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La Verdad Desnuda
Tattoo & Body Art Safety
How to get inked without getting infected.

There is important information you should know if you are considering getting a tattoo or body piercing. Most important is that Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV are some diseases a person could possibly get from contaminated equipment.

Plan Ahead

Some people regret a quick decision to get a tattoo or body piercing, so allow plenty of time to visit various tattoo shops and meet the artists. To keep your good health, take a little time to know the process so you can make a safe decision.

Look Behind the Scenes

Ask around to find a tattoo shop where you feel comfortable with their operating procedures. Look for a shop that uses sterile needles and razors, and whose artists wash their hands, wear gloves, and keep surfaces clean.

The State of Idaho does not require an operating license for tattoo shops, so ensuring your safety is up to you. It is important to check out any potential tattoo artist before you make a decision. Some shops may obtain a third party certification for their autoclave / sterilization equipment and should be willing to share that with you. Many tattoo shops have one-time use equipment.

Get Personal

Ask your tattoo artist which trainings and certifications he or she has received and ask to see any certificates. Most professionals will be proud to show you this information.

Watch the Artist In Action

Ask if you can watch another customer get a tattoo. You should see that the artist is always wearing gloves and that all equipment is taken from sealed autoclave bags, or one time use equipment is used and then thrown away after the artist has finished. All ointment, ink, and water used must come from containers that are only used for that client and not put back into a container that will be used for other clients. Then all used needles should be disposed of directly into a sharps container – no exceptions.

Be Picky

You shouldn't hesitate to walk away if a tattoo artist seems defensive, angry, or is unwilling to show you what you’re asking to see. Seek out a tattoo artist who is willing to explain their process and follow safety guidelines.

Check Their Style

Ask to see examples of the artist’s finished work. Photos should be openly available. If not, that artist may not have the experience or training needed to safely tattoo or pierce your body.

Click here to learn more about tattoo safety.


Autoclave: a medical-grade pressure cooker used to sterilize instruments like needles. Kitchen pressure cookers used for canning will not properly sterilize equipment.

Hepatitis: The word "hepatitis: means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

Sharps Container: a plastic container where all used needles must be thrown away.

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Idaho Department of Health and Welfare