Q&A: Can You Get A Tattoo If You’re Sick?

Getting sick sucks, and it’s even worse when you can’t stay home with some soup and a box of tissues. But while life must go on, there are still some things you can’t do when you’re sick. Like, getting a tattoo.

We get asked all the time if people can get tattooed while fighting a cold, a cough, or even the flu. The answer is a solid NO. This is why it’s a bad idea.


Immune System

When you’re sick your body isn’t at 100% and getting a tattoo puts a strain on your body. A new tattoo is no different from any other wound to your body, so it works to heal the area. If your sick, your body is already working to fight that so trying to heal a tattoo at the same time could push it too hard. Basically, your immune system can’t fight off a virus/bacteria and heal your tattoo at the same time.


Healing Time

Simply put, if your body is fighting a battle on two fronts it can’t be as effective. It also can’t do it as fast as normal. This means that your tattoo won’t heal as quickly. The longer a wound is open the greater chance of infection there is.


Spreading Germs

No one likes that person that gets everyone sick. Your tattoo artist has to get pretty close to you, so if your sick chances are you’ll get them sick too. So do everyone a favor and just reschedule your appointment if you’re not feeling well.


Sitting Still

People often forget this, but you have to sit pretty still when getting tattooed otherwise you could cause your artist to make a mistake. You know what causes your body to move a lot? Being sick. Think about how much your body moves when you cough or sneeze.


Aftercare Time

Being sick doesn’t just complicate the actual tattooing process, but it also impacts your ability to care for it afterward. A fresh tattoo needs care, and if you don’t follow proper aftercare you increase your chances of infection or ruining your tattoo. Are you really going to feel like running out to get tattoo cream when you can barely breathe out of your stuffed nose? Are you really going to want to wash your new ink when you have a fever? Make aftercare easier for yourself by just waiting until you’re better to get inked.



So what if you’re feeling better but are still on medications? We recommend you still stay at home and reschedule. Even if you’re feeling better, taking medication means your body still isn’t at it’s best. Your body is still running hard, even if you no longer feel the symptoms of the sickness. Plus, certain medications can aggravate the healing process. If you’re on medications for reasons other than small illnesses, contact your doctor and get their advice regarding tattoos. Be sure to also discuss any medication you’re taking or any long-term medical conditions you have with your tattoo artists.



It sucks having to put off a new tattoo, especially if you’ve been looking forward to it. But do everyone a favor, including us and you, and just rebook your appointment. It’s important that you’re at your best so that your tattoo turns out perfect.Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need to reschedule your booking.






The Differences Between Dermal, Surface, and Regular Piercings

There are tons of different piercings, which unfortunately means people sometimes get confused about the differences between them. Piercings can differ based on location, jewelry type, and how it’s inserted into the body.

When it comes to piercings there are three ways it can be done: regular, dermal, and surface. Here are the differences between them.


Regular Piercings

Regular piercings are what most people are familiar with. It’s when the skin is piercer all the way through. Think of a basic earlobe piercing. That’s an example of a regular piercing. The needle goes in one side of the skin and comes out on the other side. Regular piercings are the easiest to do, the cheapest, and heal the quickest.


Cost: Regular piercings are the cheapest. Most of the cost goes towards jewelry.

Heal Time: It depends on the location of the body. Lip and earlobe piercings heal faster than areas that have more cartilage like the upper ear and nose.

Jewelry: Studs, rings, and barbells can all be used for regular piercings. Some jewelry works in certain locations on the body better than others.


Dermal Piercings

Dermal piercings are more complicated than regular ones, and they are composed of two parts, the piercing, and the anchor. A small pouch is made under the skin where the anchor is then placed. The chosen jewelry is then pierced through only one side of the skin and attached to the anchor.


Dermal piercings are super versatile and can be put almost anywhere on the body. Some people find their body rejects them and notice their piercing coming to the surface of their skin. That’s rare though so don’t be too worried about it. Dermal piercings do hurt a little more, depending on where they’re placed, and they require more skill than regular piercings. It can also take longer for them to heal.


Cost: Dermal piercings are more expensive as they require more skill, special equipment, and specific jewelry.

Heal Time: This type of piercing usually takes 6-12 weeks to heal fully, though it could be longer depending on the individual.

Jewelry: Specialized jewelry is needed for dermal piercings. Jewelry is typically a stud shape.



Surface Piercings

Surface piercings involve two holes, with the jewelry running under the skin and coming out of the ends. Most surface piercings use bar type jewelry to achieve this look. The issue with surface piercings is that they put strain on your skin. Most people’s bodies end up rejecting the piercing, meaning they don’t last forever.


There are a few limitations to surface piercings. They don’t do well on flat surfaces on the body, which means they can’t be put anywhere. They tend to take awhile to heal too, longer than dermal or regular ones.


