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.
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.
- MIKE HUFF