First tattoo- advice please! :)


I’m about to get a tattoo for the first time, well two actually at once. One will be on my left wrist and will be a small outline of a hear. The other will be on my right wrist and will be an uppercase letter ‘R’. In any case, both are small, just bigger than a 10 cent piece.

I’ve had diabetes for just over 5 years now, and as a teenager (now 19) my control has never been ideal. At last check my HBA1C was around 8, which i know isn’t fantastic, but it isn’t that bad for me. I’m looking to get the tattoos this Friday or next Tuesday.

So my question is really, how important is the HBA1c when getting a tattoo, and also, how important is it that your levels are good leading up to the tattoo. IE: if i keep my levels almost perfect until Friday, and then continue to keep them close to perfect as it heals, will that be enough? Or should i have my levels be perfect for 2, 3, 4 weeks?

Sorry for the really long message! :slight_smile:

any advice would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

Hey Miss LJ! Congrats on getting your first tattoos! I LOVE tattoos. I got my first one at age 18, a few months after getting my tongue pierced. I was diagnosed Type 1 at age 14 too. When I was 18, my A1c was not great. It was probably pretty close to 10 %. I didnt have any issues with healing. I kept my BG pretty close to normal throughout that day only. I didn’t have issues with healing at the time. I got my first one on my back.

My second I got at age 19, on the top of my foot. I was working as a waitress at the time and not taking very good care of myself diabetically. After gett the tattoo, I put my sock and shoes back on and went back to waitressing for an additional 6 hours. Again, no issues with healing.

My third I got at age 24 on my forearm. FINALLY I was taking much better care of myself diabetically at that time. My A1c was finally down to 8% at the time. No issues healing- but this one definitely healed the fastest. It could be because of lower A1c, or maybe just the placement of the tat.

My fourth I got at age 25 on my abs. My A1c was down to a stable 6.5% and I had, again, no issues healing.

So, I would just be careful to stay hydrated (with water typically) and just have your BG be at a stable 100 or so when you walk into the tattoo parlor.

I’m not a specialist, though. Just another Type 1 who loves body art.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for the advice :slight_smile:

You’ve actually made me feel so much better. It’s really good to hear from someone who’s had T1 for a similar amount of time, and not perfect control, and hear it still all went well! :slight_smile:

So excited to get it done! :slight_smile:

Hi MissLj,

I wouldn’t worry too much about your HbA1c when getting a tattoo. The main thing is to look after it once you’ve had it done to make sure it heals properly. My best advice is:

  • make sure your tattoo artist knows your diabetic.
  • make sure you have a meal before you go in
  • make sure you are hydrated and you take a drink in with you
  • make sure you take hypo drinks, snacks etc just in case
  • make sure you follow the tattoo artists advice on after-care
  • always always put 100% sunblock on your tattoos when in the sun. This is the best way to ensure the ink doesn't spread and it stays looking crisp and sharp. Most people don't do this and wonder why their tattoo goes blurry.
  • When having it done stay as still as possible. The less you move the better the tattoo will look
Other than that, have fun and post picks afterwards :-D It really doesn't hurt as much as people think. Best way to explain the pain is like scratching sunburn. Nothing major. From the sounds of it your designs are very small, so they'll be done in no time. Blink and you might miss it :-P

You don’t want to hear my advice on tattoos – trust me. ;0)

whys that? please tell me you didn’t have a horrible experience :expressionless:

Thanks for the reply!

The designs are definitely pretty small, so i’m not too worried about the pain or the time :slight_smile:

That all sounds like good advice! i’ll be sure to keep sunscreen on now i know that, i definitely don’t want a blurry tattoo :stuck_out_tongue:

I will definitely post some pics after!! :slight_smile:

As someone mentioned previously, I would just stay hydrated and eat before you go. I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and I was no where near controlled but I healed just the same as anyone else. I made sure I always aired it out and put the lotion on as suggested. Only thing was I felt very nauseous after the tat but I think that was more due to the pain of my first tattoo and not knowing what to expect. Both tattoos healed with no problems at all. So I really think you’ll be fine just eat and relax, try not to tense up though its hard to do because you’re excited and nervous at the same time. Enjoy! It hurts so good. Might be getting third tattoo here shortly too. Excitement!

My A1C has been deathly crappy horrible for years (finally going on pump to try and get it better) I have many tattoos and piercings. No problems so far except with a bellybutton ring (gross infection) Keep the tattoos very clean, use just the most minimal amount of healing ointment, a thin layer and don’t expose them to the sun without sunscreen. if the artist is good, they’ll explain all this too!

I got mine after the Tae Kwon Do class where I got my black belt-- a couple weeks after the test, since they embroider your name on it but not until you pass. We got the belts and started class but, after about an hour a tornado hit so class got cancelled but it took twice as long to get to the studio b/c of flooding (driving down High Street, figuring correctly that it wouldn’t be as wet!) so I got there on time (no biggy, they were cool about it…) and got it done. No healing issues. My A1C and #s were probably ok then (although I’d just learned I’d be moving too, so it was a really nutso time…)

I think the next one will be a skull and syringes, like a pirate flag, on my other arm. Maybe after the marathon?

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah, i get the nauseous thing. I ended up having to reschedule my appt, but i went with my friend to get hers the other day, and I felt nauseous just being there! ahah.

I’m glad everything went well with you though, i’m pretty positive about it now :slight_smile:

ooh exciting! :slight_smile: make sure you put up a pic if you get another one!

Thanks for your reply!

Yes, i’ve head bad things about belly piercings :S I was going to get one a while ago, but got scared off! did it turn out being alright?

I’ll definitely be paying close attention to instructions!

Thanks for the reply!

Very cool! I used to do karate, but i’ve recently thought about starting up tae kwon do, very jealous of your black belt!

Good to know you had no issues with healing, and cool tattoo :slight_smile: obviously not put off getting another one either. Make sure to upload a pic if you do!

Hey, thanks for everyone’s advice! :slight_smile: here’s how they turned out, I’m really happy with it! :smiley:

Very nice! You weren’t joking when you said they were small were you.

I bet it was over in a matter of seconds. I also bet it didn’t hurt as much as you thought it would.

Nice work there MissLj thumbsup

One day I will get the tatt I’ve always wanted on my shoulderblade… :slight_smile:

Nice work. I want to get another one. Part of me wants to do something (e.g. run the marathon in October I signed up for?) first but part of me thinks that it would be more fun to get it now so I can have it while I’m training and running in the race in October?

hahaha yes, they are really very small. It took less than 4 minutes for both lol.

I actually thought it hurt heaps though! lol

oooh, I’d get it now :slight_smile: but that could be partly because i just got mine done :stuck_out_tongue:

Good work signing up for a marathon though! I did a long walk/jog once, but that’s about as far as I go :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Yeah you should! what do you want to get?