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Tattoo Advise


Inspecting a Tattoo Establishment / with som many tattoo studios, how do I choose one?

Getting a tattoo is a serious decision. It is important to arm yourself with as much information as possible.This is a basic guideline for what to look for when choosing a studio and a tattoo artist. Included are precautions meant to help prevent cross-contamination of blood borne diseases from one client to the next.

 These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. Be aware, however, that many doctors have no specific training or experience regarding piercing/tattoos and may not be educated on how to best assist you.

Education is of the utmost importance to us at Studio316L. Please familiarize yourself with the following tattoo guidelines. Any studio you select should abide by these basic rules for your safety:

  • 1.There are many things to look for in choosing a good tattoo studio. You must visit in person, not call. Your first check is "Sterilization room/bio-hazord room". This room is made of a private door, a sink with hot & cold water and a clear division of clean and contaminated areas.(Standard precaution by Osha should be used like EPP,etc). example a bathroom is not considered a "sterilization room",if the autoclave is on top of a toilet , on the floor call your local health department and place a complaint. 


  • 2.How do I know if they are clean and sterile?. You can tell if a business looks clean or dirty. All tattoo studios should sterilize with an autoclave. The only acceptable means of sterilization is by an autoclave. The autoclave should be spore tested, at least, once a month to ensure that it is functioning properly. Any reputable studio should have no problem producing these test records upon request, furthermore most studios have their test on the wall. The following information is an example of what to look on test report:

-Sterilizer Tested- name or model / serial number of the unit, date of test.

-Studio 316 Body Art uses "Crushable self-contained" Attest 1292 RRBI test by 3M.(with Controler Attest 1292 RRBI )
-Types of Biological Indicators Used in Steam Sterilization Processes: Spore Strips, Crushable Self-contained, and Sealed Glass Ampoule. A self-contained biological indicator has a great advantage over traditional spore strips in glassine because of the time saved when confirming spore kill. Results come back in 48 hours with no problematic laboratory transfers.
The unique self-contained design provides a challenge to steam penetration similar to that which would be encountered in restricted areas of instruments.
The self-contained design also greatly reduces the potential for sample contamination. Self-contained would be most sensitive to an air leak because of the product design and ability to trap air. This more challenging test varies greatly from the old glassine envelope used by other third party labs.


  • 3.The CDC encourages testing regardless of whether or not it is mandatory in your state. "Sterilizer monitoring will greatly reduce your exposure to infectious diseases and other blood-borne pathogens." -National Monitoring Guidelines - Dental Practices, American Dental Association (ADA) Monitoring Sterilizers, Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP), Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN): Monitor sterilizers at least weekly by using a biological indicator with a matching control (i.e., biological indicator and control from same lot number.)


  • 4.CERTIFICATE OF ANALYSIS SPORE TEST REPORT at Studio 316 Body Art is done monthly.(by a third party Company)


  • 5.Needles should be single-use only. Make sure your tattooist removes new needles and tubes from sealed autoclave bags in front of you. Autoclave bags have color indicators to show that they have been sterilized in an autoclave. However, these indicators can change colors even if the autoclave is not working properly. This is another reason you should ask to see autoclave test records. Again ask for spore test certificate.


  • 6.Be certain that your tattooist pours fresh ink into new disposable ink caps. Under NO circumstances should ink that has been poured out or used, be poured back into ink bottles.


  • 7.All tattooists should wash their hands and put on a new pair of gloves when starting a tattoo. Make sure that any item that may be touched during the tattoo process is covered by plastic or barrier film, to avoid cross contamination. Cross contamination is the act of spreading potential pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms from one item or surface to another. Even if a tattooist has on new gloves but touches a cross contamination item or surface, you are then in danger of those pathogens being transferred to your freshly broken skin. The best way to prevent cross contamination from one client to the next is by covering all surfaces that a tattooist might touch during the tattoo process with disposable plastic or barrier film. Items that should be covered include spray bottles, clip cords, lamps, knobs on power supplies and chair adjustments. Be sure your artist does not touch anything with dirty gloves, and that all items are wiped down with a disinfectant in between tattoos as an extra precautionary step.


  • 8.Your tattooist should be clean in appearance and sober. The furnishings in a studio should also be clean and orderly in appearance. All containers, work stations, and floors should be made of hard non-porous materials so they can be cleaned with a hard surface disinfectant.


  • 9.Feel free to question the Studio/tattooist about any of these basic guidelines and procedures. If a tattooist is a professional, they will have no problem complying with these standards. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable or if a tattooist appears evasive when questioned - place a complaint directly with the owner. go elsewhere!


  • 10.Besides a visual inspection, ask the tattoo artist if he/she has a tattoo license issued by the department of health. ( Be aware of fakes tattoo licenses, expired, altered ,etc).
  • By New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
    • The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) licenses tattoo artists individually- not tattoo parlors.
    • DOHMH tattoo regulations are aimed to control the spread of infectious diseases (i.e. "Does he/she do the job safely?").
    • Basic safety principles include:

  •  The work area must be kept clean and hygienic.
  • Needles and other objects for penetrating the skin must be sterile.

  • Tattooists and their clothing must be clean. No exposed cuts, wounds, etc.

  • Needles and other objects, which have touched blood or body fluids, must be disposed of appropriately.

  • Tattooing and body piercing are potential sources of hepatitis C transmission if contaminated needles or shared ink are used. You can minimize your risk if you are aware of the danger and take very specific precautions when getting a piercing or tattoos:

    • Get only tattoos done by licensed professionals in specialized settings and aseptic enviroment.

    • Question"Can the artist tattoo me in his home rather than the studio?
      Answer:Sure he/she can. As a precaution take his license # and write it down if something goes wrong. You can place a complaint directly to the health department providing his license number. His/her home must be equipped to do so. He/she must own a sterilizer, must have spore test result of autoclave machine (montly records done by a third company Lab), own an ultrasonic, an many other requirements, etc.
      "The stupid question", I got tattooed in my friends house which is a tattoo artist but he/she does not own any of the equipment mentioned above. The artist(tattooist) said that he/she sterilized all the tools at the shop, not to worry. is this safe?
      answer: Obviosly this individual is not a tattoo artist(more likely scratcher and he/she is practicing on you), even if he/she has a valid license. Make sure He/she has an "infection control course and pass the exam".

    • DOHMH rules do not address tattoo quality or design (i.e. "Is he/she a good artist?").
    • Tattoo license applicants must take an infection control course and pass an exam.(Tattoo artist responsability)
    • Tattoo licenses are valid for two years.
    • And the worst red flag, we leave for last. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, does NOT know if the person getting the license knows how to perform a tattoo or if you own a tattoo machine (meaning the license is issued to anybody).


  • 11.Does the studio practice “Standard Precautions” by OSHA and has Osha posters on the wall? This term describes part of OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Rule. It means all infection control procedures and practices are followed all the time. No exceptions. It's the law that Osha "Posters" must be on the wall.

Studio 316 Body Art Inc is one of the only studios in the 5 borough of New York City certified by "Osha Region II/Occupational Safety and Health Standards for general industry"