Spring break is upon us and whether you’re in college or continue to live life like you’re in college (you do you!) you’ve got a new tattoo on the mind. People all over the country consider “time off” as the perfect time to get inked, and with spring break being the vacation of vacations, it certainly makes sense. However, before you schedule your appointment, there are some things you need to consider.
What You Need to Know Before Getting a Spring Break Tattoo
1. Are You Getting Wet?
Spring break typically involves warm and sunny destinations and plenty of saltwater. Whether you plan on surfing or falling off a boat in a stupor, you will need to reconsider the timing of your tattoo. While those who heal fast might be able to get back in the ocean after two weeks, we recommend waiting four. Of course, water quality, type of ocean activity, and whether or not you take the necessary precautions all weigh into consideration before you step into liquid. That may mean waiting until after the seafaring hijinks are done and getting your tattoo on the last day of spring break. Whatever the case may be, please read our guide to going into the ocean after getting a fresh tattoo.
2. Do You Plan on Having a Dry Spring Break?
Alcohol and spring break go hand in hand like rum and Coke but alcohol and getting a tattoo don’t mix.
That means if you’re getting a tattoo during spring break be sure to bookend it with a few “dry” days. For an estimated 48 hours (or longer, for some) a tattoo can be affected by alcohol driven blood thinning. This phenomenon causes the tattoo to excrete excess fluids and limit your skin’s ability to scab. This delays the healing process and at the same time increases the risk of infection.
Alcohol in your system also impacts your ability to sleep (passing out doesn’t count), which is unconditionally a requisite to the recovery process. Plus, alcohol dehydrates the body, which also has a negative impact on healing. Lastly, the impaired judgement that may come from exceeding your “limit” can have you partaking in careless activities that leave your fresh ink exposed to cuts, scrapes, and other forms of otherwise avoidable abrasion.
3. Spring Break Sun Damage
Again, there’s a good chance that you’re headed for a sunny destination for this winter’s end vacation. Closer proximity to the equator equates excessive UV beating down on your skin, skin that have been covered up for the past few months. Since people (well, Northern people) face a greater risk of sunburns and UV damage during spring break you will need to take extreme precautions when getting a tattoo during this time. That means keeping your new tattoo covered up because lathering up in SPF 60+ on a freshly inked piece of work can aggravate the healing process. If venturing into hostile sun territory, you should wear UV protectant clothing until the work has fully healed. If you are getting the tattoo a few weeks before spring break, you can expose it to the sun, but then you should apply SPF60+ over the general area, otherwise you could negatively impact the quality of your new tattoo.
4. Destination Tattoos
Many spring breakers with tattoo aspirations seek to get the work done at their vacation destination – it’s the ultimate souvenir, right? It can be, but you will need to do your homework about a given studio, and not just shuffle in because it’s located near your hotel/resort. Follow this 7-step guide to choosing a tattoo studio near you. If candidate shops (or artists) don’t quite cut it, wait until you get back home to get the work done.
You also need to consider the size and complexity of the tattoo. For example, many people wait until the last day of their vacation to get the tattoo, so that they can enjoy activities (ocean sports, cocktails, and sunbathing). But if the tattoo is expected to take 6 to 8 hours you could find yourself pressed for time should the work take longer than initially expected, which often happens. You don’t want to have to cut your session short, and give up concessions (design, color/tone intensity, lines, etc.) because you have to check out of your Airbnb before penalty rates kick in. Another thing to think about, is the fact that larger and more complex tattoos often require a follow-up with the tattooist. If you’re not going to be around a given destination a week or two down the road, you will not be able to have the same artist that tattooed you to do the follow-up, which may require a touch-up. Simply put, go ahead with the sea turtle calf tattoo but leave the full sleeve dragon to a shop near your home.
Whether you live near or are visiting the Greater Vancouver BC or Toronto ON area this spring break, feel free to schedule a consultation or drop in to one of our shops to get a tattoo you’ll be proud to wear.