin. Digging the needles in deeply can lead to major pain and pain that last much longer than the average tattoo would.
How can you tell it is the artist and not just a normal painful tattoo session?
The primary way to tell if an artist is inking you too deep is to look at the edges of the lines. If they are uneven or overly thickened, then that can certainly be a warning sign. If the lines seem to bleed into the outside of the surface lines giving a shadowing effect, that can be a sign of poor tattoo craftsmanship as well. Finally, extensive pain or scars is a clear indication that something is fishy with your tattoo artist. You have to make certain that these things are happening in some combination, however, and not base it on pain alone. The reason for this is because not every person can handle pain the same way.
What if it is just normal tattoo pain?
There are several things you can do to ease the pain of a tough tattoo session. If you know going in that you are susceptible to having stronger pain reactions to tattoos, then let your tattoo artist know. Here are several other options to ease the way.
Use tattoo numbing creams
This is the best way to deal with tattoo pain. These creams can make a world of difference and make the process much easier. There are a variety of tattoo numbing creams that can be used during the session and afterward when the tattoo is healing.
Take a break as needed
There is absolutely no reason to sit longer than you need to. Take a five-minute break as needed to ease the pain. You know your own pain threshold and it is good to respect it and work with it.
Break up the tattoo into several smaller sessions
When you plan the design and implementation of the tattoo, break the sessions down into several manageable bites. There is nothing that says you have to do it all in one huge session. 3 to 5 sessions are common for smaller tattoos and even longer spaced out sessions for larger tattoos are recommended.
Don’t be pressured to sit longer than you are comfortable
Depending on the tattoo design, especially when you are doing a very large tattoo, many tattoo artists will insist that you sit for long periods of time. Do only what you are comfortable doing and nothing more. It is your skin, your money, and your pain. You control what happens and nobody else.