Cost: Surface piercings cost more than regular ones, but not as much as dermal. They don’t last forever though so think carefully about if you want one.

Heal Time: Surface piercings usually take at least 3 months of healing before jewelry can even be changed, and need longer to be fully healed.

Jewelry: Barbell jewelry is typically used for surface piercings.



If you still have questions about the differences between piercings, feel free to contact us or stop by our tattoo shop. It’s important that everyone knows exactly what type of piercing they’re getting and everything that comes with getting it. Make sure to pick a professional piercer that has experience in the type of piercing you want to get. More skill and experience is needed to have a good dermal or surface piercing.

The Meaning Behind PM Justin Trudeau’s Tattoo

Justin Trudeau is a lot of things- the Prime Minister of Canada, the most attractive world leader, and someone with a tattoo. Society is more accepting of tattoos today, but for a politician, and one as high up as Trudeau, sporting ink openly is daring. It was a shocker when Trudeau showed off his massive upper arm tattoo, and it left people wondering what the meaning behind it was, and well now we know.


Tattoo Design

Trudeau’s tattoo is actually two separate ones blended together. He got a globe when he was 23 years old. When he turned 40, he added a Haida raven onto it completing the ink.



While we might never know why 23-year-old Trudeau got a globe, it turned out to be a smart choice considering he’s one of the most powerful world leaders. The raven element has more meaning. The Haida are natives of the Haida Gwaii territory in BC and Alaska and are one of Canada’s First Nations tribes. People believe Trudeau got the tattoo to honor his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who was declared an honorary member of the Haida tribe in 1976.



What Justin Trudeau’s tattoo shows us is that one, yes, even politicians can have tattoos and two, maybe think about whether or not you should get a cultural tattoo. Think about how much fun we make of all those people with bad Chinese symbols on their body.


If you want to book an appointment feel free to contact our downtown Toronto tattoo shop!



This Is How To Tell If A Piercing Is Infected

New piercings are exciting, but it’s not unusual for a client to return a few days later in a panic because they think it’s infected. Most of the time it’s not, and it’s just the piercing healing naturally. The symptoms of healing and infection are similar, so confusion is common. It’s always best to check with your piercer first if you’re concerned about infected, but here’s how to judge if it’s infected or not.


Depending on the piercing location and style, it can take weeks if not months for it to fully heal. But most piercings look “healed” before they actually are. For roughly 24-72 hours after a piercing, you will experience redness, soreness, irritation, and swelling at the sight of the piercing. This is completely normal and isn’t any cause for concern.

A sign of infection is if these symptoms get worse as times goes on or if they linger for a while. A good idea is to keep an eye on the piercing, noting if the swelling or redness spreads or increases. Take pictures if possible to keep track of it.

While swelling is perfectly normal, it can be dangerous if it gets too bad. Swelling can cause loss of function. Excessive swelling isn’t always a sign of infection though. It could be that your piercing is too small, and just needs to be replaced with a larger one until it heals. Return to your piercer if the swelling becomes too painful or uncomfortable.

Discomfort the day of or the day after a piercing is normal. It generally takes a day or more of signs of infection to even develop. Old piercings are also unlikely to get infected unless there has been a recent injury to is.



Part of the reasons it’s hard for people to determine if their piercing is infected is because the symptoms of infection are similar to how a fresh piercing heals. That’s why it’s important to not look at the symptoms in isolation. Here are the most common symptoms of infection though:

  • Redness (especially if it gets worse or spreads)

o   A new piercing may be red or pinkish for a few days. If the redness gets worse or starts spreading keep an eye on it for other symptoms of infection.

  • Swelling

o   Some swelling is normal, but it should subside after a couple of days. If the swelling gets worse or appears suddenly it could be an infection.

  • Pain

o   Your new piercing will be sensitive and sore for a few days. If you notice the pain lingering or getting worse this is a symptom of infection. However, if you have recently snagged or irritated your piercing, this could also be a cause.

  • Heat

o   Infected piercings may feel inflamed or hot to the touch. If you touch your piercing be sure to wash your hands first.

  • Discharge and pus

o   Some oozing is perfectly normal, and part of the natural healing process. Clear or straw-colored fluid is normal, but is the discharge is thick, whitish or colored (like yellow or green), or smelly it might be infected.



Some areas of the body are more prone to infection than others. Your professional piercer will let you know this at the time of the piercing. Navel (belly button) and tongue piercing shave a higher risk of infection.

Belly button piercings are more prone for a few reasons. First, they’re in touch-prone locations. The belly button is constantly rubbing up against clothing and other objects, which introduce bacteria to the area. Belly buttons are also warm, and sometimes damp, places, which increase the risk of infection.

