Is it bad to drink the night before getting a tattoo? Or, is it OK to drink after getting a tattoo? Everyone sees the rules plastered on the walls of each tattoo shop with some variation of no alcohol allowed, no drunk clients, sober customers only, but what defines that, and why is it necessary? Believe it or not, more than legality goes into these rules. The amount of alcohol in your system actually affects the tattooing process! This article answers everything you need to know about how you can drink alcohol before or after getting a tattoo.
Drinking the Night Before a Tattoo
Drinking before getting a tattoo leaves a lingering effect that artists hate. First of all, legally speaking, artists never tattoo someone who looks the slightest bit impaired. Someone who received a tattoo while drunk may press charges against the artist or their shop, since they never gave proper consent to the tattoo. It causes all sorts of problems in that regard, but also leads to a high amount of tattoo remorse. Artists try to avoid client dissatisfaction like the plague, and any time it happens, they feel down about it themselves. Lastly, drunk tattoo designs look horrible. We go into more depth in our complete tattoo guide.
So, let’s say you have everything planned ahead of time, and you set it up so that your tattoo looks perfect and your artist okays it. Well, why would the artist dislike your choice to consume alcohol before the appointment, just to take off a little of the pain? In actuality, alcohol thins your blood and causes a lot of bleeding during the inking process. This makes a gigantic mess, on top of adding an extra challenge for your artist to handle. You want your artist to see your tattoo clearly, not clean it every few seconds just to figure out their progress.
How to Thicken Your Blood Before a Tattoo
Okay, you know not to tattoo while drunk. How can you alleviate some residual effects of alcohol in your system? Simply put, eat a healthy diet! On top of anything that helps you with hangovers, proper nutrition helps your body handle alcohol and the stress of a tattoo. Vitamin K1 and K2 help by promoting clotting in the event of a wound—like a tattoo. Doctors use it in treatments to prevent excessive bleeding from certain poisons and medicines. It works just as well on alcohol! However, it takes time for your body to absorb vitamins, and supplements usually offer K1 without K2. Eat leafy greens to increase its bioavailability!
Many concerned internet citizens will insist that jello thickens your blood up for a tattoo. That’s the silliest thing, albeit a very tasty way to prep for your new art piece. For more information on how to prepare for your tattoo, check out our ultimate tattoo care and tattoo aftercare guide.
Drinking Beer After a Tattoo
Can you drink alcohol after getting a tattoo? Once everything winds down and your tattoo looks awesome, why not settle back and enjoy a nice, refreshing beer at the end of the day? Well, unfortunately, alcohol after tattoo work still causes excess bleeding. During stage one of the tattoo healing process, your tattoo takes about three days to finish clotting. Alcohol makes that take longer, and sometimes keeps the wound open and prone to infection. For drinking after getting a tattoo, wait at least 48 hours after you receive the tattoo to drink. If you give in to temptation, expect a big mess to clean up whenever you rinse your tattoo.
Alcohol and Tattoo Healing
Continuing to drink while your tattoo heals further extends the healing process. In order to process the alcohol, your body diverts resources to your liver. While not deadly or anything, this means your skin will not repair itself to the fullest. A tattoo normally takes three days to finish stage one of healing—the most important and vulnerable stage—and then several more weeks to finish stage two. If you want to take it safe, skip the beer until the tattoo stops peeling. After that, drink to your heart’s content! We go over much more information about the healing process—and how you can speed it up—here.
Drinking Before and After Getting a Tattoo
In the end, drinking before and after your tattoo poses a risk to your artist and your healing process, but helps cope with the pain a little bit. Of course, topical anesthetics work better for that, but to each his own. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to your body. Cut back your drinking before your appointment and wait until your tattoo scabs over before going back. This keeps you in good spirits, your skin healthy, and your tattoo looking better, faster.