Getting a Tattoo

Is this your first tattoo? If so, you probably have lots of questions, and that's totally okay. We have given hundreds of people their first ink, and we are with you every step of the way. We've prepared a full page of information on what to expect when you get and take care of your new tattoo.

We also offer a full line of products to help with the process -- a 6-hour numbing cream to make the inking nearly painless, and a specialized lotion for helping the colors in your ink stay bright and clear.

Tattoo FAQ

Does getting a tattoo hurt?

Yes, but the amount is really different for everyone. Most people describe it as similar to a stinging or a sunburn. One major factor is the location of the piece and how sensitive the area is. Our artists have created thousands of tattoos for people across all walks of life, and for most the experience was worth the temporary discomfort.

If pain is a concern, at Cthulhu Tattoo we offer a 5% Lidocaine numbing cream that is one of the best in the industry. One hour after application, there is almost no feeling for up to 6 hours. You can arrive early for your appointment to receive the application, or take it home and apply it before arriving.

How much does it cost?

The costs of a tattoo depend on a number of things: the size, colors used, and the amount of detail are the main factors. The experience of the artist, the quality of the equipment used, and the sanitation and sterilization of the shop are all factored into the price as well. But that being said, the costs for a small black-and-white tattoo without shading, such as a script tattoo, are very reasonable -- about $100.

Is it safe to get a tattoo?

The Florida Department of Health licenses Cthulhu Tattoo because tattoos do carry the risk of bloodborne pathogens. Sterilization, sanitation, and safety are the highest priority for the artists in our shop, and our standards exceed the health department's requirements. We require all clients to fill out a waiver and consent form prior to tattooing, which will advise the artist of any conditions that could increase the risk of infection. Rest assured, your safety comes first at Cthulhu Tattoo, and by working with us and following all aftercare instructions, the risks are minimal.

What do I need to bring?

Bring a valid government ID, because Florida state law requires that you must be 18 years or older to get a tattoo. You will need to sign a waiver and consent form before we perform any work.
If you are under 18, a parent or guardian must sign and notarize a permission form.
Click here to download minor consent form.

Can I bring a picture?

Yes, absolutely! Our artists want you to be completely happy with the work you receive. Bring anything that you think will help the artist to capture what you're looking for. We also have tons of reference material and examples for you to look at while you're here.

Do you do coverups?

Yes, we are happy to work with clients on coverups. While it's not always possible, we will consult and see what might be doable.

How do you say Cthulhu?

Cthulhu is pronounced "ku-THOO-lu." Click below to hear it out loud!

Tattoo Aftercare

Why does aftercare matter?

A tattoo is a permanent investment in your personal style and a unique artistic expression. Proper care in the days after tattooing ensures that the piece will look its best for the long haul, because improper care can lead to infection and scarring. Cthulhu Tattoo recommends following all of these steps until your tattoo heals completely.

Aftercare essentials

It takes about a month for the surface of the skin to fully heal after getting a tattoo. Below you will find a guide for the entire healing process, but there are certain things you should do (or not do) throughout all the stages.

Keep the area clean and moisturized (more on that below) and stay hydrated. Your skin has undergone a trauma and needs time and attention to heal properly. Cleanliness helps prevent infection, and moisture and hydration help the tattoo look its best.

Don't expose the tattooed area to direct sun without covering. Don't use sunscreen -- cover the area with high-SPF clothing. Don't wear tight clothing over the tattooed area, or go swimming or immerse your body in water. (Showers are fine!)

Most importantly -- call your doctor immediately if you think you are experiencing an infection or allergic reaction. (If redness, swelling, or seeping persists after the first week or two, these are the warning signs to consider.)

Day 1

You can remove your bandage after 1 or 2 hours. This time will vary based on the size and complexity of your tattoo, so your artist may give you different advice. The bandage is meant to absorb blood, plasma (the clear fluid) and excess tattoo ink, but there may be a small residual amount even after the bandage comes off. That's ok, it's normal.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, then gently wash the tattoo with soap and warm water. Use fragrance-free soap to prevent irritation. Pat the area dry -- do not rub! Moisturize with a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.

Leave the covering off so it can dry and begin to heal.

Days 2 to 3

By now the appearance of the tattoo may begin to change. You may form scabs as your skin starts to heal. Because of the extra blood in the area, the tattoo may seem more dull or cloudy.

Wash your tattoo once or twice a day and moisturize, the same as on day one. You may notice some excess ink running into the sink. This is normal.

Days 4 to 6

By now the redness should be beginning to fade. There will be scabbing over the tattoo -- not the same type of thick scabs you get from a cut, but small raised areas. Just like mom told you -- don't pick your scabs. This can lead to permanent scarring.

Continue washing once or twice a day and applying moisturizer. This will help prevent infection and promote healing.

Days 6 to 14

The scabs are hardened and have begun flaking off. Again -- don't pick them or remove them -- it's important that they come off naturally. You do not want to let the ink come out or create scarring, this will hurt the final image of the tattoo.

By now, if the area of the tattoo is still red and swollen, you might have an infection. Send a picture to your tattoo artist or your doctor.

Days 15 to 30

This is the final stage of healing. The big scabs and flakes should be coming off on their own. You may have some dead skin similar to a peeling sunburn, but if you continue washing and moisturizing these will come off on their own, and the appearance of the tattoo will continue to improve.

It may take another 1-3 months for the deeper layers of your skin to fully heal, but by the end of that time, if you have taken good care of your skin, the tattoo should look as clear and crisp as the artist intended.

Forever care

Keep it clean following all the steps outlined above. Moisturize daily, and be very mindful of exposure to the sun. Because the ink -- especially darker inks -- absorb more sunlight than your skin, wear high-SPF clothing and always apply sunscreen to prevent severe sunburn.

What products should I use?

For cleaning, use a simple soap without fragrances, as fragrances can irritate the skin and slow healing. Ivory and Dove make bar soaps that have very few ingredients that can worsen irritation. However, these soaps can pull a lot of moisture and oil from the skin, which then need to be replaced with a moisturizer. For your moisturizer you should also avoid fragrances, as well as petroleum-based ingredients such as petrolatum, as these close pores and can slow the healing process. Lubriderm, St. Ives, and Dove all make products which are good for sensitive skin.