Tongue piercings are especially prone to infection. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which is a big cause. Tongue infections are especially serious. Complications can cause tongue numbness or even brain infections.

Avoiding Infections

The good news is that infections aren’t as common as people suspect. They’re also extremely easy to avoid. After you get your new piercing, your piercer will go over proper aftercare instructions. Make sure you listen and follow them. Different piercings have different cleaning requirements, so don’t assume you know what to do. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions either. Even if you think it’s a dumb question, we’d rather you ask.

Aftercare isn’t just about how to clean your piercings. It’s also about how to generally take care of it. For example, you should avoid sleeping on it, wearing clothing that may catch it, touching it with unwashed hands, or removing the piercing.

Another way to avoid an infection is to go to a reputable piercer. Never go to a Claire’s or mall piercer. These people aren’t properly trained, and the equipment they use often isn’t properly cleaned. Trained piercers work out of licensed studios. Most tattoo shops in Toronto have professional piercers that work in the studio.

Getting Help

So what should you do if you think your piercing is infected? A lot of places will tell you to go to a doctor, but the first person you should see if your piercer. Doctors, while trained professionals aren’t that great at telling if a piercing is infected. They often recommend just removing the piercing which can be bad. Removing an infected piercing can make things worse. It can trap the infection, rather than heal it.

Visit your piercer, or another professional piercer, first. These people are trained in piercers and can quickly tell you what to do. They’ll tell you whether you should see a doctor, how to clear it up, and whether or not you should remove it.



If you have any more questions or want to learn more about what piercers we offer at our downtown Toronto tattoo shop, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you and set up an appointment.

Q&A: How To Tip Your Tattoo Artist?

It should be said from the beginning, that tipping for tattoos isn’t just nice it’s expected. Many tattoo artists will tell you “if you can’t afford a tip, you can’t afford a tattoo”.  Tipping in Toronto isn’t complicated, but here’s what you should know before walking into that tattoo shop.

Average Tip is 15-35%

Tipping is absolutely expected. Add 15-35% extra to the cost of the tattoo as a tip. The average tip is around 20%, but some people tip a bit more or less depending on the size and level of detail.

With Multiple Session Tattoos Tipping Is Up To You

Larger tattoos will require multiple sessions to complete it. This can complicate tipping. It’s up to the client whether or not you want to tip at the end of each session or wait until the end. Most tattoo artists prefer smaller tips at the end of each session, but if you let them know you’re waiting until the end they’re fine with that as well. As long as they know they won’t be getting stiffed, tattoo artists are good.

Compliments and Gifts Are Nice, But Not Replacements

Ever hear the saying, “compliments don’t pay bills”? Well, it’s true. As great as gifts and compliments are, they aren’t things we can use to pay our bills. Tattoo artists are professionals that expect to get paid for their services. And like other industries, like salons and restaurants, tips are apart of that payment.

Tattoo Artists Aren’t Rich

While some tattoo artists make it big, most don’t. Tattoo shops often take a percentage of each tattoo. Artists also have to pay for equipment like ink, needles, and other supplies. Tips are important and matter more than people realize.

Tattoo Artists Deserve Tips

You should recognize that this person is marking your body forever. If they do a good job with that, they deserve that tip. Tattoo artists work hard to make clients happy, so give them the respect they deserve and tip accordingly.

Tip Accordingly

While tipping is important, the rules become fuzzy if a client isn’t happy with their tattoos. If you aren’t happy with the final product, discuss this with your artist, and give them a chance to fix it. Tipping is a judgment call. If you love a tattoo tip more than average if you like it tip average, and if you are unhappy tip less or none at all. Just try not to be a jerk.

All Tips Are Great, But Cash Is Best

Tattoo artists aren’t picky, they’ll take tips in whatever form whether that’s cash or credit. Most artists prefer cash though. It’s quick, easy to use right away, and they don’t have to go through the process of calculating and cashing it out at the end of the day.


Tipping tattoo artists in Toronto is pretty simple. It’s just like tipping in a restaurant or salon. A decent tip is expected, but the client determines the amount according to the level of work. Expect to add on at least 20% to the quoted price, if not more. Try to tip in cash, always convey your feelings truthfully to your artist, and most of all if you can’t afford a tip you can’t afford a tattoo. If you have any questions about tipping feel free to contact us or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop.

How To Prepare For A New Piercing

Piercings aren’t as serious or permanent as tattoos, but there is still some preparations that should be taken before you sit down in the chair. No matter what piercing you’re getting, here’s what you need to know to get ready for your new piercing.

Research Ahead of Time

Before going in for a piercing, it’s a good idea to always do some research. Safety and cleanliness are what you should be looking for. Make sure it is a licensed studio and your piercer is a professional. It’s a good idea to make sure they do the piercing you want ahead of time too.

