Overview Designs Policies Prices Aftercare Questions


The following Tattooing F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) is designed to provide you with answers to questions we have been asked many times, and to provide you information about tattooing you may not have previously considered. The information contained in the F.A.Q. is based upon both scientific research as well as the culmination of the experience of hundreds of professional tattoo artists and thousands of people who have been tattooed.

If you don't find the answer to your question here, please don't hesitate to contact us.

How clean is the procedure at Saint Sabrina's?
What is an autoclave and why is it important?
What is single service equipment?
How should I pick an artist?
What should I look for in a tattoo shop
What should I expect during my first tattoo?

Can I get tattooed if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Can I get an all-white tattoo?
Can I get my toes, sides of my feet or bottom of my feet tattooed?

How clean is the procedure at Saint Sabrina's?
Performing tattoos in a safe, clean and responsible manner is our number one priority. In the course of performing tattoos, we take a variety of steps to help ensure your safety:

  • Our artists use disposable gloves for all tattoos. These gloves are changed throughout the procedure to avoid contamination of the client and surfaces in the tattoo room.
  • Our tattoo needles are purchased pre-sterilized from companies that are required to perform stringent monitoring and documentation of thier sterilizaiton processes. Needles are disposed of immediately after the tattoo is performed. Needles are never used more than once.
  • Any implements that are not disposable, such as tattoo tubes, are cleaned, disinfected and autoclave-sterilized prior to use.
  • Items that may need to be touched during the tattoo are covered with plastic barriers to prevent contamination. These barriers are disposed of when the tattoo is finished.


What is an autoclave and why is it important?
An autoclave is the same device used by hospitals, doctors and dentists to sterilize equipment. Autoclave sterilization is the only way to ensure that all equipment is properly sterilized and safe to use on you.

Autoclaves achieve sterilization through the use of intense steam-heat and pressure over an extended period of time. Items such as dry heat sterilizers, chemical solutions, boiling and alcohol do not achieve appropriate levels of sterilization. Any autoclave being used for sterilizing tattoo equipment should be tested (called a spore test) by an independent lab at least once per month. At Saint Sabrina's, we spore test both of our autoclaves weekly. In addition, we use a combination of package indicators (which react to heat exposure) and integrators (which react to time, temperature and pressure) to monitor every autoclave load.


What is single service equipment?
Single service equipment is items used during your tattoo that are brand new and are disposed of immediately after the tattoo is complete. Examples of single-service equipment used during a tattoo include:

  • Needles
  • Needle bars (this is a metal bar the needles are attached to)
  • Ointments (used to lubricate the skin during the tattoo)
  • Pigments/ink
  • Ink caps (used to hold single-service portions of ink)
  • Gloves
  • Razors (used to shave the skin before tattooing)
  • Paper towels (used to wipe the skin during the tattoo)
  • Barriers (sheets or bags of plastic used to prevent contamination of items)


How should I pick an artist?
When choosing an artist, you need to find an artist whose style of work you like as well as an artists who will work on you safely. In order to meet both of these criteria, you can:

  • Ask people where they got tattooed, especially if you really like the work you see.
  • Ask to see photographs of the artist's work. It is common for photographs to be taken immediately after a tattoos is finished, so don't by alarmed by a little redness and swelling.
  • When looking at pictures of an artist's work, you should consider whether the lines look clean and smooth, or are broken and jagged, whether the lines meet up, and so on.
  • Taking time to check out a few artists and shops will help ensure that you are happy with your tattoo.


What should I look for in a tattoo shop
When visiting a studio, you should make sure that it is neat and clean. Most of the time, what you see in the front room is a good indication of what you will see elsewhere in the shop. If studio is dirty, cluttered or obviously poorly cared for, you probably should consider having your tattoo done elsewhere.

Don't ever be afraid to ask questions about the shop's safety procedures. The personnel should be willing and able to answer you questions. If you feel they are brushing your concerns aside or can't answer you, leave and seek out a different shop. It is your body and you deserve to have you questions answered in pleasant, articulate manner.


