Why 100% Disposable?

You might have seen this wording on our business cards or website: “100% single use, sterile, & disposable.” Come in and ask us, and we’ll be glad to chat about all of the benefits of running a disposable body art studio. But if you’re looking around at tattoo shops online, you might be curious about what exactly this means. In short, a disposable studio is a studio that does not reprocess and reuse any equipment, instead opting for presterilized single-use implements that can be used on a single client and then thrown away afterward.

The alternative to this, which works well for many shops, is reprocessing their tools for use on future clients, over and over. This is a multistep process: immediately after use, the tools should be placed in a tray containing a chemical cleaning solution. When the artist (or apprentice) is ready to process tools, the tools are run through an ultrasonic cleaning machine, hand scrubbed, rinsed, dried, and packaged for sterilization in the shop’s autoclave.

But which is better?

It depends on who you ask, honestly. When done correctly, using reprocessed tools is just as safe as using single-use, disposable equipment. However, there are a few key reasons why we decided to go 100% disposable:

  • Client safety. Let’s face it, tattoo artists aren’t robots. With how many steps are involved in reprocessing tools safely, there is a small chance for human error. By avoiding reprocessing altogether, you eliminate the risk of someone making a dangerous mistake.
  • Personal safety. There is always a certain amount of risk involved when dealing with biohazardous materials and harsh chemicals. Personal protective equipment (gloves, sleeve protectors, aprons, and face masks) can minimize this risk, but if you can avoid it entirely by using disposable tools, why not?
  • Environmental concerns. This one might seem counterintuitive. However, consider the amount of waste created when reprocessing a single tool: chemicals for cleaning, water for rinsing and filling the ultrasonic/autoclave, electricity for running these machines, a full suit of plastic personal protective equipment, several pairs of gloves, and plastic packaging for the tool. Compare this to simply throwing away a single-use tattoo tube, and there’s a clear winner.

Going disposable was the best choice for us, for both our clients’ and artists’ safety.

If you have any other questions about our tattooing process, we’d love to talk! Contact us via phone, e-mail, Facebook, or just stop by the shop. :)

FAQ: Tattoo Aftercare

There's a lot of information out there when it comes to tattoo aftercare, and not all of it is good information. We compiled a list of the most common questions concerning healing tattoos and posted them here for the benefit of everyone! Whether you're an ABA client or not, we hope this helps answer some of your tattoo aftercare questions. Happy healing!

Okay, I just got tattooed. What do I do first?
We send each of our clients out of the shop with a covering on their tattoo. Your first step after getting home is to remove this covering, and wash your tattoo. We recommend removing this covering within the hour, to prevent the build up of fluids. Gently wash your tattoo with warm water and a mild, unscented liquid soap (we like Dr. Bronner's). Pat your tattoo dry with a fresh paper towel. Do not apply a new cover or bandage.

How often should I wash my tattoo?
For the first 5-7 days, wash your tattoo 2-3 times a day. After this initial healing period is over, you can cut back to once a day. Make sure you're still using that same mild, unscented liquid soap we talked about earlier.

How long will my tattoo take to heal?
Generally speaking, you're looking at 1-2 weeks for most small tattoos to heal. Larger pieces and pieces with solid sections of black or color may take longer.

Should I put anything else on my tattoo? Like A&D ointment?
Nope! The only time you should put anything on your tattoo is during/after the flaky stage. Then, you can start applying a thin layer of unscented lotion (Lubriderm is great for this) once or twice a day.

I heard you were supposed to keep your tattoo bandaged while it heals, to keep it from getting wet. Is that true?
Heck nope! Your tattoo is just like any other minor wound, you don't want to suffocate it. Your body will having a much easier time healing if it is simply kept clean (this includes washing it! with water!) and dry.

Can I go swimming with a fresh tattoo?
Soaking or submerging your healing tattoo in any body of water is not advised. Hold off for a couple of weeks, and then you can show off your beautifully-healed tattoo at the beach all you want.

I just got a tattoo on my foot. Can I swear socks?
You sure can! Wear clean socks & shoes just like you normally would, and wash the tattoo after you take them off. It is not necessary to apply a barrier between the tattoo and your sock.

Can I exercise with a healing tattoo?
Definitely! Live your life! If the exercise is causing your tattoo to become irritated, it might be a good idea to do something else. Otherwise, you're fine. Your sweat will not damage the tattoo, and you can simply wash it away after you're done.

Part of my tattoo looks like it's missing. What do I do?
It is possible that your tattoo requires a touch-up. It happens. If the tattoo is still healing, continue to follow aftercare until it is completely healed (the skin is no longer flaky or shiny). When your tattoo is healed, call us to schedule a free touch-up appointment (if we did your tattoo, that is).

Mike Unfiltered: On "New Stuff"


    Beware the new stuff!

    One thing we deal with on a regular basis is new stuff. With the growth in popularity in the tattoo industry it seems everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and cash in. From new ink companies to aftercare systems promising the latest in tattoo tech, we are constantly being bombarded by those people who had nothing to do with tattoos at all last week trying to sell us the newest and latest. There are many reasons this industry is as secretive as it is and protection from posers who are only trying to cash in on us is one of those reasons. We know immediately if you are full of shit as soon as you open your mouths to try to sell us some worthless product that is usually a very expensive solution to a nonexistent problem.

"Tattoo" Sunblock Active Ingredients

"Tattoo" Sunblock Active Ingredients

"Regular" Sunblock Active Ingredients

"Regular" Sunblock Active Ingredients

   Folks are constantly coming up with gimmicky shit like "tattoo sunblock." It's the exact same thing as regular sunblock, but because the label features the word "tattoo" and has a picture of a rose they can charge my customers twice what any normal 50 spf sunblock would cost. Outlandish 4 and 5 step aftercare systems that cost half as much as a tattoo! Soap and water, little lotion, maybe some Aquaphor... All of these things have worked great for a few hundred years now.

    20 years ago, before Miami Ink and the popularity explosion, there were very few companies that sold tattoo equipment. In my apprenticeship I was taught to make all of my own needles from scratch as there was no company to call and order pre-made, pre-packaged, pre-sterilized needles from. I was taught to build tattoo machines in case mine broke down. There were only a handful of people you could call and get a quality tattoo machine, and you had to know somebody just to make that happen. Now there's a hundred or more places you can get the newest and latest from. The problem with that is no one has seen the long-term effects of any of these products because they are so young. How do I know your ink will stay brighter longer when there is no proof? Time and experience are what is needed to make those types of decisions. That doesn't leave a lot of room for quick & easy innovation, but when it comes to opening up the human body I believe we should err on the side of caution. Just remember to talk to your tattooist first before you decide to use something you found on the internet to heal your tattoo. Chances are, it's a waste of money... not to mention it may scar you for life.