While you probably wouldn’t plan to get a tattoo when intoxicated, you might wake up one morning with new ink and a sore head. So how bad is it to get a tattoo if you’re drunk? It’s one of those questions that you might not feel comfortable asking a professional IRL for fear of sounding silly or looking a little irresponsible, but the answer is important information to know.
Many folks spend weeks, months, or longer planning their tattoo until it’s perfect in their eyes. Although some people do get tatted on a whim, the majority may have at least a vague idea of what kind of illustration they want on their body forever. That’s the thing about tattoos: Unless you want to undergo laser removal, you’re stuck with them until your last breath. It’s fine if you love your ink, but maybe not so great if you got a tatt while on a wild girls holiday and you don’t even remember getting it done.
In addition to getting a regrettable tattoo while intoxicated, there are also some health concerns to consider. Luckily, there are some experts that can clarify exactly how bad it is to get a tattoo when you’re drunk.
“Mostly, we advise against getting a tattoo when you are drunk,” says Jon Jon, a tattoo artist at Triple Diamond Tattoo in an email to Bustle. “A drunk person will always be a kind of a nuisance during the tattoo process — fidgeting, distracting, nodding off then jerking awake, aloof, changing their mind back and forth, too impulsive — those things are all non-ideal tattoo situations. It is very rare that an intoxicated person can sit very still and attentively to receive a great tattoo. The artist can be the best artist in the world, but if you are moving around like a fish in the chair, the tattoo can only be so good under those circumstances.”
“Drunk people also really don’t know what they want. We feel very uncomfortable taking payments from drunk people and we generally do not tattoo them.” Jon Jon says, “We would feel terrible for someone to wake up the next day with absolute regret for the tattoo they decided to get that they now have to live with, or the burden of having to cancel an appointment they made while wasted, which would, in effect, make them lose their deposit.”
“What I would suggest is that it is very important that you like the tattoo that you are going to get and even suggest a temporary tattoo and trying that out for a month, to be sure that you truly like it,” says Dr. Bruce Katz, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. “Once you get a tattoo it can be removed, but it is expensive to remove and the process is painful and takes a couple of visits.”
When it comes to effects on the skin, Dr. Katz says, “There is no difference in your skin or affects to your skin if you get a tattoo when you are drunk or when you are sober.”
Despite the fact that your skin might react the same way, there is another physical risk to be concerned about: Alcohol is a blood thinner, and some people bleed quite a bit when they get tattoos.
“There is no doubt that alcohol thins blood,” says Katz. “So one is more likely to have bruising and delayed healing when getting the tattoo.“
All things considered, it’s probably not a great idea to make sure you either don’t get a tattoo during or after several cocktails. If you do find yourself a little tipsy in the tattoo chair (it could happen to the best of us), at least make sure your artist has got your back. At the end of the day, getting a tattoo while drunk likely won’t kill you, but the experts certainly don’t recommend it. Save the lifelong decisions for the light of (sober) day instead.
By PHOEBE WALLER