Drink Water and Get Sleep

When you get a piercing, you’re introducing a foreign object to the body and causing trauma to it. The body will work to heal itself, which requires it to work harder than normal. Being hydrated and well rested will help your body do its job.

Sick, Stay At Home

If you’re sick, it’s okay to reschedule your appointment. Being healthy is important to proper healing. Plus, when you come in sick you expose others to the illness, especially your piercer who is likely working close to your face. Be considerate and stay home if you’re sick.

Disclose Medical Conditions

Toronto tattoo shops and piercers don’t need a full medical history, but have certain medical conditions should be disclosed. Some conditions may even need a doctor’s note before you can get piercer. Medical conditions like blood disorders or heart conditions should be disclosed, simply so your piercer can take extra precautions if necessary. Just because you have a medical condition doesn’t mean you can’t get piercer. We just want to ensure everyone’s safety involved.

Bring ID

Tattoo shops in Toronto require valid government ID before doing any piercings or tattoos. Certain piercings have legal age restrictions on them. Anyone under the age of 16 needs parental consent to anything more than a love piercing, and nipple and genital piercings will absolutely only be given to people over 18, regardless of if they have their parent’s consent or not.

Leave Plenty of Time

Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled appointment so that you have time to select your jewelry and ask any questions. After the piercing is done your piercer will chat with you and go over aftercare tips. Being rushed just makes everyone stressed, so have plenty of time.

Prepare Mentally

Piercings are quick and pretty painless (other than some initial discomfort), but if you’re squeamish prepare mentally ahead of time. Bring along a friend or two for emotional support too if you need it.

Hair and Clothing

Hair should be kept out of the way, especially for facial piercings. Long hair can get tangled in them, which can be painful if they’re new. Clothing should be loose and avoid wearing anything that could rub against or get caught in your new piercing.

Come Sober

We legally cannot piercer anyone that is intoxicated, and even if we could we wouldn’t. Alcohol thins the blood, which can lead to more bleeding during a piercing. There’s also the chance that you’ll be a drunken fool and accidentally harm your new piercing. So arrive sober, or leave without a new piercing.

Please Come Clean

We shouldn’t have to say this, but please come clean. Wash, shower, and groom ahead of time, please. We also recommend doing any shaving because it may not be possible while the piercing heals.


Aftercare is the most important step for a new piercing. Your piercer will go through it all with you but it’s up to you to follow it. Keep the area clean, and avoid touching it. If you think it’s infected, come back to the original piercer to get their advice.

Tattoo Questions: Can I Get My Own Art Tattooed?

We get asked this question a lot in our Toronto tattoo shop. Here is everything you need to know about potentially getting your own artwork tattooed on yourself.


Not All Art Works As Tattoos

Tattoos are a whole other art form in itself. That means that not every drawing will translate well into a tattoo. Don’t be afraid to show your design to the artist, but just know that they’ll likely have to make a few changes to make it looks its best.


It Will Have To Be Redrawn

Even if your artwork can perfectly be turned into a tattoo, that tattoo artist will still have to redraw it. They may have to alter the proportions of the body, or simply redraw it onto the stencil that will be their guide.


Art Style Will Impact Your Artist

Like art, tattoos have different styles. What type of art do you create? This will impact what tattoo artist can best translate it into a tattoo. Finding one with a similar aesthetic will be key to getting the best results.


You’ll Have To Pay The Same Amount

This may seem unfair, but the design is only a portion of what you’re paying the tattoo artist for. The price also covers the equipment, the ink, the artist’s skill, and their time. You may have saved them a few minutes by creating the initial design, but all of the other work is left to them.


Don’t Be Offended If We Say No

If we say no to your tattoo design it isn’t a personal insult. Some tattoos just won’t work. Tattoo artists work for years to reach a level of skill and expertise so if they say it won’t work, they’re not lying to you and it’s not because they don’t like the artwork.


If It Has Meaning, Let Us Know

We understand that tattoos are personal and not everyone feels comfortable opening up. Tattoo artists are like therapist though in that many people do open up to them. Let us know if a piece of artwork has some meaning so that if we have to make any changes we can make sure to still capture what’s so special about it. We don’t want to press you for the whole story, but a little insight will ensure your tattoo artist delivers something that you’ll love.


Some Artists Won’t Under Any Circumstances

You know what they say about artists. Some tattoo artists have worked in the industry so long that they only do their own original work. It’s not personal; they just have reached a place in their career where they can be a bit picky about what they do. Most artists are open to tattoos clients work though; just ask ahead when booking to be sure.



The answer to the question isn’t straightforward. You can get your own artwork tattooed but it may be to be changed and altered for the best outcome. Book a consultation with a tattoo artist in our downtown Toronto tattoo shop today to get started!