Alcohol and getting tattooed

One of the biggest misunderstood comments I have come across is, “If you drink alcohol before getting a tattoo you will bleed too much.” My answer to this is ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

There are two main reasons why thin blood would be a problem during a tattoo procedure. The first is the annoyance factor. As an artist trying to render a piece of art onto your skin, it is very annoying to have the work obscured by too much bleeding. The second is a technical problem. The blood, when mixed with tattoo ink thins the ink too much and causes the resulting color to appear faded or translucent and ‘washed out’. Any subsequent bleeding has the potential to flush out ink that has been tattooed into the skin which can cause light spots or ‘holidays’ in the color.

While alcohol is a known blood thinner, during a tattoo procedure there are other factors that come into play. For one, time plays a factor in how much you’ll bleed. Having a drink or two just before getting a tattoo will not likely thin your blood out enough to become a problem. Drinking heavily the night before on the other hand could cause a problem.

Your health plays an important role as well. Not enough iron in your diet will thin your blood. Blood thinning medication such as some muscle relaxers and pain relievers will also. Let us not forget those with high blood pressure too. These factors, coupled with alcohol, can cause some rather severe bleeding during a tattoo procedure.

Finally, I would also like to note that no tattoo artist wants to work on someone who is drunk. Drunken people tend to not keep still, act belligerently and seldom appreciate what the artist has done. With all this working against you, it makes better sense to get your tattoo work done while sober.