Student Wellness Center
Student Services Building 4.5
Phone: (972) 883-4275

Office Hours
Monday-Thursday 8-6
Friday 8-5
Evenings by appointment

Mailing Address
Student Wellness Center
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd., SSB42
Richardson, TX 75080

Body Art

Is It Really For Me?

There are lots of reasons people get tattoos — they want to be trendy, they want to impress friends/boyfriend/girlfriend, they want to be sexy, they want to look tough — or maybe there is a deeper more personal meaning. The bottom line is body art, more specifically a tattoo, is something that even when removed by laser will be with you for the rest of your life. Before you make this kind of commitment, spend more than just a few minutes thinking about how you will feel about it a year, five years even fifty years down the road.

Here's a suggestion: try something temporary for a while. Is it a tattoo you're after? Try a temp, or henna. Henna tattoos are cutting edge, painless and most important will disappear in 1 to 4 weeks. This is a great way to try out a tattoo without making a lifetime commitment. So it's a piercing you are after? Clip on rings are made for just about every part of the body. You get the look sans the pain, after care and scarring if you decide to let it grow back.

So let's say you've done the responsible thing. You've tried temporary, you've fallen in love and you are 100% sure this body art is for you. What now? Well, the next step is to pick the place. If you are adamant about avoiding Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV&AIDS plus countless other viruses, germs and bacteria that can cause infections, take this next section very seriously.

  • First and foremost, make sure you choose a licenced facility in the United States. If you have it done in Texas, they should be licensed through the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • The facility should be neat and clean in appearance and smell.
  • All needles and tattoo inks should be brand new and sterile. A reputable artist will open sterilized needles and inks in front of you.
  • Ask about the qualifications of the artist. Check for proper credentials.
  • Prior to getting your body art, talk to others who have used that artist. Ask why they choose the person they did, whether they still like their body art and problems they may have had that could be discussed with the artist

A Few Suggestions

  • Don't alter your mental state (alcohol or drugs) before going to get your tattoo. You may be more willing to take unwanted chances and you may not be fully aware of unhealthy or inappropriate conditions. A reputable facility in Texas will not allow you to receive body art under the influence as mandated by state law.
  • Take a friend with you for support. Very few types of body art are pain free to receive.

You're There. It's About to Happen. What Now?

  • It can't be emphasized enough ... Make sure the needles and tattoo ink are brand new and sterile.
  • The area receiving the art should be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned.
  • Make sure the artist reviews all possible risks and complications before any work is done.
  • Ask any questions you have. If the artist or person you are talking to is hesitant or unwilling to answer your questions — get out. There is a good chance the artist or facility is not in compliance with important safety standards.

Ahhhhhhh. It's Finally Done. Now You Have To Take Care of It!

  • Your artist is required by law to provide you with aftercare instructions.
  • Follow all care instructions after receiving your body art. A reputable facility will provide you with both written and verbal care instructions. Ignoring these suggestions could easily result in an infection that could cause serious health problems.

Last but not least ...

  • Cover tattoos with sunscreen to avoid fading of the ink.
  • Make sure you choose appropriate size jewelry for the particular piercing you have — jewelry that is too heavy can cause stretching or tearing of the pierced area.
  • Jewelry for new piercings should be surgical steel or other implant quality material.