What should I expect during my first tattoo?
If you've never been tattooed, it is normal to be a little nervous or apprehensive as well as excited. Being properly prepared will help keep the experience fun. Everyone will have a slightly different experience when getting tattooed, but there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Being well rested and well fed makes a big difference. If you are overly tired, your body will be less able to deal with the mild stress of getting tattooed. In addition, if you haven't eaten recently, your blood sugar is more likely to become low, increasing the chance for lightheadedness.
  • While having a couple of cocktails or beers before getting tattooed might sound like a good idea, it never is. In addition to making you dehydrated, the alcohol will make you bleed more, consequently having a negative effect on your new tattoo. In addition, in the city of Minneapolis it is illegal to tattoo anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • You should expect some blood. There is not generally much blood, but the amount does vary from person-to-person.
  • The amount of pain will also vary from person-to-person. In most cases however, the anticipation of getting tattooed is far worse than actually getting tattooed. The best way to deal with the discomfort is to accept it, relax and remember to breath. Tensing up and/or trying to fight the pain will increase your discomfort.
  • If you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint, tell your artist right away. There is nothing wrong with taking a break. Trying to "tough it out" will only make you more uncomfortable and take the fun out of your tattoo experience.
  • If you need to change positions, stretch, go to the bathroom, sneeze or move for any reason, let your artists know BEFORE you do.
  • It is normal for your tattoo to be somewhat dry and to get a patch of shiny skin over it. While scabbing is not ideal, it does sometimes also happen. Whether it's dry skin or a scab, do not pick at it. Picking at your tattoo may lead to infection or damage to the tattoo. The dry skin or scab will slough off gradually during the healing period. If you have any questions during the healing process, don't hesitate to call your artist.
  • You trusted in the experience and skill of one of our artists to do your tattoo. Please trust in their experience and knowledge when it comes to the best method to healing your tattoo. While friends may mean well when they give you advice about how to care for your tattoo, they are very often misinformed and may give you bad advice that could damage your tattoo.

Can I get tattooed if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Based upon the recommendations of doctors we have consulted as well as, other industry professionals and experts, we don't perform any tattoos on women who are pregnant.

We also typically require that at least 3 months have passed, whether breastfeeding or not, before we will perform any tattooing services. In some cases, our tattoo artists may want you to be more than 3 months postpartum before tattooing you. This is something they can discuss with you if the situation arises.


Can I get an all-white tattoo?
While it is possible to get an all-white tattoo, our artists choose not to do them because they very rarely hold up well over time and very often start to take on a "yellowish" appearance, even after a short period of time.

There are two reasons white tattoos typically start to look yellow: Tattoo ink is partially transparent. As a result, anything darker than the ink will show through, at least partially. Since most inks are darker than skin, this is usually not a problem. However, since all skin is darker than white tattoo ink, it can affect the color of the tattoo, often turning it a yellow or ivory color and making it appear unattractive. In addition, tattoo ink sits under the skin, obviously. The color and darkness of a person's skin will affect how all tattoos look, but the effect will be most noticeable with white tattoos.

Our artists do not wish to have their names associated with work that does not look good or hold up well over time, even if they execute the tattoo perfectly. Therefore, they choose not to do all-white tattoos.

While there are artists who will do all-white tattoos, we strongly encourage you to discuss the "cons" of all-white tattoos with them, at length. In addition, you should ask to see examples of well-healed white tattoos. Almost all tattoos look good when they are first completed. However, you will have your tattoo for a lifetime and you want to it too look good for more than just a few months or a few years.

We also ask you to consider this: As a business, we rely on the money we make from tattoos to help pay our employees and to help us stay in business. If we are willing to turn away these types of tattoos, there must be a very good reason.


Can I get my toes, sides of my feet or bottom of my feet tattooed?
As with all-white tattoos, these parts of the body can be tattooed. However, our artists choose not to tattoo these parts of the body because the tattoos do not age well and continue to look good over time.

The skin on these parts of the body often does not take tattoo ink as well as other parts of the body, which can make it very difficult to execute a good tattoo to begin with. In addition, the skin on these parts of the body is often subject to more abuse/friction than other parts of the body, which can make the tattoo difficult to heal. Finally, the skin on those parts of your body tends to die and regenerate faster than skin on other parts of your body, affecting how the tattoos ages over time.

All of these factors can result in a tattoo that looks fuzzy/muddy within less than a year of being done, even when it is executed well to begin with. Our artists do not wish to have their names associated with work that does not hold up well over time.

While there are artists who will do tattoos on these parts of the body, we strongly encourage you to ask the artists about the factors we've mentioned. In addition, you should ask to see examples of well-healed tattoos on these parts of the body. Almost all tattoos look good when they are first completed. However, you will have your tattoo for a lifetime and you want to it too look good for more than just a few months or a few years.

We also ask you to consider this: As a business, we rely on the money we make from tattoos to help pay our employees and to help us stay in business. If we are willing to turn away these types of tattoos, there must be a very good reason.