Is your ass covered?

No, that’s not a reference to a new tattoo that will make it difficult to sit for a couple weeks. The question is geared toward the hygiene practices you employ in your day to day business. It’s a topic that is fresh on our minds over here, as we’re running a feature this month in which we spoke with two industry players about their individual experiences with tattoo-related infections.

The two scenarios were about as different as apple and oranges. One occurred recently after a session at a professional studio with an artist who had more than enough experience to avoid such disasters. The other, far more life-threatening, was the result of a home scratch job, followed by the recipient passing out drunk on the apartment floor. But as divergent as they are, the two instances had common ground in that neither were attributed to the artist by the medical professionals involved. Basically, “It wasn’t the artist; it was you.”

Great. The artists are in the clear. Well, one artist and a scratcher who should have never poked a kid with an ink-soaked guitar string in the first place, but that’s an entirely different subject. So, why are we talking about this? Because ultimately, whether it’s truly your fault or not doesn’t matter in the eyes of the public. The masses digest little more than soundbites and headlines. If someone gets sick from the tattoo you gave them, that’s all they’ll remember.

So when we ask if you’re ass is covered, we’re not asking if you’re observing the requisite health standards of your local community. We’re asking if you go above and beyond, and if you have a full-proof system that documents as much. You have to think beyond what goes on in your shop, and instead assume that once your client makes their exit, they’re going to do some dumb shit. They’re going to go swimming, cuddle with their pets, coat their tat in Vaseline, etc. When they show back up pointing the finger at you, it’s a matter of life or death to your livelihood that you have the organization in place that enables you to look back and verify that you did everything correctly. Otherwise, it’s your reputation on the chopping block.

Ruminate on that for now and flip over to our feature for more of the gory details. We’ll be back next month with pointers on how you can keep that metaphorical posterior protected from the elements.


PAIN Magazine is the undisputed standard-bearer of all things body modification; the advocate, advisor, confidant and documentarian of a once marginalized trade, now on the cusp of cultural ubiquity. As a publication, we stand alone — peerless within our market sector for nearly 20 years. As fellow operators within the space, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those whom we serve, wholly invested in the continued success of our industry. We are the guide to help you walk the tightrope between the intangibles of the trade—art, integrity and community—and the cold hard facts of your bottom line. With a monthly circulation of 12,000 copies that go out across the U.S. and Canada and a reader base of over 36,000 industry professionals, it’s easy to understand why our professional, informative and artistic format offers the best buy per advertising dollar.

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